Another holiday season is upon us – travel, family dinners, parties and more food than you can possibly eat. It all kicks off with Thanksgiving, the “feast-iest” time of year.
Thanksgiving also can be a dangerous time of year. While we don’t recommend dwelling on the hazards of Thanksgiving, National Safety Council encourages families to always be mindful of risks. Nothing can permanently mar this joyous time of year faster than the injury – or death – of a loved one.
Over the River and Through the Woods
During Thanksgiving, most people choose to travel by automobile, the deadliest form of transportation, according to Injury Facts 2015. In 2013, 360 people died on U.S. roads during Thanksgiving weekend, more than were killed during the New Year’s and Memorial Day holidays.
If You Can’t Stand the Heat …
Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home structure fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And, if you deep-fry your turkey, the risk is much greater.
- Avoid loose-fitting clothing that can catch fire near a stovetop
- Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent children from spilling hot pots
- Keep a pan lid handy to smolder flames
- Never pour water or flour on a kitchen fire; that can make it worse
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
- Never leave hot pots unattended
- Leave the house and call 911 immediately if a fire gets out of hand
Just a Flesh Wound?
There are so many sharp, hot and slippery hazards in the kitchen, it’s no wonder things can go wrong. Lacerations and other injuries can become a problem for a stressed out chef in a hurry to get the Thanksgiving feast on the table. Consumer Reports recommends you:
- Keep knives sharpened and use a cutting board that doesn’t slide; a damp towel underneath will hold it in place
- Don’t put glass cookware on a burner or under a broiler; it can shatter
- Don’t leave your blender or food processor on too long to avoid overheating
- Don’t boil water in the microwave; it can “violently erupt” and cause scalding
- Thaw your turkey at a safe temperature; bacteria can multiply rapidly at temperatures above 40 degrees
- To safely thaw a turkey, leave it in the refrigerator for several days, submerge it in cold water or use the microwave
- Utensils, your hands and work surfaces can become contaminated when they come in contact with raw poultry; clean these areas thoroughly before they touch other food
- Cook stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish
- If you must stuff the bird, do it right before cooking and make sure it reaches 165 degrees before serving
With Thanksgiving kicking off more than two months of seasonal festivities, we would be remiss without mentioning some specific risks related to alcohol. You’ll find this information in Injury Facts 2015, and in our featured webinar this month, Alcohol and Injury: Use Employer Interventions to Promote Safety and Protect Your Business.
- More than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2013
- The cost of alcohol-related crashes that year is estimated at nearly $50 billion
- 2,155 people died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 – mostly males
- Alcohol is involved in 33% of suicides, 57% of sexual assaults and 28% of domestic violence cases
- Drinking-related injuries cause more than 40,000 deaths per year
- In the workplace, costs of alcohol abuse are substantial and include loss of productivity and safety risks
- 9% of employed adults have diagnosable alcohol abuse, and fewer than 1% are identified and treated by their health plan
- 50% of all trauma patients are intoxicated
- In one-third of alcohol-related deaths, the victim is sober
- Schools, businesses, churches and other organization should play an active role in identifying someone who may have an alcohol problem