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New to the job

Workers are as likely to have an accident in the first six months at a workplace as during the whole of the rest of their working life.

The extra risk arises due to:

This means workers new to a site:

Six steps to protect new starters

1. Capability

Assess the new starter’s capabilities. For example:

Don't forget to assess cultural and language issues (grasp of English) too, where relevant - you may need to use visual, non-verbal methods such as pictures, signs or learning materials such as videos/DVDs/CD-ROMs.

2. Induction

Provide an induction. Plan it carefully, including photos of hazards where possible, and use plain, simple language. Take time to walk around the workplace or site with new workers and show them where the main hazards exist (eg falls, slips and transport).

3. Control measures

Make sure the control measures to protect against risk are up to date and are being properly used and maintained:

4. Information

Provide relevant information, instruction and training about the risks that new workers may be exposed to and the precautions they will need to take to avoid those risks.

5. Supervision

Provide adequate supervision. Make sure workers know how to raise concerns and supervisors are familiar with the possible problems due to unfamiliarity and inexperience.

6. Check understanding

Check workers have understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely, and are acting on it, especially during the vital first days/weeks at work. Remember to make sure workers know how and with whom they can raise any concerns about their health and safety and that they know about any emergency arrangements or procedures.

Vulnerable workers

Young people

Young people may lack the experience and maturity at work of their colleagues, so could be more at risk. There are particular factors you need to consider for this group of new starters in the workplace.

Migrant workers

Migrant workers are another group that may be particularly at risk when starting work. You may need to take action to protect them.

Accident rates by length of time in job

The table below shows how much higher the risk of having an accident is for new starters, compared to those who have been working for longer.

The figures given are the number of RIDDOR-reportable accidents (first column) and the number of accidents of all kinds (second column) expected for every 100 000 workers.

Note: Rates are based on RIDDOR reporting arrangements in place before changes to the legislation effective from April 2012.

Length of time in job Reportable injury All workplace injury
Less than 6 months 3 316 9 861
6 to 12 months 1 023 3 821
1 to 5 years 1 084 3 092
Over 5 years 973 2 829

Analysis of investigated accidents to vulnerable migrant/foreign workers (fatal and selected non-fatal) in the construction sector reinforces this evidence:

Together with the wider evidence from the Labour Force Survey, this suggests a doubled risk of injury in the first six months of employment.

Updated 2020-07-31