During the holidays, people are feeling festive, including at work. Whether you’re decorating your cubicle or taking part in the office potluck, safety should remain a top priority.
Do not stand on a chair to hang decorations. Use a stepladder and read and follow instructions and warnings on the label.
Never hang decorations from fire sprinklers because they can keep the sprinklers from operating properly. Regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations state that stacked materials should never be closer than 18 inches below fire sprinklers.
Planning to string lights or other electrical items in your workspace? The Electrical Safety Foundation International, a nonprofit organization, says that workers should:
- Ensure that all electrical items are certified by a nationally recognized independent testing lab.
- Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords for damage.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices to keep them from overheating and causing a fire.
- Never try to make a three-prong plug fit into a two-prong outlet.
- Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving.
If you’ll be using an extension cord, the foundation offers more tips:
- Refrain from placing extension cords in high-traffic areas of your workplace or under rugs, carpets or furniture.
- Don’t extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it to another extension cord.
- Don’t nail or staple extension cords to walls to keep form damaging existing wire insulation.
- Don’t place extension cords in walls or ceilings, as this can cause the cords to overheat.
If your workplace is hosting a potluck to celebrate the holidays, keep in mind these safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Follow safe food-handling guidelines.
- Wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Serve prepared dishes on clean plates, and never on dishes that previously held raw meat.
- Ensure the internal temperature reaches the proper temperature on a meat dish prepared ahead of time. USDA recommends cooking raw beef, pork, lamb and veal to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F; raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160° F; and all poultry items to a minimum internal temperature of 165° F.
- Avoid casseroles that have been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. USDA notes that hot foods should be 140° F or warmer. Use chafing dishes or slow cookers to help keep hot foods at safe temperatures. Cold foods should be 40° F or colder. Keep foods cold by placing dishes in bowls of ice or by serving in small batches and replenishing from the refrigerator as needed.
And finally, remember that the Exchange’s drug and alcohol policy does not take a holiday break.
We are counting on you to help the Exchange finish strong with a successful fourth quarter while living our new motto – “Bee Safety Wise – Don’t Compromise.”
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Steve Boyd is vice president of the Loss Prevention Directorate.