Dec 20, 2014

Going Beyond Benefits Administration: The Top Holiday Safety Tips

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Stay Safe With These Holiday Safety Tips

Everyone wants to finish his or her year off as safely and securely as possible—not only in the workplace, but also in his or her personal lives as well. Unfortunately, the multitude of events and celebrations between now and New Year’s Day can create some holiday safety hazards that, if not properly prepared, can create some holiday headaches.

These holiday safety hazards come in all shapes and size—everything from decorations, and driving to food and alcohol. These common holiday pitfalls can post serious dangers, particularly to young children. However, a few common-sense precautions can help keep your holidays safe and happy.

The following are some holiday safety tips you can follow to ensure you make it through the holidays unscathed.

Be mindful of decorations

Common holiday decorations like candles, colored lights, Christmas trees, fake snow, and seasonal plants can be the sources of some serious holiday safety hazards. While festive, these holiday decorations are attractive to both children and pets. If you do decide to adorn your home with these things, try and do the following:

  • Educate your children and train your pets not to put these decorations in their mouths.
  • Emphasize taste testing seasonal plants is NOT okay (i.e. mistletoe, poinsettia and Jerusalem cherry plants can be poisonous).
  • Ensure decorations are kid-safe and/or out of reach.
  • Don’t let your children get a hold of small ornaments, buttons or batteries.
  • Be wary of chewy and hard candy, as both can pose serious choking hazards.

When it comes to outdoor lights, always make sure what you buy is approved for outdoor use. Believe it or not, there’s a difference between indoor and outdoor lights. Always inspect your lights for broken or missing bulbs, and check extension cords for fraying. Cords put in the wrong place can cause tripping hazards; be sure not to run them under furniture, rugs, or carpets.

Practice fire safety

Candles are popular around this time of year, as are making roaring fires in the fireplace or wood stove. While all of these things are great to set the ambience, unattended candles and fires can lead to major disasters. Try and pay attention to the following holiday accident prevention recommendations:

  • Keep candles away from objects like greenery, paper, or tablecloths.
  • Never leave candles or fires burning unattended.
  • Light candles only in containers meant for lighted candles (many candles are not meant to be lit in their original, usually decorative, containers).
  • Keep lighters and matches out of children's reach, too.
  • Make sure fireplace and chimney are clean when you begin using them.
  • Call a professional to clean and inspect your flue.
  • Keep the area in front of the fireplace free of combustible material.
  • Use a screen to keep sparks from flying out.
  • Keep young children and pets away from the flames.
Follow food preparation directions

The holiday season is the best time of year for eating. Unfortunately eating food that isn't prepared correctly or that has been sitting around too long can make for a miserable experience. Foodborne illness can make you sick, and in some cases can lead to death. Always follow food safety precautions. Here are a few to follow:

  • Follow safe handling, cooking, and re-heating practices (especially for meats and eggs) If you’re not sure where to find these best practices, look on the food package, search online, look at cookbooks, or consult with your local health department.
  • Don’t risk eating food that is not fully cooked or appears to have been sitting out too long—especially items that contains raw eggs, like cookie dough.
Don’t overdo it on the drinks

Let’s face it: The holidays are filled with alcohol consumption—which is typically the main reason accidents occur during the holidays. Be mindful of what you’re drinking and follow these holiday safety tips:

  • Never drink and drive.
  • Look out for your guests by ensuring everyone has a designated driver.
  • Provide beverage options other than alcohol (soda, coffee, tea, or water).
  • Implement a Last Call a few hours before the party ends to ensure someone doesn’t get overly intoxicated.
  • Keep drinks away from youngsters and pets—alcohol can make them very sick.
  • Collect used glasses, cups, and bottles quickly and lock up your supply.
Make your home as safe as possible

Ensuring your home is safe doesn’t’ just apply to the holidays—rather it is a year round process. The following holiday safety tips can be employed all throughout the calendar year:

  • Check smoke detectors—make sure the batteries are in good shape. If you’re not sure, test them.
  • Make sure carbon monoxide detector is working—also making sure the batteries are in good shape.
Following these many holiday safety tips will ensure you and your family have a healthy and happy holiday that stretches into the New Year and beyond.


At AWANE, our goal is to educate our members with educational and resourceful safety tips, both inside and outside of the workplace. Contact us to learn more about what other services we offer, or to hear more about the culture of company safety that we cultivate as part of our AICC worker’s compensation coverage program. And don’t forget to stay connected with our Health & Wellness Safety Tips—we’re always adding more tips to help you and your employees create workplace safety.