Over the last few years the number of work related accidents has been falling, which is of course good news. But is that solely due to the improved management and compliance with health and safety requirements, or just the rate of accidents has reduced due to lower employment levels and economic recession? Recently the HSE has pointed out that a reduction in accidents is normal during a recession and that an increase, is unfortunately the norm as the country moves to better economic prospects.
The HSE has also pointed to a lack of recruitment of inexperienced workers during a downturn and that less experienced staff are three times more likely to be killed or injured at work than colleagues with their employer for a year or more. As employment levels increase experienced staff are in short supply so less experienced staff are recruited and they are more likely to be injured or killed at work. In a recent article in the Guardian the recent deaths of construction workers in London are a possible indication of worse to come.
So, where’s the positives in that?
Whilst recruitment of inexperienced staff puts an organisation at greater risk of incident there are ways in which the risks can be mitigated. Companies taking on new recruits should look at ensuring they have the following measures in place:
- During selection and interview process identify potential staff with experience, or an aptitude which can be harnessed and developed;
- A new employee is seldom ‘the full package’ so identify what skills and knowledge they have, and where their skills and knowledge gaps lay;
- Produce a development plan, linked to their job description so you have a plan to ensure they are skilled and competent;
- Buddy them up with a trusted colleague who will supervise and mentor them whilst at work and importantly, won’t show them bad habits that would increase the risk of incident;
- Have routine performance reviews and ensure you are keeping up with the development plan.
Documenting all your recruitment, training and safety related documentation to show how you selected, trained and monitored your new employee is vital…just in case something goes wrong.
At ProAktive we can guide you through this minefield by providing hands on support with health and safety management and employment advisers who get to know about you and your business. If you would like to chat with us over a coffee about how we can help please call us on (01302) 341344.