How to Decorate Your Office for the Holidays Safely

From hanging lights outside, to decorating around the department, the holiday spirit is likely to take over your office this season. While many large businesses opt to hire a professional decorating company, smaller organizations often choose to decorate themselves. Along with a fun and easy team-building activity, decorating your office yourself also means that the final product will have a more personal touch. As you and your co-workers deck the cubicle walls, keep in mind the following five safety tips.

1. Refrain from Decorating Safety Equipment

It may seem harmless to spruce up those safety fixtures you never seem to use like emergency lights or exit signs, but it’s best to leave them untouched. Not only could your decorations violate OSHA regulations, they might stop the systems from functioning properly. All alarms, detectors, sprinklers, extinguishers, and signs should be easily visible and accessible. Plus, you never know when those dusty lights might spring into action and be needed.

2. Stay Steady on Ladders

With ladders in OSHA’s top 10 workplace hazards, there’s never a bad time to review and practice ladder safety. Make sure ladders are tall enough so that you don’t have to stand on the top step or your tiptoes to complete the job. It might take a little longer, but it’s important to move the ladder often so that you are not leaning or off-balance. Have someone secure the bottom of the ladder so that it’s steady. This way, everyone gets to enjoy the season without any holiday hospital bills.

3. Leave Exits and Pathways Clear

You might get carried away with holiday cheer as you are decorating, but you don’t want to trip under the mistletoe, especially in the event of an emergency. Make sure to leave doorways and main walkways clear of larger items like Christmas trees, but also smaller ones to avoid any blockages, trips, or other workplace accidents. These might include trinkets such as gifts or ornaments that passersby might bump into accidentally. Leaving room for people to come and go allows for the fun to flow freely as you celebrate with holiday activities.

4. Secure all Wires and Cords

You wouldn’t choose for anyone to get tangled up in your decorations even if they are caught up in the joy of the holidays. To keep everyone safe and decorations where you placed them, fasten loose cords and wires to appropriate surfaces. Ensure that cables lie flat on all surfaces so that no one accidentally pulls them away from where they should be. Wrapping up an extra long cord also helps to make clean up easier, not that we’re anywhere near ready to be done with the festivities!

5. Fireproof your Decor

Keep that fire extinguisher on the shelf this year by making sure that all electronic elements are away from flammable items like curtains, chairs, or coats. Check wires to ensure that they are not fraying or worn thin. Make sure to turn off electronic decorations overnight to prevent them from overheating and potentially melting nearby or encasing plastic. Also use battery-powered candles instead of open flames to ensure that nothing but ice will be melting this holiday season.

As you decorate your office this winter, US Standard Products, a nationwide provider of quality operational and safety products, has the gear you need to do so safely. Contact us today at 844-877-1700 to learn how we can help you prepare for the holidays in the safest way possible.

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Cold Weather Gear Guide for Outdoor Workers

Everyone always complains about the cold in the winter, but did you know that frigid weather is actually more deadly than heat? A report by the National Center for Health Statistics reveals that winter cold kills twice as many Americans than summer heat. Each year, approximately 2,000 people die due to weather-related causes. Of that population, 63% of deaths are caused by exposure to cold and/or hypothermia, while only 31% are attributed to heat-related exposure such as heat or sun stroke.

That said, if your job requires you to work outside in the winter months, it’s even more critical for you to be prepared with the proper gear to keep you safe—not only from the dangers of the job—but also from the dangers of the cold. Here, we’ve compiled some of our top wardrobe tips to keep you safe and warm as you work outdoors this winter.

1. Dress in Layers

One of the worst things you can do when working outside in the cold is break a sweat. Once your clothes trap that moisture, there’s no drying out while you’re on the job—if and when you do cool back down, that moisture will feel mighty frigid.

The trick to avoid a freezing cold sweat? Dress in layers. That way, once you amp up your activity level, you can simply take off a layer to prevent getting over heated.

