4 Common Safety and Risk Issues for the Silly Season


There is just so much going right now – end of school presentations, office Christmas parties, present buying, deadlines – it feels like the “Christmas rush” started in October.

Most of ‘Church-work’ is not retail-based so the unique stressors of that industry aren’t a huge feature on our WHS radar. What is commonplace for our church-owned organisations is sites shutting down over the Christmas/New Year break. This practice alone comes with some WHS and Risk red-flags.

1. SITE SECURITY – get on top of what needs to happen to ensure your site will be secure and monitored during the absence of staff on site.

2. CONSTRUCTION SITE SECURITY – there are too many church-owned sites currently under construction to list here. These sites have the potential to be attractive to children and youths if the site is not properly secured over the holiday period, which can pose serious risk of harm to any trespassers. Talk to your site’s builders and project contractors now about how they plan to ensure safety and security of the construction site. You’ll want to expect that they’ll lock fences, prevent access to scaffolds and ladders, isolation of electricity, and hazardous substances and machinery are securely locked away as a minimum.

3. EXHAUSTION / FATIGUE – With the Christmas period comes later nights and longer hours for some staff covering for teammates already on holidays, so for many exhaustion and fatigue may become a WHS concern, especially in medical and aged care facilities.

4. EMERGENCY OR DISASTER EVENTS – Summer in our region is synonymous with hot sticky days and spectacular afternoon thunderstorms – both of which come with the risk of property destruction from either fire or storm. After a wild storm it is worth checking a site is still secure and safe – either arrange a team member to be your point person for this, or volunteer yourself, if there are any serious issues get in touch with SES. With fire, please do not put yourself or anyone else in danger – let the authorities deal with property protection in this situation. Ensure updated emergency contact information is available to staff.

If anything should happen at a church owned site over the holiday period please call our office number.

May Christmas be a safe, happy and restful time for you and your family, RMS wishes you all the best for 2018.

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