Staying Focused, Especially During the Holiday Season

During this busy time of year at work, with the pressure to finish projects and the upcoming holiday seasons that bring its own stress and distractions, its easy to become overwhelmed with everything going on. Below we have outlined some points that should help you manage this hectic time of year and keep you safe.

Did you know that there are specific workplace hazards present during the holiday season? In order to protect yourself and your co-workers, you may want to bring up in your JSA and tailgate meetings some of the following topics:

  • Staying Focused – on the task at hand
  • Hazards of Rushing – to get the work done on time
  • Hazards of Fatigue – physically and mentally
  • Hazards of Stress – of work and the holidays

Stress, fatigue, and rushing are major contributors of accidents and injuries this time of year. It’s important for everyone to stay focused, and to concentrate on the task at hand. The hazards listed above can be avoided if the right precautions are put into place.

Staying Focused
We all tend to deal with a lot of distractions during the holiday season. Planning project shutdown for time off, travel plans to be with friends and family, shopping for gifts, the list could go on. But that isn’t an excuse for us to lose our focus at work. Help your co-workers keep their minds on task and focus on what they’re doing. Especially if they are working in high-risk jobs. You may want to hold a toolbox talk and have an open discussion with your co-workers. Get them to understand why it’s so important for them to not let their minds wander in the middle of the day-to-day job.

Hazards of Rushing
Rushing can be caused by two different things this time of year.

The first is when workers cut corners or rush to get the job done in order to get home to their families. They are constantly watching the clock throughout the workweek, counting down the minutes until they can head home for a much-needed break. The second has to do with the end-of-year demands on the project. Each project will have certain deadlines, quotas, or milestones that are set to be achieved by the end of the year. This can have a direct impact on the worker in the field. No matter the reason, make sure that you and your co-workers aren’t sacrificing your safety by rushing through the work.
Oftentimes rushing will lead to mistakes, which can be more costly to the project. If the work must be re-done, it’s more time and materials that the company must pay for and if the mistakes lead to an accident or injury, those costs can be significant, if not life threatening.

Encourage your co-workers to continue their work at a safe and steady pace. The risk just isn’t worth it.

Hazards of Fatigue
Workers are more likely to experience fatigue during the holiday season. This also can be attributed to one of two things:

  • Working longer hours / extra hours to complete a job
  • Late nights at home / stress from home or holiday celebration

Some of you are more than happy to work long hours or pick up extra hours when needed. But if workers aren’t getting enough sleep, then it can affect their performance and their safety. They could be putting themselves and others at risk.
Stress from home or holiday celebrations along with multiple nights of staying up later than usual can also cause worker fatigue. This and other factors that occur outside of the workplace should be discussed even though management doesn’t have control of these situations. Hold a toolbox talk about the hazards of fatigue whether from work or outside of work. Review the importance of staying hydrated, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

Hazards of Stress
Stress can be caused by any of the hazards discussed above. Workers might feel stress and pressure to meet end-of-year deadlines. They might feel stressed about making enough money to buy presents for their kids and family. Even if a worker has a vacation planned, they might feel stressed about missing work!

Stress can make a co-worker frustrated and can cause them to lose their focus. Help them to alleviate their stress by creating an open opportunity to talk. Be there to help your co-workers through trying times. If you see a co-worker who appears to be overly stressed, make sure their supervisor is aware of it. There might be assistance programs available or something they can do to help.

Keep Yourself and Your Co-Workers Safe
Keep these tips in mind as-well and be on the lookout for hazards from stress, fatigue, and rushing. Make sure you and your co-workers are focused on the task at hand. Doing so could help prevent accidents and injuries in the coming weeks.

November Near Misses

A surveyor was walking backwards and stepped into a pothole up to his knee. We made sure all potholes were covered with plywood and marked. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

The Xray crew was shooting tie-in welds on the project. The bell hole collapsed on the Xray helper. After investigating, the helper had taken the easy but deadly way out and entered the straight wall ditch outside the bell hole. The helper walked past the bell hole exit to get far enough away from his source and the ditch collapsed knocking him down and slamming him against the pipe. It broke his wrist in two places. I’m not sure if this is a near miss in most eyes but it was for sure a near miss fatality that could have easily been avoided.

A mechanic was using a grinder without a face shield. He was told to use safety glasses, a face shield, and gloves when using a grinder. We discussed the risks of the disc breaking and what kind of injuries could happen. About a month later, he stopped me in the lay down yard and said he was at his house when his buddy was using a cutting disc that broke and sliced his chin open. The friend had to get stitches. He thanked me for stopping him and said after seeing his friend have the incident, he would be sure to be safer with all his tools – not just the grinder.

A fire extinguisher was needed while welding near heavy vegetation. It was addressed with the safety personnel the potential risk of the debris catching fire during the grinding and welding process and that there wasn't a fire extinguisher nearby. The safety team located a fire extinguisher for the area.

We inspected over a crew using a Georgia buggy. The excavator operator was loading the bucket with dirt and loaded too much. When the person on the buggy turned around to go toward the ditch to dump the dirt, he went over a 6" ledge and the front end of the buggy took a nose dive to the ground and the operator of the buggy was lifted up off the ground. The operator of the buggy didn’t fall off while the buggy stayed up in the air. The operator was not injured, and the buggy did not fall over. After getting the operator off, we shut down and had a safety stand down to assess the work area. They made a safer ramp to go down toward the ditch and made sure not to overload the bucket on the buggy.

There were pinch points on a fit up for a tie-in weld inside of a trench box. It is important to limit workers in the trench box until the fit up is made. Stay in a safe location away from a potential pinch point.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered up with Boot Barn to offer all Applied Consultants inspectors a 15% discount on all purchases “work related” from the Boot Barn, Nation Wide. Be sure to tell them you work for Applied Consultants and use the key word: “Safety First” to receive the discount. 

API1169 Test Dates:

December 4 - 18, 2020
Registration Deadline: October 2nd, 2020

November Winners

Platinum-Michael Ray Johnson
Gold-Kenny Ebarb
Silver-Kris Haraldson
Bronze-Travis Metz
Bronze-Stoney Robinson
Bronze-James Glass

If you have been selected as newsletter Q&A winner, please click this link and select your prize(s) from your winning category.

Director of Safety & OQ

Dusty Flanagan

(903) 643-0956
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Longview Office Location

2100 N. Eastman Rd.
Longview, Texas 75601

Stay Updated