Safety at Home during the Holidays
The December holidays can be a time for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and looking forward to the year ahead. Or binge watching that backlog of shows you haven’t gotten to yet.
However you spend it, it’s the difference of the holiday season that makes it unique. It’s also the difference that introduces new hazards into the home.
My risk engineering colleagues and I are well aware that the safest times on clients’ sites are when operations are running normally, and it’s the periods of change when hazards are more likely to emerge. That’s when we often hear “that’s not normally there”; “it’s only being stored temporarily while …”; and so on.
The December holidays are a similar time but right there in our homes.
Here are twelve safety tips for the upcoming holidays that will help you mark the occasion safely.
1. Planning to go away? If you are, don’t share any holiday details on social media. These are like gold dust to thieves.
2. The number one piece of advice we often take away from site visits is about slips, trips and falls. Get the cables from those lights tidied up and out of the way. Another minute looking after cable management can make all of the difference. Falls are the most common accident so try to keep clutter from presents and toys to a minimum. Make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles, especially if you have guests.
3. Christmas lights bring their own issues. How old are your lights? Do they still use mains voltage? It’s much safer to use low voltage versions. There are plenty about, and they’re not expensive. Only use nationally approved versions and remember to switch them off when you go to bed or leave the house.
4. While we’re talking about lights, candles are a seasonal favourite. Think carefully about where they are positioned, remembering decorations are very combustible and can catch fire easily.
5. A tree in the house? Strange but true. If you have a real cut tree keep it watered – it looks better, lasts longer and is a massively reduced fire hazard.
6. Some older baubles are made from glass and can be a “sharps” hazard if they fall and break. Not too bad for the majority of us but for smaller feet they can be a problem. Remember Marv in the movie Home Alone? Keep the traditional stuff, but place it out of reach of children.
7. Don’t overload electrical sockets. With more things to plug in don’t be tempted to chance it, even in the short term.
8. Test your smoke alarms monthly and only remove batteries when replacing them. Don’t take the batteries out for new toys; buy the batteries when you buy the toys.
9. Take care around open fires. Only use coal or well-seasoned wood, don’t burn paper in fireplaces.
10. Be careful with alcohol, especially when driving – even the next day. If you need to go somewhere, walk or take public transport or a taxi – it’s more relaxing.
11. If celebrating with fireworks over Christmas and the New Year, store fireworks safely. Never go back to a lit firework and have a bucket of water/sand nearby. More fireworks safety tips can be found here.
12. Take time to check on older members of the family or relatives especially during cold weather conditions.
However you’re spending the holidays, please endeavor to stay safe, have fun and enjoy the beauty. Here is to a great 2017 to you and yours.