Holiday Safety for Businesses

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While Menorahs and Christmas trees light up main streets across America during the holidays, there can be significant risks associated with these decorations. Risk management professionals and insurance agents can help business owners understand how to keep their stores festive, yet hazard free, during the holidays.

The holidays usually bring several things to a small business — more foot traffic, celebratory decorations and additional staff to help with boosted sales. However, with added customers and distractions, slips and trips are never far away. So when getting into the holiday spirit, you should make safety a priority.

Training Employees on Safety Practices are Key to Reducing Injuries

New or seasonal hires often bring greater risk when it comes to frequency of injuries. More than 1 in 4 employees will be injured within their first year of employment*. These injuries can be significant enough to require them to miss work, leaving you short-handed at a time when you need all hands on deck.

Therefore, training employees in workplace safety from day one is key. Some helpful tips to keep in mind when safeguarding your store include:

  • Make sure new hires are familiar with their surroundings and responsibilities. While they may have a lot of industry experience, your unique facility is still unfamiliar territory to them.
  • Train employees in proper lifting techniques and ladder safety
  • Ensure that your candles are battery operated.  Decorations can contribute to potential accidents and injuries. In a busy retail environment, or even in the office, faux candles may be best.
  • Choose your decorations wisely. Some of them may be combustible. Things like paper, decorated trees and wreaths will increase the fire load in an area. Keep them away from heat or other ignition sources.
  • Use extension cords properly, and be sure you are not  stringing multiple chains together  in order to extend a decoration to an area where the plug cannot reach. Aside from a potential trip and fall incident, this could also cause a fire hazard.
  • Choose smart locations for any additional holiday displays and products. Be sure you are not covering up emergency exit signs, over-crowding aisle ways, or any place that would make it difficult to get out in an emergency situation.
  • Be sure decorations are secured properly and foot traffic can navigate easily around them, especially when it comes to big displays. 
  • Maintain appropriate inventory levels. Over-stocking shelves could result in items toppling onto staff or customers.
  • Scan your facility to make sure it is safe for customers and employees. It should be a part of everyone’s daily process.
*Source: Travelers study