Those employers ready to hire an untrained or unskilled candidate with the
thought of offering training are also inadvertently increasing their risk exposure. If the employer is doing the training
himself, he may find that difficult as he
continues to move forward with hiring
additional candidates while assisting with
operations — especially if the company
is short-staffed. This scenario often puts
green employees to work without the
adequate training in the hopes that productivity doesn’t suffer.
Additionally, without adequate training, in many cases these employees will
produce an imperfect product. For those
in customer service, insufficient training
can lead to weakness in customer care.
Lumberyard employees without solid
training could be stacking materials in an
unsafe manner or storing flammable materials improperly.
Other employees may be insufficiently
trained to operate a forklift or load and
unload a vehicle. Non-English speaking
employees who are not properly trained
on the work site, can also increase risk
exposure if they are not taught to under-
stand and observe caution signage among
One of the most significant risks of
untrained employees is driving inexperience. Just five years ago, a lumber truck
may have left the lumberyard once a day
for four days a week. In today’s robust
economy, trucks are coming and going
from that same yard two to three times
every day. At the same time, more drivers
are on the road, increasing risk exposure
Without proper training, these drivers (and other contributing factors) can
cause more accidents. Those accidents
may spell claims related to driver and
pedestrian injuries and fatalities, not
to mention marred or lost inventory or
other related property damage.
Aside from hiring good drivers in the
first place, driver safety can be improved
by incorporating new technology into
commercial vehicles, such as telematics
that can monitor driver performance, track
their location and more. Frequent checks
of motor vehicle records is also critical.
During this tight labor market, hiring
managers need to understand and be re-
minded of the threat a poor hire can be
to a thriving business. Claims personnel
can assist in helping to raise awareness.
When onsite, they can keep an eye out for
compromised hiring practices, safety vio-
lations and more, and then bring those to
the business owner’s attention.
Employers also need to make sure they
are communicating clearly and often to
their employees — particularly if they are
new to the business. Employers should go
over safety rules and regulations repeat-
edly and share those messages clearly to
any non-English speaking employees.
Insurers and their claims teams can
point their policyholders to loss control
resources. They can provide training vid-
eos, safety signage, safety checklists and
more to help keep greener, and more sea-
soned employees, on track.
In a recent blog post for the lumber
industry Brooks said, “We are in an en-
vironment where jobs are plentiful, and
workers are scarce, and in an industry
that has long been lampooned as a career
of last resort. However, you do it,” he said,
“finding the people you need will take
more creativity than it has in the past.”
Just don’t be so creative that you sacrifice quality control in hiring. It is critical in mitigating risk and in keeping a
business viable and profitable for years
John Smith ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is
president and chief executive officer
at Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual
Insurance Company (PLM). With more
than 40 years in the insurance industry,
he has been a part of PLM since 1998.