‘Tis the season to remind staff about holiday decoration policy rules

By: October 30th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

There may be no getting around it, especially at this time of the year, but a little bit of the Scrooge personality type comes with the responsibility of being safety officer.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, and other holidays inspire staff members to set up decorations, which could result in fire and occupational safety risks.

These initiatives are often well intentioned, meant to bring a touch of cheer to a sometimes sterile healthcare environment. But safety officers will bear the brunt of blame if things go wrong with decorations.An annual reminder to staff members can make it clear how decorations present fire dangers and trip hazards such as:

  • Exit route obstructions
  • Electrical items not approved by a fire marshal or testing laboratory
  • Trip hazards
  • Combustible materials that aren’t flame retardant
  • Open flames
  • Decorations that block windows that need to be kept clear for
  • Sprinkler obstructions safety purposes

If your decorations policy doesn’t exist, is outdated, or needs an upgrade, now is the time to take control. A sample policy is available for downloading from the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page.

Also, remember to set a date on which all holiday decorations must be taken down, which eliminates any lingering compliance problems.

If you have other holiday decoration compliance tips, share them in the comments section below.


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