Make the Nice List: Decorate the Workplace Safely
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published November 20, 2018
Americans spend a lot of time at work. While there’s no place like home for the holidays, it is nice to bring the cozy, festive environment into the workplace. Adding a touch of seasonal color brightens the overall mood of employees and worksite visitors, according to the McKeown Clinic. However, having the right displays in place that don’t overwhelm workers and trample on safety is key.
Each year, some people go to great lengths to show off their holiday spirit. The proof is in the hospital records for slicing fingers with scissors, tripping over power cords and face planting, or enduring a shock from being naughty and overloading the power supply, to name a few, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Putting up and taking down decorations are the top causes of holiday-related injuries with lacerations being the most common type of injury, CPSC reports. Since 2009, the number of injuries related to holiday decorations at work or home has increased at a rate of one thousand per year, with 15,000 in 2012.
Workplaces can still have fun and put up holiday decorations by keeping safety at the forefront of any operation. Here are a few tips:
- Do not decorate safety equipment. Ensure fire equipment and other emergency stations are visible and accessible at all times. Fully stock first-aid stations.
- Use ladders properly. Train workers on ladder safety. Remind workers to use the correct ladder for the task. Check the instructions and weight limits on ladder labels.
- Eliminate trip hazards. Keep exits and pathways clear. Keep extension and other cords wrapped up to limit the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Also, do not staple or duct tape cords to the floor or walls. Keep boxes and other items out of aisles and doorways.
- Fire proof areas. Keep trees and other items away from heat sources. Do not block fire sprinklers. Do not overload electrical outlets. Regularly check lights and outlets for signs of overheating. Turn off all lights before closing shop. Communicate with workers on fire safety procedures.
Always keep in mind the area in which decorating will take place, whether office cubicles, the warehouse, or just the break room. Keep the safety guard up through the holidays.
Celebrate a Spirit of Safety
A celebration can go from fun to disastrous in seconds when proper safety protocols are forgotten, missed, or neglected. Workplaces can be mindful of safety regulations and be smart about taking into account changes in the work environment and mitigating the hazards. Holidays oftentimes bring in new or seasonal workers as well as more site visitors who might not be familiar with the worksite. During the holiday hustle and bustle, workplaces can find convenience in using safety education and compliance resources such as articles, infographics, and free guides. Encourage worker participation in safety discussions.