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New employee accidents are only too common

BY Matthew Ramsey
Health & Safety

A client recently told us that their seventeen year old son has started a new part time college course and a new part time job. They asked out of interest what safety controls would be expected for their son.

It is widely known that young workers are more at risk of having an accident due to their lack of experience, knowledge, training and ability to identify hazards.

This however affects more than just young people, with an accident being three times more likely to happen in the first six months for any new start in emplyment.

In addition, we recognise an issue with employees on ‘zero hours’ contracts, who may not want to raise their head above the parapet to raise concerns, in case it has an adverse effect on their employment, and they may be more likely to ‘cut corners’ and put themselves and others at risk, but keep certain employers happy.

To reduce the likelihood of accidents of these new employees, employers must satisfy themselves that they are capable to do the job, with this including knowledge, experience, physical ability, language skills and mental ability.  This should be determined during the interview process.

All new employees should be taken through an induction process, specific to the company they are working for.  Generally this would include fire safety, first aid provision, welfare facilities, the work they will be undertaking and the area they will be working with likely hazards.

The usual failing is a lack of real supervision and buddy systems where these employees feel on going care and attention. Two-way communication with new employees is key to ‘enabling them’ to ensure they will ask questions, raise concerns etc.

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