Hiring the right person for the job can be a difficult task, especially when you are hiring for dangerous positions. With less applicants to choose from, sometimes a person is selected even though they are lacking in experience. Recent studies show that unsafe workers are often those new to a job and with limited experience, making each inexperienced new hire a potential safety liability. Yet even if you know you are hiring a potentially safe person you can mitigate the risk.
The First Month Is Crucial
Workers with less than one-month experience are three times more likely to get injured than employees with over a year experience. It's critical that new hires with little experience are properly trained and integrated into your existing safety culture.
Do you have safety training and well-documented procedures available to support new hires?
In a startling statistic, a recent study found that only one in five Canadians receive safety training within the first year on the job. If you are hiring for a position that has any sort of safety hazards this is a statistic that you must not fall into. Setting up safety training for all new hires before they ever begin performing their potentially dangerous duties is essential to help lessen the learning curve. Making sure that all members of your team, no matter how new, understand all of the necessary safety guidelines and protocol is also paramount. Knowledge is power and by equipping your team with the knowledge of how to react to a dangerous situation they will be better prepared to act appropriately and safely.
Do you have a proactive workplace culture built on teamwork, accountability and safety?
By building a strong team that values and rewards teamwork, accountability and safety your workplace will breed safe decisions. Have an experienced and respected senior employee shadow new employees on their first few days on the job. They will be able to help instill the characteristics and good habits that are the foundation of your safe workplace. When the entire team is accountable for each other's safety it becomes much easier to integrate new hires into a safe environment.
Another by-product of a strong workplace culture where safety and employee satisfaction are high priorities is lower turnover. There is no better way to avoid costly (and potentially unsafe) turnover then by building a workplace that prides itself on team morale, safety and employee retention. New employees have a lot to digest on their first month on the job and by surrounding them with an environment that emphasis safety they will have a better chance to learn the safe way to do their job.
The cost of hiring new employees is high enough without the added safety factor of potentially losing a new employee to injury before they have even become a productive team member. That first month is crucial and by implementing a consistent and universal training program combined with a strong workplace safety culture your new employees will be put in the best position to safely succeed, even if he is fundamentally an unsafe person.