OHSA probably will not be coming around this holiday season, but maybe they should. Hundreds of people are hurt every year installing holiday decorations. Cuts, broken bones, strains, electrocution, and falls from ladders, falls from roofs, tripping, slipping, and sliding are the things that will do it every time putting a big damper on your family holiday. Here are six ways to make life easier and longer lasting.
- Moving Heavy Boxes – Don’t carry too much weight. Bend your knees when picking things up. Use a dolly or cart to move items around. Be extra careful when carrying up or down stairs. Get help for the big awkward boxes that you can’t get your hands around.
- Step Ladders & Extension Ladders – Use only on level surfaces make sure the legs are secure not sliding. Don’t stand on top, stop where the manufacturer recommends. Have a helper when carrying a large ladder. When on an extension ladder have a helper holding the feet so they don’t move while you’re going up and down. Watch out for electrical wiring, an aluminum ladder against your electrical service wires can make an unwanted fireworks show.
- Outside Lighting – Use GFCI receptacles on all outdoor lighting. If your receptacles are not, have them changed. Extension cords, lights, power strips, and timers all must be outside rated and weatherproof. Check the boxes and manufactures tags/stickers for use instructions. Don’t overload your receptacles, if your light display can be seen from space, you may want talk with your electrician about power requirements! Also, a good idea is to hire an electrician place outside GFCI receptacles where you need them.
- Heavy Decorations – Hanging or installing heavy decorations like the Santa on the roof or large wreath covering half of the second floor is a two person job. Keep yourself safe climbing around on a roof, its dangerous business. Make sure you securely fasten these or any large decorations in place. There always are windy nights and we would hate to have Santa take out Uncle Billy’s new SUV during Christmas dinner.
- Inside Decorations – they are no different, make sure the tree is secure and won’t fall over. Place the stand on a piece of plywood 18″ x 18″ or a size at least as large as the legs. This plywood base should have the legs screwed into it. Watch out hanging decoration from light fixtures or railings. Keep stairs and doorways clear of decorations. Don’t over load outlets, use power strips with ground fault breakers and check all extension cords.
- Clean up, Back to Storage – cleaning up and packaging can be as dangerous as when you installed the decorations. Disconnect from the outlets any electrical cords before taking down the lights. Have your helper there with you again for ladders and all heavy objects. Safely install and safely take down all holiday decorations and then you’ll be around to do it all over again next year. Then have a cold one, you’ve earned it!
Have a very Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas.