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SPECIAL REPORT

7 Stupid Reasons New Employees Get InjuredAnd How to Avoid These Mistakes

10102360

SPECIAL REPORT

7 Stupid Reasons New Employees Get InjuredAnd How to Avoid These Mistakes

10102300

Executive Publisher: Robert L. Brady, J.D. Editor in Chief: Margaret A. Carter-Ward Managing Editor: Judy Ruddy Editor: Carolyn Leese Production Supervisor: Isabelle B. Smith Graphic Design: Catherine A. Downie Layout and Production: Brian Palmes This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. (From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers.) 2007 BUSINESS & LEGAL REPORTS, INC. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in part or in whole by any process without written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use or the internal or personal use of specific clients is granted by Business & Legal Reports, Inc., provided that the base fee of U.S. $0.50 per copy, plus U.S. $0.50 per page, is paid directly to Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. For those organizations that have been granted a photocopy license by CCC, a separate system of payment has been arranged. The fee code for users of the Transactional Reporting Service is 1-55645-212-8/07/$.50+$.50. ISBN 1-55645-212-8 Printed in the United States of America Questions or comments about this publication? Contact: Business & Legal Reports, Inc. 141 Mill Rock Road East P Box 6001 .O. Old Saybrook, CT 06475-6001 860-510-0100 http://www.blr.com

7 Stupid Reasons New Employees Get InjuredAnd How to Avoid These Mistakes

Table of ContentsDid You Know? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1. Employers assume that new employees know more than they really doand that common sense will prevent most accidents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2. New employees are often afraid to ask questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 3. The workplace environment is new to themthey arent familiar with its hazards or what to do in an emergency. . . . . . . . . . . . 4 4. Employee training for a particular job often focuses on what to dobut neglects training about the job hazards to avoid. . . . . . . . . 5 5. Employees do not know enough about hazardous substances in their workplace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 6. New employees do not thoroughly understand the necessity of using required PPEor how to use it properly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 7. The workplace does not send the message that safety is a high priority. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Checklists and Handouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 OSHA Required Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 General Orientation Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Machine Operator Job Orientation and Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chemical Worker Orientation and Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Employee Rights Under OSHA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Business & Legal Reports, Inc. 10102300

Did You Know?40 percent of employees injured at work have been on the job for less than a year.It seems like a high percentage, doesnt it? Why is it so high? In a nutshell, new employees lack the knowledge and experience that is gathered by workers who have spent more time on the job. The obvious question is: How can employers protect their new employees and prevent them from getting injured? To answer that, lets take a look at 7 stupid reasons new employees get injured.

1. Employers assume that new employees know more than they really doand that common sense will prevent most accidents.Its not that new employees are stupidnot by a long shot. Many of them may have specific knowledge or special skills, but they dont necessarily know how to translate this knowledge into safety in their new environment. Certain jobs require precautions that may seem like common sense to someone who has spent years at a job. For a newcomer, however, these jobs may present brand new hazards they have never even thought about. All employees should know that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives them a basic right to a safe workplace. The General Duty Clause, which is Section 5A.1 of the Act, applies to any aspects of workplace safety that may not be covered by other specific OSHA regulations. The clause reads: N Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees. N Each employer shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

Business & Legal Reports, Inc. 10102300

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The General Duty Clause has one more line, however. It goes on to say: N Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct. Employees should be told to report any safety hazards they cannot correct themselves. They should be reminded to inspect all tools and equipment before use, mark anything that doesnt check out properly, and remove it from service until it can be repaired or replaced. It should also be mandatory for all employees to report any accidents and near misses in the workplace. A near miss is a close call. Its an accident that almost happened or even did happen, but that just didnt result in an injury this time around. For example: N An employee trips over an extension cord that lies across the floor, but avoids a fall by grabbing the corner of a desk. N An outward opening door nearly hits a worker, who jumps back just in time. N Instead of using a ladder, an employee puts a box on top of a drum, but once up loses his balance and falls to the ground. Hes a little shaken up, but unhurt. When things like this happen, most employees (and often their supervisors) feel relieved that nobody was hurt and simply get back to work. But thats a big mistake. When employees narrowly avoid accidents and injuries, neither they nor management should ever shrug it off. Someonethe employee who had the near miss or someone elseis very likely to be injured eventually by that very same hazard. In fact, most accidents can be predicted by near misses. According to the National Safety Council, 75 percent of all accidents are preceded by one or more near misses. The difference between a near miss and a serious injury might be a fraction of an inch or a split second of time. So near misses are a red flaga warning that something is very wrong and requires your immediate attention. Frequently, however, employees are reluctant to report near misses to a supervisor because they are afraid theyll be blamed for it. So make sure they understand that no one is trying to blame anyone. The purpose is to get to the root of the problem to prevent future accidents and injuries. This is an important facet of each workers orientation. It should also give them a feeling for the importance management places on workplace safety.

2. New employees are often afraid to ask questions.They are afraid they will sound stupidthey may even fear that they will sound so stupid they will be fired. This may be especially true of young workers. Supervisors need to remind them over and over that they are happy to answer questionsany time.

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7 Stupid Reasons New Employees Get InjuredAnd How to Avoid These Mistakes

One safety instructor puts it this way. Students questions often remind him of things he didnt explain as thoroughly as necessaryor something he forgot to mention at all. He feels the more questions, the better. Everyone will learn more. Teen workers may be unaware of common workplace hazards. They should be informed of the restrictions on their duties imposed by federal and state child labor laws, so they know they have the right to refuse if they are asked to do something they feel is unsafe or prohibited by law. On the other hand, older workers may think they know it allthey may not really pay close attention because they think theyve heard it all before. In fact, hazards and conditions in this particular workplace may be different from where they worked previously. Workers with a disability, like the hearing or visually impaired, may require their training to be individualized according to their particular needs. They should also be aware of their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ask for reasonable accommodations, if any are needed, to help them perform the essential functions of their jobs. Workers who require a wheelchair or have difficulty walking may require assistance in case evacuation is ever necessary. Obviously, these workers also have rights to reasonable accommodation under the ADA, but they may have questions about whether the companys emergency plans have provisions to include their specific needs. Workers who cant read or understand English well may need individual help t