Safety Orientation for Managers and New Employees: How to Set It Up For Success

Safety orientations for newly hired employees are pretty straightforward, especially for ground workers that only focus on specific tasks such as operating machinery. However, it isn’t true for safety orientation for managers, whether from a different company or through a promotion.

So, in this summary, let’s talk about how we can properly set up safety orientation programs for all newly hired employees and managers.

First, Create an Effective Program on Safety Orientation for Managers and New Hired Employees

Before creating a program on safety orientation for managers, we first need to create a program that every newly hired employee goes through, including new managers. This is important, especially for new managers who might not know some of the involved work procedures and machinery they’ll be managing and supervising.

The first step in creating a proper safety training program for newly hired employees is creating a list of all the necessary training. That every employee needs before they start working and familiarize with hazards. The list of the required training should be job-specific depending on their job description and responsibilities.

The list should also include the target schedule when it needs to be complete. This way, you’ll have an easier time prioritizing some topics over others. Because the reality is not much information can be retained if you try to put all the training in one or two days. Thus, making it ineffective.

Then, Create a Separate Safety Orientation for Managers

Once you’ve set up the orientation program for all the new hires and your new managers will also go through it, it is now time to create a separate safety training program for new managers.

New managers are usually excluded from training because most people believe that they already know the ins and outs of the workplace since they became managers. But this belief is not true, new managers also need to be trained in work areas and job duties they’re not familiar with.

Coach New Managers To Change their Mindsets

One essential elements that needs to complete in setting up your new managers to be successful is changing their mindsets.

Usually, newly hired managers still think with a worker mindset that all they need is to follow the safety rules and guidelines. However, now that they’ve become a manager, you’ll need to coach them to change their mindset and instill that they are now the enforcer of safety and facilitator of rules. Aside from that, you’ll also need to train them on how to coach others, discipline others, and write observations of their workers.

Set Expectations and Communication Cadence

Another essential things on safety orientation that you’ll need to do for managers is to set proper expectations. Because if you don’t, they’ll be the ones who will set expectations. They’ll think that safety should only be done by those who do safety. Instead, instill in them that you’re there to guide them on doing safety in the workplace.

Another important thing that you’ll need to do is notify them of your communication cadence. This way, they’ll understand how you’ll communicate with them and what to expect when changes regarding safety policies need to occur on all company levels.

Take Action

Management safety orientation is just one aspect of setting up your team for success. In Safety Management Academy I also teach you how to keep them engaged with regular meetings. Plus how to include them throughout your program.

You want to partner with your management team. And that starts with this foundation.

The Differences in Safety Orientation for Managers vs. New Hire Employees

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] So we all know that before a new employee starts their job, there are specific trainings they need to go through. Even before they step one foot into the work environment, they have to be trained on certain things. But do we do the same thing for new managers? Hmm. Let's discuss,

Hey there, safety friends. Welcome to the safety geek podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 years safety professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up, over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you.

At the safety geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your management support and employee engagement all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career. If you're ready to step into

[00:01:00] the role of a safety, influencer and leader, you're in the right place. Let's get to it.

Hello. Hello. Hello. My safety friend day. I want to talk about the difference between employee and manager new hire orientation, because I don't think enough of us have a clear process for new members of the management team, such as you know, your frontline supervisors, department managers, even executives.

So what is the same? What is different? And this question actually came from one of my students in safety management academy. Valerie, thank you so much. Now, if you have a question you want me to cover on the podcast, then shoot me an email at And we will definitely add it to the list.

Okay. To start off, you need to have a clear process for employee new hire orientation.

[00:02:00] This is task number one. We can't even talk about managers until you have employees covered. And this is a list of what every employee needs to be trained on prior to even starting work a list of job specific training as well.

And when it needs to be completed. So some training can actually wait past their first day, you know, like they can actually start working and doing some things, but before they operate that equipment or before they're exposed to a certain hazard, you have to make sure that they're trained on those things.

But there are some trainings that have to be done on day one, you know, like reporting injuries and hazard communication. I don't know, off the top of my head right here, but there's a handful, you know, that have to be done no matter what, before they step foot into the work environment. And if you don't have a really good list of what trainings need to be done, then I would recommend that you go back to your hazard

[00:03:00] assessment, that you do a really good comprehensive hazard assessment.

And I do have a little mini workshop on that. If you need help with that, and you can look at that at forward slash H A workshop. But when you're creating new hire orientation for employees, you need to have that list of like what has to be done immediately and what can be done later. And the more that you can put off until later, the better, because when you try to do too much training at once, The retention of the training just diminishes.

So what I like to do is actually have a shorter new hire orientation. And then over the next several weeks, I touch them again and again and again on the shorter topics for everything else that they need to do. Actually, I have a whole process for employees involved in that and all of that good stuff.

I talk about that in safety management. So, what I recommend that you start off with is creating a solid training matrix. This would be a

[00:04:00] list of all of your policies, procedures, and trainings, and who needs to be trained and when they need to be trained on it. I love to also add a column in there as to when refresher training needs to be done.

