While the holiday season presents unique risks or accidents, such as while decorating one’s home, preparing a holiday meal, or out at the stores for shopping, the holidays also mean potential increased safety risks in the workplace. Employers and workers should take extra steps to ensure that employees are able to safely work during the holidays and enjoy the season while on the job.
Below are a few common causes of workplace accidents related to the holiday season:
Increased Production Goals
The end of the year often means that businesses and companies engage in a mad dash to try to keep up with customer demand and meet quarterly and annual performance goals. This can mean that workers rush to meet the demand or finish year-end goals (especially if they are taking time off at the end of the year). Rushing to finish work before the holidays can cause workers to become careless or disregard safety measures, especially as fatigue sets in due to the increased working time and responsibilities; this is especially dangerous in industries such as manufacturing and construction, where workers must use heavy equipment and machinery. Employers should ensure that their workers take adequate breaks during the holiday season and are coming into work rested and alert.
Many businesses choose to put up holiday decorations during the season to help attract customers. Of course, just as with putting up decorations at one’s home, having an employee decorate the office or store can expose them to any number of accidents, including falling from ladders or roofs, crush injuries from decorations and boxes falling on top of workers, lacerations and burns caused by decorations, or slip and fall or trip and fall accidents due to tripping over wires and decorations, or slipping on snow and ice while decorating outside the place of business.
Holiday decorations can easily pose a fire hazard to the workplace just as it can in the home, especially when businesses fail to take care to ensure that holiday decorations do not pose a fire hazard. This means that decorations are plugged into the appropriate wall sockets and extension cords that can handle the power draw required by the decoration, avoiding decorations that give off excessive heat (try using LED lights rather than incandescent bulbs), and ensuring flammable decorations like wreaths, tinsel, or Christmas trees are not placed near heat sources such as a fireplace, radiator, heat vent, or space heater.
Of course, the holiday season is easily the busiest time on the road. Increased traffic, however, puts those workers who must drive as part of their job, especially delivery drivers and transportation drivers, at greater risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident. Construction workers, especially those doing road work before heavy winter weather sets in, may also be at risk of accident and injury from motorists who are distracted by preparing for the holidays, frustrated at heavy traffic and congestion, or are from out of town and unfamiliar with where they are going.
Contact an Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients in Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, Meadville, and all across Pennsylvania. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, and we also have offices in Meadville and North East.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.