According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics – there were 4.1 million non-fatal occupational injuries or illness in 2006. 13 percent of all occupational injuries occur within 90 days of employment, 23 percent occur within four hours of arriving at work – for the first time. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 businesses fail to implement simple strategies during the selection and hiring of new employees that would eliminate their exposure to workers’ compensation claims.
Before the hiring process, write a clear job description with specific focus on the job demands. Present that job description to the employee during the interview process. Ask specific questions to make sure the job requirements are understood. Employees want to know what you are expecting from them, at the same time, having a detailed job description will let potential hires know that you run a very organized company.
After you hire the employee, it is your job to use the probationary, or introductory, period to train and evaluate the employee. This period is called the “introductory” period for a reason—to allow you time to introduce the new employee to your work environment, job concepts and to evaluate their performance. Do not assume that your new employee’s are “trained”, because they have experience on a resume.
New employee orientation is not training, asking a new employee to observe the work environment with a co-worker is not training – it’s an overview. It is your responsibility to help new employees understand the specifics of each job task you are asking them to do. Along with the specifics, they should be provided with safety rules and appropriate training. Yes, teach and enforce safety rules from the beginning! Don’t stop there – safety continues everyday.
Implementing polices and procedures to avoid workplace injuries should start the day you go into business, not the day an employee gets hurt. Training your employees, mandating that they follow appropriate procedures, provide ongoing safety education and keep a watchful eye on employees up who violate safety procedures are some of the key components to eliminate occupational injuries.
Do not condone safety violations – you have a legal mandate to provide a safe work environment and your employees have an obligation to follow your safety rules. As the employer, you want to make sure that every employee goes home to their family at the end of each workday – adding safety to your organizations culture is one way to make this happen.
A winning Injury Prevention Program starts with good hiring strategies that include selecting the right candidate, ensuring that they work safely and guiding them to become productive members of your team – starting on Day One.