Chapter 4 – Employee Orientation & Training

It is very important to have an orientation and training program for your workers. Accidents occur in all areas of your operation. The best way to prevent injuries is to educate your workers about safety procedures and the safe operation of equipment in production areas.

New employees should always be given a training or orientation session before they actually begin their work. A thorough training session should also be held for all employees at the beginning of each season. During the orientation session, you should review and explain your safety policies and work rules with the workers. Videos dealing with safety should also be shown. Handouts reinforcing the information covered during the orientation will help to further increase the safety consciousness of your employees. (Following this chapter are outlines for safety lessons and handouts you may copy for your training lessons. A catalog of training materials is included at the back of this manual.)

After the orientation, you should walk through the operation with employees and explain the production areas. This may seem monotonous but it will help to prevent accidents. The walk through should include a review of the responsibilities of each individual job. Be sure to cover the responsibility of each worker in the event of a fire or other emergency. Develop emergency action and escape plans and explain them to your employees. Emergency drills can be valuable aids in familiarizing your employees with the actions they must take, the routes they must follow, and the location of any special safety equipment. Workers familiar with a plan of action and evacuation are less likely to panic and more likely to be of assistance to themselves and their coworkers in an emergency.

Next go over the do’s and don’ts of your operation. (You probably will cover this in the review of your safety policy and work rules, but it will not hurt to reinforce these rules one more time.) This lets the workers know what isacceptable and what is not in the workplace.

Finally, explain the location of dust masks, chemical application protection, and other protective devices. Though workers are not always required by law to wear these devices, they protect workers form the hazards of work and their regular use will reduce your future liabilities. It is important that you provide these devices and encourage your employees to wear them.

An orientation session should be held prior to the time an employee undertakes any work in your operation. A general training session for all employees should be held at the beginning of the season. Regular safety meetings (5 to 10 minutes in length) should be held throughout the season. At these meetings, managers and employees should be encouraged to report any potential safety hazards and any accidents or near accidents from the previous week should be discussed. This will keep safety awareness at a high level and help to prevent recurring accidents.

You may want to develop an incentive program for your employees to keep them interested in safety and accident prevention. This program may include a reward system such as a bonus to further motivate your employees. The remainder of this chapter provides examples of emergency action plans and weekly safety meeting materials.

Training – First Day on the Job Management Responsibilities

A new employee’s first few days on the job will create lasting impressions and will form a foundation for his or her work habits for years to come. Will your new employee perform his or her job safely, efficiently, and correctly? Part of the answer depends on you, on the way you train your employees from the beginning.

A good trainer knows the subject thoroughly, has a desire to teach others, is friendly and cooperative, has leadership skills, and has a professional attitude toward work and other employees. However, the ability to empathize is an especially important quality for a trainer. When you begin the training process, make sure you put the employee at ease. To do that, show your confidence in his or her ability to master the job. Build that confidence by asking about previous work experience. If he or she has worked in a similar job, explain how he or she may be able to apply that experience to the new job.

Develop the new employee’s interest in the job by explaining how his or her particular job relates to the work of other people.

Early in anyone’s training, it’s a good idea to give the new employee a tour of the plant, office, or facility and introduce him or her to various coworkers. During the tour, point out first aid stations, fire extinguishers, emergency phone numbers, etc.

Easing an employee into a new job also involves emphasizing the need for quality, production, and safety. This means demonstrating all personal protective equipment, pointing out required machine guards, and explaining personal safety regulations such as the removal of jewelry, or wearing specific types of clothing. These points should be stressed as part of the new employee’s preparation for the job.

Encourage the new employee to ask questions at any time. Let him or her know that all questions are useful, and that you will be glad to answer them. If a new employee feels that questions are appreciated, he or she will feel much more comfortable.

Explain the safest, most efficient way to complete each task

As you go through these steps, identify the key points of the job. These points may cover special job procedures, important safety considerations, major hazards, or the need for personal protective equipment. Explain accident or injury reporting procedures.

Scheduling is another part of preparation. The length of time you will need will depend on the complexity of the job and the employee’s previous knowledge and experience.

Define the job. Explain all procedures and responsibilities carefully and completely. Incidentally, proper housekeeping is an important part of an employee’s job. The new employee’s first impression of the workplace should show by example how it is to be maintained.

Demonstrate the task the new employee is to perform

Position yourself correctly alongside the employee so he or she will see the job exactly as it should be performed. As you demonstrate the job, explain what you’re doing and why. People retain information better when they understand the reasons for performing a job a certain way. After you’ve explained and demonstrated the job, review it. Then ask questions requiring more than a “yes or no” response, that will tell you if the employee understands the operation thoroughly. Be sure to tell the new employee about all potential hazards associated with the job, as well as ways to avoid those hazards.

When you are sure the employee understands the job, it is time for a trial run under your watchful supervision

As the new employee performs the job, ask him or her to explain each step. Be sure he or she grasps all the key points you have presented, and can explain them in sequence. If a mistake is made, never embarrass the employee. Review the operation and have him or her repeat it until it is thoroughly understood. Don’t be afraid to let your own personality come through to your employee. It will help put the employee at ease, and help him or her to get to know you better. Well-trained employees reflect well on you. Production may increase, and the amount of waste and the number of tasks that have to be redone may be reduced.There will be fewer injuries when employees know how to perform.

The following is a summary of the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standard: Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Prevention Plans (29 CFR 1920.38)

Emergency Action Plan

The Emergency Action Plan must include the following elements:

  1. Emergency escape procedures and emergency escape route assignments;
  2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to perform (or shut down) critical operations;
  3. Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation;
  4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them;
  5. The preferred means for reporting fires and other emergencies; and
  6. Names or job titles of persons to be contacted for further information.

Additional requirements include:

  1. The employer must establish an employee alarm system.
  2. The plan must establish types of evacuation to be used in emergency circumstances.
  3. Before implementing the plan, the employer must designate and train persons to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees.
  4. The employer must review the plan with each employee at the following times:
    (a) Initially when the plan is developed,
    (b) Whenever the employee’s responsibilities under the plan change, and
    (c) Whenever the plan changes.
  5. The plan must be in writing and must be made available for employee review.

Fire Prevention Plan

The Fire Prevention Plan must include the following elements:

  1. A list of the major workplace fire hazards and their proper handling and storage procedures, potential ignition sources (such as welding, smokingand others) and their control procedures; plus the type of fire protection equipment or systems which can control a fire involving them;
  2. Names or job titles of those personnel responsible for maintenance of equipment and systems installed to prevent or control ignitions or fires; and
  3. Names or job titles of those personnel responsible for control of fuel source hazards.

Additional requirements include:

  1. The employer must control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials and residues so that they do not contribute to a fire emergency. The housekeeping procedures must be included in the written fire prevention plan.
  2. The employer must apprise employees of the fire hazards of the materials and processes to which they are exposed.
  3. The employer must review with each employee upon initial assignment those parts of the plan which the employee must know to protect the employee in an emergency. The written plan must be kept in the workplace and made available for employee review.
  4. The employer must maintain, according to established procedures, equipment and systems installed on heat-producing equipment to prevent accidental ignition of combustible materials. The maintenance procedures must be included in the written plan.


How to Conduct a Safety Meeting
Trainer’s Outline




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