It’s that time of the year again! The holiday season is upon us. As we plan our holiday promotions, decorate our work spaces and plan our holiday office festivities we should be aware that workplace accidents and injuries increase during this time of the year. There are a number of reasons why this is the most dangerous time of the year in general, but in the workplace there are specific factors that can set the stage for accidents. Let’s go down the list.
This is the time of the year when workers can become distracted and fatigued. The holidays are full of events and obligations and most people tend to spread themselves too thin. Many people will work overtime or take a second job to earn extra money to buy gifts. Many industries become very busy during the holiday season and this is another reason why many people will work overtime. Workers should make sure that they are taking the proper amount of breaks, eating properly and getting enough sleep in order to avoid being injured at work.
With the increase in business for many industries, there comes a need to hire seasonal employees. While seasonal workers can help reduce the hours permanent employees have to work during the holidays, they are also more likely to be involved in a workplace accident. The reason is that they are generally trained quickly and are unfamiliar with all of the company’s safety policies and procedures. They are also unfamiliar with the layout of the work space and may be unaware of certain hazards. It is important that seasonal employees be trained on all safety measures as well as the proper procedures for doing the job.
This is the season where traffic increases and depending on your business, you may have more customers visiting. Every company that hosts clients in house, should have a plan for crowd control. Having too many people in a space without organization can be very hazardous both to workers and clients. Be sure your company has a plan!
Holiday decorations can boost the mood in the office, but can also be hazardous if they are poorly placed. Power cords should never be stretched across areas where people will have to step over them. This creates a trip hazard and even people who know it is there may not remember when they are busy working. Never run power cords under rugs either. It’s not only a trip hazard, but also a fire hazard should the cord get damaged from being stepped on.
The last factor in the increase of workplace accidents is fire. There are a variety of fire hazards that can present themselves during the holidays. Carelessly placed holiday decorations, overloaded power outlets, open flames, faulty power cords and even dry Christmas trees are all fire hazards. When decorating, remember less is more. Be sure to place decorations such as wreaths and trees far from possible sources of ignition. Choose artificial trees that are flame retardant instead of a real tree. Inspect all string lights and power cords to insure there are no frayed wires or damage. Don’t use nails or push pins to hang lights. This can cause damage to the cord and create a spark. Never use real candles or other open flame. Instead opt for electric candles.
The holiday season can be a great time in the workplace and can be a good time to show appreciation for employees. It can also be a good time to go over these season specific hazards and make sure everyone stays safe.