Hiring young or new workers? Don’t forget driver orientation

17 June 2022

School’s out and summer jobs are in. If your organization plans to hire young or new workers, be aware that they’re more vulnerable to workplace injuries than more experienced workers. And if they’re going to drive for work, their risk goes up.

Most new employees don’t arrive with all of the driving skills and behaviours they’ll need. Invest some time to find out what skills they have and how you can help them develop and lower the risks.

The facts about young or new employees

Young workers are anyone under 25 years old. New employees can be any age and include those who are new to the workplace or location, or facing new hazards. Both are more likely to be involved in a workplace incident than other employees.

WorkSafeBC accepted 7,125 claims related to injuries from young workers last year. More than half of all serious injuries occur during the first six months of employment.

These employees often lack experience and training. They may hesitate to ask questions. When they drive for the job, it’s a combination that can easily lead to crashes and injury.

The risks of driving

Driving may be the most dangerous thing you assign young and new workers to do.

Here are some of the risks you can address with summer hires, through training, orientation, and supervision. Follow the links for tips on what you can do to reduce the risk.

  • Distracted driving: Drivers will often navigate unfamiliar routes. They may be in vehicles that are unfamiliar to them. Their attention may shift away from the road as they search for things like switches for the windshield wipers or headlights.
  • Speeding: Young or new workers may feel like they need to get the job done as fast as possible. It’s high-risk behaviour. Speeding is the largest contributing factor in injury or fatality-related crashes among youth.
  • Fatigue: Delivery drivers will often work late into the night. This increases their risk for a fatigue-related crash. Young workers especially may also have irregular sleep patterns, which can cause fatigue.
  • Using their personal vehicle for work: New hires using their own vehicle may not have had it properly inspected and maintained.

Every new hire deserves a thorough driver orientation to make sure they’re ready and able to safely complete the driving they will do for work.

It helps ensure they:

  • Are legally allowed to drive for work
  • Have a safe driving history
  • Have the skills and behaviours to drive safely
  • Understand the driving hazards they’ll encounter and how to reduce their risk
  • Understand your organization’s policies and procedures
  • Know what to do if they are in a crash of any kind

Use our Driver Assessment Tool Kit, which includes a checklist and our SkillCheck driver assessment tool.