New Worker, Higher Risk

New workers on the job are at a 40% greater risk of being injured on the job in the first year of service. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) new hires face a greater chance of being injured on the job when they have been in their position less than a year. Why are they more likely to be hurt? The BLS studies show that these employees lack one vital tool to protect themselves: Information. More experienced workers have learned the lessons already. Either by personal experience or by seeing someone else go through a bad experience. Let’s look at some information gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Surveys: 

27% of workers injured while working on scaffolding stated they had never received instruction on the proper way to install scaffolding or never received information on safety requirements involving the use of scaffolding. 

71% of workers receiving head injuries claimed they never received training on the need to use hardhats while performing their duties. 

61% of workers hurt while servicing equipment said they were never informed of lockout/tagout procedures in dealing with the equipment or machinery they were servicing.

In nearly every type of injury studied by BLS researchers, the same story was repeated over and over; Workers did not receive instruction or training in safety prior to performing the job. Nearly 1 in 5 say they received no safety training before requested to do a task.  

What can Workers do? 

  • Be sure to understand all necessary safety measures before you start to work; If an explanation is unclear, ask again. 

  • Use your knowledge of safe practices – all the time. 

  • Use the proper personal protective equipment while doing the job and make sure to maintain that equipment properly. 

  • Make sure all safety guards and protection devices are in place. 

  • Don’t take shortcuts. 

  • Follow safety warning signs on equipment and chemicals you use. 

  • Ask your employer about emergency procedures and be prepared to follow them in the event of an emergency.

What can Supervisors/Employers do? 

  • Make safety an essential part of the department routine. 

  • Have regularly scheduled safety meetings. 

  • Get feedback and input from employees about solutions to safety problems. 

  • Be a positive safety role model. 

  • Frequently remind employees of the need to work safely and draw attention to potential safety hazards related to the job.  

  • Document all accidents and near misses which occur on or at the job site.

Contact OMAG Risk Management Services if you have questions about this topic or other safety topics related to municipal workplace safety.  Email Kip Prichard at kprichard@omag.org or call him at (800) 234-9461. 


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