Finish strong and start fresh

Written by Brendan Craker, ECA WA Safety Manager

As 2021 draws to a close and we enter the holiday period, it is important to maintain our focus and finish the year safely. Aim to have a safe holiday period then return to work in 2022 refreshed, in good health and immediately resume our focus on working safely. 

Finish strong

Each year as the holidays near, we are reminded of all the wonderful reasons to work safely each day. 

We are also reminded of all the distractions that can lead to otherwise avoidable accidents: 

  • Extended family time
  • Travel plans
  • To-do lists
  • Party preparations
  • Christmas shopping 

All these occupy our thoughts in anticipation of the upcoming festivities. 

These distractions can also create elevated accident risk in the workplace.

That is why it is especially important at this time of the year to slow down and stay focused on critical tasks. 

By taking the extra few moments to plan and review each task, you can keep your mind focused and aware of your surroundings.

All these mental distractions can lead to inattention and complacency, which is why accident rates increase during the holiday season. 

Holiday hazards

The holiday period itself presents some unique hazards 

To help ensure we all return to work in a fit and healthy state, we need to consider the following hazards over the festive season:

  • Stay safe on the roads: Be aware of increased traffic and potential for impaired drivers. Allow ample time to get to your destination and keep space from other vehicles. Get a good night’s sleep before departing and avoid drowsy driving. Leave early, planning ahead for heavy traffic.
  • Heat stress: It is the start of summer. Keep hydrated.
  • Sunburn: With the potential for increased outdoor / beach time, SLIP-SLOP-SLAP-SEEK-SLIDE.
  • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts where small children can reach them.
  • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights. Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.
  • Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles. 
  • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Start fresh

Many employers see an increase in workplace injuries just after the holiday season.

Experience has shown that when staff come back from a break, while well rested, they are often also less careful in their work processes for a period of time.

As we slowly make our way back to work after the holiday season, it is important to remember to stay vigilant on safety from the moment you enter the workplace.

Are we 100% focused on what we are about to do? 

Was it a relaxing holiday or one filled with stress? 

Whichever one, it’s not always easy to get it out of our minds.

By taking the extra few moments to plan and review each task, you can keep your mind focused and aware of your surroundings.

Let’s finish 2021 strongly and start fresh and focused in 2022.

In closing, I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, a safe holiday period and a prosperous and safe New Year.