Contributed by Jo Gardner
AT EHS Momentum, we believe safety in the workplace benefits everyone from the workforce to the stockholders. As the Holiday season crashes into the homestretch, it seems a good time to revisit the highest holiday threats to safety in the workplace. We will touch on the most common dangerous work habits during the holidays.
Stress, Distraction and Lack of Situational Awareness
Workers sometimes need to be reminded to focus. Distracted work amidst large equipment can mean injury or death. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Avoid checking chats on your mobile phone that are not work related. It is also critical to manage stress, especially at this time of year. Reach out for support if stress compromises your ability to focus on the job at hand. Take breaks as time for yourself. Be aware and mindful as you work.
Practice healthy eating and sleeping habits. Poor diet this time of the year impact your mood. Too much sugar can lead to depression. Yes sugar and carbs boost your energy at first, but it is temporary. It starts a roller coaster of sugar based serotonin high followed by a deep crash.
Worker Fatigue in the Workplace
Holiday parties, overbooked schedules, home remodels and general sprucing up, and super shopping for the perfect gifts all contribute to exhaustion. With all this spending, you might be taking on all the overtime you can. Many companies are understaffed thanks to the great resignation. That is a blessing to those trying to get extra money to cover the holiday spending sprees. It won’t be a blessing if you get hurt.
All of these behaviors lead to worker fatigue in the workplace. OSHA reports worker studies show fatigue can result in higher stress, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. When you couple fatigue with heavy equipment, it is a recipe for disaster. That is why it is more important than ever that you stop to think about the danger. Your family wants you healthy and whole after the holidays. Is it really worth the risk to burn the candle at both ends until an accident stops the cycle?
It is the end of the year, and maybe you wanted a few days off for Christmas. There is more work to get done and less time to do it. Stop panicking. For safe workflow, it is critical that you allow enough time to complete your tasks safely. Rushing is one of the most dangerous work hazards on the list of threats to safety in the workplace.
Frustration can consume your mental processes and energy. It can also impact your situational awareness, leading to workplace hazardous situations. There are many causes of frustration, from delays by a crew before you can begin work, to inadequate equipment to slower turn times at your station. Whatever the source of the frustration, unless you calm yourself before proceeding, you are inviting workplace accidents to occur. You can protect yourself and others around you by using whatever frustration reduction technique works for you, deep breathing, discussion with a friend, coworker or supervisor, etc. Then go back to the task and be mindful of your role and your surroundings.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. When you add the effect of holiday fatigue, distraction and frustration, accident risks skyrocket. Protect your holiday safety in the workplace with situational awareness, through focus, wellness and rest. Enjoy your holidays and be safe.