Seasonal safety: tips for staying safe both on and off the job

December 14th, 2005 by Julie Ferguson

The holiday season can be a dangerous time. Fatigue, stress, drinking, and the many distractions of the season can increase the likelihood of an accident both on the job and off. Driving fatalities increase, particularly those related to alcohol impairment. Home fires spike. Topping things off, harsh weather can exacerbate the hazards, resulting in an increase in slips and falls, roadway accidents, heart attacks from shoveling, and frostbite and exposure injuries. Here’s a roundup of some seasonal tips to keep your holiday safe.
The U.S. Fire Administration has issued a disturbing real time video clip demonstrating how quickly a holiday tree can turn into a fire bomb (QuickTime). But trees aren’t the only source of holiday fires – candles and electrical wiring also pose hazards. USFA offers a page of holiday fire safety tips. And as you decorate your home or office, the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America offers some ladder and electrical safety tips that might be helpful.
The US Department of Labor offers Nine Tips for Office Celebrations. For more resources on safe office celebrations, see our post from last year ‘Tis the season – alcohol and holiday festivities. How safe are the highways in your state? Check to see if your state is one of the
15 deadliest states for drunk driving.
Why not add some safety-related gifts to your shopping list this year? The American Red Cross offers Tips for Holiday Safety and Gifts that Give Back. The New Year is also a good time to check and replenish your home and office First Aid kits.
For weather-related hazards, OSHA has a fact sheet for protecting workers in cold environments as well as information on cold stress. The Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America suggests tips for dressing in layers and what materials to use to offer protection from the cold. FEMA offers winter driving tips. The Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety also offers some good winter driving advice.