By Universal Underwriters Group's
Loss Prevention Department
Today is the first day at work for your new employee.
What do you want him to learn in these first few hours? Are you
hoping he’ll be taught the safest way to do the job? Will
your best employees have the greatest influence on the new guy or
will he learn from the “others”? When does he receive
the OSHA-mandated training for fire extinguishers, personal protective
equipment (PPE), respirators, emergency procedures, and the Hazard
Communication Standard and forklift operation?
Waiting until later can be dangerous and expensive. Dangerous, because
your new employee can quickly become your latest workplace injury.
Statistics show that employees with six months or less on the job
are much more likely to sustain serious injuries than are experienced
employees. It can also be expensive if an OSHA inspector visits
your business and discovers employees haven’t been properly
trained or educated on workplace hazards.
An employee safety orientation program is the most effective method
of avoiding these problems. It is a sound substitute for trial-and-error
learning and hit-and-miss instruction. A safety orientation program
presents the best opportunity to impress upon a new employee the
importance of safe work habits and that safety is a high priority
at your business. First impressions are critical; therefore, it
is essential to start employees with a positive attitude toward
The goal of effective training is to reduce and eliminate unsafe
acts. Teach the right and safe way to do the job as opposed to the
quickest and easiest method. This training should begin the day
the employee is hired.
A successful orientation process has two basic phases and both should
be completed before the new employee actually begins working. They
are 1) general orientation and 2) job orientation.
Objectives of this training include a firm understanding of the
company’s loss prevention philosophy, company rules and regulations,
and general familiarity with the facility. This is your first chance
to show the new employee that safety is important to the organization.
Now is the time to tell the new employee that safe work habits are
the norm and not the exception. The message must be that safety
is part of the job.
The training in this phase is the department manager’s opportunity
to ensure the employee starts off on the right foot. Managers should
train employees on safe work practices in doing their assigned job,
explain all hazards and provide proper protective equipment to avoid
personal injury or illness. It should be made clear that it is the
employee’s responsibility to report injuries and unsafe conditions
As an aid to ensure that all appropriate information has been presented,
an employee orientation checklist should be used and signed by the
employee. This checklist should be maintained in the individual
personnel files. Some suggested topics for the checklist include:
1. Discuss company loss prevention policy
and safety regulations.
2. Explain accident-reporting procedures.
3. Location of first aid and eyewash stations.
4. Explain emergency evacuation procedures and routes.
5. Explain smoking regulations.
6. Location of fire extinguishers and fire fighting procedures.
7. Review Hazard Communication program.
8. Provide required personal protective equipment and train
how to use.
9. Explain hazards associated with other departments.
10. Discuss housekeeping requirements for assigned workplace.
11. Explain facility inspection program to identify and correct
12. Discuss the lockout - tagout program for equipment.
13. Explain facility security procedures and systems.
14. Eye protection should be worn when grinding, cutting or
15. Describe proper footwear and clothing.
16. Explain safe lifting techniques and discuss weight limits.
17. Demonstrate use of available material handling aids/devices.
18. Explain electrical grounding protection of power tools
19. Explain proper use and storage of flammable liquids/materials.
20. Discuss proper safeguards for welding and cutting.
21. Discuss proper use of hand/power tools and equipment.
Gerry Cecil is the National Account Executive
for the Special Account Services division of Universal Underwriters
Group. For more information about how Universal Underwriters Group,
Special Account Services can help your automotive recycling business
needs call 800-840-8842, ext. 4845, visit www.uuic.com/specaccts/ara.asp
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.