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‘Elf and Safety Myths Debunked

14 December 2017

With Christmas fast approaching, you might start hearing the office scrooge harping on about ‘elf and safety. Don’t hang Christmas decorations, don’t clear the snow, it seems like you can’t do anything without getting in trouble with the HSE elves.

The truth is that each year, health and safety is wrongly cited in the run up to Christmas as the reason why you might be limited in the way you express your holiday cheer, and in reality a lot of what you hear is total nonsense.

We take a look at some of the most popular ‘elf and safety myths that appear around this time of year, so the next time you hear them pop up, you’ll know the real story!

One of the most common health and safety myths we hear each year is that indoor Christmas lights which are put up in offices need a portable appliance test (PAT) every year.

The reality is that whilst lots of companies waste money PAT testing their lights each year, or even avoid putting them up at all, this is just a myth. A yearly PAT is not required by law.

By following a few sensible precautions, such as checks by the user for obvious signs of damage, every workplace can put up Christmas lights to bring a little holiday cheer to employees.

Other strange ‘elf and safety myths that pop up around Christmas time include:

- Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

- You can’t throw out sweets at pantos

- Santa needs a seatbelt in his sleigh

- Second hand toys can’t be donated for ‘health and safety’ reasons

- Traditional shopping centre Christmas trees scaled back or replaced by artificial alternatives

- Seats removed from shops – despite weary Christmas shoppers wanting to rest their feet

- Carol singers are a health and safety risk

- Children are banned from throwing snowballs

- If you clear snow away from outside your business or home you are likely to get sued

- Health and safety prevents people putting coins in Christmas puddings

All of the above myths are just that, so when the ‘elf and safety scrooge comes knocking, you’ll know what to say!

Featured Image used under Creative Commons