Effective safety orientation programs

Date Posted: 10/05/2020
Safety Orientation

During the first day on the job, a new employee is often overloaded with information about company rules, procedures, and benefits. As a result, employers need to include a strong emphasis on safety and health. Otherwise, poor work habits can lead to injuries.

A safety department representative should conduct the safety orientation and, if possible, include some line managers also. This adds credibility to the training and shows the value that the company places on safety from the top down. Line managers who explain how safety works in their areas help show that the policies are taken seriously and put into practice.

Key elements

The orientation should be structured to emphasize your company’s safety culture. Some issues to communicate during orientation include:

  • Safety culture, objectives, and goals of the program;
  • Proper reporting of accidents and injuries;
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment;
  • Applicable programs (lockout/tagout, hazard communication, etc.); and
  • Workplace emergencies.

This is not a complete list, of course, and the level of information should match the conditions that employees are likely to encounter on the job.

The presentation

Effective communication begins with a strong presentation that keeps the employees’ attention. They must be convinced of the importance and relevance of the material. To achieve this, not only do you have to be prepared, you have to look prepared.

Arrive at the orientation early to ensure that all equipment is operating properly, to gather and focus your thoughts, and to ensure that the orientation starts on time. A smoothly delivered orientation sets an example for the type of preparation the company expects.


Safety orientation can quickly be undermined if employees are taught something but later learn that the method is no longer used. Make sure that the material presented matches your current practices, and that supervisors support and reinforce those practices.

Investing time in new employees up front can pay huge dividends later in terms of reduced accidents and injuries, reduced turnover, increased job satisfaction, improved performance, and a clearer understanding of your company’s safety expectations.

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