Keeping the Workplace Safe During Summer Vacations

July 31, 2016

Keeping the Workplace Safe During Summer Vacations

Oh Canada, we love our summer vacations. According to a recent Reid poll the majority of Canadians (58 per cent) plan to embark on vacation before Labour Day. And even though employees are required to request and plan vacations ahead of time, many plants and factories are caught off guard when a large number of employees leave their jobs for several days at a time. 

It’s during this time that your company is especially vulnerable to workplace safety accidents.

Here are five steps managers and supervisors can take to prevent employee gaps during the summer and how they can properly prepare replacement workers to fill in without incident.

  1. Plan and Predict: An employee shortage over the summer should be of no surprise. Nearly all companies require their employees to request time off in advance. Look at the gaps in your coverage and identify the people who can fill in when needed. During this process, think beyond your backup as well. After all, even your backup replacement can call in sick. Also keep an eye on overtime as employees can become tired and less safe on the job.
  2. Ramp Up and Practice: Begin building a “ramp up” training cycle to allow workers to experience the fill-in role first hand. Create a process where employees adjust to the physical aspects of the job through repetitive motion. You might have to allow them to work an hour a day to become familiar with the job.
  3. Diversify Your Team: It’s not uncommon for many organizations to require employees to rotate to different stations throughout the day. The big benefit is that it reduces repetitive strains and fatigue, however, it also enables your workers to learn and perform multiple tasks. A broader bench of employees with multiple skills will come in handy as you plan to fill in the gaps over the summer.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings: Ensure that all workers know where the closest emergency rooms and first aid supplies are located before they start the job. Clearly mark areas with appropriate safety signs to indicate where important items such as eye wash stations, defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid kits are located.
  5. Buddy Up: Regardless of how you staff the vacant position, make sure the employee has a buddy to shadow them during their shift. Most supervisors know to watch out for workers who are unfamiliar with their new tasks, but they can’t keep an eye on them all day. A buddy or assigned worker can help coach them throughout the day and provide that important peer-to peer on the job training.


Have a great vacation, stay safe.

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