Industry News

Managing the Risks of New Employees

We all manage the risks we face every hour of every day. We manage health risks by eating right, exercising, and keeping up with annual physicals. We manage our commuting risks by driving defensively, obeying traffic laws, and avoiding distractions. But here at MIMVA, our staff focuses on other risks —those that our members face.

Risk management starts with each and every new hire that our members recruit. That’s because national studies have found that 30 to 40 percent of injured workers have been on the job for less than a year. Obviously, then, it is critical that employers take the time to hire the right person for the job and take the time to train and educate new employees.

It's important to outline key points in the hiring process that include reviewing applications, the interview, checking references, making a conditional offer, and performing background checks. The studies have identified several reasons — beyond hiring the wrong person for the job — that new employees sustain injuries.

  • Employers assume that new employees know more than they do.
  • New employees are afraid to ask questions.
  • The environment is new and the employee is not familiar with the hazards.
  • Task-specific training focuses on what to do rather than what to avoid.
  • New employees lack knowledge about hazardous substances.
  • New employees fail to understand the purpose and importance of personal protective equipment and how to properly use it.
  • Employers fail to convey the safety message.

Providing new hires with industry-specific training helps to set the tone of a safety culture in the workplace. Taking steps to help employees understand the risks they face and providing them with the tools and training they need to avoid injuries is a huge step toward managing the risk created by new employees.

In the current economy with unemployment in Maine at 3.1 percent (December 2022), finding the best candidate for any open position is challenging. By taking your time in the hiring process and following the right steps, you should be able to identify applicants that you do not want in your place of employment and find the ones that are best suited to work for you.