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New workers more likely to have accidents

published 31/03/2016

New Workers Are Four Times More Likely to Have an Accident

The Health and Safety Authority has launched a new campaign aimed at reducing accidents involving new and inexperienced workers. A recent HSA/ESRI study of workplace accidents showed that workers are four times more likely to suffer a workplace accident in the first six months of a new job. The research was based on workplace injury and illness figures from the CSO over a 12 year period (2001 – 2012).

The study found that new workers were at much higher risk due to a lack of training and supervision, a reluctance to question instructions, a lack of safety knowledge and increased workload.  The risk of injury decreases with age and experience due to lower risk-taking and a reduction in the involvement of manual tasks.

Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, says that employers should be aware that new recruits are a vulnerable group:
“It is vital that new workers are given adequate training and supervision. This means showing a person the correct way of doing a task and making sure that they can carry out the task correctly and safely.

This is particularly important in sectors like construction and agriculture where hazards such as machinery, work at height and manual-handling are common. When we inspect a workplace we are looking for signs that the employer is actively managing safety and health. We find that the good employers are aware of their obligations and have a strong focus on induction training.”

The awareness campaign was primarily aimed at reminding employers of their duties in relation to new workers.

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