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Orientation Training: The First Step in Safety

What is the first step in providing a safe workplace? While the safety of workers is our primary focus, having an effective safety orientation training plan in place has value beyond what is self-evident. To begin with, research shows that with consistent orientation, employee morale gets a boost, productivity increases, and staff turnover is reduced. It is vital to get all the necessary information to new employees before they start at the job site.

Effective orientation is part of fulfilling your company’s obligation to a worker’s “right to know”. Don’t make assumptions that a worker has more experience than they actually do. Workers may not know what to expect on the worksite. It is entirely possible that a worker is not familiar with the unique hazards associated with their job. Safety orientation programs provide a lot of information that many workers feel is common sense. But you never know what a new employee does or does not know. Further, exhibiting a commitment to the rights of workers creates positive engagement. It can produce a positive working relationship with your new employees right from the start.

Orientation allows new hires to hit the ground running safely by empowering them with information. You never know what knowledge your new workers bring with them, and your organization has unique processes and procedures to share.

Our safety orientation course is an excellent resource for new hires in any industry. It is designed to foster positive safety attitudes and raise awareness of potential workplace hazards and emergencies. It is a great start for new workers in general industry positions. This training is also suitable for members of management, and supervisors, to train the trainer and for refresher courses.

Safety Orientation Training Class Topic Overview:

  • Safety Attitudes and working safely
  • Introductory information on these common topics:
  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Back Injuries
  • PPE
  • Chemicals
  • Fire Safety
  • First Aid

It is important to remember that some training must start before employees can start performing their tasks. Everyone benefits when workers know the safe way to work from the start rather than waiting to be corrected. Ideally, you need to know whether an employee feels self-sufficient or is at least on the road to self-sufficiency.

Helpful orientation training questions to ask:

  • Do you know what’s expected of you?
  • How comfortable do you feel reaching out to coworkers with questions?
  • Do you know where to go to problem-solve?
  • Are you aware of what resources are available to do your job?

Safety orientation is not a checklist. Rather, it is an employee’s first impression of the management system and further of the overall workplace culture. New employees will have expectations about the workplace. An emphasis on safety orientation is vital. Work performance can indicate successful orientation. Thorough orientation may also positively affect the employees’ eagerness to learn and their willingness to contribute to a safe and healthy workplace.

Sometimes a new employee needs additional training or direction. In this case, the employee should be given the opportunity to correct mistakes and receive additional training. Ignoring an employee’s mistakes (intentional or unintentional) puts that employee at risk and may also put others at risk. Supervisors cannot assume mistakes will be self-corrected. Supervisors should review it again if an employee is not following policy or procedure. Under due diligence, supervisors are responsible to correct employees who do not follow standards. Furthermore, disciplinary action may be necessary for that employee. If disciplinary action is required, supervisors must document the situation and proceed by the company directives for the situation.

Retraining is necessary when:

  • You have new information or revised best practices
  • You spot a deficiency
  • An employee experiences an incident (or near miss)
  • Company policy dictates retraining (usually according to a set interval)

A study from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported that 85 percent of American workers rank job safety as a number one priority. Your safety orientation program and the importance you give to safety generally communicate a lot about the importance of safety in your workplace. In summary, most new employees are deeply concerned about their safety on the job.

We also offer industry-specific safety orientation training.