The new year’s impending onset also brings with it the end-of-year holiday season with added stresses and distractions. From buying holiday gifts and baking pies to figuring out when Grandma’s plane will arrive and who is picking her up, these common thoughts can be distracting at the workplace, inadvertently putting an employee’s safety at risk. Here are some tips for helping keep employees safe during the fast-moving holiday season.
Fatigue, in general, is increased in more stressful times of the year resulting in safety oversites and fatigue-related injuries. Worker fatigue was a contributing factor in various industrial disasters, including Chernobyl, the Colgan Air Crash, and the Texas City BP oil refinery explosion (OSHA). While these are extreme examples, they are also proof that fatigue increases the risk for illnesses, injuries, and accidents.
Employers can reduce holiday stress and fatigue at work by encouraging employees to focus on maintaining a firm work/life balance. This includes using time efficiently during the workday, completely unplugging while at home, and making sure to ask for help if they start to feel overwhelmed. Relying on your team is one of the best parts of being on a team.
Whether at home or in the office, ladder use increases around the holiday season. Employers should feel empowered to provide refresher ladder safety courses during these peak times each year. According to the American Ladder Institute, “factors contributing to falls from ladders include haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the ladder (worn or damaged), the user’s age or physical condition–or both–and the user’s footwear.” Ladder users are encouraged to utilize the “three points-of-contact” climbing method to help minimize the chances of incurring an injury.
Decorating and Electrical Concerns
Who doesn’t love a festive and decorated workspace, front lobby, or break room? While lights, tinsel, and other holiday decorations evoke the holiday spirit, they may also unintentionally be a safety concern. For example, it is important to secure all electrical cords, including extension cords, to avoid creating a tripping hazard. Similarly, make sure when decorating that pathways to any exits are not obstructed in the event of an emergency so employees and guests can exit quickly and safely. In all circumstances, it is recommended to never have an open flame at the workplace, especially as a decoration. Lastly, decorations should not be left plugged in overnight or if unattended.
The holiday season, regardless of what you celebrate, is a special time for businesses, employees, and their families,which is why maintaining all aspects of your safety protocols are just as important as any other day of the year.
During the holidays, it can become easy to forget the simplest of health and safety procedures when there are so many other fun things going on. To be proactive in the safety of your business, your employees, and your customers, contact QBS to discuss options for compliance, safety, and risk management.
Above all, from our QBS family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! We hope you and your loved ones have a happy and safe holiday season!