Safety During the Holiday Season

If you think that the holiday rush doesn’t apply to safety in construction, think again.  More crowds, more traffic, travel and altered work schedules can make for changes on the road, and on the job site.  In addition to commercial roofers experiencing altered schedules for certain facilities and structures that they may be occupying during business hours, suppliers and distributors may have more traffic on the floor for sales that are increased due to consumer demand.

With the increase in merchandise sales during the holiday shopping season comes an increase in potential hazards for workers in wholesale, transportation and even the construction industry. Just as with any time of year, roofing and construction professionals must carefully assess risks when establishing access points and transporting materials on the job site; such risks increase on job sites where there is a rise in package delivery, crowds and building occupancy.

For this reason, OSHA has published a multitude of resources to prepare business owners for the changes and rushed conditions that can result from the holidays.  Those resources include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Crowd Management Safety Guidelines – OSHA encourages employers to adopt effective safety and health programs to identify and eliminate work-related hazards, including those caused by large crowds that may result from holiday sales and seasonal retail events. While industry professionals are most likely not involved in planning their own seasonal sales events that will draw such crowds, commercial clients may hold anything from holiday flash sales to seasonal celebrations; for this reason, it is important to ensure that your crews are aware of any changes in set up, job site access, hours of operation or noise restrictions that may result from holiday events, as well as safety precautions and route planning to take should increased local traffic and crowds be a possibility.
  2. Secure Seasonal Workers – With the increased demand for services or even closing jobs before the new year, seasonal workers may be required both in the office and out in the field. OSHA has published its concerns for how some employers may use temporary workers to avoid meeting all of their compliance obligations under the OSH Act and other worker protection laws.  It has identified that many temporary workers are placed in a variety of roles, including the most hazardous jobs; with limited safety training and/or explanation of their duties, temporary workers are more vulnerable to workplace safety and health hazards and retaliation than workers in traditional employment relationships.  Therefore, it is essential that employers and staffing agencies work together to comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.
  3. Safety Guides for All Industries – In response to holiday specific hazards, OSHA has launched a “Holiday Workplace Safety” page on their website. While some of the resources may not apply to your specific industry or workplace, many of the resources can come in handy when discussing safety precautions with clients that may benefit from the planning required to keep their properties and visitors safe during the holiday rush.

For more guidelines and tips from OSHA on holiday workplace safety and precautions, visit OSHA’s Holiday Workplace Safety page. To secure the latest safety training for your crews and strengthen your own safety programs, policies and procedures, contact Brauner Safety Services.

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