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ACCIDENTS MORE LIKELY FOR WORKPLACE ‘NEW STARTERS’

HSE advice on reducing risk of accidents in the first six months at a workplace

Statistics published by HSE show how much higher the risk of having an accident is for new starters, compared to those who have been working for longer. Analysis of investigated accidents to vulnerable migrant/foreign workers (fatal and selected non-fatal) in the construction sector reinforces this statement:

  • 8 out of 16 fatal accidents happened during the first ten days on site, half of them on the very first day;
  • only two of those who died had been in the UK a year or more; and
  • only five of the sixteen migrant workers killed were known to have even limited experience of the UK construction industry – none of the injured was known to have any.
  • the pattern of accidents (by type) is broadly the same as that for other workers in the sector.

Together with the wider evidence from the Labour Force Survey, this suggests a doubled risk of injury in the first six months of employment.

Causes of elevated risk

The extra risk arises due to:

  • lack of experience working in a new industry or workplace;
  • lack of familiarity with the job and the work environment;
  • reluctance to raise concerns (or not knowing how to); and
  • eagerness to impress workmates and managers.

This means workers new to a site:

  • may not recognise hazards as a potential source of danger;
  • may not understand ‘obvious’ rules for use of equipment;
  • may be unfamiliar with site layout; and
  • may ignore warning signs and rules, or cut corners.
Six steps to protect new starters

It is important that enployers take the 6 Steps to Protect New Starters

  1. Capability – assess the new starter’s capabilities.
  2. Induction – provide ans implement an induction plan;
  3. Control measures – up to date, properly used and maintained;
  4. Information – about the risks and precautions they will need to take;
  5. Supervision – make sure workers know how to raise concerns;
  6. Check understanding – of the information, instruction and training etc provided.

Young people may lack the experience and maturity at work of their colleagues, and so be particularly at risk. There are particular factors you need to consider for this group of new starters in the workplace.

Migrant workers are another group that may be particularly at risk when starting work. You may need to take action to protect them

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