Are You Adequately Addressing Workplace Safety When Onboarding Talent?

September 16th, 2014

Effective onboarding must be planned and organized with the same care used to plan and organize the hiring process. To shorten the “learning curve” for new talent and improve the chances of retention, onboarding must provide the new employee with essential information without overloading him or her.

Workplace safety should be a top concern for managers creating an onboarding program. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity each year – and injuries can happen in any workplace environment.

What is Safety Onboarding?

Safety onboarding introduces employees to the company’s safety and health policies, as well as the laws and regulations that govern safety and health in the workplace. It also teaches them the correct procedures to use in order to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses and what to do if an injury or illness occurs.

Training is a crucial part of safety onboarding. While providing information in a classroom-type setting is important, employees cannot adequately practice safety or respond to emergencies unless they have some hands-on instruction in how to use safety equipment, where to find equipment and tools, and what to do in case of emergency.

Topics Covered in Effective Safety Onboarding

Other topics a safety onboarding program should cover include:

  • An introduction that stresses the value of health and safety practices,
  • Program goals and objectives,
  • An explanation of the expectations of employees when it comes to health and safety,
  • An introduction to staff who handle health and safety questions, concerns, and events,
  • An overview of the most likely workplace injuries and illnesses workers will face,
  • Reporting procedures and where employees can go for more information.

Creating Better Safety Onboarding Programs

When creating an effective safety onboarding program, consider these tips:

  • Start early. Some information, like health and safety data sheets, can be sent to the new employee before the first day on the job. If you send health and safety information early, however, make sure the employee has read and understood it.
  • Use good teaching practices. Overloading employees with hours of lecturing or PowerPoint slides helps no one and may make it harder for new hires to practice good health and safety procedures. Alternate “lecture-style” teaching with hands-on training and other methods to prevent overload and help put new skills into practice early.
  • Know when to hold ‘em. Some health and safety information is essential to provide the new hire in full. This includes training on safety procedures, information on what to do in emergencies, and how to initiate the workers’ compensation claim process. Other information, like what to do if a workers’ compensation claim is denied, should be readily accessible to the employee but need not be covered during onboarding. Know which information is essential “up front,” and give employees the information they need to access the rest on their own.

At 1st Staffing, our staffing partners work with you to provide qualified temporary help or to connect you to top talent for direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more.

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