A new study from Travelers finds that 35% of workplace injuries occur during an employee’s first year on the job, regardless of age or industry experience. Construction companies are especially at risk, accounting for the second most first-year injuries in the study, which drive more than half of the industry’s claims. The construction industry also experiences the highest average of missed workdays with 98.
Due to the nature of construction, an emphasized focus on employee training and onboarding are critical components of any successful risk mitigation strategy.
According to the Travelers report, the most common types of first-year injuries included:
- Overextension (27%)
- Slips, Trips and Falls (22%)
- Struck by Object (14%)
- Cuts and Punctures (6%)
- Caught Between Objects (6%)
- Motor Vehicle Accidents (6%)
The most expensive claims accounted for 8% of total claims and 26% of total claims costs. These included amputations, multiple traumas, electrical shock and dislocations.
Plan Ahead: Hiring and Training Strategies
Proper hiring and training strategies are critical in risk prevention for the construction industry. A write-up from Travelers highlights some effective strategies in these areas.
- Detailed Job Descriptions: Attracting the right candidates is important. Creating a well-documented job description that details the requirements of each position, including physical requirements, can help give candidates a realistic idea of what the job will entail.
- Ask Behavioral Interview Questions: During the formal interview process with potential new hires, ask behavioral-based questions to make sure the candidate is a fit for your organization’s safety culture.
- Conduct Post-Offer Functional Capacity Exams: Post-offer physical examinations and drug tests can help evaluate an employee’s fitness and wellness regarding required job functions. A physical exam can also help detect potential pre-existing health conditions before beginning employment.
The onboarding process should be tailored to each employee, and training should not stop at the onboarding phase of employment. Some strategies to consider for this topic include:
- Project-Tailored Training: Training for specific projects is critical. Be sure to emphasize the special equipment or hazardous materials present on a particular site and train accordingly.
- Pay Close Attention to New Workers: Putting newer workers in different colored hard hats can help supervisors and more experienced workers offer guidance with their experience level in mind.
- Make Training a Continuous Process: Training is not just for new staff. Creating training regimens for all workers and evolving worksites is essential.
- Investigate Accidents: A thorough investigative process can help identify areas where improvement is needed and allows workers to learn from mistakes. Discovering the root cause of an accident and enacting change based on this information is a tremendous help in preventing future accidents.
Work With a Trusted Advisor
Along with implementing effective training regimens, working with a trusted risk advisor is an excellent way to mitigate safety risk and reduce financial exposure related to first-year workers. RCM&D’s experienced team of risk consultants can help your business implement effective training regimens and create a culture centered on safety.
Reach out to a trusted advisor today for more on construction industry risks and how we can help you mitigate them.