Seasonal Safety

002   The last two months of the year are very hectic for many people.  This is the busiest time of the year for retailers and shippers will be working hard to keep products moving from warehouses and shelves to customers.  Other organizations will be rushing to wrap up projects, conduct inventory counts and get invoices out before the end of the calender year.  This can be a challenge considering that many businesses are already closed on holidays may have employees who take additional time off, leaving them short of their normal staffing level.  During a flurry of activity, employers need to go to extra lengths to ensure that employees are following safety procedures, wearing the proper protective equipment and not pushing themselves too hard. The weather can also pose special challenges as we’ve recently experienced.  Cold temperatures by themselves can be harmful but when in conjunction with precipitation they can make travel and outdoor activities especially hazardous. Everyone from commercial transport and delivery drivers to commuters should exercise caution when operating a vehicle in potentially dangerous conditions.  Employees exposed to cold temperatures during their work activities will need to be mindful of the weather and make sure to wear the proper gear to stay warm. Flu season has also begun and the Center for Disease Control estimates that between 5-20% of the population of the US gets sick with seasonal flu between October and March.  The prevalent strain of flu changes every year so the flu vaccine that is produced and distributed changes as well.  The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot annually because the combination of the vaccine with good hygiene practices is very effective at preventing the spread of the virus.  The flu causes over 100 million missed work days each year and costs businesses over $7 billion in paid sick days and lost productivity so employees that are ill should be encouraged to stay home to limit the risk of their co-workers becoming ill as well. Finally, holiday parties and other festivities can be enjoyable but over-consumption of alcohol can quickly put a damper on the mood.  Unfortunately, incidents involving intoxicated drivers will spike and although law enforcement officers work hard to keep motorists safe, they can’t prevent every accident.  Anybody can help ensure that their family members and co-workers get home safely by designating sober drivers before hand, encouraging moderation at parties and giving someone a ride when they’ve had too much. The staff at Protect Environmental will be standing by as always to respond to chemical spills and bio-hazard incidents but we encourage everyone to keep safety in mind this holiday season so we can all start 2015 happy and healthy.