Christmas is coming! Usually, offices and shops start to decorate their work spaces to get into the holiday spirit. Beautiful Christmas trees, pretty lights and shiny ornaments – these are all aesthetically pleasing for onlookers but can prove to be a hazard for all. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported over 15,000 Christmas decorations-related injuries in November and December of 2012 alone. Unfortunately, that was the fourth consecutive year that the injury statistics have risen. So before you decorate your office, make sure you follow these tips:
- Fire-proof your tree
If your workplace decided on an artificial tree, purchase one that is non-flammable/flame resistant. A real tree would be a major concern because it can dry up and become a fire hazard. Dry trees are more flammable than well-maintained ones. With this in mind, it goes without saying that your tree should never run out of water. Keep at least four litres of water under the tree every two days. Keep watch of the water level and refill when necessary. Additionally, you want to keep the tree away from overcrowded power outlets, heaters, fireplaces and spaces where people might knock it over.
- Avoid certain ornaments
About 11% of holiday injuries are cuts and gashes obtained from dangerous ornaments. Remember how the two thieves in the movie Home Alone comically fell on the floor after slipping on booby traps that the boy set up? As funny as it may sound, incidents like these are a reality. Ornaments that drop from Christmas trees are accidentally stepped on, causing injuries to the victim. Try avoiding fragile or heavy ornaments such as glass spheres. The last thing you want is to have a colleague or customer hurt themselves on a Christmas decoration. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Watch your ladder
At 34%, falling is the one of the highest cause of injury during Christmas. Yes, it is recommended that one should use the ladder while decorating; however, take precautions before climbing it. Personally, I would suggest decorators use a stepladder when decorating indoors. Even so, make sure the spreaders are fully open and tested for stability. Climb down and move the ladder when needed; do not attempt to stretch and reach too far.
- Keep burning candles in sight
While it is no doubt that candles are obvious fire hazards, there are several ways to prevent it. First, you would want to keep them away from the tree, curtains, blinds and drapes. Candles that are lit should be supervised; never leave the candle burning in a room alone. You would also want the candle to stand on a stable and heat-resistant surface. Avoid placing lit candles among other objects such as paper, tissue boxes or stationaries. Candle-related incidents have caused 70 deaths, 680 injuries and $308 million in property damage between 2009 and 2011.
As much as we enjoy seeing Christmas decorations being set up in workplaces, it is also important to take action in reducing the number of possible accidents. Let this holiday season be full of good memories. Remember: something as simple as vigilance can make all the difference.
J. Tjoandi | DBPC Blog