Workplace Accidents Can Be a Nightmare on Halloween
Updated: Oct 18
Pumpkin carving, using open flames, decorations, costumes, and alcohol consumption can cause workplace accidents on Halloween. Office Halloween parties are great for boosting employee morale, but they can easily create scary health and legal problems if they are not handled correctly.
Pumpkin Carving Contests
Carving pumpkins is synonymous with Halloween and the activity is common at seasonal parties. It provides an excellent way for businesses to attract potential customers and promote competition among workers. However, pumpkin carving contests can cause serious injuries like knife wounds and cuts. Injury reports show that pumpkin carving is responsible for at least 44% of Halloween injuries. General liability policies and workers’ compensation insurance cover such injuries when sustained on the job.
Employers can modify the contests to prevent injuries or replace them with alternative pumpkin-related activities, such as pumpkin painting.
Real candles commonly used as decorations can ignite fires. The rate of reported fires rises around Halloween due to increased candle use. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 10,000 fires are reported every year during the three days around the holiday.
Companies can minimize the risk of fires at the workplace by prohibiting decorating with real candles during their Halloween-related events. They could instead use battery-powered candles or glow-sticks.
Falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries handled by a workers' comp attorney. According to The Nitsche Group, about 25% of the emergency room visits during Halloween result from slip and fall accidents. Falls are caused by several variables, including:
Tripping on Halloween costumes
Losing balance while hanging decorations
Reduced visibility from wearing masks
To prevent these workplace injuries, companies can come up with costume regulations. There should be adequate lighting to let people see where they are going. Employers should also ensure there are no tripping hazards, such as debris or objects.
Alcohol consumption during Halloween celebrations can be a safety concern. Drinking alcohol is risky if the workplace has staircases and other fall hazards. The risk of accidents and injuries also increases when the people holding knives during pumpkin carving contests are also drinking. Prohibiting alcoholic beverages or limiting the amount of alcohol served to each employee can mitigate the safety risks.
Although Halloween celebrations should be fun, ensuring the safety of employees should still be at the forefront of employers' minds.