Season’s Greetings for the Christmas and New Year
We would like to wish all our subscribers, clients and readers a very merry festive time over the winter break.
This is the last newsletter for 2015, the next one will be sent on Monday 4th January 2016.
We continually strive to send you relevant information on current health and safety legislation, we hope you find it useful and informative.
If you have any requests or would like to see any specific information or safety details highlighted in future editions, then do drop me an email.
Unfortunately, as soon as the first hint of mulled wine hits the air, “’elf and safety” becomes the catch-all excuse for all kinds of strange and silly stories.
Because we all deserve a laugh now and then, as an early Christmas present, I’ve rounded up a couple of this year’s ridiculous health and safety corkers and they are in place of our usual, recent HSE cases.
So this week’s 2 ridiculous “Elf & Safety” corkers are:
- Council’s Christmas tree chopped by its own safety rule.
- Solihull Christmas lights switch-on cancelled over health and safety fears.
Of course, if you take a closer look at these stories you will see they show a completely different picture. One that’s not at all related to health and safety regulations.
Christmas is definitely in the air.
The fairy lights are twinkling, and you’ve started your annual month-long mince pie marathon.
You’ve dusted down your obligatory ugly Christmas jumper and you’re just getting warmed up to the festive season with The Pogues, Slade, Wizard and Mariah Carey on repeat. Although personally I prefer the more classical standards from the likes of Gustav Holst and Franz Gruber.
Christmas is definitely in the air.
If you’re lucky, that is. But we mustn’t forget all the wonderful people that will be working over the Christmas period to keep us safe, fit and well. So please raise a glass for Nurses, Doctors, Care home assistants, Police Officers, Firemen and anyone else who has to work over Christmas. Thank you.
The serious side
Cooking up some Christmas Elf and Safety myths might be great for giggles, but there’s also an important side to it too.
Health and safety isn’t some silly bureaucratic game to stamp out fun. It’s there to make sure you and everyone around you gets to enjoy a happy, enjoyable and most of all safe Christmas.
Pinning the blame on health and safety regulations when there’s no real concern at all doesn’t just lead to jokey headlines. It also suggests that people can afford not to take it seriously, when they really should.
Did you know?
In 2002, 1,000 people were estimated to have visited A&E in the UK after home accidents involving Christmas trees and 350 people after home accidents involving Christmas lights. – Source: Home Accident Surveillance System, 2002.
Candles sparked around 1,000 UK house fires, resulting in 9 deaths and 388 casualties, in 2011/12.
Fairy lights went up in smoke causing 20 fires, while Christmas trees, decorations and cards were also a fire risk and responsible for 47 house fires, leading to 20 non-fatal casualties, across the UK. – Source: 2011/12 Fire Statistics Great Britain from the Department for Communities and Local Government
Christmas is a time when your home is likely to be full of people and it is in the excitement of the season that accidents can easily happen. But one of the good things about Christmas is that there are typically more people around to supervise the children and, with a little more care and forward planning, most accidents could be avoided.
Follow these 12 safety tips to help prevent your festivities being cut short by a trip to casualty:
- Make sure you buy children’s gifts for the correct age group and from reputable sources that comply with standards (e.g. The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011)
- Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them – that way you won’t be tempted to remove batteries from smoke alarms
- Look out for small items that could pose a choking hazard to young children, including parts that have fallen off toys or from Christmas trees, button batteries and burst balloons
- Keep decorations and cards away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings. Don’t leave burning candles unattended, make sure you put them out before going to bed and do not put candles on Christmas trees
- If you have old Christmas lights, seriously consider buying new ones, which will meet much higher safety standards, keep the lights switched off until the Christmas tree is decorated, don’t let children play with lights (some have swallowed the bulbs), and remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed
- Remember, Christmas novelties are not toys, even if they resemble them, and they do not have to comply with toy safety regulations. Give careful thought to where you display them, for example, place them high up on Christmas trees where they are out of the reach of young hands
- Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid hot fat, boiling water and sharp knife accidents that come from rushing, and keep anyone not helping with dinner out of the kitchen. Wipe up any spills quickly
- Have scissors handy to open packaging, so you’re not tempted to use a knife, and have screwdrivers at the ready to assemble toys
- Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances, and always read instructions
- Falls are the most common accidents so try to keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles, especially if you have guests
- Plan New Year fireworks parties well in advance and follow the Firework Safety Code
- Do not drink and drive, and plan long journeys so you won’t be driving tired.
Over the festive break all our offices will open as normal. We have now arranged for our phones to be answered 24hrs a day 365 days a year through our connections in New Zealand. So when we close at the end of the day here, the phones get transferred to NZ at the start of their day. Any messages will be forwarded immediately to Jon Wilkins who will ensure that your problems are dealt with.
So if you need our help over the holiday period, please call the office as normal on 01458 253682. Leave a message with the ladies and Jon will get back to you.
Footnote from Jon Wilkins.
I personally would like to thank all our clients for their continuing support over 2015. Recent years have been a very financially trying time for many companies and we at the Wilkins Safety Group, appreciate you continuing to utilise our services for systems and training. You obviously appreciate the cost effectiveness of having an effective safety system in place, which reduces the chances of you falling foul of legislation and incurring costs and fines.
I look forward to working with you for the foreseeable future and personally wish you well with a relaxing festive time and a prosperous 2016.
Jon Wilkins MSc AIIRSM IMaPS
Wilkins Safety Group.