Whether your business is seasonal in nature and increases staffing at certain times of year, or you’re hiring due to business growth; smart hiring and thorough training can stave off a host of serious, and often costly, problems.
Statistically, new employees are significantly more likely to be injured than those on the job for more than one year.
Follow these simple tips to prevent employee injuries and other problems among new hires:
- Hire the right people. Take the opportunity during the hiring process to explain the requirements of the position thoroughly and find out whether the job candidate is capable of fulfilling them — especially when physical labor is involved. Start right away letting the employee know that workplace safety is important and working unsafely will be considered a performance issue.
- Give temporary employees the same safety training you give regular employees. Don’t skimp on safety training just because someone will only be working with you for a short time. If that employee is injured while under your employ, you will still have the same obligations as far as paying for medical treatment and lost wages. Take the opportunity to re-train your current employees on safety, too.
- Know and enforce company policies. Approach an employee’s disregard for policies as a performance issue.
- Watch out for risky behaviors. More accidents are caused by unsafe behaviors than unsafe equipment. Watch for behaviors that invite injury and follow up with the employee to change the behavior. Deal with risky behavior as a performance issue.
- Make hiring contingent on checking employees’ Social Security numbers. Use E-Verify to ensure that employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. If an undocumented worker is injured while employed by you, you may have to pay workers’ compensation benefits even if the worker is not allowed to return to work in the United States. This can make wage-loss benefits costly.
- Don’t allow minors to perform prohibited tasks. By law minors aren’t allowed to serve or handle alcoholic beverages, work around hazardous materials, work in hazardous occupations like lumbering and quarries, drive passenger vehicles or operate power machinery such as forklifts, grinders and presses. Laws also restrict the hours which minors can work. For more details on hiring minors, see SFM’s Hiring minor employees Legal Advisory available in the Resource Catalog on sfmic.com. Ensure minors are well-trained on safety, too as they are at high risk for injury.
- Eliminate unnecessary risks. Regularly inspect your work areas for safety hazards and correct them. SFM’s Workplace Analysis CompTalk contains a checklist you can use to survey your workplace for hazards.