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Workplace risks during the festive season

Thursday 10, Dec 2020


Staying safe during the festive season

Across many industries and business sectors, the end-of-year festive season can see an increase in the risk of workplace injuries.

Why the risk is higher

One factor — among many potential ones — is workers feeling rushed to complete tasks quickly, as the holidays approach and their available time diminishes.

Working through this season can expose workers to additional sources of stress, particularly if they’re separated from their friends and family. Industries such as retail and hospitality see increased demand at this time of year, and they also employ a lot of young staff who are relatively new to the workforce creating scenarios where inexperienced staff are placed under enormous stress, adding to the occupational risk.

Tips for employers

Some suggestions for employers to help manage their staffing arrangements leading into the festive season:

Allocate the time to hold regular safety discussions

Consultation can occur in a variety of ways, such as regular staff meetings, toolbox talks, and pre-start meetings. Take the time and make agenda items to remind workers of the importance of following safe work practices, as well as reporting of hazards and injuries, should they occur.

Ensure all staff receive a proper safety induction

Whether they’re full-time or casual, it’s important for all staff to know your operation and the risks that are present. For existing workers, it may be a good time to provide safety refreshers or reminders regarding safe work practices.

Watch out for psychosocial hazard and risk factors

Lapses in concentration can occur when trying to balance work demands and personal commitments, adding pressure to complete jobs quickly. Make sure to establish achievable workloads, rotate jobs for repetitive or highly demanding tasks and provide access to peer-support programs and staff engagement activities for those who may be working remotely over the festive season.

Ensure end of year events are appropriately managed

Employers organising end-of-year celebrations should ensure workers are aware of appropriate workplace behaviour. Event management plans which include responsible service of alcohol and safe travel arrangements to and from the function are recommended as well. If you are going ahead with end of year events or gatherings, it is important to also refer to your relevant state/territory health department for further resources and guidance for developing a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your corporate event or function.

For more than 85 years GIO has protected Australian businesses and their workers and currently provides workers compensation insurance to more than 70,000 employers across the country. GIO offers Workers Compensation Insurance for businesses in WA, NT, ACT and TAS and support services for business, including risk management and training courses. 

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