What can you do to keep your workers safe during the festive season?

Saleswoman at Christmas

As the festive season is fast approaching, making sure all your workers stay safe is the most important thing employers should focus on. This is an opportune time to reflect on the roles and responsibilities of your managers, supervisors and employees to ensure your workplace and your staff stay safe over this period.

With the increase in trading activity and extended trading hours at this time of the year, safety can be overlooked. As a result, shortcuts are taken and usual protocols dismissed leading to a greater chance of injury.

Across the retail and wholesale industry, employers may notice an increase in workplace injuries not only leading up to Christmas, but also following the return to work after the holiday season.

WorkCover has analysed claims data and identified some reasons for the increase in injuries. These include:

  • staff working longer hours to finish off jobs, increasing the chance of fatigue and accidents;
  • to cope with the increase in trading activity and extended trading hours, temporary staff or school leavers are being employed without proper training and induction to safety processes;
  • the increase in social activities and events at this time of the year can leave workers tired and rundown, impacting their concentration levels at work; and
  • financial hardship at this time of year due to increased spending, can create a mental burden which may also impact concentration levels.

Employers can help prevent workplace injuries by remaining vigilant about injury prevention and even increasing safety measures in the lead up to the holiday season.

Here are some tips and suggestions for employers to keep a safe workplace and to manage the staffing arrangement during the busy Christmas period:

  • Ensure all new staff, whether full-time or casual, receive a proper safety induction 
    Provide all new staff with details about correct manual handling techniques, store processes and procedures required of them in relation to safe work practices and reporting injuries. 
  • Hold regular 'Tool Box Talks'
    Make sure 'Tool Box Talks' continue during the busy period and remind workers about the importance of reporting all injuries and near misses, regardless of how busy they are. This allows for preventative measures to be put in place and ensures injured workers receive the necessary medical attention. 

  • Watch out for signs of fatigue
    If your staff are 'burning the candle at both ends' and working additional shifts they may be more susceptible to momentary lapses in concentration which can result in work related accidents. To avoid this, ensure staff are adhering to their break times and not being left to perform repetitive tasks for excessive periods of time.

  • Stretching program
    Introduce a stretching program at the start and finish of each shift to minimise the risk of strains and sprains. 

Employers can also encourage their workers to stay safe over the holiday season by reminding them to:

  • drive safely
  • consume alcohol in moderation
  • avoid overindulging in rich foods
  • spend some time relaxing; and
  • try to get some physical exercise.

Taking a few simple steps, allows you to better manage your workers over the busy Christmas period and minimise the risk of workplace injuries. Encourage your workers to report all injuries as per your company procedure and you create a safe and happy workplace for all to enjoy.

If employers require any assistance with safety issues or claims over the holiday season please call us on 1300 362 128.

Other helpful resources for counselling services:

  • Lifeline has a 24 hour counselling service that people can call to discuss anything that may be troubling them
  • Salvation Army can help with financing or bad debt situations
Last updated
10 February 2016