As we enter the season of perpetual hope, we start planning the holidays both at home and the office. There are many things to consider for ensuring our safety during the holidays. November and December are peak times to get everything completed for year-end as well as to celebrate the holidays. It is the busiest, and for most of us the best time of the year.
There is a lot to consider, especially once we think how complex the last two months of the year really are. If you add in some simple safety measures, you can be confident you won’t spend the holidays in a cast or worse yet, the emergency room. Nothing ruins the holidays like a twisted ankle.
Let’s review the concerns of the season.
Decorations. Whenever you plan to hang an item, use the correct devices to stand or climb on. A chair is not a step stool, it’s a chair. Using ladders or step stools to get to those hard to reach places is the ideal approach. Make sure you use three points of contact at all times.
Also realize the decorations you are putting around your cube or in the lunch room are often combustible or a fire hazard. These decorations can lead to fires if hung in the wrong positions. Never hang decorations over exit signs, next to lights, covering windows, or near heaters, fire sprinklers or any ventilation ducts. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Human Resource Management states: “If you use an artificial tree choose one labeled fire resistant.” It is a great practice to also purchase decorations with a fire resistant label. Oh, and by the way, let’s leave the candles at home.
Lights. What’s the holiday season without lights highlighting our favorite decoration or adding color to a room? Pay close attention to all those cords when you’re stringing up your favorite colors, as extension cords are often tripped over. Additionally, overloading circuits with multiple cords or lights can cause electrical malfunctions and fires. Make sure you plug your lights into a designated outlet and always turn them off prior to leaving your house or office.
Weather. One could write a book about the rapidly changing weather during a New England winter. Most likely, we will drive in snowy or icy conditions for the first time in months during the holiday season. So let’s make sure our snow tires are installed before the first flake. Don’t forget, once you arrive at your destination, be cautious of black ice or slippery spots in the parking lot.
Holiday Parties. It may be the last topic, but it is everyone’s favorite. Food safety is something we often ignore. Pay attention to holiday treats or leftovers. What’s the shelf life of leftovers and how long can a mayonnaise-based appetizer sit out anyhow? Also, let’s use common sense when alcohol is provided at these gatherings. Always make sure there is a designated driver and don’t ever drink and drive.
Don’t let the stress get to you! It will all be over too soon and we’ll be planning our New Year’s resolutions. But in the meantime, let’s add in some safety measures to our holiday lists so we can close out the year incident free.
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