Christmas is a happy season when nobody wants to think about bad things happening. Everyone wants to wind down and have some festive fun. Many businesses will be bringing out their boxes of decorations and lights for dressing the office tree. Fairy lights are popular, as is hanging tinsel and garlands. Whilst nobody wants to put a damper on the festivities, it’s important to consider health and safety and associated fire risks of decorating the office. Here are a few hazards of Christmas and how to avoid them for a safe and secure season:
The tree is an essential part of the celebrations and most workplaces want to feel festive with a nicely decorated tree. It’s important to remember that a tree must not block any fire exits. Obstructing exits is highly dangerous should people need to evacuate quickly. You’ll also risk more damage occurring to the interior of the office too.
If you’re putting up a real tree then ensure it is kept regularly watered and moist. Dry needles are an even greater fire risk. A few attractively place lights look great but don’t overdo it as these lights can get very hot. Live trees can be very dangerous if they catch fire and can quickly fill a room with poisonous gases. After the Christmas period, never be tempted to put branches or needles into an open fire or wood-burning stove. The safest way to dispose of a real tree is to take it to a recycling centre.
Precautions like any time of the year
You should be able to decorate a tree and hang up festive decorations by following the precautions that you follow every day of the year in the workplace. Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted and operational, have regular fire drills and a professional fire risk assessment. For Fire risk assessment Gloucester, visit http://keloscape.co.uk/fire-risk-assessment/
With extra lights, electrical Christmassy ornaments as well as business-use equipment all needing to be plugged in somewhere – it’s easy to overload outlets. The more you have plugged into sockets and outlets, the higher the risk of overheating, melting and fire. To err on the side of caution you should put a limit on the number of devices that can be plugged in or choose battery-operated Christmas trinkets instead.
Depending on the layout, regulations and environment of your workplace, when the temperature drops, employees might bring in portable electric heaters. Whether these are allowed or not is down to the individual company but employees must be aware of the risks of placing them near flammable materials. They should also never be covered, kept near exits or placed near anything that could burn.
If fairy lights are being allowed then make sure they have the correct fuse type, replace any blown bulbs and always turn them off at the end of the day. Remember not to overload any power outlets and don’t position them next to any flammable materials.
Never hang or stick decorations anywhere near fires, radiators, fairy lights, candles or electric heaters.