“Health and Safety, that’s the reason we can have no fun”! We hear that a lot and it’s simply not the case! You’ll have to find another excuse this year because have taken some of the funniest things Health and Safety is cited for during the festive season and have busted those myths!
Office Christmas Trees are a no-no as decorations can be too high to safely fix on the tree
Office Christmas trees should be compulsory, it’s an excellent was to bond with the team while arguing over how to decorate the tree! A Christmas tree is a rite of passage – just use a step ladder when decorating the top, not Carol’s swinging office chair or the forklift.
Christmas trees must be artificial due to allergies
Christmas can be allergy season for some people, and it might be a nice approach (and less messy) to put up an artificial one in the lunchroom but there are no rules to say you can’t use a real one! I personally love the smell of a fresh pine tree! Helping others avoid the odd sneezing attack isn’t a noteworthy hazard but it is a nice thing to do. Just do what’s right.
Christmas parties are banned – Steve got too “merry” last year and twisted his ankle
Health and Safety is always the party pooper or the excuse not to splash out on a party. It shouldn’t be! Yes, employees are the employer’s responsibility at work parties but so long as hazards are managed there should be no reason not to have fun!! Ideally go to a licenced premise where there is a legal responsibility on the staff to keep an eye on people. Serve heaps of food, cut off drinks to those who are intoxicated, allow staff to take taxis, have some managers stay sober to ensure any issues can be dealt with appropriately and make sure staff know what is expected of them beforehand. Most importantly do something fun!
Secret Santa gifts must be pre-approved by the health and safety committee
In case of sharp objects, offensive material, alcohol, and other Christmas silliness – yeah right! That would be safety gone mad! Secret Santa is meant to be fun and spontaneous. Let’s keep it that way!
Christmas Cake cannot be served due to alcohol content
The best Christmas Cakes have fruit soaked in plenty of booze! Truth is, most of it is evaporated during the baking process so unless your baker has been ‘feeding’ the cake with booze every few days to keep it moist which some people do, it’s perfectly fine! Even if it has been fed, you’re hardly going to get off your face! If you are pregnant or don’t drink alcohol, it pays to ask.
Christmas lights are too much of a fire risk
No they aren’t. Just like you do at home, check the wires are in-tact and don’t have any nasty kinks, exposed wires or broken bulbs before lighting up the tree! If you are super paranoid you can get them tested but its probably cheaper to get some new ones!
Staff should be discouraged from sharing home-made Christmas treats due to hygiene risks
Whoever came up with this one has clearly had one too merry! There is absolutely nothing wrong with Beryl from accounts making her traditional gingerbread house or Ananya from Marketing making her grandmas best Indian sweets. The only issue here will be putting on a few extra kg’s!
Second-hand toys cannot be donated due to hygiene issues
Giving to those in need at Christmas is something that every business and home should encourage and donating used toys should be no exception. Of course, encouraging toys that are clean and in good condition is common sense but there are no rules that frown upon giving to others. There are no laws that stipulate toys cannot be donated second-hand.
Office Christmas BBQ’s are a no-no due to burns risk and fire danger
Oh heck no! Summer Christmas BBQ’s are just what we do. Make sure you have had your gas bottle checked, have your BBQ outside in a well-ventilated space, cook meat according to health guidelines, don’t drink and fry and of course have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
Have some watties tomato sauce and white bread with butter and you’re all set!
Staff volunteer work is banned due to manual handling risks
Make sure staff are briefed on and inducted on any H&S risks (if any) before hey start. If they are lifting heavy food or gift boxes, make sure they know how to lift properly from the knees and most importantly…spread the Christmas cheer!
Myth # 11
Lolly scrambles at the kids Christmas party are banned
Lolly scrambles are an age-old tradition, let’s not run it now. The chances of someone being hurt are extremely low so treat it the same way you would any other low risk activity.
Santa must wear his safety belt
Don’t be silly, we all know he’s magic!