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With holidays come workplace parties and celebrations. And while these are often are full of fun and camaraderie among employees, being mindful of a few common sense workplace holiday safety tips can ensure everyone has a good time while avoiding workplace accidents and injuries.
Here are some of the best ways to stay safe while still having a good time at work.
Decorate with Care
Holiday decorations are a great way to share seasonal cheer with coworkers and customers alike; however, they also present numerous health and safety hazards. When setting up decorations, place them thoughtfully to avoid tripping, falling or fire hazards. Inspect electrical cords for fraying, cracks or damage. Examine decorations for loose pieces and sharp edges. Use a ladder to hang decorations instead of standing on a chair. Replace light bulbs carefully to breaking the glass while the metal cap is still screwed into the base; and always unplug an electric cord before changing bulbs.
Avoid overloading electrical outlets, and minimize the number of light strands that you plug into a single length. Don’t leave electric decorations plugged in overnight. Keep walkways free of power cords or extension cords. Drape electric lights and garlands over hooks instead of stapling decorations to the wall. Always use electric decorations that are UL-listed. Keep outdoor lights outdoors and indoor lights indoors; mixing indoor and outdoor lights can cause a fire hazard.
During work parties where food and drinks are served, take care to clean up spills promptly; this will help avoid the potential for slips and falls. Keep hot and cold foods at an appropriate temperature. Wash your hands prior to food handling. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Use clean utensils and plates. Be mindful of other people's allergies; avoid bringing in dishes with common allergies like peanuts or label your dishes with ingredients to participants can skip things that cause allergic reactions.
For more workplace holiday safety, opt not to serve liquor at holiday work parties; alcohol can impair motor skills and judgment. If alcohol is served, make sure employees are able to safely make it home. Collect trash and debris at the conclusion of the party, making sure to sweep, vacuum or mop the floor to minimize hazards.
In many companies, new hires come on board for busy holiday periods. Make sure those new employees have received essential safety training, including emergency evacuation procedures. Go over general fire drill and fire extinguisher safety, along with safe ladder use and safe lifting. Check the smoke detection system, and avoid open flames from decorations like candles. Be aware of fatigue, too; as people work harder, pick up second jobs, and stay up later or get up earlier to take care of shopping and decorating, it’s easy to make mistakes because of tiredness.
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