A blessed period for some or a nightmare to others, the Christmas period started with the first plays of Mariah Carey and city streets filled with the wooden cabins of Xmas markets.
No matter which group you are in, surviving the festive period is no joke, so we’ve put together a few top tips on how to keep yourself safe over the busiest time of the year.
But before jumping straight to the safety precautions for work, home and parties, be my guest and let’s take a walk through some statistical stories of Christmas past.
Story #1: Christmas at the hospital
Despite the tempting idea to take a selfie with your doctor and get many likes and sad faces from your Facebook and Instagram followers, the truth is that no one wants to spend their holiday in a hospital bed away from family and friends.
Unfortunately, however, this is often the case…
December and January see an average of 30,000 more visits to A&E than the rest of the year. (2018-19)
The winter season sees an increase in patients admitted to hospital from A&E with the peak month being December.
Injuries more common in Festive period include: Falls from ladders dues to decorating, alcohol-related injuries including burns due do cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Story #2: Christmas House Fire
It’s a miserable wet winter Sunday, the snow that had you feeling all festive has slowly but surely turned to sludge and to keep your festive spirit going you decide to make mulled wine on the stove, turn on all the fairy lights and light all the candles.
After a glass or two of your own overly spiced concoction, cosily listening to Nat King Cole, it’s decided it would be a good idea to actually roast chestnuts on open-fire (despite not knowing when it was last used as a functioning heat source).
Whether it was the pan boiled dry in the kitchen, the numerous candles, faulty fairy lights or the open-fire experiment, one thing was for certain as you drifted off to sleep, it was a good job the smoke alarm worked.
The festive period allows us to dream big and make some of our biggest dreams come true. While we are experiencing our Christmas fairytale we evidently forget to think about the safety measures:
Christmas trees, decorations and cards were responsible for 47 house fires and 20 non-fatal casualties across the UK.
There’s an 11% increase in reported house fires in December.
Story #3: You don’t have Rudolph for Sat Nav!
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could use one of Santa’s reindeer to lead us through winter road conditions? However, many of us underestimate the importance of planning in advance.
Whether it’s navigating black ice or remembering to leave your car keys at home on Christmas party night, the risk of road accidents is significantly increased in the festive period:
Pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed in traffic-related incidents in December than the driver and/or passengers of the vehicle. European commission road safety report 2018.
Home Office figures show that 20% of the total roadside breath tests across England and Wales are conducted in December.
Top Tips for Surviving the Festive Season
Have we been enough of a Scrooge yet? Hopefully, we haven’t ruined your festive mood completely! In case these stories have you wondering how in the world it is possible to stay safe and still enjoy the holidays, we’ve compiled a few valuable business safety tips:
It’s the most wonderful night of the year… the Christmas do!
Pay attention to your surroundings – while dancing round the handbags, have a quick check…is anyone suspiciously looking towards your personal belongings?
Decided to withdraw money from an ATM? – check if there is someone who can be a possible threat to you. Hover your eyes over the ATM and inspect for any fishy-looking signs.
Always make sure you have enough cash to get safely home and your phone battery is charged. (£20 note in your shoe might be a wise idea)
If you have planned party night straight after work, leave your laptop in the office! Your laptop damaged or lost won’t be of any use to you or your organisation and can cause more problems in the long-term.
Cyber-attacks are one of the most common types of online threats in the last couple of years and Christmas provides a splendid opportunity for hackers. Put some safety precautions in place by ensuring that all team members have updated their software, anti-virus and anti-malware programmes to the latest versions on their computers and phones. The same rules apply to your personal computer at home if you are doing some work from home.
Decoration time (in the tune of Celebration time)
Consider being minimalist to reduce fire risk and take care of the environment.
Check the Christmas lights at your home and office– if old, replace with new as new ones have better safety features. If you are not responsible for such tasks at work, find the appropriate person and ask him to do so.
Avoid placing Christmas cards and decorations at work or home close to candles or any other heat sources. Furthermore, do not burn wrapping paper instead look for opportunities to recycle!
Turn off all Christmas lights and electricals at night.
Driving home for Christmas?
Check the weather forecast. January and February are forecast to see the return of the Beast from the East that will bring significant snowfalls. Ask your manager if you can work from home in case of road closures.
Prepare for emergency situations with special supplies like torches, blankets, sleeping bag, water, additional screen wash and power packs.
After a night out, you might still be over the maximum alcohol limit to drive. Please, consider calling a cab or using public transport.
You may even follow on Twitter the campaign #DriveSmart this festive season, initiated by Road Safety Scotland
After all that seriousness – we would like to wish you safe and happy holidays and finish on a more light-hearted note:
“How many snowmen does it take to change a lightbulb?
What a ludicrous proposition. From a health and safety standpoint, it’d be madness for even one to attempt it.”
Miles Jupp, The Guardian
NHS Attendances Report 2018