What to Cover in Your New Worker Orientation

By Jamie Young
Published: April 13, 2015
Key Takeaways

Helping workers get familiar with the worksite and its procedures from day one is vital to ensuring they can work safely.

Conducting a new worker orientation is an important step to creating a safe workplace. It ensures that everyone knows how to work safely from day one. It also gives them a sense of what will be expected from them while they're on the jobsite.


Unfortunately, these orientations are often rushed – and sometimes skipped altogether.

That's partly because of a confusion about who counts as a new worker. It doesn't have to be a new hire who has never been with the company before. It could be someone who has transferred from a different branch, moved to another department, or has worked at the site before but has been absent for a period of time.


Someone who has plenty of work experience should also be considered a new worker. It doesn't matter if they've spent 20 years on the shop floor – if they haven't done it on this site, they should be treated as a new worker and shown the ropes.

Giving them a quick run-through of the site and the job won't do, however. To get fully prepare new workers, you will need to develop and implement orientation guidelines.

To help you do that, here are some of the major elements that should be a part of every worker orientation.

The Logistics

First and foremost, new workers need to know a few basics about where they have to be and what they have to do:

  • Hours they are expected to work
  • A hard copy of the shift schedule (if they do shift work)
  • Locations of lockers or storage area (if relevant)
  • How to clock in and out (if relevant)
  • When the breaks are and where to take them

Who to Report To

Every employee must know who their immediate supervisor, where to find them throughout the day, and how to get in contact with them when they're not on the worksite.


Provide every new employee with a list of all the contacts they might need throughout the course of employment. The contact list should also specify what they should do if they need to call in sick – do they tell their supervisor or call the front desk?

The information on the list will depend on the size of your company and the specific role the new worker will take on, but generally speaking the contacts should include:

  • The employee's immediate supervisor
  • The safety manager
  • The HR department
  • Workers' compensation

Rights and Responsibilities

New workers should be made aware of their responsibilities while at work. Not only their job tasks and how to complete them, but also the details of the company's health and safety policy.

In addition to a general overview of the policy, each worker should also undergo a specific orientation pertaining to the site where they will be working. If they get relocated to a different site, then they should go through a new orientation covering the specifics of that site.

(Find out How to Refuse Unsafe Work)

Hazard Awareness

Workers should be informed of the specific dangers and hazards they will be facing on the job.

Many companies and organizations struggle with hazard communication. You can make it easier by implementing a safety communication program and ensuring that all workers have easy access to safety materials like Safety Data Sheets and emergency procedures. The orientation should give workers a rundown of the information covered in these documents, how to access them, and which sections are especially important for them to learn.

Want to simplify the process?

Download our free New Employee Safety Orientation Checklist!

Working Alone

Lone worker orientations are a bit more involved, since there are additional risks that come from working in an isolated location or without coworkers or a supervisor present. If their job will involve them working alone, even occasionally, take the time to bring them up to date on your lone worker policies and procedures.

Put additional emphasis on what they should do in the event of an emergency. When a lone worker runs into a snag and isn't sure what to do, it can set them back. But if they face an emergency and aren't sure how to respond, the outcomes could be devastating.

(Learn about The 5 Elements Your Lone Worker Policy Needs to Have)

Personal Protective Equipment

It is imperative that all new employees understand which safety equipment they'll need to use and that using appropriate safety gear is mandatory.

They should know where to access the equipment they need, where to return it at the end of their shift, and who is in charge of managing the safety equipment inventory. They should also know how to properly maintain PPE, especially if it is kept in their possession through day to day operations.

And of course, they must be fully trained in the proper use of appropriate equipment, as well as any relevant rules or regulations they must follow while making use of the equipment.

First Aid Kit and Emergency Protocol

It might seem obvious where the first aid kit is located – it's the big red box with a white cross attached to the wall, you can't miss it. But even if it sticks out like a sore thumb, you still have to show new workers where the first aid kits are located. Doing so can make the difference between having them scramble to remember where they saw it or heading straight toward it and getting the supplies they need as soon as possible.

Run through the procedures for an injury or a medical emergency. Make clear to them who are the designated first aid responders on the jobsite. Their names should also be posted on the site, somewhere for all employees to see.

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Written by Jamie Young | COO

Jamie Young

I believe that everybody has the right to get home safely to their families. Anything I can do to help promote and achieve a safe working environment, I will do.

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