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Eye Safety & Safety Glasses (Jan/Feb-24)
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations (Nov/Dec-23)
Protecting Students from Machine Hazards (Jul/Aug-23)
Electrical Safety (May/Jun-23)
Machine Guarding (Jan/Feb-23)
Have We Learned Anything About Safety Over the Last Fifty Years? (Nov/Dec-22)
OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards (Sep/Oct-22)
Have You Conducted Your Periodic Lockout & Tagout Audit? (Jan/Feb-22)
Workplace Violence (Jul/Aug-21)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-21)
Creating A Safety Culture (Nov/Dec-20)
Before You Purchase New Machinery (Sep/Oct-20)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-20)
OSHA Issues Interim Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Mar/Apr-20)
Have You Recently Conducted Your Required Safety & Health Program Audits? (Nov/Dec-19)
Does OSHA Cite Employers Equally? (May/Jun-19)
Are You Ready For The New Year? (Mar/Apr-19)
Creating a Safety Culture Means Staying Informed (Nov/Dec-18)
Safe Lifting Techniques (Sep/Oct-18)
Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Jul/Aug-18)
Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are? (Jan/Feb-18)
Risk Assessment & Premise Liability Insurance (Nov/Dec-17)
Forklift Safety – You Can Save A Life Today (Sep/Oct-17)
Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress Related Injuries (Jul/Aug-17)
Lockout-Tagout from a Manager’s Perspective (May/Jun-17)
Do Your Employees Really Know How to Use Personal Protective Equipment? (Mar/Apr-17)
OSHA & Lockout/Tagout (Nov/Dec-16)
OSHA Increases Their Penalties Towards Employers (Jul/Aug-16)
Do You Know What Your Experience Modification Rate Is? (May/Jun-16)
Machine Safety (Sep/Oct-15)
Lockout, Tagout & Tryout – Are You in Compliance? (Jul/Aug-15)
Forklift Safety Practices (May/Jun-15)
Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials (Mar/Apr-15)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-15)
Ergonomics (Sep/Oct-14)
Respiratory Protection . . . Does Your Program Protect? (May/Jun-14)
First Aid Program (Mar/Apr-14)
Working with Composite Materials Safely and Preventing Dermatitis (Jan/Feb-14)
Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls (Nov/Dec-13)
The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication – Are You Ready For It? (Sep/Oct-13)
Safety & New Employee Orientation (Jul/Aug-13)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety (May/Jun-13)
Posting of OSHA Notices (Jan/Feb-13)
Staying Safe This Winter (Nov/Dec-12)
Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
Select issue:

SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Safety & New Employee Orientation

I have acted as a machine guarding expert testifying to whether a machine was safe to operate by design or if the operator received proper training before they were allowed to operate the machine. In about 95% of the cases I handle, one or the other was at fault. Either the guard was inadequate or the employee did not receive the proper training as outlined in the machine manufactures owners/operators manual.

In the U.S. today, many manufactures and suppliers of machines do not provide the necessary guards when you purchase their equipment but rather, offer them as accessories. If you are going to purchase a machine, you need to know if it is safe to operate as is or if additional guarding should be purchased. Consequently, workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions and over 800 deaths per year. Often these injuries are a result of and accident caused by an inexperienced or poorly trained worker.

When Should Orientation Begin?

Informal orientation begins when you decide to hire someone and make the job offer. If you have a handbook, and most employers should, be sure the employee signs a form acknowledging receipt of the handbook and an agreement to read it. If your handbook contains a provision that all employees will receive an orientation, be sure you follow through. Check federal, state and local laws on hazardous materials to see if you are required to provide notification and training. If you require physical examinations and one has not been completed prior to hiring, it should be done before the employee starts work.

Formal orientation is much more effective some time after employees begin work. They will have some knowledge of the organization, will be more relaxed and will gain more from a program conducted a few weeks after starting.

Normal orientation begins in the department on the first day. Items covered by the departmental supervisor should include:

1. If the worker is going to operate a machine, ensure that they read and understand the owners/operators manuals. If they have not read this document, you have not properly trained them in the operation of the machine.

