Keeping Christmas Safe

“Merry Christmas” everyone! Christmas will be here in a couple of weeks and there are lots of activities going on which can act as distractions at work.  It is often a challenge to stay focused at this time of year.

There is stress caused by activities outside of work, “Will that present we ordered online arrive on time?” “Will Uncle Vic behave at Christmas dinner?” There is the stress at work to complete everything before the holiday shutdown.  Add into the mix the end of year functions with late nights and a few drinks and you can have a recipe for a safety disaster.

So, this is when it is especially important to take time for safety. You may find yourself at work but your thoughts may elsewhere with all the other plans and activities of Christmas. STOP, and take a few seconds to look around and focus on your surroundings. Look for the hazards around you. Is your ladder properly secured? Is your safety harness on correctly? Are you about to trip on something lying on the floor?  Hazards do not go away because it is Christmas, only our awareness of the hazards goes away. When we ignore hazards, we tend to get injured.

Christmas injuries put extra stress on everyone. Worksafe New Zealand’s mission is “Everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe”.  This is especially important at Christmas; everyone wants to be home and healthy for the holiday season.  Imagine sitting in hospital rather than at the dinner table at Christmas because you fell off a roof or tripped over something.  Injuries at Christmas seem to increase how many people are affected by an injury. How many people count on you each day to come home safely? Who will do the driving to see family if your arm is in a cast?

Every year ACC has about 80 claims from people injured by their tree.

Think of your safety as your Christmas present to yourself and your family. Taking a few seconds for safety may seem unimportant but it can be the most important few seconds; accidents happen quickly. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for your co-workers too.

When you go home to hang the decorations on the tree carry your safety messages home.  Beware of your Christmas tree. That tree is not as innocent as it looks. Every year ACC has about 80 claims from people injured by their tree, usually while fixing stars, lights or other decorations to the higher branches. Always use a step ladder to put up the decorations and don’t over-reach yourself.

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“Merry Christmas” to everyone.  Have a SAFE holiday.

Need help identifying hazards at work?  Siteapp is a mobile app that helps with hazard identification.  Call now to find out more.

Writing a Safety Document that Gets Read

Have you ever started a new job and the first thing you have been handed is a huge folder containing the Health and Safety procedures? You read the first 10 pages of the document and think, this is boring, not very relevant to me and most of it is in jargon that I don’t understand; you then realise you have another 150 pages to go.

The new Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 does involve having good health and safety documents but this doesn’t mean they have to be long, complicated and boring. They have to document how, as a company, you are thinking about risks your workers come into contact with everyday and what you are doing to reduce this risk, whether it be from noise, equipment, falls etc. These documents should be easy to understand and easily accessible to everyone.

65 per cent of workers did not fully understand their employers’ policies and rules, hazard information, and safety procedures.

In 2013 a Workbase, an adult literacy organisation, spoke to 466 employees in 23 manufacturing, warehousing, hospitality and other work places. Employees were asked to assess their understanding of their company’s health and safety documents. The study showed that 65 per cent did not fully understand their employers’ policies and rules, hazard information, and safety procedures. This study highlights the need for good documentation – you cannot get your employees to “buy in” to health and safety if they can’t understand the information they are being given. This is especially true if English is a second language.

Your workers are busy people and busy people do not have time to read. Concentrate on the what are the must knows.  If your safety documents look hard work to read then they will not be read.

Sometimes long documents are needed but write a summary sheets with diagrams to get information across quickly and have it close to where it is needed. Don’t forget your safety documents should be reviewed regularly as equipment, personnel, situations will change.

Worksafe New Zealand has an excellent guideline for writing health and safety documents for your workplace.  It divides the process into 5 stages and gives examples of some before and after documents.

  • Stage 1: What is the document for?
  • Stage 2: Who will read the document?
  • Stage 3: What are your main messages?
  • Stage 4: Does the document work?
  • Stage 5: How will you share and use the document?

Siteapp allows you to attach your safety documents to a job and create safety checklists.  Call us to find out how Siteapp can help you get your safety documents read.