Safety for Businesses this Holiday Season: Safety Tips on Choosing and Using Christmas Lights
Okay a quick quiz for you. Name a major festive celebration that most likely cause electric shock, fire and falls both in homes and workplaces.
If you’re thinking Valentine’s Day, you’re dead wrong. But you’re forgiven in case your good sense of humor led you to this answer. After all, the day of hearts has the power to send flaming desires in us earthlings, making sure electricity works its way through our veins and pushes us to fall madly in love with each other, if not just plain mad.
Electric Shock, Fire and Falls
But kidding aside, Christmas is even more dangerous than the celebration of looooove. Just imagine all the Christmas lights during this season and you can smell danger lurking around the corner bringing with it, its own gifts. You wouldn’t want to be on its list when electricity shock, fire and falls are in its holiday sack.
Christmas lights cause electric shocks or fire because of two main things. One is choosing the wrong kind of lights or a product that is of poor quality. Another is the improper use and maintainance of the Christmas lights.
As for falls, we all know how pretty it is to have Christmas lights twinkling and blinking from trees and roofs, buildings and windows that are a couple of floors up. That’s why it’s not hard to imagine this accident striking anyone during this colorful season. This is especially true for employees working for businesses that celebrate Christmas with festive decorations.
Christmas Light Safety Tips
Without further ado, I bring you now, some safety guidelines in the use of Christmas lights.
- Use LED lights. Not only do they burn cool, they are also more economical because they only use 10 percent of electricity.
- Use lights that are recommended by a reputable testing laboratory. Such lights are usually labeled “UL” or “ETL”.
- Prior to use, inspect lights and extension cords for defects or damage. Check for loose connections, cracked or broken sockets and bare or frayed wires. Report all defective lights and wires to your superior.
- Immediately replace burned-out bulbs with ones that have the same wattage. Unplug Christmas lights when replacing bulbs.
- Never hang Christmas lights on a metal tree, this leaves you and your co-workers more exposed to the risk of electric shock.
- Make sure you don’t create a maze of wires, cords and plugs when plugging in Christmas lighting.
- Never use outdoor lights indoors. Make sure Christmas lights and other electrical outdoor decorations are plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This device helps prevent electric shock and fire.
- Use insulated holders to secure outdoor Christmas lights. Never use nails or tacks to secure cords of lights. Also, don’t run strings of lights through hooks.
- Ensure that your outside receptacles are GFI-protected to eliminate electric shock hazards.
- Never pull on a string of Christmas lights.
- Never overload extension cords. Remember that outdoor cords can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- It’s best to have appropriately sized timers that can turn lights on and off automatically.
- Make electrical outlets and timers readily accessible to employees, in case of emergencies.
- Always turn off Christmas lights before leaving the business premises. Never leave it on overnight.
For OSHA-recommended safety tips on using ladders and working on roofs, just check out the following links:
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