Studies have found that a significant number of workplace injuries in California and elsewhere involve new employees. One such a study concluded that the risk of occupational injuries for new workers within their first month on the job is three times higher than for those who have more than 12 months of service. Sadly, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, most workplace injuries that lead to workers’ compensation claims are preventable.
Safety authorities urge employers to protect the health and safety of new employees by providing adequate training, regardless of whether the new worker has previous experience at another company. Job site-specific safety training is crucial for all new employees. Establishing mentoring programs that assign new workers to experienced employees can prevent many injuries. However, if the mentors are not responsible and violate safety standards and take shortcuts, the program can do more harm than good.
Supervision is also essential, and it could be as valuable as an adequately managed mentoring program. Supervisors can ensure that a new employee learns the correct and safe ways to do their various jobs. Some employers find that new workers feel more comfortable communicating with more senior co-workers than with their direct supervisors. In those cases, they use the more experienced workers to supervise newer employees. New workers, especially the young ones, are vulnerable, and most of them will follow the examples set by co-workers.
Employers must also ensure that workers are aware of their rights to compensation in the event of an on-the-job injury. The California workers’ compensation system is a no-fault program that covers the medical expenses and lost wages of injured workers, regardless of who was at fault. Victims of workplace injuries can utilize the services of an experienced attorney to navigate the benefits claims process for them.