While visions of turkey and dressing are filling daydreams, it’s important your team doesn’t lose sight of safety—at work or at home. Thanksgiving isn’t always a momentous occasion, with more than 2,400 house fires and 30 resulting deaths and injuries reported each year.
While you can’t force your workers to exercise caution off the clock, you can spark some safety inspiration to help them have a safe holiday weekend. Here are seven safety tips to share with your employees:
#1 – Never Leave a Hot Oven or Stove Unattended
We get it—turkeys take forever to cook. But that’s no excuse to make a quick trip to the store while your bird is baking. Dripping oils in the oven can cause it to smoke. Ovens can also catch on fire, so make sure you watch it closely. Also, never leave hot or cooking items unattended on the stove. Not only can burned food ruin your meal, but grease fires can also occur if not carefully monitored. Your best bet is to settle down in the kitchen for the long haul so that every piece of your meal comes out perfect.
#2 – Keep Glass Away from Heat
The casserole dish is a mainstay in kitchens for Thanksgiving, but they could become one of the most dangerous items in the house. Never leave a glass dish or lid near an open flame or on a stove burner. The heat could cause the glass to explode, which could result in injury, ruined food, and more cleanup than you bargained for.
#3 – Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
Because so many kitchen fires occur on Thanksgiving each year, now would be a good time to inspect your existing fire extinguisher to make sure it’s in good working condition. Check the expiration date and make sure it’s within reach in case of a fire. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you should get one. This is one item you want to buy hoping you’ll never have to use, but in the event of a fire, you’ll be glad to have made the investment.
#4 – Don’t Put Water on a Grease Fire
In a moment of panic, it’s easy to think that water on a grease fire is a good idea. It isn’t, though. Pouring water on a grease fire will make it exponentially worse, and put you and others in immediate danger. Instead, use a fire extinguisher to smother the flames. Yes, it’s messy, and yes, dinner will likely be ruined, but it’s better not to have a Thanksgiving meal than it is not to have a home.
#5 – Practice Good Food Safety, Especially When It Comes to Turkey
The turkey is the star of most Thanksgiving meals, but there are tons of ways the bird can go awry. Washing the turkey in the sink unnecessarily spreads germs and could increase your risk of salmonella. Also, not checking your turkey with a meat thermometer for doneness could also put you at risk. You should check the thickest part of the meat (usually the breast or thigh) for the best reading. Also, make sure you’re washing your hands thoroughly while cooking. Handling food can pose just as much risk to your guests as it does to you.
#6 – Don’t Drink and Drive
If you’re traveling to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving, make sure you limit your alcohol consumption or ride with someone who will limit theirs. The National Safety Council estimates hundreds of drunk driving-related deaths each year on Thanksgiving. Don’t take your chances.
#7 – Do a Post Party Walkthrough
After everyone’s had their fill of turkey and are snoozing off their calories, go through your house to ensure no safety hazards have gone unnoticed. Blow out candles, check the ovens and burners, put away any sharp knives, and clear the walkways. Put up any leftovers to limit your risk of food poisoning or other illness. Keep your eye on the fireplace and tend it carefully. Small hazards can easily be overlooked, so be thorough in your walkthrough.
It’s Safety First This Thanksgiving
Putting your workers’ safety and best interests first is just good business. When they practice safety and responsibility outside the workplace, they’ll be able to return to their jobs without delay.
Happy Thanksgiving from the EHS Insight team!