If you work in a job that gets busier and more stressful before and during the holiday season, you can expect a greater chance of injury in the coming months. Of course, that’s particularly true if you have a job that involves physical labor, like working in a warehouse or working with potentially dangerous equipment – for example, in a restaurant kitchen.
The combination of an increased workload, longer hours and being short-staffed because of more people taking time off all combine to lead people to rush or cut corners, which can affect their safety. Further, it’s easy for workers to be distracted by holiday obligations, family stressors and changes in kids’ schedules. Holiday parties at night can leave employees tired and/or hungover the next day.
Why temporary and seasonal workers increase the risks – and face greater dangers
Many workplaces hire temporary or seasonal workers who may not receive appropriate safety training and will have to get up-to-speed on the obligations of the job quickly. The Institute for Work & Health reports that employees who have been in a workplace for one month are three times more likely to be injured seriously enough to have to take time off as those who have been on the job longer. These inexperienced workers can put others at risk as well.
Fatigue is also a key factor that can lead to increased risk of injury. That’s especially true for those who work for businesses that have to double down to meet their holiday demands. While the opportunity to work additional hours and get overtime pay can be tempting at this time of year, it’s crucial to be sure that you’re allowed to take required break and meal periods. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), work shifts of 12-plus hours a day increase one’s risk of injury by 37%.
A workplace injury can put a real damper on the holiday season for employees and their families. It’s crucial to make sure you get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you’re entitled if you’re hurt on the job. If you have difficulty during any part of the process, it may help to get legal guidance.