HOOK ‘EM EARLY: SAFETY MANAGEMENT TOOLS TO SUPPORT YOUNG WORKERS
- Provide a strong, general safety orientation on day one
- Inform young workers verbally of their rights to a safe work environment and your commitment to providing it.
- Cover the common causes of injury in your industry – such as slips, trips, falls, overexertion, operating equipment without being trained, etc.
- Explain the social and financial ramifications of unsafe behavior; for example, seriously injuring or killing a co-worker or the fact that workers’ compensation payments only cover two-thirds of an injured employee’s pay.
- Encourage young workers to ask questions anytime about anything. Insist young workers are fully trained and tested on all tasks / equipment before they go it alone.
- Follow up with workers regularly and specifically
- Do you feel comfortable in your job?
- Have you inspected your safety gear today?
- Are there any issues you’ve discovered safety-wise?
- Do you have any questions about this equipment or task?
- Make management’s commitment to safety obvious
- Create a structured program that ensures continuous safety reminders
- Use positive reinforcement
- Educate young workers on what to do if they are injured on the job
Safety, regardless of the workplace, should be a crucial part of a new employee orientation, just like benefits, salary and operational policies. At a minimum, we recommend you:
A significant percentage of workplace accidents happen in the first few weeks of employment or after a job reassignment. Even if the employee is thoroughly trained, it’s always a good idea for the supervisor to pay attention and connect about safety. Don’t ask an employee how it’s going. Ask …
Safety discussions should be part of management, department and company meetings. These meetings encourage young workers to bring forward any concerns or questions. We recommend that safety be a line item on the agenda, just like finance, personnel or operations. Young workers want to impress their employers. Show them safety impresses you.
The initial orientation is essential, but reinforcement is vital too. Create a safety committee. Test employees on new equipment. Retrain young workers who change job positions. Add a “safety point reminder” to team meeting agendas. Develop a comprehensive Return to Work program. As you do so, you’ll build in reminders that safety is vital to your company and to your employees’ health.
For young workers, a pat on the back goes a long way. If you notice a young worker carefully going through a safety checklist on a piece of equipment, showing responsibility toward a co-worker’s safety or making a safety suggestion to a supervisor, commend them. Let them know safe work will be rewarded.
Develop a policy for injury reporting and train your young workers. Filling out the online First Report of Injury form is required by law and the key to taking care of your employees. The injured employee and a business representative must file the FROI form. It can be filled out and submitted online, or downloaded and then mailed or faxed to us. Or call your team’s MSF customer service specialist and file your form over the phone.