Workplace Safety Doesn’t Take a Holiday

Around the holidays, people often have things on their mind other than safety. Nonetheless, risk does not disappear during the holiday season. Follow these tips to keep the workplace safe so everyone can enjoy the festivities.

Train Seasonal Workers

Many companies hire extra help during the holiday season to cope with increased need. Even if you’re careful to hire people with plenty of experience, they still don’t know your company.

Clarify their responsibilities and review safety policies and procedures. Tell them who they report to and ensure they have the training they need before using any equipment, even if they say they’re familiar with it.

Review Lifting & Ladder Safety

Holiday decorating, extra stock, and moving furniture for the office party can involve lifting or climbing ladders.

Call a quick meeting to review proper lifting and ladder protocols. You don’t want an employee standing on a chair to hang decorations and you don’t want an employee straining their back by lifting improperly.

Employees should know which ladder to use and how to set it up properly, too. Review lifting techniques and when employees should seek assistance or use lifting aids. The last thing you need is an injury and incident report due to poor choices.

Practice Electrical Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution or lighting equipment starts two out of every five Christmas tree fires. If your business puts up a tree every year, have employees inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords for damage before use. Electrical devices should not crowd outlets as it can cause overheating and a fire.

All extension cords should be in low traffic areas or under furniture and carpets. Always use a sufficiently long cord, rather than stringing cords together. Do not staple or nail cords in place. Use duct tape instead.

Don’t Sacrifice Safety For Appearance

It is often tempting to set up a tree or holiday display in a seldom used area such as in front of an emergency exit sign or a first aid station. It can be equally tempting to move workplace equipment into aisles just to squeeze in some holiday cheer.

Any of these tactics can lead to confusion and slow response time if something untoward occurs. Let safety lead all holiday displays, not appearance.

Plan For Extra Stock

The busy holiday season usually means many companies need to order additional stock. However, overloading existing shelves to accommodate the extra items can lead to falling objects, injuries, and insurance claims.

If your business constantly has space issues, look at ways you can optimize storage before crunch time. Buy some additional temporary shelving and disassemble it at the end of the season, if need be.

Use Safety Checklists

Safety must be a priority, even during the busy holiday. A simple way to ensure your facility stays safe is to use safety checklists. Your safety officer can walk through the building at the beginning and end of each day to check for potential problems.

Rectifying issues such as obstructed emergency exits, poorly or overstocked shelves, spills or clutter, and other risks protects employees and increases productivity.

Keep Food Safe

The holiday season often means food in the workplace. Keeping food safe involves following safe food-handling guidelines such as hand washing and serving prepared food on clean dishes rather than those used to prepare it.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. The USDA recommends keeping hot food at 140° F or warmer. Cold foods should be 40° F or colder.

Reinforce Drug & Alcohol Policy

Employees need to know that they cannot ignore your company’s drug and alcohol policies during the holidays. Reinforce the fact that workers cannot use any substance that could endanger health and safety. Holiday cheer is fine, but not when it is drug or alcohol-induced.

Gilbert’s Risk Solutions’ long track record in risk analysis can help you improve your safety record, reduce insurance costs, and strengthen your brand. We’re local and reliable and easy to talk to, so contact us to discuss your needs. We’ve helped people for over 160 years, and we’re here for you too. Happy holidays!

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