For a new starter in any business there’s a lot of information to take in immediately. As an employer you obviously want your new recruits to hit the ground running in their everyday role but it’s important that health and safety standards are emphasised from word go.

A whole new world

It’s never easy being a new starter in any job. You’re instantly faced with a new environment, colleagues and unfamiliar work processes. It’s likely that there’s a lot of new terminology to decipher too, meaning your learning curve starts going a little crazy!

It’s important if you already have a strong health and safety culture, or even if you’re simply attempting to develop one, that policies and expectations are made clear from the very beginning.

When thinking about the integration process for a new starter it’s useful to put yourself in their shoes and remember the following five points –

  • Accident rates are at their height when workers are unfamiliar with the task and workspace
  • If left to source information themselves, a new starter could potentially develop potentially unsafe methods with are hitherto difficult to change
  • A new employee may often try too hard to impress when starting a new position in order to create a good first impression
  • A lack of experience or knowledge can sometimes lead to unnecessary risks being taken
  • In an attempt to avoid seeming incapable a new starter might be reluctant to ask for assistance
    or attempt to do something that they clearly aren’t ready to do

Frames of reference

Understandably for a new starter the emphasis on the first day in a new job is about them. They will be overburdened about how they are going to fit in, have they dressed correctly and all manner of other issues that are generally understood by everyone else. The last thing on their mind as they walk into a new job on the first day is likely to be health and safety policies.

It’s important to make sure a new starter can feel comfortable asking questions at any point during early training sessions. Developing the frames of reference that will serve them throughout their stay within the business is important from the outset.

On the positive side…

A new starter they may be, but there are a number of positives about having a rookie on the job –

  • A new starter will often have respect for hazards they haven’t encountered before; hazards that maybe experienced workers may have become desensitised to
  • A new starter is likely to be more open to learning new procedures whereas longer serving employees may be resistant
  • Cynicism in a new starter is likely to be much lower than someone who has been in the job for years

Setting a benchmark

As with anything first impressions certainly do count. It’s very important that any new starter is aware of health and safety policies very early in their employment. Having a needs analysis prepared for every position within the business will help to ensure that required training is delivered effectively and promptly.