Fourth of July celebrations are the epitome of American summer. Flags, fireworks, picnics, barbeque, and boating are long-standing traditions for many. However, many of these celebrations come with their own risks, making the Fourth of July one of the most dangerous US holidays.
Ensure the safety of you, your coworkers, and your employees by reminding them of these precautions.
Make sure to check that fireworks are legal in your area before buying them. Always use them around plenty of water, keeping a full bucket or a firehose handy in case of a mishap. Always soak fireworks in water before throwing them into the trash.
Adult supervision is needed for all fireworks, including sparklers, which are a leading cause of injury for young children. Never try to relight or pick up a firework that does not seem to have fully ignited. Light only one firework at a time and immediately back away. Do not point fireworks at other people, and keep your own body safe while lighting them.
Fireworks packaged in plain brown paper are generally meant for professional displays and should be avoided. They should not be carried in clothing pockets or shot off from metal or glass containers. Protective safety goggles are recommended as they provide more protection than regular glasses.
The safest way to avoid danger from fireworks is to attend a professional display.
The Fourth of July is the American holiday that sees the highest consumption of alcohol. Last year we spent more than one billion dollars on beer and more than half a billion on wine. Although travel for the holiday weekend might be down this year, many people are still expected to go to the beach or lakeshore during their celebrations, adding driving to their celebration plans.
Over 600 people are killed in Fourth of July car crashes each year. In 2017, 237 of those crashes involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. This was a 23% increase from the previous year. The average cost of a DUI is $10k, not counting lost work from arrests or sentencing. These are all costs that can affect your employees and your business.
Employers already see an increase in employees using sick time before and after holidays, and an arrest for drunk driving would further impact their return to work on Monday. In order to ensure that your employees are able to return to the office and have clear heads, HR can send out reminders about drinking responsibly, including not over-indulging; not operating cars or boats while drinking, and not lighting fireworks while enjoying alcoholic beverages.
Swimming and Boating
Many of the picnics on the Fourth happen at the beach, so make sure to pay attention to water safety. This holiday is the busiest of the boating season, and also therefore the deadliest. Make sure to obey all rules of swimming and boating safety.
Wearing a life vest, not operating under the influence of alcohol, and being aware of other boats will help prevent boating incidents. Be especially wary if this is your first time boating in a new location.
Swimmers should be watched at all times. Drowning can occur in a matter of seconds, especially in children under age five. Educate yourself and other adults about the real-life signs of drowning, which differ from Hollywood’s interpretation. Make sure that children stay within designated swimming areas and do not pass their safe depth. Formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%, but at least one person should be watching swimmers at all times.
Make sure to also prevent fires around the grill. Never leave it unattended. Gas grills should be checked for leaks and never lit with the lid closed. All grills should be regularly cleaned and always used outdoors. Children should be taught to keep at least three feet away from the grill.
Cold dishes are also an area of concern. Side dishes like coleslaw and potato salad do not mix well with the hot weather. Never leave perishable dishes, especially those containing mayonnaise, sitting out for more than two hours, and always keep them on ice.
This is one of our country’s biggest holidays and, if precautions are in place, there is no reason that you and your employees cannot celebrate. Have a safe and happy Fourth!