The public can be very demanding during the holiday season. Those who work in retail stores or warehouses know how hectic things can get this time of year. Not only must employers work harder and faster to make commercial goods available to the public, but they must also work longer, more exhausting shifts.
It's important that workers are extra vigilant during the holiday season. Workplace safety education company SafeStart identifies several safety concerns that often arise during this time of year.
Holiday-related workplace safety hazards to watch out for
- Workplace fatigue: Employees may get less sleep during the holidays due to hours of shopping and planning of celebrations. While on the job, employees may endure longer shifts and work harder due to the increased holiday demand. Both the lack of sleep and longer work hours can result in fatigue — resulting in impaired judgment, loss of coordination, and physical exhaustion. This is when workers are more likely to make errors that can result in an accident.
- Workplace stress and exertion: For many sectors, the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. There is an added pressure to work faster for those who work in retail, warehousing, and delivery services. When employees are focused on getting things done as fast as possible, vital safety steps are often overlooked. In addition, workers are more likely to make careless mistakes that can result in someone's injury.
- Ladder hazards: During and after the holiday season, workers often set up and break down displays. In addition, shelves must remain stocked. Both tasks often require the use of ladders. Employees must ensure that ladders are stable and placed on the ground. Furthermore, three points of contact should always be kept for adequate ladder safety.
- Electrical hazards: Electrical shock injuries are common during the holidays due to misuse of lights and other electric decorations. Damaged and exposed wires are also a leading cause of electrical shocks on the job.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Walking areas riddled with debris and snow and water tracked in from outside are common causes of slip, trip, and fall accidents on the job. Slips, trips, and falls are among the leading causes of injury in retail according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Food safety: Holiday work parties and potlucks are common in many workplaces during this time of year. Illnesses can occur when food isn't properly prepared, stored, and distributed. Food-related allergies are also common. When putting on these events, employers should always follow strict food safety guidelines outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Alcohol-impairment: Some holiday work parties include drinking. When employees who have had too much to drink get behind the wheel or return to work, they are prone to catastrophe. Alcohol-impairment generally increases during the holiday season. Workers can be hurt in accidents caused by other employees who had been drinking or in transportation incidents.
Your legal rights if you're injured on the job
If you're hurt on the job this holiday season, it's important that you report the incident to your employer and seek immediate medical attention. An experienced Philadelphia workers' compensation attorney at the Law Offices Of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can review your workplace accident and help maximize your chances of receiving benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.
To find out how we can help you, contact us online and schedule your free initial consultation.