by Bill Zachry

Reducing Workplace Injuries for New Employees with AI Technology

October 2023

"The Comp Compass" is Voxel's monthly whitepaper where Bill Zachry, former VP of Risk at Albertsons & Safeway, shares his expertise on workers compensation insurance, and his vision for the future of risk management.


Workplace safety is a pressing concern for businesses and organizations across various industries. As the workforce evolves and undergoes significant changes due to evolving technology and phenomena such as the Great Resignation, it is crucial for employers to understand the risks associated with new and inexperienced workers. Research on work-related injuries reveals that a high percentage of these incidents occur during the first year of employment,1,2 making it essential for employers to provide appropriate instruction and support for new employees, as well as for long-term employees taking on new roles. Similar findings have been replicated for workers with 5+ years of work experience compared to those with less tenure.2

There are several reasons why new employees are more likely to experience workplace injuries. These include a lack of awareness of potential hazards, a focus on meeting production goals rather than safety, mental and physical fatigue associated with starting a new job, and a learning curve for performing tasks efficiently and safely. Furthermore, many companies lack a comprehensive safety culture that prioritizes training for new employees, while others delegate safety training to co-workers or untrained front-line supervisors, which can result in inconsistent or insufficient instruction. Workers have a 4x greater risk of injury during the first week compared to injuries in the first year, and 1 in 8 workplace injuries occur on the first day, reflecting the significance of proper training and instruction.4,5 These factors may help explain why there is a higher claim frequency during the first year of employment. 

By assessing who's injured, why, and the costs, including lost work time, employers can develop processes and training to enhance employee safety and maintain operations. Given the challenges of implementing such a safety plan, it is sensible to explore innovative solutions that can help lower the rate of injuries for new employees. 

One such solution is the use of AI technology, specifically computer vision systems, which can detect potential hazards and injury risks in real-time, offering a valuable tool for improving workplace safety. In this discussion, we will delve into the reasons behind the increased risk of injury for new employees, and connect how AI-driven computer vision technology, such as the platform offered by Voxel, can be harnessed to create safer working environments for all employees.

“Overreaching” incident captured on the first day of running Voxel.

The Great Resignation 

As the global workforce continues to experience unprecedented levels of job transition and employee turnover, a phenomenon widely known as the "Great Resignation," employers face new challenges in maintaining workplace safety. The Great Resignation has led to a large influx of inexperienced workers entering various industries, amplifying the risks associated with new employees and putting additional pressure on organizations to address workplace hazards effectively. This rapid and widespread workforce shift underscores the urgency and importance of focusing on safety measures tailored to new employees. If left unaddressed, the consequences of the Great Resignation may translate into higher rates of workplace injuries, increased workers compensation costs, and overall decreased productivity. By understanding the connection between the Great Resignation and workplace safety, employers can take proactive steps to implement robust safety protocols and leverage innovative AI technologies that reduce the likelihood of injury and create a safer work environment for all.

Implementing a Clear Safety Policy for New Employees

To minimize the risk of workplace injuries for new employees, it is essential to establish and implement a clear safety policy that addresses specific risk exposures in the work environment. The following steps can be taken to develop a robust safety policy for your workforce:

  1. Determine specific risk exposures: Understand the injury risks associated with each job role in your organization. Assign a "Safety Buddy" to new employees to ensure that their safety training is accurate, appropriate, and tailored to their specific job responsibilities.
  1. Include temporary and part-time workers: Make sure that all temporary and part-time employees are included in the safety training program, as they are also at risk for workplace injuries.
  1. Develop a video library for safety training: Create a collection of informative videos that demonstrate best safety practices for onboarding new workers and training current employees. Include critical or high-priority incidents that showcase the real-life consequences of neglecting safety precautions.
  1. Encourage immediate reporting of incidents: Require all employees to report injuries and near misses promptly. Investigate each incident to determine its cause and identify potential mitigation measures. Use this information to reinforce safety training for new employees.
  1. Monitor the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Keep track of PPE usage to determine when it needs repair, replacement, or restocking. Timely maintenance of PPE is crucial, as inadequate PPE can be a leading indicator of increased claim frequency and severity.
  1. Promote good housekeeping practices: Train new employees to maintain a clean and organized work area. Proper housekeeping reduces the risk of injuries by minimizing potential hazards in the workplace.

By implementing a clear safety policy that addresses the unique risks faced by new employees, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries, promoting a safer and more productive work environment. 

Leveraging Voxel's AI Platform to Prevent Workplace Injuries

Voxel's AI platform presents an innovative solution for addressing the increased risk of workplace injuries among new and inexperienced employees. By utilizing advanced computer vision technology, Voxel offers a powerful tool for enhancing safety measures, training, and overall workplace culture. The following features of Voxel's platform can help prevent workplace injuries and reinforce the importance of safety:

  1. Promoting accountability through coaching: Voxel's platform identifies high-priority incidents daily, providing valuable material for "toolbox talks" and other training sessions. By integrating Voxel's insights into regular discussions, employers can create a culture of accountability, where employees are aware of the importance of workplace safety. The psychology of observation also plays a critical role in shaping employee behavior, as workers are more likely to prioritize safety when they know their actions are being monitored.
  1. Enhancing training with video-based content: Studies have shown that video-based training is highly effective, as workers tend to be more engaged with content that reflects their real work environment. Voxel's platform supports the use of video training materials, enabling organizations to create more impactful and relevant safety training programs for new employees.

    As an example, Voxel recently collaborated with Dixieline at one of its mixed indoor-outdoor stores and successfully decreased daily 'overreaching' and 'improper bending' incidents by 79% over a span of 6 months. In September 2022, the site experienced an average of 26 'over reaching' incidents per day and by February 2023, the average number of 'over reaching' incidents had declined to only 8 per day. Dixieline Lumber is a subsidiary of Builders FirstSource, the premier supplier of building products in the US. 
  2. Utilizing the Bookmark feature for preserving critical incidents: Voxel's Bookmark feature allows employers to store important videos of critical safety incidents and maintain a library of historical events. This resource can be used during new hire training to emphasize top-priority safety behaviors and demonstrate the real-life consequences of non-compliance. By exposing new workers to the potential outcomes of unsafe behavior, they are more likely to take safety precautions seriously.

In conclusion, Voxel's AI platform offers a comprehensive solution for mitigating the risks associated with new and inexperienced employees in the workplace. By combining cutting-edge computer vision technology with practical applications that address the key issues in workplace safety, Voxel empowers organizations to create safer work environments and promote a culture of safety and accountability. By leveraging Voxel's platform, employers can take proactive steps to reduce workplace injuries and protect their most valuable asset: their employees.

Sources: 1. Wilson J. "Which workers are most likely to be injured at work?" HRD Australia, May 2, 2023. ​​2. The Travelers Injury Impact Report. June 2023.  3. Bena A, et al. BMC Public Health; 13(1). September 2013. 4. Breslin FC. Occupational and Environmental Medicine; 63(1), 27-32. Jan 2006. 5. SBN. "Don’t become part of the statistic — reduce new hire injuries - SBN." December 2017.