Fall and winter are peak seasons for manufacturing, transportation, and retail sectors.
Summer is a busy season for many businesses as families take advantage of the school break. May through August is the peak season for tourism, construction, landscaping, and pool companies, with Labor Day weekend signifying the end of their peak season.
Fall, however, delivers peak workload to the manufacturing, transportation, and retail sectors. Manufacturers often work additional shifts to meet production orders. Carriers are logging more miles and oftentimes longer trips. Retailers are ordering, stocking, facing stores, and preparing for the infamous Black Friday events.
September through December see a large number of temporary laborers in the workforce. These temporary laborers tend to be less experienced overall, and may not comprehend the importance of safety or their direct impact upon it. It is important that these temporary personnel receive the same level of safety training and new employee orientation as full-time, permanent staff.
The manufacturing sector, with its industrial saws, hot glues, cutting operations, and pneumatic tools should train temporary workers carefully, not only regarding the functions these workers will carry out, but to some degree, in the overall manufacturing process. This increases awareness to the worker’s surroundings and helps the worker frame his or her expectations. Knowing what to expect can sometimes be the difference between safe and sorry.
Those hauling all of these pre-Christmas season goods should assure that all temporary or part-time drivers hired to accommodate this peak workload are screened to the same stringent DOT standards as permanent staff. This includes requiring the same level of prior driving experience as permanent drivers, and adherence to the same MVR review criteria.
It is sometimes tempting, especially among small businesses, to relax the standards for temporary workers in order to gain much-needed help. Doing so, unfortunately, tends to result in higher injuries over the long term. Untrained workers may feel undervalued which can lead to lack of attention to detail and sloppiness. This lack of commitment may contribute to slip and fall claims or strain/sprain and repetitive injury claims – leading reportable injuries in each of the manufacturing, transportation, and retail sectors.
This is the time to evaluate your upcoming seasonal needs and determine what manpower you will need and when you will need to onboard those workers in order to provide them with adequate training. Be prepared, and put your best foot forward this fall.
Does your company have formal safety policies in place? Are you responsible for workforce safety or risk management? Contact our Kansas City-based safety and risk management consulting firm or give us a call at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.