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With the busy holiday season about to reach full flow, businesses across Victoria are being reminded to keep on top of work health and safety.

Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips issued a statement on November 7 urging both employers and employees to take extra caution as workplaces gear up for Christmas.

“The festive season is about to begin and Victorians are starting to think about Christmas with their families and friends and relaxing over the summer holidays,” he said.

“But we know from harsh experience that when people take their minds off safety, they risk a tragedy, and we want everyone to get home safely for Christmas.”

Mr Rich-Phillips also drew attention to some statistics to stress the importance of staying safe at this time of year. According to WorkSafe, November and December tend to be the most dangerous times of the year for workplaces. WorkSafe reported that in 2012, seven people died due to a workplace incident over November and December – more than twice the number of deaths of any other two-month period that year.

Denise Cosgrove, WorkSafe chief executive, provided a reason as to why such fatalities are more commonplace toward the end of the year. She said that people tend to switch off and focus on non-work-related things during this period, with safety less on their minds.

“We also know that many fatalities at this time of year involve experienced workers doing routine tasks, which suggests their minds may not be fully on the task at hand,” she explained.

“Together it all adds up to a dangerous mix.”

Even though the year is drawing to a close and businesses are set to get extra busy, it’s never too late to take action to make your workplace safer.

Now could be a good time to implement occupational health and safety courses for your employees to ensure they have OHS firmly in their minds in the lead up to Christmas.

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