Keep your workers safe during the holiday season

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, workplaces are preparing for shutdowns over the summer holiday season.

This is an opportune time to reflect on the roles and responsibilities of your managers, supervisors and employees and ensure your workplace and your staff stay safe over this period.

Safety can be overlooked as businesses often work to tight deadlines at this time of year. As a result, shortcuts are often taken and usual protocols dismissed leading to a greater chance of injury.

Across the manufacturing industry, employers may notice an increase in workplace injuries not only leading up to Christmas, but also following the return to work after the holiday season.

Work Cover has analysed claims data and has identified some reasons for the increase in injuries. These include:

- Staff working longer hours to finish off jobs, increasing the chance of fatigue and accidents;

- To cope with the extra workloads, temporary staff or school leavers are being employed without proper training and induction to safety processes;

- The increase in social activities and events at this time of the year can leave workers tired and rundown which can impact their concentration levels at work, especially around machinery;

- Financial hardship at this time of the year due to increased spending and reduced work hours can create a mental burden which may also impact concentration levels; and

- Workers becoming deconditioned due to higher levels of food and alcohol consumption and periods of less activity.

Employers can help prevent workplace injuries by remaining vigilant about injury prevention and even increasing safety measures in the lead up to the holiday season.

Some measures employers can implement to help maintain the safety culture over the holiday season, include:

- Scheduling extra toolbox talks for your workers to raise the awareness of the additional pressures at this time of the year and the importance of maintaining safe work practices;

- Ensuring any new staff receive proper training and induction;

- Communicating and reminding your workers of any internal resources and assistance programs available to them if needed;

- Using posters in the work-place promoting the importance of Zero Harm at work and at home;

- Introducing a stretching program at the start and finish of each shift to minimise the risk of strains and sprains; and

- Engaging an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist to investigate any small niggle that crops up in the period directly following the holiday season.

Employers could also encourage their workers to stay safe over the holiday season by reminding them to:

- Drive safely;

- Consume alcohol in moderation;

- Avoid overindulging in rich foods;

- Spend some time relaxing; and

- Try to get some physical exercise.

 

Other helpful resources/links for safety and counselling services:

- Posters promoting safety in the workplace are available from our website under forms and resources.

Lifeline – Has a 24-hour counselling service that people can call to discuss anything that may be troubling them

Salvation Army – Can help with financing or bad debt situations.

 

Source: 

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/manufacturing/articles/keep-your-workers-safe-during-the-holiday-season

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