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Christmas ‘elf and safety

Christmas is a special time of year. Even so, it doesn't stop health and safety being - wrongly - cited as a reason for preventing pretty harmless activities from going ahead. Not only does this needlessly ruin the festive spirit but it also trivialises the true purpose of health and safety: protecting people from real risks at, or connected with, work.

However it is the time of year where a few more risk factors are added to the mix. We’ve put together some pointers so that when it comes to jazzing up your workplace this Christmas, it really will be easy to get right.

Working at height putting decorations up

Make sure you provide your staff with suitable (and inspected) ladders to put up Christmas decorations, rather than standing on desks or balancing on office chairs. As with any other instance of working at height, employees should always be careful not to over reach and ensure they’re sporting sensible footwear. Finally make it a two man job, have someone hold the bottom of the ladder.

Fire hazards

Fire is a huge area of importance which needs to be considered when putting up your Christmas decorations, don’t hang/stick them:

• Too close to light fitting or heaters;

• Covering the fire detection sensor;

• Across doorways, make sure that trailing cables do not create a tripping hazard.

Make sure that trees are sensibly placed, not close to potential sources of ignition and not blocking fire escape routes or exits.


Falls are the most common accidents so try to keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles. Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances, and always read instructions.

Outdoor areas and workers

Make sure you’re prepared to prevent any slips and trips in the icy weather conditions. Strong winds, rain, snow and ice can cause pose a risk to workers, so keep work ways and paths clear to avoid obstacles. Make sure you carry out regular inspections to look out for potential hazards.

Remember to stay safe and warm when working outdoors, by wearing plenty of layers, as well as wind-resistant and waterproof clothing. And if you’re operating any kind of machinery, do check that it’s been properly maintained, and is well lit.


Most people like to have a drink around Christmas, and with work parties as well as multiple social events on the horizon – it’s easy to let your alcohol consumption spike over the festive season. Though you might not think so, this can have a serious impact on your health, and it’s important that you take precautions and get to know your legal limits.

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