During this busy time of year at work, with the pressure to finish projects and the upcoming holiday seasons that brings its own stress and distractions, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything going on. Below we have outlined some points that should help you manage this hectic time of year and keep you safe.
Did you know that there are specific workplace hazards present during the holiday season? In order to protect yourself and your co-workers, you may want to bring up in your JSA and tailgate meetings some of the following topics:
Stress, fatigue, and rushing are major contributors of accidents and injuries this time of year. It’s important for everyone 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.
We all tend to deal with a lot of distractions during the holiday season. Planning project shutdown for time off, travel plans to be with friends and family, shopping for gifts…the list could go on.
But that isn’t an excuse for us to lose our focus at work. Help your co-workers keep their mind 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 co-workers. Get them to understand why it’s so important for them to not let their minds wander in the middle of the day-to-day 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 workweek, counting down the minutes until they can head home for a much-needed break.
The second has to do with the end-of-year demands on the project. Each project will have certain deadlines, quotas, or milestones that are set to be achieved by the end of the year. This can have a direct impact on the worker in the field.
No matter the reason, make sure that you and your co-workers aren’t sacrificing your safety by rushing through the work.
Oftentimes rushing will lead to mistakes, which can be more costly to the project. If the work must be re-done, that means more time and materials that the company must pay for; and if the mistakes lead to an accident or injury, those costs can be significant, if not life-threatening.
Encourage your co-workers to continue their work at a safe and steady pace. The risk just isn’t worth it.
Hazards of Fatigue
Workers are more likely to experience fatigue during the holiday season. This can be attributed to many things, especially:
Some of you are more than happy to work long hours or pick up extra hours when needed. 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.
Stress from home or holiday celebrations along with multiple nights of staying up later than usual can also cause worker fatigue. This and other factors that occur outside of the workplace should be discussed, even though management doesn’t have control of these situations. Hold a toolbox talk about the hazards of fatigue whether from work or outside of work. 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 and family. Even if a worker has a vacation planned, they might feel stressed about missing work!
Stress can make a co-worker frustrated and can cause them to lose their focus. Help them to alleviate their stress by creating an open opportunity to talk. Be there to help your co-workers through trying times.
If you see a co-worker who appears to be overly stressed, make sure their supervisor is aware of it. There might be assistance programs available or something they can do to help.
Keep Yourself and Your Co-Workers Safe
Keep these tips in mind and be on the lookout for hazards from stress, fatigue, and rushing. Make sure you and your co-workers are focused on the task at hand. Doing so could help prevent accidents and injuries in the coming weeks.
Leon Burgess has been selected as our Safety Employee of the Month. We wanted to thank Leon for always putting safety first and dedication to making Cleveland Integrity and Eagle Infrastructure #1.
Why is Safety so important to you?
At one time or another in the past, we have seen an unsafe condition go bad and we could have said something and changed the outcome. All accidents can be avoided. Let's be diligently involved with safety on our projects and get others involved, also.
Why do you think submitting near-miss reports is important?
We all know that reporting near misses becomes the perfect opportunity for creating a learning environment so that all are educated and go safely home to their families. Don't be shy, see something, say something.