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 In 2022, Tip of the Week

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), last month (May 2022), nonfarm related employment rose by 390,000. That’s a lot of people in new jobs! Some of these are people returning to work who had been laid off during the pandemic and some are new workers in the workforce. Others may be those who, while at home during the pandemic, realized they wanted to be in a different line of work. No matter what the reason is, these are all workers who may not know or remember how to work safely in their new job.

An article on new hires in the most recent edition of Safety and Health magazine, published by the National Safety Council, said this, “Nonfatal injuries in workers with less than three months on the job increased by 8.4% in 2020, according to Injury Facts, an online source of nonfatal and injury statistics compiled by the National Safety Council.” Click below to view the full article.

NEW TO THE JOB ARTICLE

The article points out that inexperienced workers are eager to prove their worth. In trying to impress their supervisors, they may take risks that they don’t know of or understand or may violate safety rules and protocols.

It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that employees don’t get hurt. How can we, as employers, provide a safe workplace for all employees, including our new hires? One way is to conduct frequent inspections, looking for and correcting hazards. This should be done before employees start working at a jobsite, and frequently during the job.

Another way is to conduct job safety or hazard analyses (JSA or JHA) of the site and the work to be done. This is becoming a best practice in some industries. You list the work that needs to be done in one column, consider how it will be done, and review the associated risks and hazards with that work in the next column. The last column contains the controls that will be used to protect your employees from those known risks and hazards.

We are also responsible to make sure employees receive the training to know how to recognize hazards. 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2) says, “The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.” And we all know that when OSHA says “shall” they mean it is mandatory.

New hire safety orientations do not mean that someone shows the employees a 10-minute video, pats them on the back, and sends them on their way. We suggest pairing a new hire with a seasoned employee that can help them navigate the job, helping them to understand the hazards and show them how to follow safety protocols. When that is not possible, spend some time with the new hire(s).

Communicate that the company cares about employees by being present and spending a little time in the field with them. Pull on your PPE and show them how to do the job the safe way. Listen to them. Employees that feel their bosses are listening will be more likely to ask questions and seek guidance about doing a safe job.

These are just some ways to help those that are entering or reentering the workforce to do so safely and go home to their family and friends at the end of each shift. You may have other suggestions. Please send them by replying to this email. We’d be happy to share with others!

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