Everywhere you look at the moment you cannot escape the fact that Christmas is racing towards us at an alarming rate, especially now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are over. Taking my excited 9 year old to school this morning consisted of what he would like on the big day and the Christmas adverts have not even started in full force yet to influence him.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I can’t wait to hear this year’s news reports about ‘elf and safety gone mad’, ‘bah humbug bosses banning decorations’ and ‘being banned from throwing sweets at pantomimes’ . I kid you not follow this link to the Health and Safety Executive myth busting site. All joking aside certain accidents do increase in the workplace during the festive season due to people not stopping, thinking and then carrying out tasks in a safe manner.
Putting up tinsel and paper chains need not be a health and safety risk, however climbing on an office chair with wheels, or climbing on a desk to fix the items to the ceiling is. Use a suitable foot stool, step ladder or a tall member of staff instead! Christmas lights on trees make them look magical, and I have been asked in the past whether fairy lights are permitted in the workplace. Yes they can be, but as with all portable electrical appliances you need to ensure they are fit for use. Check the plug for signs of wear or damage, check the cable for fraying, maybe plug into a RCD, and definitely turn them off and unplug when the workplace is empty. In fact follow the same steps you would in your own home. If in doubt as to their safety then get them portable appliance tested or throw them away and buy a new set.
After the workplace is decorated to rival Oxford Street, work parties and meals will also be in full swing. Do not worry I am not about to say that there is health and safety legislation restricting what can occur at a workplace shindig. Just be careful what you get up to, keep away from photocopiers and arrange your transport back home before the festivities start. Also remember that it can take up to 12 hours (or more depending on how much was consumed) before alcohol levels in the blood can diminish to under the legal driving limit. So be careful when you plan on doing the following day.
I won’t wish you Happy Christmas yet as it is far too soon and I am still in denial even though it is only 7 weeks away today!!! Maybe when the infamous Coca-Cola red truck appears on my TV screen, with its catchy ‘Holidays are coming’ jingle I will be a little more prepared.