Ensuring Safety During the Holidays
Season’s Greetings, Everyone!
As we turn our attention to holidays, families and friends, we can never lose sight of safety. Some of the most serious incidents occur when we go home after work and forget that our safe efforts cannot stop at the end of our shifts. Let’s talk about some common household emergencies, while focusing on some common safety hazards (and remember, these are just a few to raise awareness).
Trimming trees and installing lighting usually means using a ladder. Even though we’ve all used ladders most of our lives, here’s a couple key tips on using your elevated work platform correctly.
a. Set up your ladder properly – step ladders must be opened and braces must be locked. Don’t stand on the top step/cap of the ladder. Don’t use a ladder with defective parts. If you are using an extension ladder – make sure it’s secured and if you are using it to access an elevation, it must extend three feet above your landing destination. (here’s a link to great ladder safety awareness that you can use during Ladder Safety Month – March 2021)
b. All that climbing and lifting can trigger back injuries as well! – Use this link to avoid ladder-related back injuries
Lights and Electrical Hazards
Shocks, trips and falls are a couple common hazards associated with lighting. Check every cord. If it’s damaged, replace it. If you are not an electrician, don’t mess around with repairs. Don’t overload outlets. Fires from faulty electrical wiring is nothing to celebrate. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how many cord sets can be connected, etc. Watch where your cords lead. If they are in path where you walk, make sure they are taped down to keep them from becoming a trip hazard.
Ice and Snow
If you live in a cold weather climate, make sure you are treating walkways and clearing snow. If you have underlying health conditions – let someone else take care of your drive and walkways. You do not want to be the reason your family mourns at the holiday season. Poor weather can also lead to motor vehicle incidents.
Distracted driving is still one of the major reasons for car crashes. PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY WHEN YOU ARE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE. Clear enough? Other reasons for distractions – use of drugs and alcohol use. You may live in a state that allows marijuana use, but it can impair your ability to focus and react, as much as alcohol.
Of course, your fur kids are not hazardous, but they are exposed to many things during the holidays can create hazards for them.
a. Packages and presents. Pretty colors and bows look like playthings.
b. Cords and ornaments – ditto! Pulling ornaments off trees, chewing on electrical cords, getting tangled up in cords and pulling over decorations…there are far too many to list here. We laughed at the cat in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, but it would not be funny if it were our pet who was shocked or killed because they chewed on a light strand. Some pets also like to chew on and/or eat ornaments – glass, plastic and wood are not digestible, and you may end up with a veterinary emergency.
c. Ice and ice melt products. Many ice melt products contain caustics which can burn your pet’s paws and salt can get in their paws. Use a “pet-friendly” product in areas where your animal walks or toilets.
d. Plants and food – Dogs especially are tolerant of things they get into. I once had a dog who ate a set of oil paints – plastic caps, the metal containers and the paint without lingering effect, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving them around for temptation. Some common plants are very dangerous to our pets – poinsettias can be dangerous. Chocolates, onions, garlic – all delicious, but can cause organ failure in our pets and may be deadly to them. Many web sites will list plants and foods that can be dangerous to animals. Check them out before you bring them home or give to your pets to snack on. (Human Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat) (Poisonous House Plants for Cats and Dogs)
MCCEI wishes you nothing but the Happiest of Holidays and remember, Stay Safe!
This post was written and provided by: Kathi Dobson
Alberici Constructors, Safety Director
NAWIC Detroit Chapter