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Safety training for new employees, when to schedule, how to conduct it

Safety training is crucial in any work environment and should be scheduled regularly for all employees-possibly as a group.However, when a new employee is hired, a more in-depth training on the appropriate safety issues for the job should be implemented into the orientation before the job starts.A new employee may not be accustomed to the surroundings, specific tools related to their job, environmental considerations, and just plain common sense issues in the workplace.

There are many generic safety topics that should be covered initially for every new employee to raise awareness and prevent injuries such as:
- Hearing protection
- Sexual harassment
- Workplace violence
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Electrical and fire safety
- Eye protection
- Safe lifting techniques
- Accident avoidance
These can be introduced in steps or all as one packet, followed by safety concerns specific to the employees' job.For example, if the new employee will have access to or duties operating a forklift, they would require safety training on that equipment and a license as well.

During orientation is a perfect place to introduce safety training to a new hire.Included in the new hire packet should be a company safety policy covering generic safety concerns and resources for additional information so the employee feels comfortable addressing specific issues if necessary.A tour or walk-through of the facility and surrounding departments is a great time to throw in some safety concerns that may not be immediately obvious.For example, as the new employee is touring the warehouse, point out the wide, clear paths for the forklifts and why they need to remain that way.Locate all fire extinguishers and fire exit plans, eye wash stations, things like that, as you pass by them.

By doing this, the employee is not only receiving basic training on safety and the company's policy but also feels valued and informed.This is also positive reinforcement which generally produces valued and effective employees.

Some safety training can easily be introduced at intervals during the probationary period or through group safety meetings within the organization, which should happen periodically anyway.Possibly choose two topics a month to re-visit and refresh the issues in the minds of all employees, reiterate safety awareness as it does tend to become overlooked over time.

There are many possible ways to conduct safety training for new employees:
- Guided initial tour
- Read new hire packet and have employee sign
- Initial and periodic training videos
- Web based training programs for employees
- Instructor led training in or outside workplace
- Seminars
- Hands-on safety training for specific duties
- Lead by example (past company experiences)
The most accessible and feasible for extensive safety training may be OSHA compliant on-line training since we do live in an electronic world and this would eliminate the need for paper products, manuals, video equipment, and costly instructors.Many organizations require certain safety training be conducted annually such as driver safety, fire prevention, and so on.These are simple to arrange with on-line resources, where it is possible to print off certificates of completion to back up the required training conducted.These certificates also make it easy for employers to track training requirements to ensure every employee is in compliance, educated and informed.Not to mention, certificates are a simple form of reward for good behavior for the employee to display.

Individual employers will have to determine which method and time-frame best suits their orientation process for new employees to make it cost effective and beneficial for the new hire!

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