Abstract Very little research has examined the safety expectations of new recruits, particularly those of individuals about to enter full-time work for the first time. There is evidence that new recruits have proportionally more accidents in the first period of their employment. One possible explanation for this is that the safety expectations of new recruits do not match the reality of the workplace they are about to enter. In Study 1 data on workplace safety expectations were collected from 142 final year high school students from six schools. Study 2 collected data from 40 organizations on the safety expectations of a new recruit and compared it with safety expectation data from a manager of the job they were entering. Both studies found that new recruit safety expectations were significantly correlated with ratings of safety specific trust in co-workers and management. Study 2 found that new recruits safety expectation scores were significantly higher than those given by managers. The results suggest that organizations need to develop a clear safety-specific psychological contract with new recruits.