Christmas is a lovely time of fun and celebration….but, it also can be a time of increased hazards and accidents. The last thing you need is to end up in A&E over the holidays with an injury, due to an accident or someone’s negligence.
Below are five of the most common situations when you might need to exercise more caution over the holidays
Shopping & Socialising
When you are out and about this Christmas — be careful where you’re walking! Look on footpaths for icy patches, wet leaves or snow banks — falls and slips are one of the most common cause of injury in the winter months.
With party season in full swing, there is a likelihood of you being out socialising more in restaurants bars and nightclubs. With hordes of Christmas jumper wearing revellers around, you should watch out for broken glass and drinks spillages on dance floors! These are a leading cause of injuries on nights out.
The famous Black Friday shopping frenzy, leaves paramedics treating trampled and bruised shoppers every year in the U.S. Thankfully, we don’t have the same level of shopping injuries here but unwary shoppers can still fall victim to accidents in shopping centres and supermarkets.
If you are involved in an accident: ask for eyewitnesses and take their contact details, and/or take photos of any visible cause of your accident e.g spilled liquids on the floor. This will help you if you need to make a claim against the store.
Under the Christmas Tree
Christmas is an exciting time for children with the arrival of Santa, and expectantly lots of presents. But, did you know that many accidents involving children are caused by toys. In the U.S, a child is treated in the emergency room, every three minutes, due to a toy related injury!
With the rise of online shopping it’s becoming more important to be vigilant about the toys that you are purchasing — check that you are buying from reputable sources to avoid counterfeit toys with subpar safety checks. And, always check that the toy is suitable for the child’s age range.
Every year consumer watchdog World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H) release a list of the most dangerous toys for sale that could cause injuries such as choking, blunt trauma, and eye injuries.
If a child is seriously injured by a toy, the manufacturer or retailer could be liable for damages. Find out more about compensation for injuries caused by toys here.
In the workplace
One of the nicest things about Christmas is seeing all the lights and decorations lit up and hanging from all the shops and building around towns. However, getting them there can take a lot of careful thought and planning, to avoid shocks, fires and other accidents.
Remember: Be careful of ladders and lights!
If you are assigned to hanging the Christmas lights or any other outdoors work task, remember — your employer should take appropriate measure to protect you and other workers in harsh weather conditions. This includes providing any necessary safety equipment or protective clothing, providing extra training or rescheduling shifts so you aren’t out working in difficult conditions if it’s not necessary.
If you work in Transportation, healthcare and public administration you are in the most risky industries to be in for ice slips and falls, claiming 50% of all reported accidents to Health and Safety Authority. Did you know that most workplace slips on ice occur between 6am -11am?
Be particularly careful if you have to shovel snow from work premises. This humble task causes thousands of injuries every year; from back injuries, knee injuries, heart problems and even broken bones.
If you get pain in your lower back then stop shovelling to prevent a greater injury; if pain persists for more than one day, you should get it checked out by a medical professional.
On the roads
Driving in winter can become very hazardous due to poor weather conditions. Sleet, hail, ice and snow and freezing fog will cause problems for many road users.
If you accidentally crash into another car on icy roads, it’s generally your fault. Poor conditions are visible and you possibly didn’t take a duty of care towards other road users; this is why you must practice safe driving in poor conditions such as:
- Reducing your speed, and don’t brake suddenly on ice.
- Keeping a safe distance behind drivers and allow extra time for braking.
- Keeping you maintained by having correct tyre tread depth and pressure, and keeping windows and lights clear of snow and ice.
On the slopes
Maybe, this Christmas you fortunate enough to be heading off on a winter sports holiday. But, hopefully you won’t be unfortunate to then experience a sports injury.
The majority of accidents occur on the ski slopes, and you will know that winter sports carry a certain level of risk. But, if you suffer a serious injury while on a ‘skiing package holiday’ you may be entitled to compensation for your accident.
Common injuries on the slopes are concussion, knee injuries, sprains, broken arms or legs (ouch!). This could lead to some time of work, most travel insurance policies would cover for loss of earnings, so it’s worth consulting with your solicitor if you find yourself in this situation.
Before you participate on any Winter sport:
- Check the safety record of the resort
- Wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment, and check that your equipment is it fit for purpose.
- Pay attention to instructors etc., and abide by resort rules.
- Don’t overindulge on antifreeze (alcohol) before skiing as you could pose a risk to other as well as yourself.
It’s not just these situations that accidents and injuries occur, so remember to practice good health and safety in all situations over the holidays. And, don’t let the chance of an injury ruin the Christmas spirit.
Happy Christmas to you and all! ??