Here are some facts/statistics for you to consider at home as well as at work:

1. Skating on thin ice?

Slips, trips and falls tend to be the most common workplace accident and figures published by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) from the Hospital Episode Statistics for England identify "there were 2,919 admissions to hospital in 2014/15 as a result of people falling over on snow or ice."

It is not just snow and ice - or the threat of it - which we need to be mindful of however. Falling leaves and wet weather are both predictable conditions this time of year and again increase the potential for slips and trips. 

Keeping travel routes clear, being aware of the effects of prolonged wet weather (particularly in entrances and receptions), and planning for snow and ice - should it occur - are all sensible precautions.

Most organisations now also have some form of adverse weather plan, when was the last time you updated yours and reminded staff of what it says?

2. Driving home for Christmas…

Some recent driving statistics:

  • 24,101 people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents in 2016
  • 1,792 fatalities/road deaths in 2016
  • 95% of collisions had driver error as a main contributory factor

RAC Foundation analysis "of previously unpublished data from the annual Labour Force Survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics shows that in 2011 an estimated 73,000 people were seriously or slightly hurt in accidents while travelling on company business (excluding commuting). This is 36 per cent of the total number of 202,000 people recorded injured (but not killed) in all road accidents for that year. Of those hurt whilst driving in the course of their employment, more than a third (36 per cent) are subsequently off work for more than a week."

As well as the potential for snow and ice, wet roads, increased hours of darkness, a low in the sky sun (when appearing) and frozen windscreens are all additional factors. How are you ensuring that your drivers and their vehicles are prepared for the weather?

3. Festive fire hazards?

The Home Office "Fire Statistics Monitor: April 2015 to March 2016" indicates an upward trend in the different types of Primary fires between 2014/15 and 2015/16. While dwelling fires showed a marginal increase (0.01%), other building fires and road vehicle fires increased by 3% and 7% respectively. 

A BBC article identified candles cause more than 1,000 house fires, and 9 deaths and 388 casualties, in 2011/12. Fairy lights, decorations and even Christmas cards are also a fire hazard. 

You are more than 50% more likely to die in fatal house fire at Christmas than any other time.
The HSE myth buster information highlights Christmas decorations in the office are "not banned" and goes on to clarify how the myth was started:

"Office workers at Tower Hamlets council in London were banned in November 2006 from hanging up Christmas decorations at work because of the fear that they may get hurt. Climbing to the ceiling to put up paper decorations was forbidden in case of injuries to staff and then the injured person suing the council.

A ban was also placed on the use of fairy lights in a bid to cut power bills and ensure safety standards. Mini-Christmas trees, tinsel and baubles were still allowed - provided there were no lights"

With electrical fires, after deliberate ignition (arson), remain the main causes of fire in the UK it is as well to have a process in place to identify what is being plugged into your electrical supply - and that it doesn't get inadvertently left on either!

4. Festively dressed?

Further figures from RoSPA indicate around 1,000 people visit A&E after calamities with their tree and 350 following problems with Christmas lights (2002 figures). Just for the record:

  • A chair or desk is not the place to stand to hang decorations, even the tree fairy (other tree decorations are also available).
  • Don't block or obstruct fire exits, and keep the tree away from naked flames
  • Be aware of the appeal of Christmas decorations to children and the possibility they may constitute a choking hazard.
  • If you find when you take your Christmas lights out you think "We've had these a while" make sure you check them over or even invest in some new ones.

5. Enjoy it!

On behalf of all of us at Assurity Consulting, have a merry, safe and healthy Christmas. If you would like more information or further help on any of our services, please contact us on tel. +44 (0)1403 269375 or email us.