Workplaces across Australia traditionally prepare for end of year celebrations throughout November and December and are winding down work, in preparation for holidays throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
It has been identified by WorkSafe Victoria that November and December are traditionally the most dangerous time of the year. Between 2008 and 2017 in Victoria, 53 people died in the months of November and December as a result of workplace incidents. This two-month period accounts for 22.3% of all workplace deaths.
WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said tight deadlines that often occur at this time of year are no excuse for workplaces to cut corners on safety. “Workplace health and safety is the responsibility of everyone, and as holidays approach it is essential employers and workers take the time to slow down and not rush to get things done,” Nielsen said.“There is no situation where getting a job finished is more important than coming home safely at the end of the day.” Last year November and December became a tragic time for five families who lost loved ones in workplace incidents.
WorkSafe QLD have also identified that this time of year, can lead to an increase in the number of workplace injuries, due to busy schedules and competing priorities for workers. Barbara Martin from WorkSafe QLD says that injury claims tend to rise in the lead up to Christmas.
"People rush to get everything done before Christmas. But after a busy year they're often already worn out and can easily lose concentration, which leads to mistakes and injuries," Ms Martin said.
"During the holiday season, WorkSafe QLD often sees a spike in injury claims for simple but preventable accidents, like falling from ladders, slips, trips and falls," Ms Martin said.
In the lead up to Christmas, remind your workers to take the time to slow down, think about the task at hand and not rush activities to get the job done quickly. Encourage your workers to speak up if they feel that busy deadlines or competing priorities in the workplace are compromising their safety.
All workers have the right to return home healthy and injury free this festive season.