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New workers face the greatest injury risks

If you’re new to your job, the odds are simply higher that you could get injured while doing it. That’s a fact you have to take into consideration every time you switch jobs or switch careers entirely.

How much worse is that risk? According to one study, a worker who was in their first month saw overall injury risks that were three times higher than workers with more than 12 months of experience. This study took into account only injuries resulting in lost time at work — in other words, serious injuries.

So, while all workers face risks, it is clear that those risks plummet after that first year on the job. Experience does not prevent all injuries, but it does make people safer than they would be otherwise.

Why is this true?

The reasons that this safety issue exists are many. For one thing, a new job can feel overwhelming. With so many things to think about — how to do the job, how to fit in at the company, how to remember everyone’s names — workers just do not make safety a priority. They don’t mean to do it. It just happens.

Another issue is that the lack of experience could mean they do not identify clear safety hazards that they should see. Someone with more experience would recognize that a situation was unsafe or that an accident was about to occur. A new worker would have no idea.

Furthermore, new workers tend to be younger. They may have less experience in general. It’s not just the experience on the job that matters.

Plus, young workers — or new workers — may feel like it is not their place to say anything. Even if a worker notices an unsafe condition, will they speak up? Or will they think that it must be fine if everyone else thinks that it is?

Other workers cause injuries

Even if you are an experienced worker, that does not mean this phenomenon doesn’t impact you. Remember that other workers cause accidents and injuries that you have to deal with.

A new worker sets up a ladder incorrectly, for instance. You climb the ladder, thinking that it is safe. When it falls, it is you who suffers the injury. You would not have made that mistake on your own, but someone else directly put you in harm’s way.

Your options

No matter how you get injured on the job, how much experience you have and how serious those injuries are, they can impact your income, your ability to work and much more. Make sure you know what legal options exist and what rights you have in Illinois to things like workers’ compensation benefits.