Deck the halls with Health and Safety
What could be a risk?
Whether you decide to use a real or artificial tree, there are risks associated with both.
A real tree, obviously made of wood, can be a fire hazard because it is a combustible fuel, especially if you are dressing the tree with lights, which may be left on for long periods.
An artificial tree can also be a fire risk, as plastic can be a fuel for fire, albeit with a higher burning point, but you should still be aware of the fire risks and possible pollutant risks caused by burning plastic.
You should also ensure that both types of tree are properly secured as if it fell on a customer, it could cause serious injury.
By having lights at your business, you can add an attractive display whilst showing off your Christmas spirit.
However, lights can also be a fire hazard. You should ensure that your lights are safe to use by having a professional perform a PAT test. You should also visually inspect the cable and bulbs to ensure the lights have not been damaged whilst in storage. Keep an eye on your lights if you are leaving them on for an extended period of time as they will heat up throughout the day, and if they are kept near a fuel source, could start a fire.
Lights could also be a trip hazard, so make sure that any wiring is neatly tucked away.
Tinsel is easy to put up around your business premises and will instantly give a Christmassy vibe to your business premises.
Tinsel is a fairly flimsy material and will usually be easy to secure simply by wrapping it around a tree or securing with drawing pins. However tinsel could still be a trip hazard if left on the floor, as your customers, or your staff, could become entangled.
If you have a Santa’s Grotto at your business this year, you may be exposed to the above risks, as well as some others.
Some grottos will have animatronic dolls, which will not only be powered by electricity, they will also be working all day, causing a build-up of heat, so not only would you face the risk of an electrical fire if not properly PAT tested, but you will also have to be careful with having potential fire fuel nearby.
What safety procedures should you review?
Fire risk assessments
If you are putting up Christmas lights or a tree, be aware that both of these decorations can be fire risks, so take a look at your fire risk assessment to see how you have mitigated the risks of installing these decorations. You should also make sure that no fire exits are being blocked.
Safety risk assessments
When considering installing decorations at your business, you should treat the safety of your customers and staff as a paramount concern.
Make sure that all of your decorations are secure so that they won’t come loose and injure your customers or staff. Look out for any hanging decorations which could fall and injure or catch on the clothes of your customers or staff. You should also make sure that your decorations aren’t blocking walkways as these could be trip hazards.
If you have intruder alarms installed in your building which are triggered by motion, be careful where you put your decorations. Swinging decorations could be enough to trigger a false alarm, especially if they are placed near a vent or air conditioning system.
If you need to build a temporary structure such as a grotto, include this in your risk assessment, as well as any risks that the structure may bring.
If it is temporary, have you considered that the structure may not be properly secured? Make sure that there is no chance that it could collapse and injure someone. If you have a sprinkler system, you should also consider that if there is a fire on your premises, any temporary structure must not get in the way of sprinklers, which will have been installed to give your site maximum efficiency at putting out a fire.
You should also consider the health and safety implications of the installation and removal of a temporary structure, not just what could happen whilst it is erected.
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