The holidays are a joyful but hectic time of year for businesses and consumers alike.
Between stocking the shelves, buying presents, decorating the house and more, the season brings with it both excitement and plenty of stress. It also brings many hazards that can lead to injuries and financial losses.
Keep reading for some helpful holiday safety tips for homes and businesses.
Holiday Shopping Safety for Businesses
Many retail businesses look forward to the opportunity to maximize revenue during the holiday season beginning on Black Friday.
But while you’re welcoming all those Christmas shoppers, it’s important that you invest in a sound business insurance policy and take precautions to prevent mishaps that can spoil the fun and drive up costs.
Implement Crowd Control
When stores get crowded there may be a risk of shoving, trampling or stressed-out customers fighting over merchandise. Consider extra security on your busiest days, and use structured lines and clear signage so customers know where to find the gifts they’re looking for, how to ask for help and where to pay.
Emphasize Employee Safety
The last thing you need is employees getting hurt. Train employees to work with customers. Show them the proper way to lift merchandise to reduce the risk of a back injury, and the correct way to use ladders to reach objects on a high shelf. In the event that an employee does suffer an injury on the job, make sure you have a good workers compensation policy in place.
Watch Out for Trip, Slip and Fall Hazards
Keep walkways and aisles free of debris or clutter, and take steps to reduce the risk of pedestrians getting hit in a crowded parking lot.
If wintry weather is in the forecast, snow and ice can cause sidewalks and parking lots to become slick, and tracked in moisture can make floors slippery. Put up warning signs and clean up slick spots both inside and out to protect workers and customers.
Reduce the Risk of Shoplifting
According to one estimate, shoplifting costs retailers about $6 billion during the holiday shopping season. Here are some holiday crime prevention tips to help deter losses due to shoplifting.
- Maximize visibility – for you and the bad guys. Have a visible security presence near the entrance and throughout the store, and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. Use the most visible entrance for opening and closing the store. Keep the storefront well-lit and windows uncluttered, and report any suspicious activity immediately.
- Use technology. Invest in security cameras and video analytics tools to help you spot suspicious activity. Post signs stating that you have cameras present, as a deterrent to would-be thieves.
- Cash management habits. Good cash control helps you thwart “snatch and grab” thefts. Limit the amount of money kept in the cash register, removing large amounts frequently. Thieves look for patterns in your cash management practices, so vary your routine — have different employees take money to the bank at different days and times.
- Good employee habits. Train employees to recognize counterfeit money and have at least two employees open and close the business together, especially during the holiday season. Encourage all employees to carry a phone and call authorities immediately if suspicious activity takes place.
Holiday Safety Tips for Your Home
Being home for the holidays should mean spending time with those you love. The last thing you want is for an accident to ruin the occasion with injuries and medical bills.
You can enjoy a merry and safe Christmas at home and on the road by adding a few safety measures to your holiday plans, along with a home and auto insurance policy tailored to your needs.
Deck the Halls with Christmas Decorating Safety Tips
It’s hard to believe that the same beautiful Christmas decorations that lift the spirits can also cause injuries.
- Keep all breakable ornaments out of a child’s reach — put them higher up on the tree.
- Use caution with angel hair made of spun glass, which can irritate eyes and skin, and sprayed snow, which can irritate the lungs.
- Don’t stand on tables or chairs for decorating high places — use a proper step ladder instead.
- Keep poisonous holiday plants away from kids and animals – examples include mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis.
- Avoid tripping hazards by placing the Christmas tree away from doorways and walkways. Extension cords should be placed against the wall, and never across a walkway or under a rug.
Practice Holiday Fire Safety Tips
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to more than 800 structure fires caused by decorations, and about 20% of these fires happened in December. Here are some ways to protect your home.
- If you put up a natural Christmas tree, keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out, and don’t place it near heat sources like radiators and fireplaces.
- If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is fire resistant.
- Outdoor lights must be specifically rated for outdoor use.
- Avoid overuse of extension cords, and turn off all lights when not home or when you’re asleep.
- Place lit candles on a stable surface away from children or pets. Never leave a lit candle unattended and extinguish it before going to sleep.
Put Safety on Your Gift List
When sending that wish list to Santa, ask for age-appropriate toys, and avoid small parts that could be a choking hazard for young children. Be sure to include a helmet with that new bicycle, and if you’re giving any electronic presents, keep kids away from “button batteries” that could also cause choking.
Get Home with Holiday Driving Safety Tips
Before you hit the road to Grandma’s or that holiday road trip, bring safety along for the ride. Everyone should wear safety belts, and children (depending upon age, height and weight guidelines) should ride in a car seat or booster seat. Never drive under the influence of alcohol, and be alert for distracted drivers and pedestrians.
All of us at Pillar Insurance would like to wish you and your family a safe and Merry Christmas and success throughout the coming New Year.
If you’re looking for ways to make your home or business safer for everyone, please contact us at any time.