Safe Work Australia statistics report that the festive months of November, December and January hold a higher percentage of workplace-related injuries. This includes fatalities involving employees and bystanders. In the last decade, 25% of workplace fatalities have occurred in November and December. It's imperative that a safe work environment over this period is established.
These figures are alarming. But if we look through the factors that can contribute to the rate of injuries and fatalities it’s clear that the festive season brings its fair share of challenges to the workplace. It’s not only during the lead-up to Christmas but also during the weeks proceeding, as employees are returning to work. As such, it’s important to understand what factors can impact your workplace – this includes what you can do to protect yourself, your staff and maintain a safe work environment.
Factors that can impact safety:
Workplaces are busier than ever in the lead-up to Christmas. No matter the industry, there are pressures to meet the needs of customers and finalise tasks before the Christmas break. This often leads to extended working hours for businesses and staff, resulting in both physical and mental fatigue.
In addition to the extended hours and pressure, there are seasonal and environmental factors at play during this time, including:
What are the contributing factors at play?
Physical and mental fatigue can cause momentary loss of concentration, impair clear thinking and can impact the ability to concentrate. These conditions can be amplified when coupled with the other impacts of the season, including:
How to protect yourself and maintain a safe work environment:
The first step is to identify the increased risks to workplace safety and understand the impacts to your employees and business. This will help to maintain a safe work environment over the Christmas period. Checks can be put in place to ensure your workplace minimises the impact associated with them, including:
The festive season is a time for celebration with family and friends. Having the right procedures and policies in place and maintaining a safe work environment ensures you and your employees can enjoy it with their loved ones.