6 Holiday Safety Tips You’ll be Thankful For

The holiday season is around the corner, and that means fun, celebration and relaxation – but if there’s one thing that could put a damper on holiday cheer, it’s a workplace accident. Getting ready for the holidays means breaking from routines, so safety precautions people take every day may fall by the wayside. To prevent risks from cropping up, we’re sharing our 6 holiday safety tips to help you and your employees stay healthy and happy.

1. Watch Out for Obstructed Paths and other Mobility Hazards

Walkways are often a little narrower during the holiday season than at other times. Extra stock in warehouses, special displays on retail sales floors, decorations in offices – these potential obstructions all increase the chances that someone might trip and fall. The key to slip, trip and fall management is the same in the holiday season as at any time of year, meaning you should inspect walking areas often to ensure they’re safe, and not let any hazards get in the way of an unobstructed path.

2. Be Sure to Handle Heavy Loads Safely

Hauling an increased volume of boxes in the warehouse or switching out fall decorations for winter ones can involve picking up heavier loads than employees are used to. People who don’t normally pick up large objects may not go about this process in a safe way, putting themselves at greater risk of a back injury. A reviewing effective lifting techniques can prevent workers from making simple but costly mistakes, such as twisting their bodies or making jerky, sudden movements. Taking items off of high shelves requires extra risk, so it’s always best to test the weight of an item before getting it down.

3. Watch Your Step on Ladders

Setting up decorations doesn’t just mean hauling heavy objects out of storage – it may also involve lifting these items up onto the roof or stringing lights from the ceiling. It’s normal for employees to climb ladders during the holidays, even if they stay at ground level most of the year. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that more than 300 people die each year falling from ladders, and more than 500,000 people receive injuries that require treatment due to such falls and other mishaps. Ladders are an added source of risk if people don’t work with them safely, so as the holiday season gets underway, a quick refresher is in order in any workplace that uses them.

4. Stay On Guard against Distracted Driving

The holidays can be a challenging time for drivers. The roads are full of people traveling for the season or doing last-minute shopping and the sun sets earlier each day, leading to more low-visibility driving. As the end of the year approaches, it’s worth taking a few moments to remember the risks of distracted driving and commit to staying safe on the roads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the danger into numbers – 3,450 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2016.

5. Use Electricity Safely

Changing things up around the office and plugging in new decorations can be a fun way to celebrate the holiday season, but you have to take care not to overtax electrical outlets when hooking up the lights. Power outlets are not able to safely handle too many electrical devices at once, and all cords should be inspected to make sure they aren’t worn, frayed or otherwise damaged. Whether you’re plugging in a string of lights during the holidays or bringing out an electrical power tool any other time of year to do some renovations around the office, safe and responsible use of electricity is a must for avoiding unnecessary risk.

6. Make sure Employees Avoid Overexertion

Across industries and around the world, the winter holidays are a busy time. Companies are scrambling to finish the year on a fiscal high note and, especially in retail, performance during these few months can make or break the business’s outlook for the immediate future. All of this may exert pressure on workers to provide “more” – more time, more effort, more activity of all kinds. It pays not to let “more” turn into too much, though. Workplace leaders should make sure their teams are still getting a good work-life balance and potentially set policies to ensure everyone gets some time to relax during this hectic season.

Getting through the holidays safely means going into the New Year refreshed and ready for whatever comes next. While the excitement and novel routines associated with the season may present a few additional safety hazards, there’s nothing complicated about planning for and counteracting the risks.

No matter how you plan to spend the holidays, both at work and at home, you can refer back to these holiday safety tips to make sure you and your co-workers are prepared and safe. To learn more about workplace safety, check out the FFVA Mutual Blog or contact a Solutionist.