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The health and safety hazards of decorating your home at Christmas

The holiday season might be fast approaching but safety is still our number one priority here at Oxford Safety. Did you know there are many health and safety hazards when it comes to decorating your home at Christmas? Read on to find out more …

Makeshift ladders

This has got to be the most obvious and most common cause of health and safety hazards in December. It can be tempting to use the arm of a chair or sofa to reach heights to decorate but it is definitely not worth the risk of injury or worse.

So if you want to reach the ceiling or top of the tree then use an appropriate temporary platform or proper ladder to do so.

This also applies to outdoor decorations too. Don’t think standing on the patio furniture will suffice. Imagine if there was a frost the night before and the furniture is covered in black ice. The treacherous conditions could be fatal.

Batteries not included

It’ quite alarming to know how many people seemingly lose common sense at Christmas. The health and safety charity, RoSPA, have previously reported details of people dying from testing batteries on their tongue as well as watering Christmas trees with lights still switched on!

There are other ways, safer ways to test your batteries - do not use your tongue. Try the batteries in a device and see if they work, for example.

And always unplug the lights if you’re watering the tree.

Sparkles not sparks

Another danger during the festivities is electrical fires from faulty or unsafe fairy lights. Avoid the sparks this Christmas by making sure you purchase lights from a reputable seller and make sure there are some safety marks or guidance sheets with them.

Don’t leave fairy lights switched on overnight either. The last thing you want is to see Christmas go up in smoke!

Glass baubles are not sweets

The most common accident according to RoSPA at Christmas occurs when children bite into glass baubles presumably mistaking them for sweets.

This is a tricky one because you want your tree to look nicely decorated with baubles but there are a few tricks to keep little hands out of reach. Either choose a location for your tree that is out of reach, such as atop a table or behind a barrier of some kind. Alternatively, limit your decorations to higher branches and leave the lower reachable branches free.

That’s a wrap!

And finally, the last holiday hazard we wanted to highlight was the Christmas present wrapping and those sharp tools you use to cut the paper. Scissors can be a nightmare if you use them incorrectly. Always cut away from yourself and not towards your hand or body.

Alternatively, give everyone their presents in gift bags instead to avoid scissors altogether!

For all your working at heights safety needs then check out the products on this Oxford Safety website.