Starting a new job is exciting; meeting new people, learning news skills and earning good money is always rewarding. However, statistically you are more likely to get injured at work in the first few months than at other times. That’s because the equipment is new, you haven’t fully familiarised yourself with the layout and because your brain is busy processing new information.

With all this in mind there are some things that you need to know before you set foot in a workplace; facts and information that could prevent an accident or even save your life. Here are the top five.

1. Who is the health and safety officer?

Any company that employs people should be familiar with and adhere to the 1974 Health and Safety in the workplace act. Signs which detail who is responsible for health and safety in the company and other important information, like where to gather in the event of an accident, should be clearly displayed and explained to you during your induction. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to be safe than sorry after all.

2. What safety equipment do you need?

If your job is going to require safety equipment your employer is obliged to provide you with it. However, if there are added risks or dangers as a result of a personal condition then you will need to inform them of this. You may even want to use some of your own equipment – always check with your employer first though.

3. What is the health and safety record?

Ask to see records of health and safety, including things like the accident book, when starting in a new position. Speak to members of current staff about what the health and safety situation is like and establish whether you’re comfortable with this. A company with a bad record might just be unlucky but it could be a sign of carelessness or negligence; it’s best to find out which before you start.

4. Are you covered?

Check your contract thoroughly before you start. You need to ensure you are covered in case of an accident at work. If you are unsure, ask someone to check it out for you. Find out now and you won’t have the added stress of doing so at the time of an accident.

5. What are your responsibilities?

What kind of machinery are you expected to use as part of your job and what training will you be given? You need to make sure you are not expected to do anything dangerous without the proper equipment and training. Understand your responsibilities and your safety record will be much higher as a result.

If the worst does happen, remember that you can seek legal advice and assistance from national injury lawyers. They are trained to deal with compensation claims for a range of accidents, including those which occur in the workplace, and will handle your case with discretion and sensitivity.

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