Every person has the right to work in an environment that is safe and free of known hazards. This is a federal requirement for employers. There are effective ways to ensure that employees are protected and informed.
This three-part article will discuss ways to communicate health and safety requirements to employees. This first section will focus on new worker orientation and safety meetings, and part two will focus on facility signs and an employee suggestion program. In our last section, we will discuss electronic communication and employee reviews. For a more detailed overview of OSHA’s training requirements, please visit the OSHA website or consult a Tennessee OSHA attorney for an issue that requires legal assistance.
New Worker Orientation
Older workers are leaving the construction industry, which means that many employers will need to focus a great deal on hiring new workers. Whether these workers are experienced or novices, educating them on the company’s safety policies is paramount to their success. Not surprisingly, new workers are more likely to be injured because of their lack of experience or the perceived pressure to produce before they are properly vetted in the company’s systems and processes. They are also at a greater risk of injury if they are poorly supervised or not receiving the support they need to succeed.
New employee orientation is critical for a favorable performance outcome. Orientation is the optimum time to introduce new workers to the company, their supervisors, their coworkers, and work areas. They should also be trained on safety and health matters such as:
- Potential hazards
- Proper equipment inspection, use, and storage
- Emergencies and evacuation
- Responding to and reporting injuries and accidents
Safety training does not stop at onboarding. Safety standards and federal regulations are continually updated or modified over time; it is imperative that companies stay up to date on the latest interpretations and enforcement policies. Ongoing education and training is an essential component of accident prevention. Meetings should be conducted to keep safety guidelines fresh in everyone’s minds, to review training after an injury occurs, and to keep everyone abreast of best practices and new information. Safety meetings can be conducted before a worker begins work, weekly, annually, or whenever a new hazard is identified.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.