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For many companies, the holidays are a time when new workers come on board to help out during the seasonal surge in business demands. While veteran forklift drivers and distribution center workers may already know the “danger zones” in your facility and are probably aware of the potential dangers in a workplace, new workers are typically completely clueless.
That’s why the risk of an employee getting hurt at work is about four times higher during their first 30 days on the job. And because seasonal or casual workers typically won’t be spending more than a month or two at their new employment, by the time they finally do learn their way around, it’s often time for them to move on.
More People, More Problems
For each percentage increase in the size of your workplace, the risk of having a major workplace injury increased by 1.7% to 2.7%, according to a study conducted by the Warwick Institute for Employment Research.
That means when your staffing swells during the holidays, so does the risk of your workers getting hurt on the job.
Train Everyone the Same
The solution is to implement as much workplace safety training for workers who are only going to be with your company for a short while as you would to permanent, full-time employees, according to Stuart Taylor, director of Mentor Performance Risk Management.
“Just because a worker is temporary, doesn’t mean companies should provide only the bare minimum of training,” Taylor told the website ForkliftAction. “Workers who lack safety skills are not only a danger to themselves, but to others, too.”
While it is essential that forklift operators be familiar with the safe operation of their vehicles, it’s also necessary to train managers, supervisors and the workers who will be working on the floor in areas where forklifts are being driven.
“Safety awareness is essential for everyone,” Taylor said. “Two thirds of workplace transport accident victims are pedestrians. And that includes managers and supervisors, too.”
Protect Yourself and Your Business
If somebody gets seriously hurt in your facility, inspectors from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration will show up to investigate the cause of the accident. When they do, they will demand to see the training certification for not just the driver involved in the accident, but for every operator who is authorized to drive a forklift in your facility — including both permanent and seasonal employees.
If you can’t provide this documentation, you could be held liable for violating OSHA safety laws and be on the hook for fines, penalties and even criminal prosecution.
As you prepare your holiday production plans, safe yourself the headaches and include the proper safety for all of your temporary employees. Not only will it keep your workplace safer, but it will reduce your liability and risk.