Working safely is a team effort. You look out for other workers and they look out for you. Taking responsibility for others is especially important when it comes to new and young workers. They need you to keep an eye on them and remind them how to work safely.
Think about your workplace from the new worker’s point of view for a moment. Remember your own first day on the job. You’ll see a busy place full of strange equipment, unfamiliar chemicals and complicated tasks. Everyone else seems to know what they are doing. More than anything, you just want to fit in with the rest of the crew and look like you know what you are doing.
Help the new worker settle in safely by following these points:
- Show them where to obtain safety materials and instructions at your machine.
- Help the new worker get equipped, fitted and trained with the appropriate protective clothing and equipment for the task at hand
- Show your new co-worker the labels for any chemicals you are dealing with. Help them understand how to read them and what PPE is necessary to work with them.
- Point out the location of fire extinguishers, alarm boxes and other emergency equipment.
- Make sure the new worker knows what to do in case of an emergency such as a fire. Does he or she know two exits from the workplace, and where to assemble outside
- Communicate the importance of leaving machine guards in place to prevent accidental contact with moving equipment and stock.
- If you see anyone wearing loose clothing which could become caught in machinery, speak up.
- Make sure the new employee knows who to talk to about any safety concerns or questions.
- If you see the new person or any worker doing something unsafe, speak up. It’s not interfering; it’s looking out for the other worker.
Your advice to the new co-worker is not a replacement for proper safety orientation, training and supervision. However, you can help make sure he or she picks up the information necessary to work safely.