Seasonal Worker Safety: An Employer Priority
Summer is here! The season of sunshine, warm weather, vacations, festivals, exhibitions, concerts, Stampede, landscaping, outdoor activities and, of course, construction. It’s also one of the busiest times of the year for seasonal hires – whether it is extra staff to handle the peak traffic at resorts, camp counsellors, summer students to cover vacations, special event workers or extra manpower to complete construction and other projects while the weather permits. With the hire of new employees, whether permanent, temporary or seasonal, workplace safety should be an integral part of the on-boarding process and ongoing operations.
Let’s explore more about Seasonal Worker Safety:
Greater Risks for New Hires
A recent study by the Institution for Work & Health (IWH), based on research over a 10 year period, indicates that there is a higher risk of work injury among workers new to a job and virtually every seasonal worker is ‘new’. The risk of a lost time injury in the first month employment was almost three times as high as workers with a year or more experience. The study also suggests that men over the age of 45, hired to work in areas like construction, were most at risk for a workplace accident or injury. Although this information may not be surprising, the study suggests that workplaces need to do more to ensure new workers get the proper training and supervision to stay safe on the job. As such, workplaces hiring seasonal workers need to pay even greater attention to safety training and education.
Sun Safety for Outdoor Workers
The safety training and education process should focus on the unique environmental or seasonal hazards of this time of year that can result in work related injury claims, including heat stroke, sun stroke, dehydration, blisters, sunburns and insect bites. The injuries resulting from these hazards are generally minor and mostly preventable through the use of sunscreen, insect repellent, availability of hydrating liquids, access to shade or cooling stations and PPE (Proper Protective Equipment); however, outdoor workers remain at a higher risk for a far more serious and long lasting effects.
Regular exposure to the sun for long periods of time, especially during the peak ultraviolet (UV) radiation hours of noon till 2:00pm, can result in the development of a variety of dermatological conditions including skin cancer. The Canadian Dermatological Association (CDA) National Sun Awareness campaign is currently underway providing excellent information and resources on sun safety and CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) has ideal awareness posters for working outdoors.
The good news is that most seasonal related work injuries are preventable, so be prepared, be aware, be safe and enjoy the summer for as long as it lasts.
Every season comes with its own unique set of safety issues and concerns that need to be adhered to in order to prevent or minimize workplace injuries and accidents – and now is a great time to review seasonal hazards and safety standards with all staff.
If you would like more suggestions on how to keep your workers safe during summer, you can contact us directly at BCL.Calgary@bclconsulting.ca, BCL.Edmonton@bclconsulting.ca, by phone, at 1-844-377-9545 or you can connect with us on Facebook ,Twitter , or LinkedIn.