You may have noticed signs going up in shop windows advertising temporary vacancies as the festive season approaches.

A happy Christmas? More jobs means more workplace accidents – but they can be avoided.

With longer opening hours and a dramatic increase in customer demand, thousands of people across the UK are recruited for seasonal work across all sorts of industries.

The Royal Mail famously takes on huge volumes of extra staff around Christmas and Amazon announced it will have 15,000 vacancies to fill on the run up to the festive season.

However, while this is positive in principal, the increase in employment brings a rise in workplace accidents.

Andy Cartwright, technical manager of Mentor, a UK provider of materials handling training, said: “Many companies employ additional temporary staff to cope with the Christmas rush in their warehouses, and statistics show that this can lead to a surge in accidents.”

Why?

Mr Cartwright explained that the main reason for the surge in workplace accidents over the Christmas period is down to a “sudden influx of new people, unfamiliar with each other and the company’s practices”.

Since knowledge and experience varies between seasonal staff, this can also increase the risk.

Additionally, if people have taken on seasonal work as a second job to cover the cost of Christmas, they may be tired or stressed which can cause lapses in concentration – potentially resulting in accidents.

Solutions

The last thing anyone wants around Christmas is to deal with the consequences of an accident – employees and employers alike.

Making seasonal arrangements early can help to reduce the chances of injury, such as by sending new recruits on training courses to make sure they are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge for the role.

Mr Cartwright said: “Training them [staff] up to the necessary level is essential. For employers, there are advantages to be had – in terms of cost, availability and smooth running – from booking courses well in advance.

“However relevant their previous training, as a new employer, you must ensure that they are able to handle the particular equipment, workplace conditions and duties involved in their new job safely.”

Regardless of whether employees are permanent or temporary, employers have a legal and moral obligation concerning safety.

Where this legal duty of care has been breached, resulting in a personal injury, you may be able to make an accident at work claim.