In California, where there aren’t layers of newly fallen snow to help you conjure up holiday thoughts, you need might need a little help to get in the mood for the most festive season of all. You mention to the bosses that the office could use some twinkling lights and maybe a poinsettia or two.

They think it’s a great idea and nominate you to lead the decorating committee. And when you really think about it, that’s a huge responsibility.

Sure, you want to make it fun and festive for your co-workers, but you also have to think safety first. The office can be full of hazards brought on by holiday decorations.

So, as you start the put together your plans for decorating, remember the following.

  • Review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules that govern the workplace. Don’t create safety hazards, either.
  • Don’t put any decorations where people can trip on them. Christmas tree lights probably will need an extension cord. Boxes wrapped to resemble gifts that you’ve placed on the floor for décor can be tripped on. You should follow this guideline throughout your office, but especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Don’t block any emergency exits or signage.
  • When decorating, don’t allow anyone to stand on tables or desks. Use the ladder, and have a co-worker hold it.
  • Decorate an artificial tree. They pose less of a hazard than a live one.
  • Don’t put any tree near a heat source, such as a vent or a space heater.
  • Don’t use lights that are intended for outdoor decorating indoors.
  • Inspect all lights for frayed wires or broken sockets. Throw out damaged lights.
  • Only use lights that are labeled as approved from a testing lab.
  • Never use nails to hang lights.

You’ll have a great office holiday if you follow these guidelines to keep the staff safe. If you don’t, the company could be held liable for any personal injuries that follow.