2. Pick Smart Materials

As you layer on your winter clothes, pay close attention to the materials of the fabrics and the order in which you put them on. The layer closest to the skin should be made of fabric that’s effective at wicking away moisture. Popular options include synthetic fabrics, merino wool, or bamboo.

Next, you’ll want to insulate. Choose materials such as wool, goose down, or fleece to keep warm. Last, you’ll want to protect yourself from the elements with a shell-like jacket—ideally, something that’s both waterproof and breathable.

3. Wear the Right Gloves for the Job

You probably already know that given your profession, there are specific features you should look for in gloves. Manual labor and civic maintenance professionals should be on the lookout for cut protection, impact protection, and multi-purpose gloves, while knit gloves are generally sufficient for landscapers. No matter your job, if you’re working outdoors in the winter, you should most definitely be wearing some sort of gloves, if not to protect your hands from your work, to protect them from the cold-related ailments such as frostbite.

4. Be Seen

It’s important to make yourself visible during all seasons, but wearing reflective gear is especially critical in the winter months, as the hours of daylight are shortened. Since it’s likely you’ll be working in the dark, consider investing in reflective gear with electronic light-up features. Flip them on to be sure you’re seen at all times.

U.S. Standard Products is an industrial supplies distributor based in New Jersey, providing operational and safety necessities ranging from ice melt to work gloves, and so much more. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media:

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Ice Melt Guide for Business Owners

To the average business owner, ice melt is ice melt—you spread it on your sidewalks and parking lots, helping to ensure that the walkways surrounding your business are free of ice (and slip) hazards. What many don’t realize is that there is a wide variety of ice melt types, each with different properties. Some are safe for animals, others are not; some work in super cold temperatures, and others don’t. While there are a number of different ice melt products available, they all work in a similar way—by lowering the freezing point of water and turning snow and ice into saltwater slush.

Here at U.S. Standard Products, we’ve put together a quick ice melt guide to help you select the best ice melt formula for your business needs.

Exploring Ice Melt Materials

Type Temp. Pros Cons
Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt) 20-22o F

 

Most common

Inexpensive

Natural

Fast acting

Not effective in extreme cold

Corrosive—(damages metal, grass, sometimes concrete)

Deadly to animals when ingested

Leaves residue

 

Calcium Chloride -25o F

 

Most effective in extreme cold

Natural

Fast acting

A little goes a long way

Long lasting

More costly

Can damage vegetation

Possible health consequences

Potassium Chloride 12-25o F

 

Natural

Less corrosive

Better for environment

 

Not effective in extreme cold

Leaves residue

Harmful to vegetation at high concentration

More costly

Deadly to animals with kidney disease when ingested

Urea 15o F

 

Very little damage to concrete/asphalt

Better for environment

Safer for animals

Inexpensive

 

Harmful to vegetation at high concentration

Not as effective

Magnesium Chloride -13-5o F

 

Fast acting

Long lasting

Natural

Better for environment

More costly

Can damage vegetation

Deadly to animals with kidney disease when ingested

Moderate concrete damage

Don’t Forget!

As you’re considering ice melt options, don’t forget these important safety and usage tips.

  • Always use in moderation. Using more than the recommended amount does not increase effectiveness—in fact it could cause damage to your concrete/asphalt, as well as any nearby vegetation.
  • Wear gloves. First, it’s probably cold out—dress for the weather! Second, and probably more important, the chemicals contained in most ice melt products can irritate the skin. It’s not worth taking a chance.
  • Keep shoveling. As nice as it would be to put the snow plows, blowers, and shovels back in the garage, you still have to put in the work to remove whatever snow you can in order for the ice melt to be effective.
  • Seal it up. Ice melt absorbs moisture, so when it’s in storage, make sure it’s sealed up properly to maintain effectiveness.
  • Avoid fresh concrete. If you’ve had concrete poured on your property within the last year, keep the ice melt away! Freshly poured concrete needs time to cure, and application of ice melt can set it up for future damage.

U.S. Standard Products is an industrial supplies distributor based in New Jersey, providing operational and safety necessities ranging from ice melt to work gloves, and so much more. To learn more about our product offering, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media:

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