The Challenges of New Workers to Stay Safe in the Workplace


new workers

Every year, approximately 3 million employees are disabled at work. In 2013, nearly one-third of the nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses that involved time away from work were suffered by workers with less than one year of service, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Employees in their first month on the job have more than 3 times the risk for a lost-time injury than workers who have been at their job for more than a year,” according to research from the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health.

What can cause this?

It can be challenging for new workers to adjust to foreign work processes, new jargon, and different environments. New workers tend not to speak up about a task being performed improperly by their coworkers and underestimate the risks since they have the least amount of experience on the job. New employees are performing unfamiliar tasks that they are not comfortable with because of the lack of experience but also because they may not be confident in their knowledge of safety regulations, safety rights, or how to perform these hazardous tasks properly. In the absence of information, new employees tend to develop their own potentially unsafe and inconsistent methods.

“The fact almost 80 percent of workers who were in their first year of employment could not remember receiving any workplace safety or orientation training is worrying for a few reasons,” says Peter Smith, IWH scientist. “This likely results in these workers being without important knowledge that could prevent them, or one of their co-workers, [from] getting injured.”

What type of job does it affect the most?

The construction and extraction industry are the most susceptible to new hire injuries. This makes sense due to the frequent flow of new workers coming and going to new sites that are unfamiliar with the work environment and regulations. Lack of training can occur from the constant change of employees and the time it takes to educate each new worker. Communication flow of safety precautions and hazards may also suffer because workers do not have the time to build comfortable relationships with their team as they typically only stay on one site for three months. The lack of relationships built can also cause new employees to be less likely to ask for help when they are unsure of the processes.

What can we do to solve this?

Implementing a solid on-boarding process with proper training it the most important step to reducing the risk of injuries for new employees. Regulations and precautions need to be clearly defined from the start. If you are looking for assistance on educating your new employees with the best practices for safety regulations, see what we can offer here.