Targeting New Employees to Achieve Safety Excellence
Several studies have suggested that employees are more likely to get injured or involved in an accident within their first six months to a year on the job. However, these findings do not indicate that new employees are less safe, and therefore more prone to injuries and other work-related accidents. In most cases, it is as a result of several factors including inexperience in performing a task for the first time, not familiar with the use of certain tools and equipment, not having a thorough understanding of their work environment, or sometimes just trying to get the job done at all cost in order to create that first impression. It is no secret that these injuries and work related accidents are costing employers millions of dollars in both direct and indirect costs ranging from workers compensation cost, to low morale and lack of productivity.
Several employers have realized this growing problem in the workplace and are now putting programs in place that specifically target new employees. Here at Faith Technologies, we recently rolled-out our Short Service Employee (SSE) program meant to target our new employees within their initial six months tenure with the company. The program involves, firstly identifying a new employee by issuing him a blue hard hat. He is then assigned to a mentor, who is an employee with more experience and has had a longer tenure with the company or on a specific job site (usually more than a year). The role of the mentor is to guide and coach the new employee, as well as make his transition smooth and easy within that initial six months on the job. Some of functions of the mentor include the following:
- Ensures the new employee actively participates in the daily Operational Risk Management (ORM) process
- Understands Faith Technologies’ near miss and injury reporting procedures
- Demonstrates the safe use of tools and equipment
- Can locate SDS, First Aid, and incident reporting kits
- Selects correct tools, equipment and PPE for task at hand
- Identifies and communicates hazards to jobsite leader and fellow co-workers
- Maintains a clean work environment, free of housekeeping hazards
At the end of the six month mentorship program, both the mentor and the new employee are required to fill out a survey to rate one another’s performance. A good survey from the mentor means the new employee has successfully completed the mentorship program and is qualified to graduate. At an informal ceremony held somewhere on the jobsite or in the office, the new employee’s blue hard hat is swapped for a white one by a member of upper management (group manager, project manager or safety manager) signifying a successful completion of the program. The new employee also receives 25 safety recognition points that could be redeemed for company apparels, tools, gifts cards, etc. at the company’s online store.
The first sets of graduates from this program were recognized a few weeks ago. It is still very early to assess the impact of this program; however, surveys we’ve received from this first group of participants suggest that it has been beneficial. Ultimately, the overall goal of this program is to ensure that the new employee is able to demonstrate an understanding of Faith Technologies’ safety culture, as well as display an overall positive attitude towards it. Achieving this goal makes our jobsites safer, and to a large extent, guarantees that every employee goes home safe to their loved ones every day.