As an employer, Santa knows that the manufacturing of toys in the workshop is fraught with possible work-related injuries and illnesses. He also knows he has a duty of care to his elves and that he must ensure he meets his legal compliance obligations!
Identifying the risks
Santa’s first plan of attack is to identify the issues that require preventive action. He does this via consultation with his elves – putting in place a plan on how he will engage with them, what tasks they will undertake, and discussing their health and safety concerns in the workshop. He then assesses these risks, looks at how he can go about minimising them and then implements an action plan to reduce the risk of them occurring.
Assessing the risks
Here are some of the hazards Santa and his elves have identified:
- Manual handling issues – Musculoskeletal disorders(such as broken bones, fractures and sprains) commonly caused by elves performing manual handling or repetitious tasks such as wrapping presents.
Slips, trips and falls, awkward lifting, and repetitive movements, as well as pushing and pulling such as moving presents from the conveyor belt to Santa’s sack.
The use of force by an elf to lift, push, pull, carry, or otherwise restrain any object, is more than just lifting or carrying something. It includes pulling a lever, restraining an animal or using a tool or instrument, even working at a computer! An example is when the elves are training the reindeers to pull the sleigh, or working on the computer on the excel spreadsheet of ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ names.
Crush injuries, cuts and lacerations typically caused by dangerous machinery and equipment such as forklifts and lifting equipment as well as knives, saws and presses. An example here is moving stored toys in the warehouse.
- Traffic management – When using equipment like forklifts used to move the stock around the factory/workshop. Santa and his elves need to prepare a visual plan of no go zones for pedestrian elves or no go zones for sleighs.
- Bullying and fatigue – Bullying and violence are legitimate OHS issues in Santa’s workshop as in all other workplace. Santa ensures his workshop has adequate policies and procedures in place to prevent bullying and violence occurring as well as ensuring that any alleged instances are dealt with quickly and fairly.
- Exposure to extreme cold – Working in cold conditions is a hazard with many thousands of elves exposed to the cold environment of the North pole. Santa ensures he monitors the workplace environment, keeping a check on all workshop results and reported incidents. He eliminates issues by introducing appropriate controls such as effective, controllable heating, outside work in the snow is sheltered, screened and warmed with hot air blowers; he provides hot drinks, appropriate protective clothing and keeps the time they work in such environments to a minimum.
- Shift-work and extended hours working hours. Santa’s elves are required to work around the clock, particularly as Christmas draws closer. His Elves on shift-work face a number problems: increased levels of fatigues; increased risks to their health; negative effects on their elf families and social lives; anxiety, depression, and increased neuroticism.
To address the risks around shift work Santa aims to reduce psychosocial hazards such as stress and fatigue by ensuring his elves are on a task rotation and not working ridiculous hours, and are also having adequate breaks in between shifts. Santa implements the following:
- No more than 48 hours a week averaged over a 17 week period
- A minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours
- A minimum weekly rest period of 24 or 48 consecutive hours averaged over 14 days
- A minimum of 20 minutes rest in any work period of more than 6 hours
- A maximum of 8 hours night work every 24 hours averaged over a 17 week period
- Free health assessments for night workers
- Paid annual leave of at least 4 weeks
Prior to employment, Santa provides WH&S education and training to his elves via WorkPro.
By providing them with an online, easy to deliver, track and manage system, Santa overcomes the time and financial pressures as major barriers to work health and safety.
He knows all of the content has been approved by a legal team, meets compliance obligations and provides the necessary information to his elves to reduce the risk of incident or injury, keeping them safe.
Some of the modules he delivers include:
#09 Forklift Safety Operator
#03 Manufacturing Worker Safety
#10 Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying
#11 WHS & EEO (Combined modules 1 + 10)
#19 ‘Officer’ WHS Due Diligence
#20 Hazardous Manual Tasks
Santa is an employer of choice, and wants to ensure it stays that way.
Here are some of the thing the elves are saying:
“I love working in Santas workshop, the WorkPro training helped me understand how to go about my job safely and prevent any unnecessary injury”. Elf, Peaches Tinselleaves
“Last year I was called in on the 23rd December to help with a last-minute rush of toys. Some of the kids on the naughty list had moved to the nice list. Using WorkPro I was able to do all of my WH&S training online and be helping in the workshop within a few hours.” Elf, Merry Frostlog
“I was getting a bit stressed last year, The WorkPro modules include information on Stress and I was able to identify it and better manage it. Santa and the elf team offered support and assistance and accommodated reasonable adjustments to help me remain calm at work.” Elf, Cinnamon Scarletspice
If you want to find out more about WorkPro’s services, call 1300 975 776 or email [email protected].