A few years ago, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released their 12 Myths of Christmas to enable workplaces to get the balance right between safety and fun, and to dispel the myths around whether workplaces should allow festive decorations in the first place. The key messages were that
(1) health and safety is often wrongly cited as the reason for stopping Christmas activities from taking place, and
(2) companies should assess the risks and look to provide suitable equipment (such as stepladders) to prevent workers standing on desks or moveable chairs that could give rise to an injury.
Top Tips to Maintain Workplace Safety During the Festive Season
Christmas trees are one of the major fire hazards of the season as dry trees catch fire easy and burn quickly, creating toxic fumes. If you opt for a real tree, check that it has been freshly cut – if you bang it on the ground and lots of needles fall off, it’s likely to already have dried out. Instead, choose a tree with green needles and a sticky trunk. Take the tree down before it dries out, and keep it well watered whilst it’s up.
It’s a myth that fairy lights need to be PAT tested every year – instead, give them a check over and look for any damage before using. Don’t overload sockets, and be sure to use the correct fuse as stated on the packaging. Always switch fairy lights off at the end of the day, and replace blown bulbs promptly.
Ensure that decorations are non-flammable, and where possible shatterproof in case they are dropped. Keep decorations away from heat sources such as radiators, lights and heaters. Make sure they don’t create a trip hazard by keeping them away from walkways, and ensure that fire exits are not blocked in any way. Always ensure that any steps and ladders used for accessing heights are placed on a level surface, and they are fully locked out in position for stability. Take the above steps to ensure that your workplace stays safe this Christmas.
Have fun, and enjoy the festive period!