Health & Safety

Dashing through the snow

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Dashing through the snow

Just for a change, we have a light hearted take on the application of Health and Safety at this wonderful time of the year, without any mention of injuries, statistics or prosecutions.

So, during this festive season, I would like to remind employers that as with all tasks that present a risk to employees or others who may be effected by your activities, that a risk assessment will be required addressing the safety of an open sleigh should any of your employees be planning on dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way.

Your assessment must consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there may be multiple passengers, some of whom may have partaken in a few pre-Christmas mince pies!. I would also advise against “dashing” and would recommend a maximum speed of 5MPH unless seat-belts are fitted and the use of such restraints demonstrated and enforced.

Another issue to consider would be that permission must also be obtained in writing from all landowners before any of their fields are entered.

To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, you should request that laughter is moderate only, and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs should be made available for collection by anyone working as shepherds during this festive season and are planning or required to watch their flocks at night.

While provision should be made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras, from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, users of this facility would need reminding that an emergency response plan should be submitted taking into account known risks to the flocks. This must be briefed to all shepherds and copies of signatures recorded.

The angel of the Lord would additionally be reminded that, prior to shining his/her glory all around, s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.

Following last years’ well-publicised case, everyone is advised that Equal Opportunities legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr R Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift bearing is a common practice in various parts of the world, everyone should be reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to the bribery policy and that all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual.

It is particularly noted that direct gifts of gold  is specifically precluded, while caution is advised regarding other common gifts such as aromatic resins that may evoke allergic reactions, such as frankincense, myrrh and any other well-known High Street body & bath oils.

Finally, in the recent instance of an infant found tucked up in a manger without a crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

All the team at Howarths would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year.

Author: Mark Worsnop, Health & Safety Advisor at Howarths

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