At the office and at home, safety should always be at the top of mind around the holidays.
Drivers take to ice-covered roads in blustery snow, the family chef spends hours planning and cooking special holiday meals, twinkly lights get hung on high-pitched roofs – all excellent opportunities for accidents to happen.
Here are 25 tips to keep in mind as you and your workers head from the office to your homes this holiday season.
Check weather reports before travelling for work.
There’s an app for that, use it! If heavy snow or ice is coming your way, use your best judgement to decide if you and your employees must commute to work or travel for a project.
Note: Before weather gets too bad, communicate inclement weather policies to your employees.
Always have a designated driver.
If your company holiday parties involve alcohol, either skip the booze or appoint a designated driver. The alternatives aren’t worth it.
Maintain a clear walkway and driveway.
Keeping your walkways clear of snow and ice may mean hiring a snowplow company, firing up the snow blower, or have an employee do it themselves. If you choose the latter, make sure they are properly trained on how to get the job done without overexerting themselves.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Go around the office and push those “test” buttons (they should be checked once monthly regardless). All it takes is for the last person out to forget to switch the coffee maker to “off” to create huge problems.
Inspect your fire extinguishers.
Speaking of fires, put “inspect fire extinguishers” on your shortlist during the holiday season. They are your first line of defense in the event of a fire, and it’s important to know with certainty they are functional.
Keep your cell phone charged at all times.
A fully charged cell phone is a must, especially for frequent travelers. Accidents happen, and having the ability to call for help is critically important during winter months.
Dress in layers.
If your work demands working outside in sub-freezing temperatures, dress in light layers to help keep you warm.
You might not feel parched like it’s the middle of July with a broken A/C, but dehydration is a very real risk during the winter. If you are physically exerting yourself at all for work, drinking water is a must. Coffee might be your go-to to keep warm, but limit caffeine intake and balance it out with water consumption.
Wear footwear with traction.
Purchase a solid pair of footwear with good traction – and advise employees to do the same. A nasty fall on the ice is enough to land someone in the ER.
Stock emergency kits in cars.
Make sure that every company vehicle is equipped with an emergency kit: first aid supplies, flashlight, phone charger, and blanket. “You can never be too prepared” is a cliche for a reason.
Keep high visibility clothing readily available.
Since it gets dark earlier in the winter, it is especially important to wear high visibility/reflective clothing if working outside.
Set up a generator.
Make sure you have a working generator on the premises. If the power goes out due snow, ice, or wind, you want to keep your servers, heat, and other necessities up and running.
After the hustle of getting things wrapped up at work before the holidays, there will probably be a day or two when you don’t go into the office. Remember not to leave your safety conscious behavior there!
Here are some things to keep in mind when you go home.
Practice ladder safety.
Illuminating your home for the holidays with string lights? Remember the ladder safety training you’ve done a hundred times at work and make sure you have three points of contact at all times, have three feet clearance above the landing platform, and that you don’t step on the very top of the ladder. Be extremely conscientious of ice and snow that could cause the bottom of the ladder to slip. Don’t leave children unattended with ladders hanging around either.
Blow out candles.
Remember to blow candles out when before you go to bed or leave the room to avoid starting a fire.
Inspect string lights.
Before you hang up the lights on the tree or house, inspect your string lights for any fraying or broken bulbs.
Be careful with house plants.
Planning on setting out some house plants to make your space more festive? If you have animals, make sure to do some research on if the plants are safe around them. If not, make sure they’re safely out of reach.
Secure your home.
If you plan to travel for the holidays, double-check to make sure all windows and doors are secured on your house, vehicles, and out-buildings.
Don’t leave cooking meals unattended.
Never leave a meal cooking on the stove or oven unattended for an extended period of time. Not only can it make a huge mess, but it is a big fire hazard.
Water your tree daily.
Every holiday, many house are reported that start from a dehydrated tree going up in flames. If you opt for decorating a real tree, make sure to water it daily, keep it clear of radiators, and keep the surrounding area tidy.
Set timers for outside lights.
The easiest way to remember to turn off lights? Put them on a timer. It will keep your electricity bill low and prevent you from running off for a couple of days without turning them off.
Have someone retrieve your mail.
If you’re going to be away from your home from an extended period of time over the holidays, get someone to collect your mail. An overflowing mailbox is a tell-tale sign the home isn’t occupied.
Don’t overload your outlets.
Electric decorations are a staple for the holidays, but do not overload your outlets. It could trip a breaker or start a fire.
Pay attention to your breakables.
Especially if you have small children (or curious cats), keep breakable ornaments near the top of the tree. Not only will it save you from losing a special ornament, but the last thing you want is someone to accidentally step on a piece of glass in the carpet.
Keep walkways clear.
We have all seen it: a living room completely obliterated after opening gifts. Clean up as you go, making sure there’s always a clear walkway for folks so you don’t have to worry about slips, trips, and falls.
Prepare meals safely.
Always follow food safety guidelines when preparing meals during the holidays. Nothing would be worse than making a room full of extended family members sick from an under-cooked pot roast.