Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s a time for joy and happiness, when memories are made and laughter is heard everywhere you go. Although this is true for most of us, not everyone has such a lovely time.
Sadly, December is recognised as one of the most dangerous times of the year as we see accident numbers increase significantly year on year, both at home and in work. We would hate your Christmas memories to be tarred by disaster this year, so we’ve compiled our guide to Christmas safety. Our tips are easy to carry out and can potentially be lifesaving.
Test your smoke alarm
Before you do anything this Christmas, test your smoke alarms. With Christmas feasts being prepared and candles being lit, it is crucial that you check your smoke alarm is in full working order.
Place Christmas decorations and cards away from fires and other sources of heat, such as candles, radiators and any burning scents you may have. Remember to keep Christmas decorations out of reach of small children as they do not have to comply with safety regulations.
Christmas tree lights
Make sure your Christmas tree lights are marked with the British Safety Standard sign. If they’re not, do not use them and replace them with a set that are. Keep the lights switched off while you’re decorating your tree and don’t overload your electrical sockets. Make sure you turn the lights off and unplug them when you go to bed or leave the house.
The UK government’s Fire Kills campaign has made a very sobering one minute video, which shows just how quickly a Christmas tree fire can destroy a living room. Although we certainly don’t want to scare you, we think everyone should be aware of this potential danger in their home.
Never put candles on Christmas trees, no matter how pretty a design might look in a glossy magazine. Never leave candles close to decorations or materials that could catch light and do not leave them unattended. Remember to blow your candles out when you go to bed or leave the house.
Many of us enjoy a drink at Christmas, but with so much alcohol flowing, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’re drinking. The message about drink driving is clear: don’t do it. Remember it takes time for alcohol to exit your system so you may not be safe to drive the following morning.
The elderly and less-abled
Make sure you check on your elderly and less-abled relatives, colleagues and neighbours. Cold weather can have a huge impact on their health.
For those of you planning a Christmas event, please remember there is no “no” in health and safety. Health and safety should not be used as an excuse to stop things from happening, we in the profession just ask you to plan for all eventualities, to make sure your festive events run smoothly and safely.
Please do take note of our Christmas safety tips above throughout the festive period, so you can relax in the knowledge that your family and household will be protected from unavoidable Christmas-related accidents.
If you have any questions about occupational safety and health, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone on +44 (0)1933 201103 or via our contact page.
We wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe festive period.
Christmas safety articles from HSE
The NHS guide to keeping safe this Christmas
Christmas safety advice and information from ROSPA
The UK Government’s A Safe and Happy Christmas publication
The HSE’s 12 Myths of Christmas