It's the time of year where offices are hosting delicious cookie swaps, hanging festive decorations, and playing joyful music. Some argue it's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most dangerous. Whether employees are preparing their homes for an influx of relatives, making sure everything is completed at work before taking off for a few days, or wrapping up end of year reporting, the holiday season brings added stress that could potentially lead to unfortunate accidents.
In 2018 there were more than 2.8 million recorded workplace illnesses and injuries. Being aware of common and potential injuries and their causes is extremely important to keeping employees safe this holiday season.
6 Most Common Workplace Injuries During the Holiday Season
- Slips, Trips, and Falls
There's nothing like creating a positive and festive workspace around the holidays. This can be a fun task for office bonding and raise morale in the office. That means there are some increased risks to look out for. More than 240,000 slips, trips and falls were reported in 2018. Make sure employees stand on steady objects (like a step ladder) and not a chair on wheels when hanging up decorations. Ensure that all objects are secured in place so they don’t fall and cause someone to slip.
- Fire Breakouts
Twinkling lights hanging around the office always adds a nice flare of holiday spirit, but it is important to be aware where the lights are plugged in. Power strips and extension cords can only handle so much electricity at once. Make sure that outlets aren’t overloaded and that everything is unplugged at the end of the day to prevent any fires or incidents overnight.
- Food Safety
With all of the goodies co-workers are bringing in during the holiday season, it is important to make sure common food allergens are being reported. Milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat are the most common food allergies, and many of these ingredients are used for baking cookies, brownies and other delicious goodies.
- Winter Hazards
In areas where snow is almost a guarantee around the holiday season, it is important to be mindful of the extra time it may take to get to and from work. Slippery road conditions can lead to delays and added traffic. It’s also good to remember a snow scraper for when it snows during the day. At least 11 states have a law requiring drivers to remove snow and ice from their vehicles before they hit the roads. Tune in to local radio stations and see what the road conditions are like before you head out -- it might be safer to work from home.
- Drunk Driving
With the holidays comes corporate and business holiday parties. It is key to make sure employees are being safe when they leave, especially after a couple of drinks. No one wants a coworker to be in an accident when leaving a party. Your company might have pre-paid taxis or other free services for a safe ride home. Make sure the codes are visible to employees. If you see a coworker who probably shouldn't drive, encourage them to take advantage of a free and safe ride home.
- Increased Traffic
With the increased travel during the holiday seasons, traffic is inevitable. The best way to handle it is to make sure you leave enough time to get to work and aren’t rushing. Fender benders are most common around this time so make sure to leave enough room between you and the car in front of you.
Technology to Prevent and Respond to Workplace Injuries
The holiday season can bring a lot of added stress and pressures from both work and family life. Be sure to take time to relax and enjoy the season. There is always time tomorrow to wrap those last few presents and finish the last report. Fatigue and exhaustion are common factors when it comes to workplace injuries around the holidays because employees aren’t often at their sharpest or they have a lot on their mind. The holiday season is a time for good cheer and celebration. Don’t let common injuries interrupt that.
Businesses are taking their employee's safety seriously but implementing helpful technologies to streamline communications and ensure workplace safety. Using a corporate safety app is a great way for offices to engage with their workers throughout the holidays by sending resources, safety assistance, and two-way communications. Employees are able to contact specific departments through text message as well as receive geo-targeted push notifications.
In the case of an emergency workers also have the ability to immediately contact and connect to 9-1-1 or security with the push of a button. If there is a safety threat or medical emergency a user can contact on site security or first responders who will receive detailed location data, which is critical in an emergency situation. A corporate safety app can reduce response times and reduce the risk of employee injury.
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