There is statistical evidence to suggest that you should certainly take more note of health and safety at Christmas and in the build up to it. Figures produced by the Health and Safety Executive covering the years 2014-2016 showed around 629,000 employees being injured at work. Interestingly in both years the numbers peaked in the final two months, November and December.
Why do elf and safety issues rise prior to Christmas?
It seems that the desire to complete jobs in time for Christmas can sometimes lead to corners being cut and a lower level of priority afforded to safety procedures. Perhaps surprisingly it also seems that contrary to what you might assume, the majority of injuries involve more experienced workers and often when carrying out routine tasks. No-one is immune from the risk of an unwanted incident especially when trying to meet often unachievable deadlines.
It’s not just Santa that is busy
The festive period always sees a large number of temporary workers entering workplaces heightening the need for effective health and safety at Christmas. It is imperative that employers take their responsibility for temporary workers seriously, ensuring that all training is completed in full and that workers are deemed fit for the tasks they are to carry out.
For those working in the manual handling industry the festive season should be viewed with particular care with many workplaces becoming especially hectic. Research shows that handling injuries are the most frequent cause of absences requiring 3 or more days away from work. With the festive season already a busy time the last thing businesses need is to lose members of its already stretched workforce.
Snow should be the only thing falling at Christmas
The construction site is another workplace that seems to experience a rise in injuries during the final two months of the year. Figures show that in particular, injuries where workers have fallen from heights increase at this time of year. Much of the safety advice available could be considered to simply be common sense but, at times when pressures to meet deadlines are high, should be taken very seriously. Ensuring that equipment to be used is appropriate and fit for the job and that workers have been properly instructed on how to use the equipment safely will help to combat festive falls.
Inexperience appears to be a major contributor to fall injuries at this time of year, as the Christmas holiday period sees a high number of school leavers entering the construction industry. These workers need special attention highlighting the importance of effective training for younger employees. Practicing effective health and safety at Christmas might be the most effective form of goodwill to all for the holidays.
Health and safety is for life not just Christmas
Although we wouldn’t suggest that health and safety at Christmas is any more important than at any other time of year, people certainly shouldn’t forget about it. Understandably there is great desire to meet increased orders or squeezed deadlines but this should not be to the detriment of employees welfare.
Indeed, the temptation to cut corners and carry on full steam ahead, might prove only to be a false economy, potentially debilitating any chance of capitalising on the festive season at all.