Across Australia 190 people were fatally injured at work last year. And although the frequency rate for serious claims is in decline, according to Safe Work Australia on average over 100,000 workers’ compensation claims are still filed each year*.
 
In addition to the physical and emotional toll that work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths can cause, there is also a significant financial burden to employers, workers and the broader community. During 2012–13 the total cost to the Australian economy (direct and indirect) exceeded $61 billion, with workplace injuries accounting for almost half.
 
As employers, safety should always be a priority. But it is particularly important as the year draws to a close, when a variety of seasonal factors can affect our ability to work safely. Here we uncover three ways to keep people safer at work during the silly season.
 
Stay safe in the sun
 
Australia’s hot summer months present unique safety challenges for the Australian workforce. As the mercury rises, working outdoors and in confined spaces comes with a greater risk of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration.
 
Some of the ways Coates Hire mitigates these hazards during summer are:
 
  • Enabling staff to take all necessary personal precautions against the sun and heat.
  • Encouraging staff to maintain fluid intake and make provisions for drinking water on work sites.
  • Providing adequate shade and sunscreen and encourage staff to reapply regularly.
  • Encouraging loose fitting, lightweight clothing for air movement and sun protection.
  • Creating and communicating a rest break schedule during periods of excessive heat, and making allowances for rest time in project delivery schedules.
  • Employees must also stay informed of their rights to work safely in the sun.
 
More information on workplace sun safety is available from the Cancer Council.
 
Fight fatigue
 

It’s not uncommon for people to begin switching off mentally towards the end of the year. As fatigue sets in and concentration begins to wane, it can have a dramatic impact on our ability to work safely and spot workplace hazards.
 
Business can be busier at the end of the year (especially ahead of Christmas shut downs), which can quickly take its toll on staff. Warm weather can also lead to heat fatigue and poor concentration, and many people haven’t taken time off work in over a year and simply need a break.
 
To help team members stay focused, Coates Hire:
 
  • Educates our workforce on preventing fatigue and spotting early warning signs.
  • Encourages and empowers staff to stop work when they feel unsafe or if fatigue sets in.
  • Makes adequate allowances for breaks and enforces periodic rest.
 
More information on managing workplace fatigue is available from Safe Work Australia.
 
Don’t let the silly season get too silly…
 

The festive season should be a fun time with work and client Christmas parties, as well as other personal social events. Safety is paramount to Coates Hire, where a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy is enforced. For businesses that do not take a hard line on this issue there is a much greater risk of end-of-year festivities impairing people’s judgment, and jeopardizing safety.
 
Putting safety first
 
No job is too important to be done safely. Whether the hazard is the heat, mounting deadlines or a few too many late nights, we must ensure our employees have the tools and knowledge to work safely.
 
Safety must always come first, because the cost is simply too great when it doesn’t.
 
What steps do you take to keep your team members safe in the lead up to Christmas? What are the biggest challenges you face to safety at this time of year? Please share your thoughts with us on Linkedin.
 
Alternatively, please contact a member of the Coates Hire team by calling 13 15 52 or by submitting an enquiry form below.
 
 
*https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/book/work-related-injury-and-disease-key-whs-statistics-australia-2018#serious-claims-overall-statistics
 
 
 

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