Safety Topic: Improve new hire safety with mentor buddies

Nov 4, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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Do you take enough time to train your new employees properly? In the initial orientation, there will be a lot to cover in a short period of time, including paperwork to complete and providing a quick overview of company policies.  Our trend analysis shows that claims involving new employees occur more frequently with tenured employees.

Every new hire should have an orientation mentor buddy to help them get off to a good, safe start for at least the first six months. But there is a way to continue the process and reduce the chances of an accident happening. That’s where mentor buddies come into the picture. They can show your new workers around and point out the safety elements the company has built-in, such as the location of the fire exits and extinguishers, first-aid kits, eyewash stations, chemical-related safety data sheets (SDS), special equipment training. By imparting safety knowledge along the way, they are having a secondary effect by making the newcomer feel “valued and informed,” which will lead to a more engaged and productive employee.

To carry out these important duties successfully, mentor buddies should:

  • Have been with your organization for at least a year.
  • Have a good performance history and a safe work record.
  • Be skilled in the new employee’s job.
  • Possess broad knowledge about your organization, your operations, and safety programs.
  • Have the time to spend with the new employee and be willing to take on the assignment.
  • Be patient and communicate well.
  • Serve as a positive safety role model.

Building relationships through this type of mentoring is another way to ensure that new employees have the resources they need to succeed. New employees are hesitant about asking questions for fear of appearing incompetent. Seasoned employees can help new employees on the job and provide support. The company’s orientation program should include easy access to resources to reduce new employee frustration and provide essential, effective safety training to new hires as soon as they come on board.

Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].