Hanging Christmas Lights? Follow these Safety Tips
Be careful on ladders, follow the rules with outlets and extension cords – don't drive buzzed
Construction Employees Share their Methods for Safety Hanging Christmas Lights
The roof on Jordon Gillman's house has some steep ridges reaching up to 34 feet above the ground. So when stringing holiday lights, the Layton Pre-Construction Manager used his personal fall arrest system that he was trained on at work.
On jobsites, Layton requires workers to follow strict safety protocols, including having approved safety systems in place when working at heights above six feet. Jordon hung his lights safely and said he was grateful for the additional protection, especially on the steeper pitches. "Next year, I might even rent a JLG lift from Home Depot," he said.
"Our family decided to hire a professional to install our Christmas lights this year," said Public Relations Manager Bryan Packer. "I’ve always installed our lights in the past and was able to access most of my roof with our ladder. I have a couple of pitches that are pretty high and I never felt comfortable getting up to the top of those peaks – even when using a longer extension ladder that I would rent for the day."
"We had to spend a little bit of money to have our lights installed, but it’s comforting to know that I didn’t take any risks this year."
By Chris Bardin
Layton Director of Safety and Health
At Layton Construction, we focus on the heartfelt message of living and working safely. That's why we cringe when we see our friends and neighbors taking unnecessary risks when hanging Christmas lights and other holiday decorations.
During this season, Layton urges everyone to be smart while hanging decorations outside and inside the home. Don't let a moment of carelessness change your life.
Here are precautions you should always take:
- If it’s rainy, windy, icy, or your roof is snow covered, DON’T GO UP! It’s just not worth it.
- Test and inspect all your lights before decorating
- Don’t use nails, screws or tacks to hang lights
- Use extension cords that are rated for the environment where you're hanging them and electrical load you’re putting on them
- Don’t overload electrical sockets
- Don’t put extension cords where they can be walked on or tripped over
If you must use a ladder:
- Inspect it to make sure your neighbor didn’t damage it when you loaned it out last
- Secure the ladder or have your helper hold it to prevent unexpected movement
- Get the right size ladder that will keep you off the top rungs
- If your ‘spare tire’ is touching the rungs when going up, you should not be going up.
- Good rule of thumb: never allow your “belt buckle” area to lean out past the side rail of the ladder. This will prevent kick out.
- Consider each move to prevent losing your balance
Speaking of holiday balance, don’t drive or hang decorations while texting or buzzed on eggnog.
Take safety seriously. Don’t let the Griswolds of Warner Bros. "Christmas Vacation" become reality at your home. Only in Hollywood do they walk away.
Don't be the guy perched like a gargoyle on his roof with no safety equipment, no one helping, too many lights strung together and plugged into a frayed, ungrounded extension cord.
If you can't safely hang lights and decorations, using the right equipment and with the right training, then stick to a wreath on the door.