Hiring Inexperienced Workers

Date Posted
George Davis
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Today I want to talk about getting ready for the summertime and some of the risks and concerns that you should consider when hiring inexperienced workers. We need to be aware of the experience of the worker being hired (hiring young and aspiring hard workers as well as those that need to save up money for college expenses).

New worker training is very important! Retraining all workers is also important.

The following is a true story:

In November a 21-year-old male laborer died after being hit in the head with the bucket of a track hoe. He was wearing a safety helmet at the time of the incident. There were six to seven workers at the job site when the incident occurred. The work crew was pouring the footing for a retaining wall as part of a bridge for a private runway being built. The concrete form collapsed, trapping one worker and almost trapping two others. The decedent had left to retrieve a shovel to help free the trapped co-worker.

As he retrieved the shovel, he walked into a blind spot of the track hoe operator at the same time another worker asked the track hoe operator if there was a chain in the cab of the track hoe. The operator looked down at the floor and as he did so, his hand slightly moved the hand control causing the bucket to move, thus striking the decedent.

He was transported to a hospital where he was declared dead by the coroner from blunt force injuries to the head.

In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring:

1. A hazard assessment of the work area should be performed every time work conditions change.

2. Workers should not be in a blind spot of heavy equipment operators without the operator’s knowledge. When blind spots are identified, a spotter should be used.

3. During emergency situations, employ safe work practices. Accidents can occur and do occur unexpectedly (unfortunately).

4. We need to be ever so vigilant of everyone who works for us. At this particular company, all employees wore the appropriate safety equipment such as reflective vests, hard hats, and appropriate work boots. Safety and job training were a part of the entire company culture.

5. Hazard materials training is required for all job site and field personnel.

6. Superintendents hold mandatory weekly toolbox talks and attendees are required to sign an attendance sheet. These signed sheets are sent to the office where they are filed.

7. The safety manual should be made available for inspection and found to be comprehensive in scope.

Let’s make sure we get our new workers trained right, step by step initial worker training.

Remember; when in doubt, ask. Always communicate with your fellow workers. Let them know where you are at all times.

Have a safe summer!

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