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As you may have noticed, Xmas is well on the way. Every year health and safety gets the blame for allegedly trying to ruin the enjoyment of the season. Not only are these myths usually untrue, they also serve to trivialise the important message of health and safety – protecting people from very real risks in the workplace.

Here are some Christmas H&S myths that have been reported in the media or online in recent years and picked up on by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

1. Workers banned from putting up Xmas decorations in the office. Every year there are reports of companies banning workers from putting up decorations or insisting that a “qualified person” do the job. In fact, HSE and local councils are happy for their employees to put them up, but might request they stand on a stepladder to do it rather than that wheelie chair…

2. Indoor lights need to be PAT tested annually. Many companies waste money having their Xmas lights PAT tested every year. This is not required, although it is wise to check for obvious damage.

3. Carol singers are H&S risk. Reports have said insurance companies have drawn up detailed “health and safety” guides for carol singers and parish councils have required special permits for the purpose. In fact there are no official requirements. Carol singers are not a health and safety risk, although they may be a risk to your musical sensitivities.

4. If you clear snow from outside your home or business you may be sued. Simply not true. HSE encourages a sensible approach to safety at work and clearing snow is an aid to people being able to get about.

5. H&S stops you from putting coins in your Xmas pudding. Health and safety legislation is concerned with what happens in the workplace. You are free to put whatever you like in your Xmas pudding.

So beware the would-be Scrooges with their “Bah Humbug!” myths and enjoy yourselves over the Christmas season!

Contact Auxil on 03300 884352 for a confidential discussion about any health and safety or human resources issues you may have or explore the website.