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The holiday season brings with it the possibility of workforce-related injuries for Kentuckians

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It would probably be an understatement to say activities just seem to run at a faster pace during the holiday season. For those in the workforce, it could mean an increased risk of injury.

When you combine higher demand for all kinds of retail items and services with the same 24 hours in a day, something has to give. And that can be a back, strained muscle, or a broken bone from a fall. Rebecca Honaker is with the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center. She said temporary employees may face a learning curve.

“Making sure for any new employees that they have very clear job assignments and tasks and that they’ve got comprehensive training so that they can recognize and avoid any safety hazards on the job,” said Honaker.

Honaker said higher risk of workplace injury can continue after Christmas when the retail pace remains high with gift returns.

She said on-the-job injuries this time of year aren’t limited to lifting too much or too quickly in a warehouse.

“As well as a lot of increased stress and fatigue due to personal obligations and workplace obligations, winter weather. And then also a lot of new employees, often temporary employees being brought in to fill that increased demand,” said Honaker.

Honaker noted it’s important to have clarity in job assignments as well as comprehensive training to recognize and avoid safety hazards. All workers need to have the appropriate protective gear. And Honaker, with the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center, added fatigue can also lead to transportation-related injuries.

The injury specialist recommends employers check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s workplace safety web page.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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