How to Avoid Slips, Falls and Injuries While Holiday Decorating

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It’s perfect weather for holiday decorating outdoors. As many people will go up on ladders, even their roofs -- think Clark Griswold -- it’s a good time to remind home decorators that slips, falls and even electrocutions related to holiday decorating are more common than you may think.

According to the CPSC, during November and December 2014, there were 12 estimated fatalities and 145,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms all related to holiday decorating. That is an average of 240 injuries per day during what is supposed to be a season of joy and giving.

The UW System Office of Safety and Loss Prevention report said that in one recent year, falls from chairs, tables and other furniture resulted in 69 days of lost work and lost function for UW System employees.

To combat the injury and lost time and productivity, the UW System offers these prudent suggestions while decorating:

  • A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.
  • When you climb, always face the ladder and keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • When climbing, keep your hips between the side rails and do not lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.
  • Use ladders with slip-resistant feet and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes when climbing a ladder.
  • If you have to use a stepladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder.

We hope you enjoy all the festivities of the holiday season, including safe and fun decorating.

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