As Victorians gear up to celebrate the end of another big year, WorkSafe is reminding employers not to relax on safety in the final weeks of 2022.
The holiday season is typically demanding, with pressure in many workplaces to get things done – whether it's looming construction deadlines or meeting Christmas sales targets.
While some may be tempted to cut corners, it is never worth the cost when it comes to workplace safety.
From 2018 to 2021, 28 people lost their lives and 15,168 injury claims were accepted by WorkSafe in the final two months of the year. Every death and injury was preventable.
WorkSafe's holiday safety campaign 'Let's Put 2022 Safely Behind Us' aims to ensure health and safety remains the top priority at all Victorian workplaces throughout the festive season.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said retail and warehousing employers must make sure at this time of year that all workers are adequately trained.
"Christmas casuals hired to help with the increased workload include a large number of students – some of whom may be experiencing their first job," Dr Beer said.
"It's crucial that these workers know they're entitled to a safe workplace and are trained to perform their job safely."
Mentally healthy work environments are also paramount, especially during the holiday period, when staff may be feeling overwhelmed, isolated or anxious.
The stressful time of year can also lead to a higher incidence of occupational violence and aggression towards retail and hospitality workers.
"Although the tail end of the year is known to be frenetic, it's unacceptable to burden workers with unreasonable workloads or expose them to violence or aggression," Dr Beer said.
From 2018-2021, more than 1,800 mental injury claims were accepted by WorkSafe in the final two months of the year.
The construction industry has faced a number of challenges this year including supply shortages, prolonged wet weather and flooding.
Although these factors may have delayed construction projects, Dr Beer said there is still no excuse to rush.
"While there's an eagerness to have renovations and new builds completed before Christmas, this should never be achieved by compromising safety standards or a worker’s wellbeing," Dr Beer said.
"Let's prioritise health and safety at work so these holidays are a celebration to remember, not a time to regret."
Email: media @ worksafe.vic.gov.au
Phone: 0438 786 968
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