Towards the end of November, and sometimes even earlier, Christmas decorations start going up everywhere. This festive spirit is contagious. One way to bring the air of festivity into the office is by decorating the space. While putting up Christmas decorations in the office is a great way to boost everybody’s spirit as the countdown to the 25th begins, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards. Ignoring safety measures can endanger both the office as well as the workers.
These are some of the most basic precautions to keep in mind when decorating the office for Christmas.
Safety Tips Related To Christmas Trees And Ornaments
If given a choice, everyone is sure to vote for putting a real Christmas tree in the office but this isn’t always a good idea. Unfortunately, the fact is real Christmas trees are a common cause of office fires during this season. With the office closed for the holidays, there’s nobody to water the tree. The dried branches and needles are highly combustible and can catch fire from the smallest spark. In a closed office space with plenty of combustible material around, the fire can spread very quickly.
It’s far safer to get an artificial tree made of fire-retardant or non-combustible materials for the office. Eliminate the risk of fire completely by using a flame-retardant cloth or paper skirt for the tree.
Erecting & Dressing The Christmas Tree
In the office, clear a large enough space to erect and dress the tree. Make sure the tree is installed securely onto a solid base and keep sufficient distance between the tree and workers’ desks to avoid any mishaps. This is especially important if the tree is large and heavy.
If you’re dressing the tree with lights, make sure the space you choose is close enough to a plug socket so you don’t have electrical wires trailing all over the place. Not only are trailing wires a cause of trip and fall accidents at work but they also pose a risk of electric shock.
If you get a metallic Christmas tree, avoid putting lights around it altogether. Metal is a conductor of electricity and increases the risk of an electric shock at work if any exposed wiring comes in contact with the tree.
Preferably trim the tree using non-breakable and non-flammable baubles, tinsel, and decorations.
Safety Tips When Hanging The Decorations Around The Office
Hanging strings of tinsel and ribbons, stars in all sizes and other Christmas-themed decorations add to the festive atmosphere in the office. But a lot can go wrong if caution is thrown to the wind.
These are some of the basic safety measures to pay heed to when hanging Christmas decorations:
- Safely use a step-ladder that’s set on level flooring if necessary when putting up decorations. Chairs and tables are unsafe substitutes.
- Always have a colleague standing with the step-ladder while you’re on it to prevent anyone else from colliding with it.
- When working behind a door, put a large, easily visible notice on the other side informing other people of the activity.
- Make sure hanging decorations do not interfere with lights, heaters, and other electrical fittings.
- Avoid hanging decorations so low that people have to duck so they don’t bump into them.
- Avoid placing decorations in the middle of busy walkways. Office workers are often preoccupied and may not notice them.
Fire Safety Tips When Decorating The Office For Christmas
We discussed a few fire safety tips with regard to buying and placing a Christmas tree in the office but that’s only one of many potential fire hazards when putting up Christmas decorations. A fire in an office can be devastating. The loss of property and business documentation is immeasurable. This loss is even more devastating if somebody were to be trapped in the fire.
Taking proper safety measures to prevent fire hazards should be the topmost priority when decorating the office for Christmas. These are key points to keep in mind with regards to fire-safety:
- Make sure there are sufficient portable fire extinguishers in the office and that they are fully charged and easily accessible.
- Keep all decorations at a safe distance away from electrical heaters.
- Don’t overload the electrical supply. The excessive heat resulting from the overloading could cause a spark, which can quickly turn into a raging fire if there are any inflammable materials nearby.
- Do not hang or place decorations in such a way that they obstruct the emergency exits, escape routes, exit signs, fire extinguishers, or fire sprinklers.
- Avoid lighting open flames such as candles in the office. They can be a major fire hazard if not blown out when the office is left unattended. Flameless candles are a safer alternative.
- Inspect the smoke alarm, fire alarm systems, fire sprinklers, and fire extinguishers, to confirm they are functioning properly.
Electrical Safety Tips When Decorating The Office For Christmas
When decorating our home or the office for Christmas, we do tend to use a lot of electrically powered decorations. It’s not surprising. The twinkling garlands of lights and lighted ornaments and stars add a magical touch to the ambience. They can also have the potential to cause an electric shock if you’re not careful.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid electrical shocks when decorating the office:
- Use the correct amperage fuse to avoid short circuits.
- Never put staples or nails through electric cables or strings of lights.
- Avoid connecting too many strands of lights together in the same plug socket.
- Do not leave excess cables trailing across walkways. Make sure all excess cables and wiring are properly and safely secured.
- Discard cables with exposed wiring, damaged insulation, or any other type of damage.
- Turn off all holiday lights before shutting down the office for the day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Christmas and ignore basic precautions when decorating the office. Having to be careful at this time may feel like a dampener but the consequences of being careless can be enormous. Heeding the tips above will ensure that the office looks festive during the Christmas season without compromising on safety.