Happy and Safe Holidays
By Mike Huss
Loss Control Supervisor
The holiday season is here, and along with the weather, decorations, shopping, and celebrations
comes a heightened concern for safety. All the activities, partying, driving, and
stress associated with the holiday season can increase the risk of workplace accidents.
Safety during the Holidays
With all the holiday activities, some workers might be distracted on the job with thoughts
about holiday plans, and that could lead to carelessness and accidents. Others might not
be getting as much sleep as usual, considering all of the parties, shopping, and other afterwork
holiday events. This means employees might come to work overly fatigued which
could result in impaired judgement.
Safe driving should be considered a high priority during the holiday season. Three critical
skills for safe driving are judgment, vision and reflexes. Alcohol and drugs impair all three.
Other important considerations include; slowing down during inclement weather, proper
trip planning, use of safety devices such as seat belts, avoiding distractions including using
cell phones and texting. Also, exercise caution when walking on or near streets and roadways
or when walking through parking lots.
Fires are another special problem this time of year because of decorations, candles, and
other potential fire hazards. According to the National Safety Council, the incidence of
candle fires is highest in December. Don’t let your office safety guard down when the decorations
go up. Consider these precautionary tips:
?? Make sure all decorations are clear of sources of heat or flame. Also, never let decorations
interfere with the operating ability of the fire alarm or suppression equipment.
?? Consider using only “Fire Resistant” artificial trees. If using natural Christmas trees
keep them moist—dry needles can catch fire.
?? Never overload electrical outlets and only use undamaged, UL-approved lights and
extension cords outdoors if they are waterproof and are rated for outdoor use. They
should also be connected to a grounded outlet (GFCI) with a built in fuse.
?? Never run extension cords under rugs or staple them to the wall or floor—you could
damage the insulation, expose the wires, start a fire or create a shock hazard.
?? When hanging lights don’t use anything that could pierce the cords.
?? Always inspect ladders before every use, and never use defective ladders. You should
always face the ladder when going up or down, and avoid turning or twisting on the
ladder. Use a three-point of contact at all times.
?? Avoid lighted candles. If you do use them, place them on a sturdy, fire resistant surface,
away from combustible materials. Never leave lit candles unattended.
?? Turn off all holiday lights and decorations at the end of the work day.
?? Don’t use a fireplace without a metal screen or glass doors in place. Never burn wrapping
paper in a fireplace or leave paper materials near heat sources.
?? Check smoke detectors for proper operation and replace batteries if necessary.
?? Keep all multipurpose (ABC) type fire extinguishers charged, mounted and in easy
reach. Make sure all employees know where extinguishers are and how to use them
Lessons from Losses
By Courtney Rosengartner
Sr. Loss Control Specialist
Lessons from Losses
While hanging drywall, an employee stepped on a nail and sustained
a puncture injury to his foot. He continued to work and did not seek
immediate treatment. The wound soon became seriously infected
and resulted in amputation of two toes.
Maintaining proper housekeeping practices at workplaces and work
sites is essential to avoiding injuries. Also, proper footwear may have
prevented the nail from penetrating his foot. Furthermore, clear incident
expectations should be communicated by employers. If there is
an accident, even a near miss, it should be reported to a supervisor
or manager for advisement and corrective action to prevent incident
recurrence. Seeking treatment upon injury should be the rule and
included in the written safety policy. These guidelines may have prevented
infection and suffering of the injured worker.
Compliments of First Comp