No matter how long you’ve been in the trades or how experienced you are, we’ve all been the new guy/girl on site, stuck wearing the green lid and hearing the term “green as grass” on the daily. Being new to site can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to safety . There are a few things we can do as experienced tradespeople to help the newbies make their way…and do so safely.
First off, when they ask questions, answer them, no matter how mindless it seems to you. When I was new, I once asked what a certain type of wrench looked like…I will not divulge what kind I’m talking about because you will think a monkey is writing this. Point being, at the time I had no experience or knowledge, I needed to learn. So help them with what they are inquiring about or struggling with because alternatively they will try to figure it out on their own and could end up getting hurt or hurting somebody else.
If you see a newbie doing something unsafe, please, stop and show them how to do it correctly and explain why an incident could have occurred. This will help them learn. Think how awful you would feel if they got hurt and you could have prevented it. You have a due diligence to speak up if you see something unsafe. Speaking of due diligence, teach them about it. Just because they’re new doesn’t mean they can’t spot an incident in the making. Even though they may be timid about pointing it out, it is their responsibility.
There’s always a level of camaraderie on work sites and a time and place for jokes, at the newbie’s expense, especially if they don’t know what a crescent wrench looks like (okay, okay it was a crescent wrench, how embarrassing). When it comes to safety, there are no jokes. So take the time to help the newcomer along. Don’t forget you’re working with them, so it’s your safety as well!