Even though it is our philosophy that all accidents are preventable, there still remains the fact that Workers’ Compensation claims do occur. The goal should be to discover the “root cause” and develop a pattern of reduced claim numbers and claims costs from year to year. Often the immediate response is to find fault in the safety program and its implementation. While this may prove to be a valid point there may be another effective way to manage these costs and that is to change the way you hire. Companies need to recognize that accident prevention begins with the hiring process. If you hire an employee with a low regard or poor attitude about safety then the quality of your safety program and safety culture becomes irrelevant. We have noticed that when companies change their hiring paradigm, to include safety, good things happen. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. We are not talking about doing away with safety programs, interviews, or reference checks, but changing some of the methods used in the hiring process. Here are some illustrations you might consider.
Using personality tests
To help with the hiring process, many companies use personality and ability tests or assessments. These tests can identify personality traits and answer questions like, “Who will perform well?” “Who will stay?” “Who can be trained to do the job?” These tests can enhance the predictive nature of placing the right people in the right job.
The Caliper Profile is an example of a commercial assessment that measures 25 personality traits related to job performance. This instrument is used for hiring, performance improvement, and team building and is designed to provide information on an individual’s strengths, limitations, motivation, and potential.
Create job descriptions that include safety, mental, and physical skills
HR managers responsible for establishing or administering HR programs must understand the purposes of job descriptions that include physical standards. Not only will you see reduced claims, but production will be increased, because you have the right people doing the jobs they are best suited for.
Complete Risk Analysis
We recommend using the traditional reference checking procedures, but also include the following:
- Check MRV’s
- Check prior WC claims
- Complete a pre-employment physical and drug test. Make sure the doctor has the written job description to evaluate any physical limitations.
Create a multi-step application process
A good way to assess someone’s abilities and skills in the workplace, as well as their commitment, is to set up an interview/training during the application process. This might include a supervisor and head of the safety committee being present, asking for work samples, or having someone perform a task live during the interview. Getting a concrete idea of how someone goes about their work is just as valuable as hearing about how they perceive their abilities to be.
If you want to create a safer more productive workplace, developing new hiring methods is a place to start.
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