‘Christmas decorations banned in the office in 2021’

Year after year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) puts out myth buster articles to reassure people that staff aren’t banned from putting up Christmas decorations because of health and safety reasons.

During the past few days lots of firms have started posting heart-warming photos and videos on social media of their staff putting up Christmas decorations in their workplaces.

It’s great to see colleagues working together to bring a bit of festive cheer to their working day – although apparently not everyone is so keen on the idea.

Year after year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) puts out myth buster articles to reassure people that staff aren’t banned from putting up Christmas decorations because of health and safety reasons.

It has even produced a list called The Twelve Myths of Christmas which includes the likes of Workers are Banned from Putting up Christmas Decorations in the Office, Indoor Christmas Lights Need a Portable Appliance Test Every Year and Children are Banned from Throwing Snowballs.

Essentially, the HSE are keen to get out the message that it recognises Christmas is a special time and it doesn’t want health and safety to be wrongly cited as a reason to prevent – in their words – ‘pretty harmless’ activities, such as putting up Christmas decorations, from going ahead.

It feels that such myths needlessly ruin the festive spirit and trivialise the true purpose of health and safety which is protecting people from real risks at – or connected with – work. In fact the HSE takes this so seriously it has even set up a Myth Buster Challenge Panel and recently released the Myth Busters Challenge Panel findings – General Workplace list.

Will we be putting up Christmas decorations at Acorn?

At Acorn, we’ve put up our Christmas decorations and had fun decorating our Christmas tree. It’s a lovely thing for the team to do and is giving us all plenty of smiles in the countdown to Christmas.

We hope lots of other organisations are also having fun decorating their workplaces and because we want everyone to have a Happy Christmas here are a few friendly tips to help you stay safe:

  • Electrical items such as Christmas lights are likely to have been put away for nearly 12 months so they may have been damaged in storage. If you are in any doubt, it may be safer to buy new items
  • It may be easier for staff to balance on wheelie chairs when they’re putting up high decorations but it’s a lot safer to provide them with a suitable step ladder for the job
  • Put your Christmas tree in pride of place but make sure it’s a safe distance away from radiators or other heat sources, doorways and high traffic areas
  • If you’re going for an artificial Christmas tree this year, pick one that is labelled fire resistant. The only things that you want to catch light are your sparkly baubles!
  • If you’re going for a real Christmas tree, make sure you keep it well watered. If a dry tree does catch fire, it can be completely covered in flames within seconds
  • If you have a metal tree don’t decorate it with regular tree lights
  • Whatever type of Christmas tree you pick, install it in a stable base
  • Decorative paint and artificial snow can look very attractive but remember aerosol cans use flammable propellants so don’t use them near heat sources
  • If you’re using extension cords make sure they’re not going to trip up anyone
  • Don’t overload sockets and extension cords
  • Don’t use staples, nails or tacks to hang electrical cords and make sure electrical cords aren’t placed at an angle which pinches them
  • Use heavy duty, outdoor extension cords for exterior holiday lighting
  • Don’t use outdoor lights inside as they burn hotter
  • Turn off your Christmas lights before you leave work and before you leave for the Christmas break. It’s also a good idea to turn your heating to the frost setting over the holiday.

Should I worry about putting up Christmas decorations?

If people put up Christmas decorations sensibly there’s no need to worry. However, if you need any further advice about this or any other issue relating to health and safety, we are always happy to help.

At Acorn, our highly trained team offer a comprehensive suite of health and safety services to organisations of all shapes and sizes and from all industries. Together we can make sure everyone goes to work safe and comes home safe.

So, if you need any support with managing your health and safety requirements, contact our award-winning team today.

For all your health and safety needs visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

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