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Christmas Risk Assessment

Posted by Tracy Seward

So how much danger does Father Christmas put himself into to deliver presents across the world on Christmas Eve?

Imagine being employed as Health and Safety Adviser to Father Christmas. First task, risk assess the activity of delivering presents.

Where would you even begin? Manual handling issues, slips, trips and falls a big potential, Working at Height is a definite, alcohol, Conflict management, weather extremes, not to mention food safety issues and Fire Safety with all those chimneys to climb down.

So let’s start with Manual handling issues, surely the handling of presents into the sleigh can’t all be done by hand? Does Santa Claus know the correct way to lifting techniques?

Then onto Conflict management – Eight reindeers, surely they would get tired and ratty after a long night travelling the globe, Santa Claus could easily be on the end of an angry reindeer bite.

Then comes the famous sleigh, to achieve such a feat on Christmas Eve would require Santa Claus to travel at approximately 1,800 miles per second.[1] You need a well-engineered sleigh not to fall apart, let alone to carry the approximately 2 million tonnes of presents.

Having arrived at each location Santa then has to face a multitude of hazards to get the presents under the tree.

The potential to fall from the sleigh, and various types of roof. Access and egress into the home, most chimneys are not well designed to fit Santa’s mince pie sculpted frame. Then there is the potential for the fire to still be lit! And once he has gained access, he faces a potential confined space with an atmosphere that could make it hard for him to breathe.

If Santa does make it into the house, tradition insists that there be a mince pie left out for him, this could be fraught with all sorts of food safety concerns.

And finally focusing on Father Christmas’s health and safety policy, what an interesting read the section on alcohol must be! Father Christmas is known to consume over 200 million units of alcohol whilst delivering presents, which would also put him roughly 50 million times over the drink-drive limit. That would certainly take the term hangover to the next level.

Fortunately, with a sprinkle of festive magic from all of the good little boys and girls tucked up in bed, no hazard is a match for jolly Saint Nick.


Merry Christmas one and all,

From the Team at Praxis42




[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/8188997/The-science-of-Christmas-Santa-Claus-his-sleigh-and-presents.html

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