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Taking on Staff? How to Avoid Accidents with These 5 Simple Steps

Crystal Clear Compliance Nov 2020 Blog By Lucy Walsh

Did you know that the majority of accidents happen when someone is new to a job?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, ‘Workers are as likely to have an accident in the first six months at a workplace as during the whole of the rest of their working life.’
It’s not surprising really. This extra risk comes from lack of experience of the role, as well as not having the familiarity with the workplace itself which comes through time. Alongside this there may be a fear, or reluctance, to raise concerns – or potentially a lack of knowledge how to – and possibly a desire to impress new colleagues and management.
At this time of year, you may be bringing new workers into your workspace to fulfil temporary requirements – your responsibilities to these individuals are the same as to those of your permanent staff.
And this isn’t only restricted to new employees of a company, but also those who have moved into a new role where the rules and responsibilities differ.
So, how can you ensure your onboarding process gives your people everything they need to have a safe and successful start to their career?

1. Have Controls in Place
Understanding the risks within your business is an ongoing task.
Ensuring Risk Assessments are in place is the first step, but these need to be regularly reviewed and maintained. As companies grow and change, the risks change; it’s very easy to overlook the implications of these changes which is why assessments need to be continually reviewed.
If you find it difficult to manage these responsibilities within your businesses, this is an area which we at Crystal Clear Compliance would be more than happy to help with.
2. Assess Employee Capability
When taking on a new recruit, it’s important that you – as an employer – have carefully considered their capabilities in order to understand the potential risks.
The Health and Safety Executive suggest you need to consider:
• Literacy and numeracy levels
• General health
• Relevant work experience
• Physical capability to do the job
• Familiarity with the work being done and the environment
It is your responsibility to ensure those within your employment have the information they need to do their job safely. If there is any chance your message to your new worker is unclear then you need to restate, or reinforce, that message in a way they will understand.

Only once the employee’s capability has been assessed can you ensure you have provided the information and training in a way the individual will take it onboard.
3. Provide an Induction Plan
As I mentioned before, whether this is a completely new employee or someone who has moved internally to a new role, it needs to be recognised that there is a lot to learn.
To ensure nothing is missed an induction plan should be provided. This will include introductions to roles, responsibilities and risks – laying out carefully everything your employee needs to know in a way which makes it accessible going forward.
Your employee’s induction plan will include the risks identified in your Risk Assessments, ensuring individuals understand hazards, avoidance of them and expected behaviour as well as how to report any concerns they encounter.
Make sure you document fire procedures (including representatives and assembly points), first aiders, site welfare and the facilities your employees have available to support them.
4. Keep Communication Clear and Flowing
Communication with your new starter needs to be two way.
You have a lot of information to share but, to ensure understanding, it is essential you check your employees grasp and reinforce the need for them to raise any concerns going forward.
Creating an environment where your staff feel able to share their worries and report any issues is necessary; whether that means having an open door policy at the top levels of the company or making sure there’s an approachable Health and Safety Representative, with enough time to fulfil the role – will depend on the organisation.
5. Supervise and Support
Starting a new job brings a number of things to learn and remember, performing new tasks in a new environment with new people brings a number of risks.
Providing the right level of supervision will decrease these risks, both making it easier for managers to monitor employees and giving individuals the support of knowing who to approach when their task is unclear or the risk is uncertain.
Knowing the kind of supervision to provide will sometimes be dictated by external factors, or even dictated by regulation. It will also be influenced by individual circumstances – including the capability of the employee, the number of new starters, the level of confidence and previous experience they each exhibit.

Introducing new starters to a role with safety and security as a priority will provide all your employees with reassurance
The concern you show those in your organisation who are vulnerable – which includes those who are new to a role – is a marker for your employee care across the board, make sure you’re doing it right.
If you have any questions about providing the right support through your onboarding process, we – at Crystal Clear Compliance – will be happy to help.
Give Lucy a call on 07748860076 / 01536 770249 or via email at Lwalsh@crystalclearcompliance.co.uk

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