Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas in Safety

Tina Chittenden

Tina Chittenden

Tina Chittenden takes a look at the additional hazards business premises face during the festive season and offers Best Practice advice on the basic precautions to be taken.

On the 1st Day of Christmas…

If you’re buying a natural Christmas tree, select one that’s fresh and place it in a water-holding tree stand. Top up the water daily. This will stop the tree from drying out and becoming increasingly flammable. Alternatively, if you choose an artificial tree for the company’s headquarters building then absolutely ensure it’s fire retardant.

All trees should be kept away from heating equipment or other sources of ignition, while fire and emergency escape routes must be kept clear at all times.

On the 2nd Day…

Take particular care over the selection and use of Christmas lights and other illuminated decorations. Older sets of lights should be replaced, preferably with low voltage LED lights which conform to BS EN 60598.

Lights should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, while those used outdoors should be specifically made for this purpose. Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment to protect individuals from the risk of fatal electric shock.

The safety device saves lives by instantly switching off the power in the event of a fault or power surge.

On the 3rd Day…

Cables and bulbs should be inspected for damage and light sets connected to the mains in a safe manner without overloading sockets and avoiding the use of long trailing leads which can be a trip hazard.

On the 4th Day…

When hanging Christmas decorations, don’t be tempted to climb on desks or chairs. Always use good quality stepladders appropriate for the task. Use stepladders safely and take care not to over reach.

On the 5th Day…

Keep decorations and other combustible materials clear of light fittings, heaters and any other hot surfaces and ensure that they’re unplugged at the mains at close of business each day.

On the 6th Day…

If you’re putting ‘Secret Santa’ presents under the tree, make sure they’re safely out of walkways and don’t become a trip hazard. They should also be out of sight from external windows and doors so as not to attract burglars.

On the 7th Day…

If your company building has sprinklers installed, decorations and lights should not be suspended from – or attached to – sprinkler heads or sprinkler pipework.

On the 8th Day…

When positioning decorations, ensure that intruder alarm movement sensors are not blocked or set off by the movement of decorations due to draughts and/or the effects of heating or air conditioning equipment. 

On the 9th Day…

Stock levels are likely to be at their highest in retail premises at this time of year. Take care to ensure that fire safety isn’t compromised on site. This includes ensuring that, as previously stressed, fire escape routes are kept clear and that storage areas and displays are not situated too close to light fittings.

On the 10th Day…

Workplace parties should be properly supervised and alcohol consumed on a sensible basis. An inspection should be made after the event to check that all non-essential electrical equipment is isolated and that the premises are safe and secure.

On the 11th Day…

Businesses that close down for an extended Christmas and New Year holiday may be at increased risk from burst water pipes. Heating should be kept on at a low temperature and pipes appropriately lagged. Where possible, someone should be tasked with checking the building during the holiday period.

…and on the 12th Day of Christmas…

Finally, natural Christmas trees will become dry and highly combustible. They should be removed from the premises as soon as festivities are over.

While all of these precautions are targeted towards the business community, much of the guidance given will also help to ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas at home.

Everyone at Darwin Clayton would like to wish the readers of Risk UK a very Merry (and safe) Christmas. See you all again in 2016.

Tina Chittenden is Head of the Security Sector at Darwin Clayton

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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