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Workplace injuries hit new workers in greater numbers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that about 40 percent of injured workers are in their first year on the job. Why do new workers have such a high risk of injury in their first year? In New York City and nationwide, the reasons for many first-year workplace injuries follow a pattern that employers must work to change.

For one thing, supervisors and foremen often take it for granted that new workers have experience from prior jobs and that they are therefore well-versed in safety practices. That is not always true, however, because the new worker may not have received the pertinent safety training on his or her prior work experiences. In addition, some new workers have not been in the industry or have not worked for years.

Another important reason for the above statistic is that a worker on a new job is reluctant to ask questions lest he or she be seen as a novice. These are the most prevalent factors that combine to raise the risk factors for new employees. The main point for employers to learn is that safety training is an important task that will bring long-term benefits in several different ways. All too often, employers simply look at safety training as a budgetary expenditure that must be endured, rather than as an important developmental tool with long-range improvements.

Probably the best policy is for employers to provide mandatory safety training for new employees. The employer must precede this policy by first identifying the main safety hazards that cause workplace injuries. By such a process, the training programs will be relevant and much more productive. Training for new workers is a policy that is becoming more prevalent throughout the prevalent industries of New York City.

Source:, "New hires shouldn't mean new injuries", Shelley Robinson, May 3, 2017

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