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Workplace injuries are common among inexperienced workers

The first few months spent in a new job can be extremely hazardous for workers in California and around the country, according to a study from the Institute for Work and Health and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Toronto-based IWH found that workers with three or fewer months of experience are three times more likely to be injured on the job, and BLS data reveals that almost a third of the workers who suffered nonfatal workplace injuries in 2013 had less than one year of experience.

According to the IWH, the accident risks are higher among new workers because they perform unfamiliar, and possibly dangerous, tasks and are often reluctant to speak up about the safety hazards they encounter on the job. Most occupational safety advocates agree that proper training is the key to reducing workplace injuries, but eight out of 10 of the workers surveyed by the IWH in 2012 said that they could not recall receiving any workplace orientation or safety instruction.

The risks are especially high for inexperienced workers in the construction, agriculture and forestry sectors. In the construction industry, workers with less than one year on the job accounted for 34.9 percent of the serious workplace injuries in 2013 according to the BLS. However, this figure rises to an alarming 45.4 percent in the forestry and fishing segment.

Workers who perform dangerous and physically demanding tasks often face long periods without a paycheck after suffering workplace injuries. Workers' compensation programs are designed to provide financial assistance in such situations, but the application and review process can seem capricious and arbitrary to those unfamiliar with it. Attorneys with experience in this area may be able to help injured workers to avoid frustrating delays by ensuring that their workers' compensation claims are completed properly, submitted in a timely manner and supported by relevant medical and other documentation.

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