New Employee Safety Orientation
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 safety.

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.

Employee Orientation

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.

General 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.

Job Orientation

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 immediately.

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.
  a. Eyewear
  b. Respiratory
  c. Hearing
9. Explain hazards associated with other departments.
10. Discuss housekeeping requirements for assigned workplace.
11. Explain facility inspection program to identify and correct hazards.
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 welding.
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 and equipment.
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: uuic.specaccts@us.zurich.com.

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