Why More Workers Get Injured Early in their Job Tenure

 injured worker

As new employees enter the workforce, they are often excited to start their new careers and contribute to their new company. However, according to a 10-year study on workplace injury trends, workers are more likely to experience work-related injuries earlier in their job tenure. This is a significant concern for both employees and employers. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this trend and suggest some strategies to prevent early employee tenure injuries.

What Does Tenure Mean in a Job?

Job tenure or employee tenure refers to the length of time an employee has been working for a company or an employer. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee tenure for wage and salary workers was 4.1 years in January 2022, which did not change since 2020. Therefore, HR professionals usually refer to long tenured employees as those who have worked five years or more for their current employer, while short tenured employee as one who has worked for their current employer in less than five years. There are different factors why employees with short tenure or long tenure leave their workplace, one of which is how safe they feel in their job.

Reasons for Increased Injury Risk for New Employees

A recent study on Workplace Injury Trends has shown that new employees are at higher risk of workplace injuries than those who have been on the job for a longer period. There are different factors that contribute to this trend, and we will discuss each of them.

Lack of Proper Training

Workers in their early employee tenure often lack the necessary training to perform their tasks safely. They may not be aware of the potential hazards associated with their job, or they may not know how to use the equipment and tools correctly. Without proper training, they are more likely to make mistakes that can lead to injuries. For example, a new factory worker might have inadequate training for lockout tagout procedures in the workplace, which can result in severe injuries or fatal accidents.

Lack of Experience

New employees lack the experience their more seasoned colleagues have, which can put them at greater risk of injury. They may not know how to react in certain situations or how to avoid hazards. For example, a new construction worker may not be familiar with the proper handling of heavy equipment or may not know how to identify structural weaknesses in a building, resulting in major workplace injuries.


Some employees in their early job tenure may also overestimate their abilities and take unnecessary risks. Being overconfident may lead new employees to neglect asking questions and act independently. A good example of this would be when a new electrician thinks they know the proper way to conduct electrical maintenance but may not realize the danger they are putting themselves and others in.

Inadequate Safety Measures

In some cases, employers may not have implemented adequate safety measures to protect their workers. This can include failing to provide protective gear, ignoring safety regulations, or not maintaining equipment correctly. Without proper safety measures, workers are more likely to experience injuries. If an employer does not comply, for example, with OSHA standards, then they are exposing their new workers to possible accidents and their business for violations of safety standards and hefty fines.

Workplace Culture

Workplace culture can play a significant role in the number of injuries experienced by new employees. If the workplace culture prioritizes productivity over safety, workers may feel pressured to take risks to meet production targets. This can lead to accidents and injuries.

Preventing Early Job Tenure Injuries

worker performing lockout tagout procedure

To prevent early employee tenure injuries, employers must take proactive steps to protect their workforce. Below are some of them:

Provide Proper Training

Employers should provide comprehensive training to new workers to ensure they are familiar with the work environment and know how to recognize and avoid potential hazards. A new employee should receive training on how to properly use equipment and other tools in the workplace and how to identify and report potential hazards. For example, employers should provide and encourage their maintenance and service workers to take LOTO training to prevent risks of injuries and accidents caused by hazardous energy.

Offer Mentorship Programs

Employers can pair new workers with more experienced employees with a proven track record to serve as mentors and offer guidance on workplace safety. These experienced mentors can help workers in their early employee tenure to identify and avoid potential hazards in the workplace. A good example is when a new factory worker is paired with an experienced employee who can show them how to operate machines and equipment safely and properly.

Implement Safety Measures

Employers must prioritize safety and ensure they have implemented all necessary safety measures to protect their workers. It is also important that employers ensure compliance with safety regulations and standards designed internally or by government agencies. By complying with standards and strictly implementing safety measures, workers in their early employee tenure can be assured that their employers care about their safety and well-being.

Prioritize Safety in Workplace Culture

Employers must ensure workers know their safety is the top priority. For example, conducting regular safety meetings to remind workers of proper safety protocols and to address any concerns or questions may help employees feel that their safety is valued, increase employee satisfaction, and may also improve the overall culture of safety in the workplace.

Protect Your Workforce

In conclusion, workers are more likely to experience work-related injuries earlier in their job tenure. This trend can be attributed to several factors, such as inadequate training, lack of safety measures, overconfidence, lack of experience, and workplace culture. Employers in both public sector and private sector must take proactive steps to prevent early employee tenure injuries, such as providing adequate training, implementing safety measures, providing experienced mentors, and prioritizing safety in the workplace culture. By doing so, they can protect their workforce, create a safe and healthy work environment, and improve worker job satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How long does it take for new workers to become familiar with the work environment?

A. It varies depending on the job and the worker, but it generally takes several weeks to a few months for a new worker to become fully familiar with their new work environment.

Q. Are new workers more likely to get injured in certain industries?

A. Yes, some industries are inherently more dangerous than others. For example, construction and manufacturing industries have higher injury rates than office or retail environments.

Q. What should workers do if they feel unsafe on the job?

A. Workers should immediately report any unsafe conditions or incidents to their supervisor or HR department. They also have the right to refuse work that they believe is too dangerous.

Q. How can workers protect themselves from workplace injuries?

A. Workers should always follow proper safety protocols and procedures, use personal protective equipment when necessary, and report any potential hazards or unsafe conditions to their supervisor.

Q. Can employers be held liable for workplace injuries?

A. Yes, employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees. If they fail to do so and a worker is injured, the employer may be held liable.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.