Keeping Workers Safe During the Holidays

December 04, 2018

Did you know that there are specific workplace hazards present during the holiday season? In order to protect your employees, you may want to provide additional training around the following topics:

  • Staying Focused
  • Hazards of Rushing
  • Hazards of Fatigue
  • Hazards of Stress

Stress, fatigue, and rushing are major contributors of accidents and injuries this time of year. It’s important for employees to stay focused, and to concentrate on the task at hand. The hazards listed above can be avoided if the right precautions are put into place.

Staying Focused

We all tend to deal with a lot of distractions during the holiday season. Planning dinners, hosting our friends and family, shopping for gifts, decorating our homes and yards…we definitely stay busy this time of year.

But that isn’t an excuse for us to lose our focus at work.

Help your employees keep their minds on task and focus on what they’re doing. Especially if they are working in high-risk jobs.

You may want to hold a toolbox talk and have an open discussion with your workers. Get them to understand why it’s so important for them to not let their minds wander in the middle of a job.

Hazards of Rushing

Rushing can be caused by two different things this time of year.

The first is when workers cut corners or rush to get the job done in order to get home to their families. They are constantly watching the clock throughout the workday, counting down the minutes until they can leave.

The second has to do with the end-of-year demands from the employer. Some industries have certain deadlines, quotas, or milestones that they aim to achieve by the end of the year. This can have a direct impact on the employees — particularly if there’s a bonus involved.

No matter the reason, make sure that your employees aren’t sacrificing their safety by rushing through the work.

Oftentimes rushing will lead to mistakes, which can be more costly to the employer. If the work has to be re-done, it’s more time and materials that the company has to pay for. And if the mistakes lead to an injury, those costs can be significant too.

So encourage your workers to continue their work at a steady pace. The risk just simply isn’t worth it.

Hazards of Fatigue

Workers are more likely to experience fatigue during the holiday season. This can be attributed to one of two things:

  • Working longer hours / extra shifts
  • Late nights at home / stress from home

Some employees are more than happy to work long hours or pick up extra shifts. Particularly if there is “holiday pay” where workers can earn double time or more.

But if workers aren’t getting enough sleep, then it can affect their performance and their safety. They could be putting themselves and others at risk. As the employer, you may want to review your policy on maximum hours worked per shift and per workweek.

Stress from home can also cause worker fatigue. So can multiple nights of staying up later than usual. And while employers don’t have much control of this, you could host a toolbox talk about the hazards of fatigue. Review the importance of staying hydrated, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

Hazards of Stress

Stress can be caused by any of the hazards discussed above. Workers might feel stress and pressure to meet end-of-year deadlines. They might feel stressed about making enough money to buy presents for their kids. Even if an employee has a vacation planned, they might feel stressed about missing work!

Stress can make an employee frustrated and can cause them to lose their focus. Help them to alleviate their stress by creating an open and . Be there to help your employees through difficult times.

If you see a worker who appears to be overly stressed, make sure their supervisor or the HR department is aware of it. There might be employee-assistance programs available to them.

Keep Your Workers Safe

The holiday season is here. Keep these tips in mind and be on the lookout for hazards from stress, fatigue, and rushing. Make sure workers are focused on the task at hand. Doing so could help prevent accidents and injuries in the coming weeks.

Protect your workers. Make sure they make it home safely to their families this holiday season.

View the recording of our webinar with J.M. Huber and Arcadis to learn valuable tips and best practices on the EHS software journey, including software selection, implementation, roll out, user adoption, and change management:

Webinar - EHS Software Journey