Safety Tips to Enjoy The Holiday Season

With the holidays almost in full swing, we will soon be decking the halls, traveling to friends and family, and—potentially—enjoying a snowy holiday season. Fortunately, we can look back to several holiday classic movies to learn what to do—and what not to do—to avoid the most common holiday hazards found at home and the workplace.

Decking the Halls

Decorations are a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but as we learn from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) when decorations are not used properly or set up correctly, they can become safety hazards. To avoid channeling your inner “Clark Griswold,” follow the below safety tips:

  • If you are decorating with lights, FEMA recommends reading the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of light strands that can be connected.
  • According to FEMA, more than one in five tree fires are caused by placing trees too close to heat sources. Avoid the fate of the Griswolds’ burned-up Christmas tree by keeping all heat sources at least three feet away.
  • If you are displaying a live tree, remember that dry trees can burn quickly. Water your Christmas tree frequently. If the tree has dried out, or if Santa has safely delivered all presents and the holiday season is over, safely dispose of your tree.
  • When using a ladder, the ladder should extend at least three feet past the roof or whatever surface you are placing decorations on. Never lean away from the ladder or overreach as Clark Griswold does in the film!

Winter Conditions

Winter storms can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Whether your work requires you to be outside or not, follow the below safety precautions in extremely cold, snowy, or icy conditions:

  • When working outside, be sure to monitor your and your coworkers’ physical condition for signs of cold stress, which can include reddening skin, tingling, pain, swelling, leg cramps, numbness, and blisters.
  • Keep emergency road tools such as an ice scraper, shovel, gloves, blankets, emergency flares or reflectors, rock salt, first aid kit, and an extra windshield washer in your car. Be sure to bring lots of food and supplies in case you are stranded.
  • OSHA recommends wearing at least three layers of clothing while working in wintry conditions. As Ralphie and Randy’s mom in the film A Christmas Story (1983) knows, layering is the best for insulation. OSHA also recommends that one layer be an outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Lastly, no licking icy poles—even if you are triple dog dared. The holidays are a time of joy and merriment but don’t forget to take these necessary steps to make the health and safety of you, your loved ones, and your coworkers a priority. Have a safe and happy holiday season!