Stuck in an office over the festive period can be rather gloomy when it is dark outside by 3:30pm. So, it’s understandable that employees want to decorate the office for Christmas. And why not? Some tinsel here, a Christmas tree over there, lights hanging from the ceiling, baubles strewn across the floor….
Here is the problem: sometimes people can get carried away. Having decorations and lights that can been seen from space at home is down to your personal taste, but in the workplace there are other factors that need to be considered before you make your working environment look like a Christmas explosion.
As an employer, you have a duty under the law to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, your employees’ health, safety and welfare at work. Employees also have a responsibility to look after themselves and others.
According to the Health And Safety At Work (Jersey) Law, businesses have a duty of care to safeguard workers’ safety and welfare. Employees are not supposed to lift, carry or move any load that is likely to injure them; there have to be precautions taken to make sure there are no flammable hazards in the workspace; and, electrical equipment must be tested and safe for employees to use.
Top health and safety tips for the festive office:
- Putting up decorations: ladders and/or step stools that are well-constructed and maintained should be used. Chairs and/or desks should never be used to take a person’s standing weight.
- Lights: make sure the light settings are good for all employees. Twinkling lights can be distracting or disorientating and interfere with some employees’ eyesight. Don’t put lights on or near decorations that could melt, and ensure that lights are hung securely and safely with appropriate fixings.
- Electrical decorations: decorations requiring electrical power should not have their cable lying across walkways; should not have their cable stretched to its greatest extent to reach a socket; and, should not be plugged into extension cables that could suffer an overload as a result of the extra power requirements of the season.
- Tree: make sure it is flame retardant. If it is a real tree, check no one is allergic before purchasing one.
- Tree decorations: in a working environment, plastic baubles are preferable to glass. Should a glass bauble shatter, ensure that all pieces of glass are removed and the area is thoroughly vacuumed.
- End of day: ensure all lights and electronic decorations are turned off. Appoint someone to be in charge of turning everything off so that it doesn’t get forgotten.
With everyone safe in the office, you are one step closer to ensuring you and your employees have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!