Workplace Safety During the Holidays
You don’t need us to tell you how stressful the holidays can be — especially if you work in certain types of industries. People who work in retail, shipping, logistics, warehouses, and travel or for the postal service know this all too well. But when times are stressful, it can become more likely for people to make mistakes when it comes to safety and this is true whether we’re talking about cooking a holiday dinner at home or staying safe on the job.
As part of the holiday rush, there can be several factors that come into play that may lead to an increase in people getting hurt in the workplace. Here’s why.
More Temporary Workers
For many companies, hiring some extra employees around the holidays is just part of their routine operations. Companies need the help and people are often eager to earn some extra money for their holiday shopping. But when you have an influx of new people coming in, they might not be familiar with all the potential safety risks a job involves or the safety procedures that should be followed. And when things are hectic and busy, it’s more likely that supervisors and managers may cut corners on safety training or not be able to supervise new workers as well as they should to make sure safety procedures are being followed properly.
During busy seasons, people may be putting some extra hours in to make sure everything gets taken care of on schedule. Longer shifts may, in turn, mean either coming in earlier than normal or working later than usual or having less time off between shifts. All of these can potentially disrupt sleep cycles and make it more likely that people will be feeling fatigued at work.
Since feeling fatigued can have effects like impaired judgement and slowed reflexes, fatigue in the workplace is particularly concerning in jobs where people are working with or near heavy equipment, such as warehouse employees, truck drivers, and any other job that involves driving.
Beyond time spent directly in the workplace, those long hours can make it more likely that people will be injured in car accidents on their way to and from work. Many safety experts note that drowsy driving can have similar effects to driving drunk.
In some cases, the holidays can mean extra traffic on the roads. This can be particularly concerning for jobs that involve driving or for jobs that involve employees working near cars, such as people who collect shopping carts in the parking lot of a grocery store. In addition to the extra traffic, the fact that daylight is reduced at this time of year can make it more likely that a person driving in a parking lot could hit a store employee while they’re working.
When jobs involve working outside, the winter months can be particularly tough. Letter carriers and drivers working for other package delivery services are just one example. For them, the big holiday rush often coincides with cold temperatures, snowy days, and icy sidewalks and roads. On top of the pressure they’re already under, they also need to worry about cold-weather hazards like frostbite and slip and falls.
Contact a Michigan Workplace Lawyer
Employers have an obligation to take reasonable steps to make sure their employees stay safe on the job — even when things are stressful and busy. If you’ve been injured on the job, worker’s compensation can help cover your lost expenses while you recover. But it’s a good idea to contact a workplace injury lawyer to make sure your case is handled correctly and that all of your expenses are being covered. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer who has helped many victims of workplace injuries. Contact us today to get started.