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New York at the holidays should be magic, not tragic

There are few things more disconcerting than wandering into a drugstore the day after Halloween and discovering that Christmas is already here. Retailers used to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up the garlands, lay out the crèches and pipe in as many different versions of "Sleigh Ride" as there are.

Not anymore. Even Lord & Taylor jumps the gun by unveiling its Fifth Avenue holiday display in mid-November. At least the Rockefeller Center tree won't be lit until the first week of December.

This is the season that finds handypeople climbing up ladders to put up holiday decorations. How many of those ladders are perched precariously on a busy sidewalk?

Workers decorate their offices, too, draping garlands across doorways and hanging wreaths above desks. Retailers bring on seasonal workers to handle the crowds of shoppers or even just to maintain the elaborate holiday décor.

The challenge is to keep the stores and the streets and the office buildings safe, and to make sure those temp workers understand their employers' rules about safety. Delivery companies hire extra drivers this time of year, and you can only hope that those companies are training their temps on the proper operation of equipment and drilling into them all the safety measures they should take every day. Still, safety is not just for the warehouse. 

New York is known for its fast pace, and the holidays just pile on the hurry. We urge everyone to pause, take a breath and remember how to avoid workplace injuries.

The first step? Distribute and review your well-crafted safety policy with new hires. Post the policy around the workplace to remind employees that safety comes first.

The next few steps? We'll share those in our next post.

Source: Insurance Journal, "‘Tis the Season for Workplace Safety," Woody Hill, Nov. 7, 2014

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