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It’s natural to focus on customer service or to think of end-of-year “to-do’s” this time of year, but one of the major things that should be top of mind is worker safety.

Workers have quite a few distractions during the holidays. It may be stress related to the job itself, it may be pressure from customers, it may be the in-laws coming to town, or it could be a combination of other issues.

Here are key things to consider to keep workers safe—at work and at home, too—this holiday season.

With new or temp/season workers, never cut corners

Be sure not to take any shortcuts on training, onboarding or any kind of orientation for workers this time of year. You really do have a duty and obligation never to rush, or to attempt to rush, training for temp workers.

Be sure your safety-related measures and precautions are the same for all workers: whether they are full-time employees or new hires that will only be with you a few weeks.

Do what it takes to try to reduce stress at work

Do you see employees hurrying through tasks? Or are people who are normally on time coming in late? Or is it that people look more tired than normal? (Or maybe this describes you?)

Pay attention to increased pressures your workers may be facing. Stress may “be a part of the job,” but that stress can create an environment that is more prone to accidents and injuries.

Also, remember that fatigued workers cannot perform at the same level, not only in regard to productivity and quality, but also in terms of safety.

Allow all your workers to take time to clear their mind, rest their body, and participate in other activities whenever you can. They will come back re-charged, more productive, and less complacent.

Keep up with your regular risk assessments

Take the time to be aware of, document, and fix potential hazards that are preventable and avoidable in your organization (or on a specific job site). With all the stress and extra work that comes around this time of year, you never want to neglect your OSHA standards.

Make an active effort to adapt to the weather

For many different geographies, you need to take proactive steps to deal with the harsh temperatures and potentially bad weather.

Ice and snow can make trips, slips, and falls more likely to happen which means you need to be sure your facilities, from walkways to parking lots, are not potential hazards for employees…or for customers. That takes a lot of oversight and daily upkeep.

Other key steps to take if you’re in a colder climate: Make sure workers are aware of the signs of hypothermia and be sure they have the right apparel for outside work.

Review proper exits with all workers

It’s easy for boxes, extra materials, or products you are selling/shipping to get in the way of doors and entryways. Be sure you avoid putting workers and customers at risk by blocking exits at any time in your business!

In retail specifically—but true for all workplaces—you’ll want to take the time to review that you’ve maintained unobstructed exits to and from your building. OSHA’s quick to remind us this time of year of how no lock should prevent exit from any building (except certain situations) in case of fire or other emergency.

Review your emergency action plans

It’s one thing to review your exit plans, but you also want to be able to go over your other emergency plans with all employees. This applies to job site-specific and task-specific incidents, but also broader emergencies like an armed shooter, flood, or fire. 

Don’t get caught up in the busyness

You can follow all the tips above and still have a solid training and orientation process, but then information can be lost or issues can come up once a project starts.

Or, just think of all the potential craziness—or complacency—that can happen once the crowds hit in retail.

Be sure you have a manager who leads your safety efforts and who can re-group teams, keep the flow of information going, and change behaviors and processes when they aren’t working. One additional tip: just be sure this is someone who has the resources (tools like iReport) and the day-to-day time to monitor what’s really happening on a job site or in a certain environment.

Equip Your People to Stay Safe This Holiday Season

You can equip workers to report hazards, safety suggestions, near misses, and even incident reports. In iReportSource, all your workers will have the tools necessary to capture key data through required forms. The app will guide them through everything they should be collecting.

They can and will often collect video, images, and audio—all following OSHA reporting for workers’ comp claims. They should be able to do this from any device, too. Giving them this kind of mobility from the field (or simply in the office) will reduce total time from incident to resolution. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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