How to Hire For Workplace Safety

As 2017 quickly approaches, many businesses will begin taking steps to increase productivity and get the new year off to a good start.   Generally, this means a lot of companies will end up hiring new employees.  So to help make sure you start the new year with a healthy bottom line, and not a hefty injury claim, we’re offering up some good practices for hiring safety-oriented individuals.


When you initially advertise your new position, make sure the job description emphasizes safe work practices.  While you should always accurately describe the position and duties, consider human nature. Text that makes the job sound challenging with a high expectation on the employee for safety will likely limit the applicant pool. But the short-term gain of increasing the applicant pool is not likely worth the long-term problem of unqualified, unfit employees.


One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of workplace accidents is to make sure the right people are in the right jobs. Conducting pre-hire testing can help a company gather useful data on human behavior characteristics that can indicate where problems may be more likely to arise. Things like integrity testing, range-of-motion testing and fit-for-duty testing can reveal potential mismatches between work capability and work responsibilities. We all make mistakes, but individual people tend to make different kinds of mistakes. Assessing these tendencies before you hire someone is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent potential problems.


Establishing a safety management plan and inserting it into every new hire packet will really help set the tone for staying safe at your company. Make sure your safety plan is easy to read and simple to implement. New employees have a lot of information to absorb, and staying safe shouldn’t be added on to that. Also, having new hires sign off that they have read and understood the safety plan is a good way to establish accountability with your new employee.


Ensuring your entire staff is safety-oriented is a critical and obvious step in establishing a safe workplace.  This goes double for those staff members in leadership roles, since their decisions will help set the tone when a new hire steps into the mix. Gentle reminders are never a bad thing, so take time to review your safety plan with your whole staff at least once a year.  And don’t forget to practice any emergency drills, too!

You can’t eliminate human error. You can’t eliminate accidents. But you can implement some key strategies to help improve workplace safety with every employee, and it starts with getting the right people in the right jobs in the first place.

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