Scary Halloween Hazards – Fact, Not Fiction

The spookiest time of year is around the corner. A Halloween celebration in the offices is a great way to boost morale and teamwork. While it is fun, you should still keep safety in mind. There are many people who dress up and/or decorate their work areas at the last minute. Here are a few possible safely concerns to think about and how you can avoid them.

  1. Avoid a Flight From Height
  • When putting up decorations, remember ladder safety.
  • Make sure to have a colleague spot you on the ladder when hanging those hard-to-reach decorations.
  1. Keep the Light Just Right
  • Keep your space well lit! While darkness is spooky, too dark is dangerous.
  • Avoid using electrical lighting near flammable objects.
  1. Leave the Slips and Trips for the Horror Movies
  • Don’t obscure your vision in your costume. Complete your creep-crawly look with makeup instead of a mask and make sure there are no loose or trailing parts to your costume.
  • Eliminate tripping hazards in your decorations. Watch out for electrical cords and place the decorations away from areas with high traffic.
  1. Act to Avoid Allergies
  • Food dye is great to colour anything blood red – but make sure you read the ingredients! It may be hard to remember, but keep in mind the allergies of your coworkers. Even if you know the allergies of people around you, avoid common allergens such as eggs and peanuts. You never know who may drop by.
  • Moderate your use of new cosmetics and test it on a small patch of skin first.
  • Food is not the only source of allergies. Unusual chemicals or perfumes can also cause a reaction.
  1. Watch Out for Sharp Objects
  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.
  • If you are doing any cutting or carving for your decorations, Pay extra attention and set up in an office area with little traffic so you don’t have anyone bump into you or startle you.
  • Inspect decorations and costumes and avoid or remove any sharp objects. It seems intuitive, but some things like spikes made out of paper or evil queen crowns are often missed.
  1. Look Out for Fire Hazards
  • If you have to have candles, stick to electrical ones.
  • Avoid plugging too much into a single circuit.
  • Don’t hang flammable decorations like balloons near the lights.
  1. Know Your Substances

Many unusual substances are utilized at Halloween to create spooky effects. It is impossible to list them all so here is an example of dry ice, which is likely the most popular substance. Handling Dry Ice Safely (Source :

  • Explosion hazard:If dry ice is packaged in a container that does not allow for release of the gas, it may explode. Do not store dry ice in any type of tightly sealed device or enclosed space. Store dry ice in a stryofoam chest, insulated cooler or a special cooler designed for the the storage of dry ice (i.e. allows for the release of carbon dioxide gas)
  • Suffocation hazard:Dry ice must be stored in a well-ventilated location. Never store dry ice in a cold room, warm room, or storage closet unless adequate supply ventilation is provided. A large volume of carbon dioxide gas emitted in a confined space, or other unventilated area (e.g. cold room) may create an oxygen deficient atmosphere.
  • Contact hazard:Dry ice causes severe frostbite upon contact with skin. Never handle dry ice with your bare hands. Instead, use special equipment and wear thermal gloves to reduce risk of thermal burns to the skin. Also, do not place dry ice on a tiled or solid surface countertop as the extreme cold will cause damage.
  • Disposal: Dispose of unneeded dry ice by letting the unused portion sublimate in a well-ventilated area. Do not leave unneeded dry ice in hallways or other public areas. Never dispose of dry ice in a sink, toilet or other device and do not put it in the trash or garbage.

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About T. Harris Environmental Management

T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence. Since 1979, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

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