Explain the four P’s of safety to new employees

Date Posted: 08/14/2023
Safety Orientation

Employers should help workers understand the four P’s of safety — people, places, personal protective equipment (PPE), and personal accountability. Learning new safety rules and job duties can create anxiety for new employees. Walking new hires through these four safety concepts can ease their anxiety and help them focus on their new role.

New employees are typically eager to get started and focused on the nuances of their new surroundings. They bring a set of fresh eyes, so employers should ask them questions about what they see. This allows employers to improve safety and build a positive culture.


New employees should get to know coworkers by asking them about the workplace, hazards, and common tasks. They can learn a great deal from seasoned workers about how to identify and respond to common challenges. Coworkers are also a great source for sharing safety suggestions and clarifying training points.

Showing an interest in coworker hobbies and family not only builds camaraderie but strengthens the safety culture. Compassion grows when workers get to know each other on a more personal level. That compassion motivates safer behavior and a desire to ensure the safety of others.


After getting training on any special rules for the worksite, new hires should walk around the work area to familiarize themselves with emergency response equipment, first aid and eyewash stations, machinery, processes, and vehicles. They should observe hazards in and around their work areas and communicate with coworkers about hazards.

While on the facility tour, new hires should remain mindful of in-process work, looking both ways, yielding to vehicles, and using caution before stepping out of designated walkways. They should note exit routes, stairways, and shelter locations.


After engineering and administrative controls, PPE is the last line of defense against hazards. New employees should understand when PPE is required, what kind is best for each task, how to properly wear it, limitations of their protective equipment, and how to care for it.

PPE is not intended to make a task more difficult, but if it doesn’t fit properly or doesn’t seem to protect sufficiently, employees should notify a supervisor immediately. Remind new employees that the worst kind of PPE is the kind that’s not worn.

Personal accountability

Finally, safety starts and ends with personal accountability. Each employee plays a role in maintaining a safe work environment. This is especially true for newcomers who are not yet comfortable with processes, procedures, equipment, or each other.

An employer can offer the best training and equipment, but if employees aren’t actively involved, injuries will still happen. Failure to follow training and procedures can be disastrous or even fatal.

Newcomers should actively participate in training by asking questions and giving their undivided attention. It’s important that they understand how rules and safety protocols can save lives and limbs.

New employees must absorb a great deal of information. By remembering the four P’s of safety, they’re better equipped to blend seamlessly and safely into their new workplace.

Related Video

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

New hires need a lot of information, which requires employers to create a lot of training materials. While ready-made content may need to modifications to fit your workplace, it provides a starting point that can save time. The Training area of the J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE provides numerous resources that you can modify to meet your needs, including handouts that new hires can take and reference later.

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