Don’t Let Thanksgiving Stress Get in the Way of Safety

Ah, Thanksgiving: a time to reconnect with family and friends, turn on the game, impress your dad with that deep-fried turkey recipe you saw on the Food Network, heat up some boozy apple cider cocktails, kick back, and…

…realize you forgot to buy a turkey, rush to the supermarket, nearly get trampled by crowds of crazed last-minute shoppers, rush back home, cook sides for 19 hours straight, try to keep your dog from jumping on your dad as he walks through the door, drowsily spill cider all over the floor, trip over your dog as she licks up the spill, instinctively grab onto the deep fryer you’re using for the first time, set your kitchen on fire, black out, wake up under an emergency blanket in the back of a firetruck, and—as you, your dad, and your dog watch the firefighters put out the flames—feel grateful that at least this Thanksgiving didn’t go as badly as last year’s.

End scene.

While we hope your celebration doesn’t go anything like that, it’s important to recognize that along with Thanksgiving comes plenty of potential for chaos and unsafe behavior. The stress of having lots of people over, cooking dozens of dishes at once, and navigating uncomfortable interactions with relatives can wear anybody down. And as compliance specialists, we can’t help but think about everything that can go wrong under all that pressure—so we can help you avoid it.

With that in mind, here are a few quick tips to stay safe this Turkey Day:

Stay in Compliance with Thanksgiving Food Safety Rules

  • Reduce the chances of foodborne illness by storing your turkey at 40 °F or below, and cooking it to an internal temperature of at least 165 °F. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching any food. 
  • Keep raw meat away from other foods. 
  • Be careful when handling hot substances. 
  • Clean cooking surfaces regularly. 
  • Keep flammable materials away from the cooking area, and consider buying a fire extinguisher if you haven’t already. 
  • Turn off ovens and stoves immediately after using them. 
  • Keep pets and children out of the kitchen. 
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. 
  • Store meat and stuffing in separate containers. 
  • Consume leftovers within 3–4 days (ideally in sandwich form).

For more information, visit foodsafety.gov.

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Stay in Compliance with Thanksgiving Travel Safety Rules

  • Don’t let the Thanksgiving rush cloud your judgment: always drive at the speed limit or below, follow the rules of the road, and stay at a safe distance behind other drivers. 
  • Don’t drink and drive. 
  • Don’t drive on less than 5 hours of sleep. 
  • Wear a seatbelt—and make sure your passengers do as well. 
  • Use your headlights at night and in low-visibility conditions. 
  • Avoid driving during a storm. 
  • Keep your car clean and in good working order.

For more information, visit redcross.org.

Stay in Compliance with Thanksgiving Pet Safety Rules

  • Many Thanksgiving dishes we humans enjoy can be fatally toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. Never feed your pet unfamiliar foods without checking with a veterinarian first. 
  • Don’t leave your food unattended. 
  • Keep your pets away from any Thanksgiving trash, including carcasses, bones, and food packaging materials. 
  • Keep your pets away from flowers, ferns, and other decorative plants. 
  • Take account of your pet’s mental and emotional state. Keep nervous, territorial, and temperamental pets away from guests. You may even want to consider alternative lodging arrangements for your animals if they’re especially anxious or uncooperative. 
  • Avoid pet contact with any guests who have compromised immune systems or communicable illnesses. 
  • Watch your home’s exits. Keep doors and windows closed when possible. 
  • If you have a pet turkey (we don’t judge), show them lots of love. If you think it’s tough day for you, imagine what they’re going through.

For more information, visit avma.org.

Finally, don’t forget to tell the world what you’re thankful for! As for us here at Compli, this year we’re especially grateful for you—our customers, partners, readers, and friends. Thank you for reading our blog and for joining us on this wild journey through the world of workforce compliance.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and relaxing holiday!