The old adage states, safety comes first. Well, business leaders will need to pay close attention to those words as the economy begins to see ‘land on the horizon’ in relation to companies flexing their operations muscles by hiring new employees.
While this is a good sign for both employers and employees, the Human Resources Executive magazine reports that the first months on the job for a new employee can be the most dangerous. This in part is due to a lack of effective engagement in safety training programs.
Chief economist for the National Council on Compensation Insurance Harry Shuford explains, "Research has shown that a key driver of injuries is the flow of new employees into the workplace." He adds, "Broadly speaking, when the rate of hiring increases, we see some upward pressure on injury rates and frequency."
According to the magazine, employers need to invest a bit of money to enhance, and even overhaul their safety training programs. Dennis Downing, president and CEO of Future Industrial Technologies advises that training “should take employees through the physical motions of the tasks and mimic movements in real-life work environments that are specific to their jobs.”
Downing goes on to emphasis, “"We don't train athletes and soldiers how to perform by handing them a pamphlet. You have to take that knowledge beyond the intellectual level to the physical level. [. . .] You can forget facts, but you won't forget how to ride a bike."
According to Federal statistics, younger workers are a much higher risk for injury. “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that workers 42 years old or younger are twice as likely to get hurt at work, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that more than 40 percent of workplace injuries happen to workers within their first year of work.”
Bottom line, employers need to create safety incentive and training programs that engage new employees while at the same time provides them with the needed skills and tools to perform their jobs safely.