Imagine this: “Mike,” your employee, experiences an injury at work due to increased hours and the stress of the holiday season. Will his injuries and time off be covered by workers’ comp?
Like many other issues related to worker’s comp, the answer is not that simple. While each state has their own laws, the general question is always whether the injured person was performing job duties at the time of the accident. Given the ambiguity of worker’s comp law and the higher prevalence of workplace accidents during the holidays, we at Kippers Insurance want to help you prevent workplace injuries during the holiday season.
Minimize On-the-Job Fatigue
Your employees could be experiencing stress during the holidays that has nothing to do with their job duties. Factor in the added workload that many industries experience during the holiday season, and you could have a problem on your hands. Package delivery agents could experience back injuries from frequent heavy lifting, while machine operators could face hand or finger injuries if they are overtired. As an employer, you can reduce these risks by keeping your eyes open for employees who seem stressed or less alert. Also, encourage your staff to eat well and get plenty of sleep. Let them know you are willing to listen if they feel overwhelmed with the seasonal workload.
Use Caution When Decorating the Workplace
There is nothing wrong with decorating the workplace for the holiday season. But to get your coworkers in the holiday spirit and help them stay injury-free, there are a few safety procedures to keep in mind. According to a CNN report, falls are the leading cause of holiday accidents. When hanging lights or other decorations, ensure your employees are using sturdy ladders and keeping strings or light strands away from walking areas. If you would like to use an artificial tree in your office, make sure it has a “fire resistant” label. When it comes to lights, make sure they are “UL” or have another nationally-tested safety label.
Keep Holiday Parties “Work-Free”
While legal concerns are the last thing you want to think about when planning a party, there are a few things you can do to reduce your liability while spreading holiday cheer. For starters, make it clear on the invitations that the event is non-mandatory. Also, consider holding the event at a separate venue. Holding the party off-site decreases your chances of accidents being tied to the workplace. Lastly, invite family members and children to attend, and schedule the event on the weekend. As they say, the more the merrier. Keeping the event focused on the people and not the work will protect you from receiving a workplace injury claim. Creating a more relaxed atmosphere will help achieve the aim of any holiday party— keeping the holiday spirit alive.