2. Ensure that the person training the employee on the machine is also well trained in these documents. Most accidents occur due to lack of proper training.

Many organizations provide a checklist to guide the supervisor through introduction and orientation to department procedures, routines and tasks. Giving a copy of the checklist to the new employee serves to remind them of the topics that need to be covered.

In a real sense, orientation continues beyond the formal programs. It is wise to follow up on how new people are doing at least through an introductory period. It's important to clear up any misunderstandings during this time. Anything that can be done to reduce turnover and help new people become fully productive is worthwhile.

Follow up also allows you to check the effectiveness of your formal and informal programs. Were items of interest left out? Could topics be covered more efficiently or effectively? Is the information being retained? Are supervisors up-to-date on policy and procedures?

Safety Training

Training is one of the most critical elements of your injury and illness prevention program. It not only allows employees to learn their jobs properly and bring new ideas to the workplace, it also puts your program in to action. Your employees will benefit from safety and health training through fewer work-related injuries and illnesses. You benefit from reduced workplace injuries, increased productivity, lower costs and a more cohesive and dependable work force.

An effective safety program includes training for both supervisors and employees. To be effective and help meet state and federal requirements, your training program should start with your supervisors. They should know:

1. They are the key persons responsible for the establishment and success of your safety program.

2. They are responsible for being familiar with safety and health hazards to which their employees are exposed; how to recognize them, the potential effects these hazards have on the employees and rules, procedures and work practices for controlling exposure to those hazards.

3.How to convey this information to employees by setting good examples, instructing them, making sure they fully understand and follow safe procedures.

4.How to investigate accidents and take corrective and preventive action.

Your employees should know:

1. The success of the company's safety program depends on their actions as well as yours.

2. The safe work procedures required for their jobs and how these procedures protect them against exposure.

3. When personal protective equipment is required, how to use it and maintain it in good condition.

4. What to do if emergencies occur in the workplace.

As the employer, you must ensure that all employees are knowledgeable about the materials and equipment they are working with, what known hazards are present and how they are controlled.

Each employee needs to understand that:

1. No employee is expected to perform a job until he/she has received instructions on how to do it properly and safely and is authorized to perform the job.

2. No employee should undertake a job that appears to be unsafe.

3. No employee should use chemicals without fully understanding their toxic properties and without the knowledge required to work with them safely.

4. Mechanical safeguards must always be in place and kept in place.

5. Employees are to report to a supervisor all unsafe conditions or work practices encountered during work.

6. Any work-related injury or illness suffered, however slight, must be reported to management at once.

7. Personal protective equipment must be used when and where required and properly maintained.

Your safety training program should be customized around your operations and exposures. At a minimum, it should provide training and instruction:

1. To all employees given new job assignments for which training has not been previously received.

2. Whenever new substances, processes, procedures or equipment are introduced to the workplace and present a new hazard.

3. Whenever new personal protective equipment or different work practices are used on existing hazards.

4. Whenever you or your supervisors are made award of a new or previously unrecognized hazard.

5. For all supervisors to assure they are familiar with the safety and health hazards to which employees under their immediate direction and control may be exposed.


A well-written and implemented new employee orientation program is the first step in hiring and training the best individuals for the job. It reduces turnover, assists in providing a safer work place for your employees, helps comply with local, state and federal requirements, reduces operating expenses and improves productivity.

Employee exposure to unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery is prevalent in many workplaces. If you are attending the AWFS®Fair this year and if you are planning on buying a new piece of machinery, then you should know if your machine and the machine guarding meets the intent of the OSHA or ANSI standard for that particular type of machine. If you do not know if it meets the intent of OSHA or the American National Standard (ANSI) for that particular type of machine, we would be happy to tell you. Podojil & Associates, Inc. are experts in representing employers when OSHA shows up at your place of employment. So if you do not know yourself if your machine is safe, ask someone who does.

For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.

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