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2020 / 2021 Edition

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New workers four times more likely to have an accident

Health & Safety Authority

Health and Safety Authority calls for new workers to be given adequate training and supervision 

A RECENT study of workplace accidents by Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has shown that new and inexperienced workers are four times more likely to suffer a workplace accident in their first six months after starting a new job.

The research was based on workplace injury and illness figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) over a 12-year period from 2001 to 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 involvement in manual tasks.

Martin O’Halloran, chief executive of the HSA, said 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 such as 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.’

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