Holiday Thoughts on Safety

Jeff Mlekush, coordinator safety operations

The holidays are coming around again, and we’d like to bring safe practices to the forefront of your thoughts during this most exciting time of year. The season brings joy and cheer, but fatigue, frustration, and added responsibilities can also fall upon us.  We tend to ignore warning signs, act unsafely around hazards, or rush around.  There is a sudden increase in injuries and deaths caused by decorating, lifting heavy packages and suitcases, fires, and auto accidents each winter.

Decorating

  • During the last two months of the year, about 200 people a day suffer decoration-related injuries.
  • Most injuries are related to falling off ladders, stairs, furniture, rooftops, and porches.  These accidents result in fractures, concussions, and muscle pulls.
  • Thousands of people are treated each holiday season after sustaining an electric shock.
  • Carelessness and misuse of decorations cause many of the electrical injuries during the holidays.  Electrical shock can lead to heart attack as well as tissue and nerve damage.
  • UCO’s guidelines can be found on the HUB

Lifting

  • Hospitals treat an average of 84,000 people a year for injuries related to carrying luggage.
  • People forget to use proper lifting techniques because they are frustrated or rushing.

Fires

  • Christmas trees and holiday decorations account for almost 2,000 fires each year.
  • Thousands of candle-related fires happen during the holidays, with Christmas and New Year’s Day seeing most candle fires.
  • Heating, cooking, and electrical fires increase during the winter season.

Traveling

  • Car accidents cause the majority of injuries and fatalities during the holiday season because:
    1. There are more drivers on the road.
    2. Drivers are stressed, rushed, tired, and sometimes driving impaired.
    3. Weather conditions are poor.

Enjoy the holiday meals, decorating your offices and home, visiting your family and friends but please keep these items in mind throughout the holiday season.