Christmas can be a strange time for offices. The year is winding down and people are looking forward to some time off, while desks are covered in tinsel and twinkling lights.
But along with the excitement, there is often an increased risk of personal injury and accidents at Christmas.
Unique festive hazards
The Christmas period can present some unique hazards to office workers. Depending how seriously your workplace takes the festivities, you could see a rise in the number of workplace incidents and injuries at this time of year.
Offices can see more obstacles at Christmas. The decorations and Christmas trees that come with this time of year can pose a trip hazard. Trailing cables can be missed quite easily, while the pile of Secret Santa presents under the tree can also send people flying.
Those trees can also lead to manual handling injuries. Make sure that the employees responsible for lifting and carrying the tree – especially when it’s real – are trained in the right techniques. If they hurt themselves while carrying out any sort of manual handling and haven’t had the right training, your business could be liable for any injuries sustained.
In addition, buying cut-price decorations can lead to injuries. This is particularly true for lights, which can short-circuit and lead to electrical shocks or even sparks, which can then cause fires. As well as hurting people, any kind of fire can cause significant damage to your business and its assets. This makes it one of the most dangerous threats. The Association of British Insurers has reported that 60% of private businesses don’t recover from fires, so this isn’t something you want to risk.
Dealing with Christmas risks
Avoiding Christmas injuries will take a little extra care and work but is worth it. You’ll probably want to carry out additional risk assessments after setting up your office’s tree and decorations. Ensure you leave plenty of room for putting any decorations up and enough space for dressing the tree. The tree will also need a solid base and it’s probably a good idea to keep it far enough away from any workers in case it does topple over.
Don’t leave anything plugged in for too long. Appoint someone or take it in turns to check what’s still plugged in and make sure it’s safely switched off. The London Fire Brigade has named electrical distribution as the biggest cause of fires in office buildings, making it vital that you take all the precautions you can when it comes to electricity.
You should also ensure your workforce is following the guidance you’ve set out. After all, there’s little point in carrying out specifically seasonal risk assessments if no one is going to adhere to what is recommended in them.
Christmas can pose different hazards to office workers than are seen the rest of the year. But if your business’ leadership is committed to keeping people safe, it should be able to avoid any major accidents at Christmas. This will allow your workforce to enjoy the festivities and come back in the new year feeling rested and refreshed.