Christmas safety ho ho ho

Did you know that the Christmas season is fraught with occupational health and safety hazards?

Just ask Molly Meldrum who fell of his ladder when putting up Christmas lights.

There’s also electrical hazards when testing those lights or overloading power boards.

There are tripping hazards created by leads and extension cords.

For those going bush to get a Christmas tree, operating a chainsaw is full of hazards.

Then getting the tree out of the woods, onto the car and then into the lounge room will have its own set of manual handling hazards.

On a more serious note, the lead-up to Christmas is busy with employers and workers rushing to complete projects and meet deadlines. But it is a horrifying fact that Victorian workers are more likely to die in November and December than any other time of the year.

Almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities occur at this time.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams said while the final two months of the year were a busy time for most workplaces, it should never compromise safety.

Ms Williams also said “In agriculture, it’s farmers harvesting crops or hay. In the construction sector, its builders, tradesmen and contractors trying to finish projects, and in manufacturing, its factories and warehouses trying to finalise and complete orders before the holiday shutdown.

“But no deadline is worth someone’s life. Last year we saw 19 workers lose their lives and eight of those alone were during this dangerous time of year.”

Ms Williams said employers needed to talk to their workers about the strategies that needed to be put in place to ensure deadlines were met without risking an employee’s life.

“The safest workplace is the one where employers and workers stop and take the time to think about the work they will be doing, and plan to do it as safely as possible,” she said.

And finally I won’t even go into the pitfalls, hazards and risks inherent to Christmas staff parties and Christmas break up drinks.

Stay safe in the period leading to Christmas and over the holidays.

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