Making sure you have a Happy Christmas!


…have yourself a healthy and happy Christmas

Christmas is coming, “it is only 31 sleeps till Christmas!” my six year old reminds me (as of 24.11.14). Lots of fun, festivities, presents, family gatherings and turkey.

But for some families this Christmas may be a totally new experience. They may be approaching their first Christmas without a loved one or with someone recovering from an injury, both of which had occurred at work. Both scenarios probably preventable entirely.

As Christmas approaches, it is natural human nature to become excited at the Christmas period for many reasons which can lead to unintentional mistakes being made. But in this phase employers and employees must still remain vigilant whilst at work and follow the procedures as they were trained to do. Cutting corners to save time for an earlier finish on Christmas Eve, can result in accidents. Not following the correct close down procedures at the end of the shift, or even on a shut-down for the Christmas period can result in problems when the next shift commences or in the New Year after the Christmas Break.

Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures. Therefore, the run up to Christmas is the perfect time to demonstrate compliance with the monitoring and review element of this regulation. This will serve two purposes, firstly any issues will be identified in time to prevent any potential injuries to employees just before Christmas, and it will prove whether the initial procedures are actually working well for the business needs.

On a lighter note, Christmas is also the time of year when bureaucrats make silly rulings under the term “elf and safety”. Here are some of the most common myths challenged by the Health and Safety Executive for this time of year.

  • Baa humbug. Let employees get into the festive spirit and put their Christmas decorations up, just provide a sensible step ladder to carry out the work instead of expecting them to balance on wheelie chairs, it works for HSE and Local Councils.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Christmas lights do not need PAT testing annually. Save the money and have a responsible employee examine closely the light cables and bulbs for damage. Any signs of damage will require replacement sets. Do not attempt to fix it with electricians tape as if this a bodged job it could lead to a fire costing more than the replacement lights!!!
  • Finally, if we are blessed with a white Christmas this year there is no health and safety legislation stating children cannot throw snowballs, or that the braver people who like to swim in lakes or the sea as part of their festivities cannot partake in these activities. It all boils down to common sense, so take care have fun and enjoy Christmas.