Train Seasonal Workers To Keep Them Injury-Free
2 December 2008
Train Seasonal Workers To Keep Them Injury-Free, Says Acc
Seasonal workers may only be on staff for a short time, but they’re more prone to injury if not trained properly, ACC is reminding hospitality managers.
Thousands of additional workers are employed in New Zealand’s restaurants and hotels during the busy summer season, and since they usually don’t stay on the job long, they may not be trained to the same degree as a permanent worker.
But Jennifer Woodside, an ACC injury prevention programme manager, said that can make them more susceptible to an injury, especially if they’re fatigued. ``Many seasonal workers are students or people who aren’t used to working full-time. And because the hours in hospitality are long at this time of year, they can end up fatigued.’’
Ms Woodside said that fatigue isn’t just about being tired; it can have a serious impact on all areas of a worker’s life, especially their ability to carry out mental and physical tasks.
``That means they are more at risk of slips, trips or falls, cutting themselves, walking into objects, and developing discomfort, pain and injury conditions – especially with an increased workload. Fatigued staff are also more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.’’ About 13% of all fatal road crashes are believed to have fatigue as a contributory factor.
Ms Woodside said giving workers a proper induction and training period will help them identify the hazards in their new job and learn how to manage their workflow.
``Employers and managers also need to ensure all staff – and particularly new workers – are allocated breaks and are encouraged to use them. Sometimes new staff want to work hard to make a good impression, but that can have a negative effect. No-one wants a fatigued worker who can’t do their job properly and could be a danger to themselves and others. But of course, workers have to help themselves and the only cure for fatigue is sleep,’’ she said.
``Also, being the festive season, sometimes there’s a need to manage alcohol in the workplace, and the effects of working the day after the night before. Alcohol and other drugs put workers – and their co-workers – in serious danger, so employers need to be alert to that too.’’
ACC has recently released guidelines to help employers deal with this issue and build a robust Health and Safety policy around it. ‘Alcohol and other Drugs in the Workplace – An Employers’ Guide’ is available online at www.acc.co.nz/publications or by phoning 0800 844 657 and quoting ACC4460.
ACC also has information on training new staff in the hospitality industry. Go to www.acc.co.nz/hospitality for free resources. They can also be ordered at www.acc.co.nz/publications.