Workplace Christmas Safety Advice
Date: 27th November 2017 | Categories: Health and Safety
With Christmas just round the corner most offices and places of work put up seasonal decorations to get their employees into the festive spirit and create a ‘fun’ atmosphere. But as an employer it’s important to be aware of potential health and safety hazards so that everyone can enjoy Christmas safely.
When you put up Christmas lights and decorations this season—or holiday lights during any season—be sure to follow these Christmas safety tips.
- LED lights are the best to use. They use much less energy and do not give off heat.
- If you don’t have LED lights, try to use the cooler-burning “mini” Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older style bulbs burn at a higher temperature and can start fires.
- Only use Christmas lights that have fuses in the plugs.
- Inspect each set of Christmas lights, old or new, for damage. Return or throw out any set with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections and consider buying new ones which will meet much higher safety standards.
- Look for safety marks e.g. the UK BSI Kitemark.
- Replace burned out bulbs promptly with bulbs of the same wattage.
- Never hang Christmas lights on a metal tree. The tree can become charged with electricity and shock someone. The tree can also short out the Christmas lights and cause a fire.
Christmas Safety | Outdoor Lights
- Want Christmas lights outdoors? Use outdoor Christmas lights. The packaging will note whether the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both. Don’t ever use indoor lights outside.
- All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units for outdoor use, or you can have them permanently installed by an electrician.
- Use extension leads properly. Outdoor leads can be used anywhere, but never use indoor extension leads outside. Do not overload extension leads, they can get hot enough to burn. Never “daisy chain” extension leads (plugging one lead into another to get the required length).
- Secure outdoor Christmas lights with insulated holders (never use tacks or nails) or run strings of lights through hooks.
- Never pull on a string of Christmas lights, it stresses the leads and can result in fraying. Store Christmas lights loosely wrapped for the same reason.
- Ensure that any decorations or lights are not blocking Fire Exits or exit signage which could cause an obstruction in the event of a fire.
- When you leave your place of work at night, turn off indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.
It’s important to take responsibility as a business for health and safety and no more so than at Christmas or the holiday season. Following simple Christmas safety precautions can ensure that your co-workers enjoy the festive period and your business is protected from unwanted hazards.
By Paul O’Connor – Wirehouse Health and Safety Consultant