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Be spooky and safe this Halloween!

By Theresa Trant

Less than two weeks until Halloween. You know, I’m not one that gets excited about Halloween but I know there are many people here at work who like to dress up and/or decorate their work areas. Orange streamers and lights make their way onto the walls, skeletons hang from office entrances, styrofoam tombstones suddenly appear along the aisles. Long capes are adorned, fingernails become long and curly, face paint is everywhere.

It’s all in the spirit of Halloween and fun. But it does make me wonder if, by decorating for Halloween, we in fact create workplace hazards which could lead to an unsafe work environment and increased risk of injury.

Think of the co-worker wearing the cape. Could it get caught in office equipment? Tangled? Or not make it through the elevator doors? Makes me think of the movie The Incredibles where Edna describes the accidents that have happened to previous super heroes who wore capes.

A simple large pumpkin decal placed on a door window could block your vision from someone on the other side. Electrical cords from hanging lights can become a tripping hazard.

Decorating your workspace or dressing up for Halloween is fun but don’t forget about safety. Think about the decoration/costume you want to use and then think about possible safety risks and how you can avoid them. Here are some additional tips:

Decorations:

  •  Check with your supervisor or health and safety area to find out the rules of office decorating.
  •  Do not decorate in any way that limits the height or width of aisles, hallways or the entrances to meeting rooms, offices or workstations.
  •  Do not hang decorations of any kind from light fixtures, T-bar ceiling grid/tiles, ventilation openings, exit or other signage.
  •  Do not attach transfers, stickers or other decorations to windows or obstruct the heating and cooling registers.
  •  Do not hang decorations that are breakable or may have sharp edges.
  •  Ensure all items are switched off at night or when the workplace is unattended for long periods.
  •  Avoid the use of multiple electrical adapters.

Costumes

  •  Check with your supervisor or health and safety area to find out the rules of wearing a costume to work.
  •  Be careful with any parts of your costume that are dangling or loose, particularly around stairs, elevators and any moving parts or machinery.
  •  Masks can also obscure your field of vision which could prove to be hazardous.
  •  Hem your costumes so you don’t trip and fall.
  •  Use only hypoallergenic and non-toxic makeup.
  •  Avoid costumes that could impede your movement; especially if your job requires you to walk, climb, lift, etc.

It really comes down to planning with workplace safety in mind. Remember to keep your head up and work spooky but safe!

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