So, you’re are starting a new job? Congratulations on the new opportunity! You may feel a sense relief having found employment. Maybe you also feel a little nervous with so much to learn (different work culture, new people, procedures and work rules). Nervous feelings are understandable. Like many new employees, you want to showcase your unique attributes like: dependability, intelligence, creativity and initiative for instance. Make sure all your good-working-employee attributes are on full display for your new employer but more importantly, make sure these outstanding attributes are used in a way that keeps you and your fellow employees safe.
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, “its better to be safe than sorry.” The meaning behind this often-used precept runs through the thoughts of most employers when they make a hiring decision. In fact, the safe-verses-sorry notion is at the heart of many of the hiring practices used to recruit, screen and onboard new employees. In fact, this adage is so completely applicable to the new-employee-meets-new-employer social arrangement, it’s almost cliché.
A plant manager I know would meet with each new employee at his factory. I heard him say over and over to new employees that their duty was to be safe. “Don’t get hurt!” he would tell them. He told me once that he always worried about new employees because they often take risks more senior employees avoid. These risks might include lifting objects too heavy for one person to lift, attempting to operate machinery without receiving training first or, attempting to do too much, too quickly, without allowing a period of adjustment to the physical demands of the new job. All of these well-intentioned behaviors may lead to an unnecessary injury.
In my years working in manufacturing and in health care settings, I admit that I observed new machine operators take control of machinery they may not adequately know how to use, new CNAs bustling from one room to the next in an effort to impress a charge nurse, or a material handler deciding to push a pallet of product out of the way instead of using the pallet jack on the other side of the room. My friends, these actions are dangers that lead to being ‘sorry’ rather than being ‘safe.’
To remain ‘safe’ and avoid ‘sorry,’ new employees should remember when they showcase all of their good qualities for their new job to also infuse the following three safe behaviors.
- As you are introduced to the machinery and tools of your job, ask your new employer to train you how to operate the equipment their own proven way before you take control.
- Avoid unsafely cutting corners or taking risky shortcuts. If your aim is to impress your new boss, don’t think that single handedly moving a large object to clear a path for a forklift will accomplish the approval you may be seeking.
- Pace yourself in your new job. Chances are this new job is going to introduce new physical demands upon you. You may need to allow yourself a period of adjustment. In fact, you may experience soreness and fatigue. Like an athlete that is training for the big game, your body is training to perform for a new job. Pace yourself and allow for that adjustment period to ease you into the new job and avoid overexertion-type injuries.
Employers should also encourage ‘safe’ by taking into consideration ambitious behaviors new employees may exhibit. Help your new employees avoid ‘sorry’ by developing thorough training plans for each task that provides some instruction on how to use machines, tools and equipment essential to the job. Additionally, allow time for new employee to adjust to the physical demands of the new job.
Nobody likes being sorry, and with a little bit of planning and coordination, being safe is achievable for us all. I’m confident abiding by these three tips will help bring about safe and reduce the likelihood for sorry. Again, congratulations on the new job. I wish you and your employer all the success as you mutually benefit from this new working relationship.
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Source: James Simms, Safety in the Workplace