Health and Safety Chat

Remain vigilant and visible

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Steve Schroder
9 November 2016
As the end of the year rapidly approaches, there are lots of businesses that are preparing for shutdowns and scheduled maintenance over the holiday season.
Unfortunately, at Smart Safety Solutions, we quite often see a sharp increase in the number of near misses, incidents and injuries at this time of year.

Workers (both management and other staff) have a lot on their mind over the holiday season, and quite often safety can be overlooked as people work to tight deadlines. As a result, shortcuts are often taken and usual protocols dismissed leading to a greater chance of incident and injury.

The injuries are often caused by a combination of added responsibilities, stress, decreasing workforce as people leave for holidays, or simply a rush to get the job done. It is important that workers and management are careful not to let their guards down at this time of year and can be an excellent time and opportunity for management to reflect on roles and responsibilities and ask what they can do for staff over this time.

Employers may notice an increase in workplace injuries not only leading up to the end of the year but also following the return to work after the holiday season when people find it difficult to switch focus back to work matters.

Employers can help prevent workplace injuries by remaining vigilant and visible.
There are several factors that contribute to this increase in accidents and these include things like: Staff working longer hours as workloads increase with the demands of the holiday season. This can increase the chance of fatigue and therefore incidents

  • Temporary staff or school leavers employed to cover increased workloads, without proper training and induction to safety processes
  • The increase in social activities and events at this time of the year which can leave workers fatigued, run down, and in some cases still under the effects of substances from the previous night, which impacts their concentration levels at work, especially around machinery
  • Financial hardship at this time of the year due to increased spending and reduced work hours, which can create a mental distraction impacting on concentration levels So what can you do to help? Employers can help prevent workplace injuries by remaining vigilant and visible, promoting items like injury prevention and even increasing safety measures in the lead up to the holiday season. Hold a toolbox talk with your staff and encourage staff to come forward with any concerns they might have. Some topics that you could cover in your toolbox talks could include things like reminding staff to:
  • Drive safely (especially important for staff who drive as part of their regular job)
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
  •  Avoid overindulging in rich foods
  • Spend some time relaxing
  • Try to get some physical exercise
  • Remember to take any regular medication
  •  Report incidents or near misses Some other measures that employers may want to consider include:
  •  Ensuring any new staff receive proper training and induction as this will help prevent incidents
  • Reminding your workers of any internal resources and assistance programs available to them if needed
  • Posting posters in the workplace promoting the importance of safety at work and at home

If you have any concerns about what you can do to help keep your staff safe over Christmas, give us a call and we can help guide you through simple steps that will not only keep you safe but also help with covering your due diligence! Steve, Smart Safety Solutions.

Contact either Steve or Susan for a free confidential chat.
Susan 021 570 570 or Steve Schroder  021 452 930