Many employees love to decorate the workplace for the holidays and participate in a company gathering.
As an employer, you may want to encourage some holiday frivolity, holding ugly sweater contests and contributing the turkey for the employee potluck.
But you also need to be aware of three areas of concern during the holidays.
Tell employees to never stand on a chair to hang decorations, so make sure a stepladder is handy. Also, don’t hang decorations from fire sprinklers, which could disable them.
If you’re stringing holiday lights, make sure they’re certified by a nationally recognized independent testing lab and that cords aren’t damaged. Don’t overload electrical outlets nor retrofit a three-pronged plug for a two-pronged outlet. And of course, turn off lights when you leave.
Use common sense with extension cords. They can be tripping hazards in high-traffic areas and fire hazards if they’re stapled to walls or connected to another cord.
Don’t you just love holiday potlucks? Unless someone gets food poisoning and everyone’s trying to guess who’s responsible.
When publicizing the potluck, make sure to lay out where employees can plug in crock pots or other dishes that should stay warm. USDA recommends cooking raw beef, pork, lamb and veal to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F; raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160° F; and all poultry items to a minimum internal temperature of 165° F.
Any dishes that have been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours should be refrigerated.
Cold foods should be 40° F or colder. Keep foods cold by placing dishes in bowls of ice or by serving in small batches and replenishing from the refrigerator as needed.
Have a co-worker with a food allergy? Try to accommodate their needs as part of your holiday spirit!
Set an example to employees by not over-imbibing at any after-hours gatherings. At a company party, have a strategy for employees who overdo – whether it’s a designated driver or transportation vouchers.