So the who, and when of these trainings should also include management. So if they work in areas where they supervise employees who will be doing these tasks, they need to be trained in it as well. So for example, you don't want to have a forklift operator. They're trained on forklift operation, but their manager knows nothing about operating a forklift.

So you still want the manager to go through the training. They don't have to be a certified forklift operator, right? Because unless they're doing evaluations, they don't need that, but they need the basics of understanding how to properly and safely operate a fork. So when you are creating this matrix, make sure that you're including everybody. If they

[00:05:00] work in an area around a hazard, they need to be included. If they manage people that will fall under those policies has procedures, they need to be included. From these lists, you can create a new hire orientation that every single employee goes through. And when I say everyone, I mean, everyone, this is your employees, your office employees, your remote employees.

You're managers. Everybody goes through it. Now, if a manager is brand new to the company, like they had a management position and they're being hired from the outside to fill it. The very first thing they're going to go through is this new hire orientation. Now, typically management members, especially frontline supervisors are promoted from within.

So when they're promoted from within, they've already gone through new hire orientation, they did that when they were hired with the company.

[00:06:00] So when you are scheduling your new hire orientation, everybody goes through it, but you want to schedule your topics by order of priority. So the very first topics in your orientation are going to be the thing that everybody goes through, even your remote employees, right?

And then your job specific, they're going to go last. So that way, if you have a room of new hires, And, you know, some of them are in the office. They can actually get out of the orientation early, but then the people that are working in the safety sensitive areas, they actually stay later and that they continue on.

What this allows you to do is just to have one orientation for everybody, as opposed to doing orientation for office people, orientation for a remote workers, orientation for, you know, safety sensitive positions. But when you organize it this way just allows you to like develop it in stages. Like if you're not going to be working in the production room, you can leave.

Now you're done that type of thing. Right? So that is new hire orientation. The second part of the

[00:07:00] question was manager orientation. Now your management team, they could be promoted from within, or they could be hired as a new employee, just like I went over. So a lot of times what happens is that when they are promoted from within, they get missed out on management orientation, because it's assumed that they already know all the things that they need to know about the company's policies and procedures in being a manager.

But this is not true. For example, your employee was trained on accident procedures on how to report accidents and that the accident report needs to be filled out immediately. And then it gets turned into safety or whatever your procedure is. When they get promoted to a frontline supervisor, they may have other duties that are associated with that accident procedure that you need to train them on.

Now that they are a manager. So basically when they went through it before they were wearing their employee hat,

[00:08:00] now that they're wearing their manager hat, you need to change their mindset as to how they look at it. Because now they are the enforcer of rules. They're the implementer of the safety policies.

They are the coach of the employees. So you need to make sure that they are well-trained and prepared for this new role. Now when they are being promoted from within you, don't put them through new hire orientation again, but you do need to do some additional training and I'll go over the topics in just a second.

But I want to reiterate when they are promoted from within, they just go through management orientation, but if they are a manager hired from the outside, you put them through new hire orientation and then you put them through a management orientation. So they're getting to. Now the topics that I recommend that you put in your management orientation and you may laugh at me cause there's a lot.

So it's pretty much about the same amount as a new hire orientation, but these are important things. So

[00:09:00] you want to train them on accident procedures. What you expect them to do after an accident? In my case, I expected them to like go to the scene, take pictures, get all the information, gathered stuff about, you know, what they were doing prior.

If it was like a back strain, will product, are they lifting? What was the weight of that product? That type of thing. You might also want to train them on accident investigation. In fact, I would say you want to train them regardless. I believe that frontline supervisors should be doing the accident investigations, and I know that that's not a common belief.

The only accident investigations I like to lead are the ones that are more serious of nature. But my bumps, bruises, strains, bat, cut fingers, those types of things. I always had my front line supervisors investigate them because they had the most information. They were closest to the scene and that gave them the skills to help prevent it from happening again.

So you want to train them on accident investigations that way they understand what to look for. The next thing is you want to train them on how

[00:10:00] to train adults. I believe frontline supervisors should be doing all of the safety training and they need to know how to train adults. And even if your procedures are you doing the safety training, your frontline supervisors are still going to be touching people and training them on things.

They need to know the training adults is different than what maybe they experienced in high school. So make sure they understand how to do that. Following up on that, they need to know how to coach. They need to know that telling somebody they're doing a good job is not coaching. That it's actually a discussion based and they need to understand how to start that discussion and make it positive and make it get results.

They also need to know how to do an observation and how to actually get results from that observation, that they are expected to be watching people work and observing whether or not they're following the safety policies. Hopefully you have a formal safety observation program, but if not, they still need to be

[00:11:00] observing people and correcting them or giving them positive feedback if they are doing it the right way.

The next thing they need to know how to do is disciplinary action. Now, this might be something that the HR department steps in and teaches them how to do, but I can't tell you how many times I've had supervisors that have no clue how to give disciplinary action. And they actually had HR do it, or they had the safety manager do exceed no clue.

