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Deck the Halls: Safety When Putting up Christmas Decorations in the Workplace

'Tis the most magical time of the year! With the festive season in full swing, we've got tons on our to-do lists. Not least of which is getting into the spirit of the season. That means whether at the office or in a work-from-home setting, tinsel, twinkly lights and trees, as well as all the other traditional yuletide trimmings, are popping up everywhere. However, from blazing trees to chances of choking, trip hazards, and balancing acts that end badly - there are risks to definitely avoid when wanting to wow in the workplace.

Christmas decorations on a desk

All the fun, none of the fear

Although it's the perfect time to unwind after a busy year, we must remember that health and safety are vital to ensure your colleagues and staff are not exposed to undue risk. Nobody wants to land up in A & E and miss out on the Christmas cheer!

According to research from RoSPA (the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents), Christmas is a "peak time for increased stress and accidents". More than 80,000 people go to A&E each year for Christmas-related accidents.

There are a wide range of practical products and innovations that not only make your life easier but they also make your business and workplace safer for everyone.

And we've got some superb safety tips to guarantee you and your workmates have your 'elves a very merry Christmas.

Tips for working at height to put decorations up

  • The last thing you want is for a work colleague to be teetering around dangerously on unstable and unsuitable objects while hanging decorations. It's essential to provide your staff with suitable step ladders to erect Christmas decorations, instead of balancing precariously on desks or office chairs.
  • Before use, ensure all four feet of the step ladder are in contact with the ground and that employees maintain three points of contact (feet and hands) with the ladder
  • As with any other situation where employees are working at height, it's essential to wear sensible footwear (not heels).
  • Never be tempted to overreach and always get somebody to hold the bottom of the ladder.
  • Choose the right ladder for the job. Some all-purpose ladders include handy tool trays to store all your bits and bobs.
  • When using stepladders and ladders, ensure that only employees who are competent use them. Staff must be trained in working at height, and for any equipment they're using.

Workplace Christmas decorations

All the twinkle and none of the trauma

One of the most dazzling and delightful dimensions of Christmas in the workplace are the lights that appear around this time of the year. But remember that your Christmas lights can deteriorate over time. Faulty lights can be a potential fire hazard or cause dangerous shocks and nasty burns. Make sure you do the following to ensure there are no unexpected frights with your lights.

  • Before putting your lights up, always conduct a visual inspection of the overall condition of the wiring to ensure there are no broken or cracked sockets or bare and frayed wires
  • If you are able to, it's also a good idea to check the fuse protection rating at the plug top and check the fuses are the correct type (check the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use)
  • Turn your Christmas lights off when staff go home for the evening
  • LED lights are the best to use. They use far less energy and don't expel any heat
  • If using traditional bulbs that can get warm, don't allow them to touch anything that can burn easily, such as paper or cardboard.

Don't fir-get to practice Christmas tree care

Who’d have thought something as seemingly innocuous and cheerful as a Christmas tree could be dangerous? According to studies, lighting and electrical distribution were involved in 45% of Christmas tree fires.

Be tree savvy and don’t tempt fate:

  • Ensure trees are sensibly placed, not blocking fire escapes or exits and never close to potential sources of ignition.
  • Never decorate your tree with real lit candles.
  • Natural Christmas trees can be extremely flammable, particularly when they dry out - so they should always be kept in a tree stand filled with water (which is regularly topped up). They should also be standing steady and not at risk of toppling over.
  • Artificial Christmas trees can be a much safer alternative to real trees.
  • Ensure any artificial trees you have are flame retardant.

Be Clever about Cables

Whether it’s untangling your tinsel, making light work of your Christmas lights or being competent with your cabling - ensure you make safety a priority in your workplace.

  • Ensure your extension leads are not going to be tripping hazards, if your cables are close to areas where people walk cover them with an indoor cable cover
  • Never join multiple extension leads together
  • Don't use block adaptors, as some don't have a fuse
  • Never overload extension leads or sockets
  • Always examine your extension leads for damage before use

Christmas decorations in london

Staying safe if you're super-sizing

Christmas decorations are, of course, not confined to indoor workplaces, office buildings or smaller spaces. Take a look around, and you'll notice that some intrepid and industrious elves have been making sure to spread the cheer in your favourite shopping malls, town centres and high streets. Erecting these large-scale lights and Christmas decorations is most definitely a job for professionals.

Whether it's a giant-sized Rudolph or Santa and his sleigh in the mall's car park, or an impressive yuletide display outside the town hall, taking extra care with health and safety - using work platforms and scaffold harnesses is of paramount importance due to the size and scale of the job at hand.

Heavy-duty outdoor cable protectors and cable ramps are just the ticket for ensuring safety around any electrical cables being used out and about. Teams working on these large Christmas decoration installations will also need reliable first aid kits in the unfortunate event of an emergency or injury. While erecting the decorations, they must be extra vigilant in alerting the public to the fact that the surrounding area is restricted or has inherent temporary risks, using high-visibility traffic cones to demarcate the area safely.

So, although it's easy to get caught up in all the fun of the baubles, Blu Tack and Boney M at this fun time of the year, remember to always be sensible about safety in the workplace. At ESE Direct, we’re committed to providing your employees with the highest quality products for complete peace of mind when it comes to safety and security. To find out more about how we can make your Christmas a whole lot more ho, ho, ho, and a lot less ho-hum, get in touch today.

Photograph of Debs

Author Bio -

Digital marketer, social media, content writer, musician, sloth-lover, tea-drinker.