Studies are regularly published which indicate that a high percentage of injuries occur during the first year of employment.
With the current churning of workers due to the great resignation it is important for employers to focus on their new employees (and long-term employees who are performing new jobs at the same employer) as an opportunity to reduce claims frequency.
The reasons for a higher claim frequency during the first year of employment are obvious:
- New and younger employees never consider that they may get injured on the job.
- New employees are usually more focused on meeting production than on performing the job safely.
- With new jobs comes significant mental and physical fatigue which increases the exposure.
- It takes a while for a new employee to learn the subtle efficiencies of performing a complex job. It is these efficiencies, which also result in improved production as well as lower claims frequency.
- Few companies have a corporate safety culture specifically focused on safety training for new employees.
- Few companies assign a safety “buddy” to the new employee to make sure that the safety training is completed and that the new employee understands how to use the PPE.
- Many companies leave the responsibility for safety training in the hands of co-workers or front-line supervisors, which may be haphazard.
Best Practices to help prevent injuries:
- Every job has an injury exposure. Determine the specific risk exposures for your workforce. Assign a “Safety Buddy” to the new employee to make sure that the safety training is accurate and appropriate for their job.
- Include all temporary or part time workers in the safety training program.
- Insist that all employees immediately report all injuries and near misses. Investigate every injury or near miss to determine what happened and how that exposure can be mitigated. Use this information to reinforce the safety training with the new employees.
- Keep track of the use of the PPE equipment to determine when it should be replaced or restocked. The replacement (or lack of) restocking PPE equipment is a leading indicator of both claim frequency and claims severity.
- Train all new workers to keep their work area clean. Great housekeeping reduces exposure to injuries.
- If the work requires any serious physical activity, encourage the employees to warm up, as well as take regular breaks.
- Make sure that your workers remain hydrated.
- Create a culture where anyone can and should report any Safety Concerns.
- Be aware of a work culture that focuses exclusively on production but ignores safety. At times, workers may be in a rush to complete a task so they might skip steps to finish faster. They may also not use certain equipment or tools in the proper way to quickly get the job done.
- Be aware of fatigue and sleep issues. Remind your new employees that fatigued employees are a risk for injury.