So make sure they understand how to do that in a positive manner. Disciplinary action is not punitive. It's a tool use to get them to change behavior because the ultimate goal is not to fire the employee. The ultimate goal is to get them to be doing the job correctly, even when you're not there. Right next.

They need to understand accountability. I believe every member of management needs accountability training probably every year because nobody understands this. I mean, I've worked with corporate offices and they

[00:12:00] just don't understand accountability. And I actually have in safety management academy, I have a training that I give you so that you can give it to your management team, because it is so important that they understand the steps of accountability, because before they understand this, it's like, they think they're holding people accountable when they really aren't.

And they don't understand that consistency piece of it either. Okay, so the next one is drug and alcohol recognition, not meaning like, yay. You're doing drugs, no alcohol. That's how that sounds. But recognizing when someone is under the influence of drugs and alcohol, now this is actually a regulation. If you have CDL drivers, but I think it's an important tool for all members of management to go through at least one.

Maybe this isn't an annual training where like accident investigation, I would train my managers on probably on a quarterly basis, how to coach, how to do observations. All of those are probably be touched on and

[00:13:00] reinforced quarterly, but drug and alcohol recognition, at least one time, they need to go through it.

So that way they can keep their employees safe. And the way that I treat drug and alcohol recognition is to try to help the. I love to have a job jeopardy program that if I do recognize somebody under the influence, I don't fire them. I put them to the job jeopardy program to help them change their behavior.

I mean, that's what it all comes down to. You're right. If you've been following my podcast for a while, then you know, I'm not about firing the employees. I'm always about how to change that behavior and getting them to improve and become excellent at their jobs. Now the next most important thing that you need to train them on

is your expectations. So if you do not set the expectations, they're going to set them themselves. And most people going into management expect safety to do all the safety and you need to set the expectation that no, you are their guide on the side. You're their

[00:14:00] Yoda. You are their coach of the coaches, but they're the ones that are expected to build safety awareness, to implement safety policies, to enforce safety policy.

So set that clear expectation in a friendly manner. And the last thing I have on my list is just notifying them of your communication cadence. So that way they understand how you communicate, how you will be sending out reports or what meetings you they're expected to be in. And how changes in the safety program are made and what that communication cadence is.

And in safety management academy actually teach you a very entwine communication cadence that covers all levels of your organization to make sure everybody is involved in the change. Now, those are the topics that you should be covered. You can create a training schedule for management orientation. However, I don't believe that you

[00:15:00] get that many changes in management that often, so more than likely what you will do is have a set plan for an orientation. And when you get a new member of management, you will probably be sitting with them. One-on-one training them. Now, if you've never trained any of your managers, then just do it over a couple of meetings.

Cause you can't do it all at once because someone has to be managing the company, but do it over a, you know, a couple of meetings. And I also believe in breaking it up, unlike new hire orientation, these are not things that they need to know when they step foot in their new role, other than accident procedures, and maybe your expectations.

Those are the two that I would start with. And then over a week or two, you know, just have different little meetings with them and then train them on the different things. The way the human brain internalizes training is they need to do it in little bite sized chunks. If you try to give them all of this training all at once, they won't remember any of it. I think

[00:16:00] retention is like 10 percent. But if you do it a little bit, let them actually experience it in their job. And then you give them a little bit more. You're going to have a more solid foundation for those managers and their first 90 days in their role, it is your job. To coach them to excellence.

Remember you are the coach of the coaches. So that means you're going to be coaching them more often than you do your other frontline supervisors or managers because they're new. So you'd the whole idea is that you're coaching them to excellence. So think about a new employee. When we get a new employee in, maybe we pair them with a mentor or we focus more time with them to make sure that they understand how to do their job.

It's the same thing with a member of management. I don't care if this new member of management has been here for 15 years as an employee, and now they're are supervisor. The moment they became a supervisor there on my 90 day rotation of getting a lot more

[00:17:00] observations, a lot more coaching, and I'm going to make them an excellent member of my safety team to make sure that they are doing what they're supposed to be doing.

So put that into your plan as well. Now management safety orientation is just one aspect of setting up your team for success. In safety management academy. I also teach you how to keep them engaged with regular meetings, plus how to include them through your communication cadence and all throughout your program.

Because the idea is, is you want to partner with your management team and this management orientation is actually a strong foundation of that partnership. Okay. My safety friend. That's what I have for you this week. Keep it safe out there and I will see you soon. Bye for now.

Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been. For a while and are hitting a roadblock. Then I want to invite

[00:18:00] you to check out safety management academy. This is my in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management support and employee participation throughout your processes.

Are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever. Then you've got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at safety management academy. Just go to to learn more and to get started. That's

And I will see you in our next student's only live session. Bye for now.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • What is Safety Orientation
  • Difference between Safety Orientation for Managers and New Hired Employees
  • Importance of Creating an Effective Safety Orientation Program
  • What Essential Things to Note When Doing an Orientation


So, these are the steps that you’ll need to do to set up your new employee orientation program for success. If you want to learn more about setting up your team for success, check out the Safety Management Academy.

And I want to hear your thoughts about our topic for this episode so leave your comments below.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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