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Safety Management Insights

Onboarding New Employees: Your Safety Training Checklist

Posted by Don Brown on Jun 3, 2014 10:37:00 AM

Does your human resource office feel like a revolving door?


It’s not your imagination: Nearly 25 percent of the working population undergoes some type of orientation process each year due to job transitions, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Onboarding new employees can be overwhelming for a human resource manager because there’s so much to cover.

In addition to filling out all the tax filing paperwork and signed agreements, employees need to be trained in everything from material safety data sheets to industry-specific procedures. The good news is that better onboarding practices directly contribute to retention so you won’t have to repeat the process as often. 

Safety training is just one part of the orientation process, but it’s so crucial you can’t afford to let any part of it slip through the cracks.

If you are more interested in a comprehensive overview of all safety training in the workplace check out this article.

Here’s what every effective safety training program should cover.

  • Company-specific safety rules, policies and procedures. These can change so often that the standard employee handbook is outdated by the time it’s printed, so consider keeping this in a digital format employees can access anytime.
  • Safety compliance. Every employee needs to know their responsibilities if an incident occurs. Although the supervisor typically reports the incident and works with others to complete the investigation, employees need to understand their obligations for reporting all injuries, illnesses and near-misses. Employees should also know their rights, including the right to access reports of all work-related injuries and illnesses noted in OSHA Form 300.
  • Hazard communication. OSHA recently revised its Hazard Communication Standard to make it more universal and easier for all workers to understand. The update also includes revisions in the handling, storage and use of chemicals, as well as changes to safety data sheets. Make sure all employees understand how to use safety data sheets and where to find them. A safety management software that allows all employees to access material safety data sheets digitally is one way to ensure these documents will be used and kept up to date.
  • Site tour. Taking new employees on a tour of the workplace and identifying potential hazards that exist is an important part of the training process many companies overlook. Depending on the size of your company, it may not be practical for the human resources or safety manager to give each employee an individual tour, but don’t assume their supervisors are going to take the initiative. If you want the supervisors to have this responsibility, hold them accountable. Supervisors should be assigned to provide on-site training to individuals or groups who work under them, and they should be responsible for documenting that training just as they would document any other program. Supervisors can use a digital training module to show which employees attended training so no one is forgotten.
  • Emergency procedures. Employees need to know exactly where to find eyewash stations, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, alarms and exits. Your site should have emergency evacuation and severe weather procedures clearly posted for all employees to see. These procedures can be covered in the site tour.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE). All employees should understand the requirements for wearing the proper PPE for each job. Some employees may need numerous types of equipment, while others may not regularly wear any. Regardless of where they’ll be working, all employees must know where to find PPE and how to wear it. Even an employee who works in the accounting office and makes a quick trip to the job site isn’t exempt from wearing a hard hat.
  • Safety and emergency contacts. Any new employee who has ever held a job is accustomed to providing emergency contact information, but employees should also know who they should contact in case of an emergency or a safety concern. Each employee should receive a company phonebook that includes emergency contacts and safety committee members. Encourage new employees to contact safety committee members to report a hazard or a potentially unsafe process. Emphasize that they can report concerns anonymously if needed. 

Training is most effective when it is regularly reinforced. Employees should be able to easily access all training materials so they can refer back to them months or even years after they join the team.

BasicSafe’s Training Management module allows employers to create their own safety training programs or upload existing materials so the information is all in one place. With an integrated safety database, you can keep records of all training, schedule refresher courses and keep track of all groups that need to be trained in a particular area.

To learn more about our training tool and how it can be integrated with other safety processes, watch our Training Management video.

Training Managemet