As businesses rush towards the end of the year, it’s the perfect time for Safety Professionals to take stock of what is going on around them and to reflect on the additional curveballs the festive period could throw your way.
Below are 5 areas of attention we believe all Safety People should be aware of this holiday season to make their role less stressful and easier to navigate.
While every business has it’s own unique distractions throughout the year, during this time there are some additional complications to consider. Christmas and Break-Up parties in particular are big culprits for adding additional risks to your workforce. Over indulgence in alcohol and lack of sleep are both contributors to ineffective handling of equipment the following day, and lead to dangerous activities at non-company premises, including driving to and from venues.
Other distractions include factory shut downs, cleaning, maintenance and construction on site, which are traditionally done while staff numbers are reduced at this time of year.
Consider these distractions to business as usual on top of existing policies and communication with teams to ensure they are mindful of safe practices, especially in locations thought to be outside of the traditional workplace. What additional activities will be happening in your business throughout the holiday breaks?
At this time of year many employees are highly stressed and are often fatigued, both physically and mentally. Some, if not most employees, see the Holiday break as a finishing line. Staff can rush toward it and can let their attention lapse in the process. Having strong fatigue management plans and policies in place is a good first step to help mitigate some of these risks.
Given the summer here in Australia, December, January and February are prime times for heat and hydration issues. With some businesses being reduced to skeleton crews throughout the breaks, it’s highly important during this period to ensure the minimum required 10 hour break between shifts is being actioned correctly.
This is also a good time of year for additional rest education to ensure employees are aware of best practice when it comes to rest as well as identifying any employees who may be working back-to-back shifts with different companies especially in casual roles. How are you identifying and addressing these risks in your business?
Some key staff members may be away during December and January, including staff that would normally perform HR on-boarding of new or temporary employees. As many businesses will bring on replacement staff during this time it is key to induct them correctly, including your focus on safety policies and programmes you are running internally.
Casuals are also often working multiple shifts at many different workplaces, so tracking their fatigue levels and rest periods can be difficult and should be considered. How many replacement staff members will be joining you across the breaks?
Due to the reasons cited in the replacement staff section, it makes sense to put in place procedures to deal with key safety and HR professionals being absent during any incidents as well as making it easy and important to report incidents as they happen.
Simple flowcharts are an excellent tool for next level leaders to navigate the holiday season as they hold the fort while key staff are on a break. Take the time to train teams into these risk mitigation procedures so you can take your break confidently without stress or the need to be contacted outside of emergency situations. Who in your team will respond to incidents while you are on leave?
Finally, how can you look after everyone else if you’re not looking after yourself? Hopefully you have the opportunity to take a break at this time of year. If you do get the chance, enjoy some time with friends, family and find some moments to unwind, refresh and revitalise yourself for the year ahead.
If you are working through make sure to take your own advice, including getting the right amount of rest so you can perform effectively as the stresses of those around you increase. Have an enjoyable and safe holiday season and remember that we are here for you.
Should you need any assistance with Safety People and Safety related questions you can always contact us via Safetypeople.com.au or direct on (03) 8677 5517.