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Three workplace safety concerns around the holidays

With the holiday season bearing down, many workers are putting in long hours to try keep up with the consumer demand for gifts. Then after the holidays are over, there are all the returns and after holiday sales.

It is a busy time of year, even if you do not work in retail. You may be covering for coworkers who are out on vacation. You may also have been tasked with taking down the holiday decorations or planning a holiday party. With all these extra responsibilities, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and get careless. Here are three safety concerns to watch out for at your workplace around the holiday season.

Feeling fatigued

If you are putting in overtime, you will be more tired at the end of the day. Even if you are working a normal shift, you may also be tasked with extra responsibilities. This is especially true if you work in retail. People are out last-minute gift shopping or are returning unwanted gifts. Then of course, there are the preparations you are doing at home, like shopping for presents, making cookies, cleaning the house for guests and planning holiday parties. All these extras take time and energy.

Injuries are more likely to occur when workers are tired. You simply may not notice hazards you would normally pick up on or act more carelessly. You might not be able to do much about how many customers show up at your store or who takes vacation, but you can practice some self-care. Take your allotted breaks, and consider taking longer breaks. If you are feeling truly overwhelmed, ask your coworkers for help. Maybe they can take some of the tasks off your plate or cover a few of your shifts.

Rushing to complete tasks

If you work in retail, you may be dealing with crowds of customers or are trying to fulfill extra orders in a warehouse. In an office setting, you could be covering for coworkers who are on out vacation. Or maybe you process online orders and returns from your desk.

Whatever the case, when people rush or are frustrated, they are more likely to slip, fall, knock into equipment or forget to perform certain tasks. Meeting production goals is important, but so too is your safety. Running across the warehouse floor is not going to save you that much time, but it does increase your likelihood of injury. Whenever you feel like rushing you should stop, take a breath, think about what you need to do and then proceed at a normal pace. Having to go to the hospital because you tripped is not going to help you finish your work faster.

Using a ladder

Many workplaces put up decorations during the holidays. Your boss may ask you to use a ladder to hand decorations. Though that may not seem like a big deal, falls from ladders are a common workplace injury. To avoid injury, you should practice ladder safety.

Test the ladder’s stability before you get on it. It also recommended that you keep three points of contact on the ladder, which means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Never overreach. Instead, get down and move the ladder over. You should also never place a ladder on any surface other than the floor or ground. If you can enlist help, do so. Another person can hand you decorations or hold the ladder steady for you.

The holiday season is a busy time for many people at work. It is important to remember to take breaks, ask for help, slow down and practice ladder safety. Otherwise, you may find yourself recovering from a workplace injury that could prove serious.

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