It’s the time of year when most companies are thinking about brightening up the workplace with a little bit of festive sparkle.

Someone, let’s call him Noel, is despatched to dig out the ‘Christmas’ box from the back of the stationary cupboard and the task of untangling the lights begins.  But, there’s a nagging doubt.  Hasn’t there been something, somewhere about the dangers of Christmas tree lights? Putting up decorations?

So, before the office Grinch appears, muttering ominously about PAT testing Christmas lights and needing someone ‘qualified’ to deck the halls, we thought we’d give you some good old DCP S&T advice to put your minds at ease.

Urban Myth 1 – You can’t put up Christmas decorations in the office – it’s ‘ealth and safety!

Wrong!  Of course you can.  And you don’t need a certificate to do it, either – just the proper tools for the job – ie using a suitable step ladder rather than trying to balance precariously on spinning, office wheelie chairs when trying to put the fairy on the top of the tree.

Urban Myth 2 – Indoor Christmas tree lights have to be PAT tested – annually!

Not true!  Low risk items like indoor Christmas tree lights don’t need annual testing. What they do need is a thorough check for any obvious signs of damage when they emerge from storage.  If any problems are spotted then it’s time to get them PAT tested – or take a trip to the shops to buy some new ones.  Oh, and ensure that the last person out of the office at the end of the day, switches them off.  No point in wasting electricity!

Urban Myth 3 – Don’t clear any snow – you could be sued!

For some reason we associate snow with Christmas despite the fact that it’s more likely to hit in the new year.  Regardless of when we see the white stuff, the myth exists that you will be held responsible if someone has an accident following snow clearance.  HSE don’t think so, again, common sense applies.  Clearing snow makes it much easier for people to get about in bad weather.  Do it carefully and responsibly and there shouldn’t be a problem.  The Government website gives some great guidance:-

  • do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
  • don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice
  • use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)
  • you can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
  • pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help

Think of us as the Christmas fairy, spreading common sense, happiness and a little bit of humour in this season of goodwill.  Happy Christmas, and you’re welcome!