The holiday season is filled with fun, joy, and some stressors. It is common to see people being consumed with having to prepare for the various holiday events and decorations. Throughout the season, it is important to also be mindful of hazards causing injury or illness. This post will highlight common hazards related to the holiday season.
Holiday party alcohol consumption
Many holidays are sponsored by the employer and include the presentation of alcoholic beverages. Most people will have a couple of drinks, but remain guarded as to how much they drink. If they drink too much alcohol, they may make poor decisions related to what they say or do in front of co-workers and bosses.
Additionally, holiday times are among the deadliest time of year for crashes involving drunk driving. There are many ride-sharing and cab services to utilize for transporting inebriated workers home.
(graphic resource: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2014/11/26/the-u-s-death-rate-spikes-on-thanksgiving-heres-why/#627064a624c6)
Part of the holiday tradition is to use lights in the decoration of the office or home. Many of these lights have been used over and over for years regardless of condition. To avoid an electric shock from being exposed to bare wires, it is important to inspect the holiday lights and other decorations that are wired. If any of the protective sheeting is pulled back, exposing wires, it must be thrown away and replaced with a new item.
Back strains and other ergonomic hazards can occur when lifting, twisting, pushing, or pulling equipment or material. Overexertion is a condition plaguing workers who are injured during these types of movements. During the holiday time, some decorations are put in place overhead where the worker must extend up to position the items. This can cause overexertion injuries.
Also, the holiday time can increase back injuries in moving heavy items as shipments are sent and received throughout the season. To avoid a back-injury, workers can use mechanical devices or team up with a coworker to position or lift heavy objects.
Holiday fires can be cause by simple oversight of items not used throughout the year. The sources of fires during the holiday time can be from:
- Candles — Candle fires are peaked during Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Proper candle safety awareness will include not placing them next to combustible materials or in locations they can be displaced.
- Portable heaters — Portable heating units are used during the winter months as a supplement for other heating options. Space heaters can be a source for fires in an office setting, because of the placement near papers and other combustible materials. Many modern space heaters have a safety feature where they will shut off if they are tilted or have fallen.
- Overloading the electrical circuits or local outlets — When an outlet is overloaded the wires begin to heat up to a dangerous level. This often occurs when the there are not enough outlets for the additional holiday decorations. Individuals will then get a power strip or adaptor allowing for multiple cords. Depending on the power consumption of each item, the circuit may become overloaded and have an electrical fire. If a fire becomes larger than a fire extinguisher can handle, then call fire rescue immediately.
- Christmas trees are not watered regularly — Real Christmas trees are utilized because of the fresh pine smell associated with the holidays. The tradition of decorating the trees with lights and ornaments can create a source of heat. If a tree is not properly and regularly watered, then the heat of the lights, can cause the pine needles to ignite. A dry tree is an excellent source of fuel for a fire, so it can burn quickly and spread to the presents under the tree. In this instance, it is essential the fire rescue team is called to put out the fire.
Holiday time is a time for fun, faith, and family. The awareness of these hazards and more will insure the family, workplace, and community stays safe and can enjoy the festivities.
Capstone Fire & Safety Management wishes you a safe and happy holiday and prosperous New Year.