With the holiday season rolling around again, so are holiday safety considerations. From holiday parties and risk of electrical shock to fires and trips and falls, companies have a set of safety and risk management challenges that may not be present during the rest of the year. Decorating and decorations present their own specific safety challenges. Here are some things to be aware of when decking your office’s halls.
Stay Safe While Decorating
Keep all relevant OSHA regulations in mind when decorating your workplace. That includes being safe during the process of decorating and making sure you don’t create new safety hazards that will last for the whole of December and beyond. When your staff members are decorating the office, ensure they stick to safety guidelines, relevant all year -round.
- Ladder safety: Employees should not stand on tables, desks or rolling chairs when hanging lights or other decorations. Use ladders and have partners to hold each ladder when employees are working up high.
- Unobstructed walkways: There may be traditional boxes of decorations that come out every year, or maybe some new ones have just been purchased. When the decorations are going up, make sure all walkways stay free of wires, cords, boxes or any other materials that could be tripping hazards.
- Install wisely: It’s also wise to keep an eye out for decorations that could impede movement of your workforce or office visitors, create tripping hazards or expose staff to getting caught in the decorations.
- Unobstructed exits: Do not place any type of decorative items in exit corridors or on sprinklers. It’s essential to verify that none of your decorations block exit signage or fire safety equipment.
Christmas Trees Require Special Care
- Consider an artificial tree, which poses less risk than a live one.
- If you have a live tree, make sure that it is properly watered so it doesn’t dry out, which makes it a fire hazard. Live trees can also be safer when sprayed with flame retardant.
- Don’t put live trees near heat sources such as space heaters, where they can dry out and pose a greater fire hazard.
Consider Safety First When Putting Up Lights
- LED lights burn cool and are more economical, because they use only 10% of the electricity consumed by other bulbs.
- Use lights that are recommended by a reputable testing laboratory. Such lights are usually labeled “UL” or “ETL.”
- Prior to using, inspect lights and extension cords for defects or damage. Check for loose connections, cracked or broken sockets, and bare or frayed wires.
- Immediately replace burnt-out bulbs with ones that have the same wattage. Unplug lights when replacing bulbs.
- Be careful not to create a maze of wires, cords and plugs when plugging in festive lighting.
- Never use outdoor lights indoors.
- Ensure lights and other electrical outdoor decorations are plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter. This device helps prevent electric shock and fire.
- Never use nails or tacks to secure cords of lights. Also, don’t run strings of lights through hooks.
- Never pull on a string of Christmas lights.
- Always turn off lights before leaving the premises, and never leave them on overnight.