To bring a touch of the holiday spirit to the workplace, you and your co-workers may hang some holiday lights and decorations. But hanging lights and decorations—particularly outside—can expose you to electrical hazards, especially if there are power lines nearby. For example, a 29-year-old Ontario man was recently electrocuted while installing lights outside a home.
However, few people take steps to protect themselves from electrical hazards during the holidays.
According to the Electrical Safety Authority’s annual holiday survey:
- only 15% of Ontarians check for overhead power lines before decorating outdoors
- 24% don’t thoroughly check their electrical holiday decorations and extension cords for damage before use
- 26% of Ontarians report that they typically leave their outdoor holiday lights up all winter—with 7% admitting that their holiday lights are still up from last season
- almost 20% are using lights that are over five years old.
So here are some holiday electrical safety tips from the Electrical Safety Authority that apply both in the workplace and at home:
- Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations
- Check your lights for damage or frayed wires before decorating
- Follow indoor and outdoor use guidelines
- Keep outdoor connections above ground and out of puddles and don’t run them across driveways and/or walkways
- Use the proper clips for installing lights and decorations—staples and nails can damage electrical cords
- Avoid overloading the electrical outlets, power bars and circuits
- Use ground fault circuit interrupter protected outlets for outdoor lights
- Buy lights that bear the mark of a recognized certification agency.