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5th December 2019

A Festive Risk Assessment

Spare a thought for the myriad of hazards faced by Santa each year….In this blog, we take a light-hearted festive look over the risk assessment requirements involved in delivering millions of gifts around the world.

So what exactly does Santa need to do to make sure he’s safe and that we all have a Merry Christmas – whilst at the same time providing the world’s fastest delivery service?

Chimney Access

Clambering up and down chimneys is a tricky business, and let’s face it, Santa isn’t known for his svelte figure. Working in confined spaces can be a dangerous activity, and couple that together with the possibility of him landing on a raging hot fire in someone’s front room or inhaling soot and smoke. In fact, the whole process of getting up and down the chimney stack presents a number of hazards! 


Walking on unprotected roofs in wintry conditions is not a good idea, and falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of serious injury. Santa needs to ensure he has appropriate edge protection in place or at the very least some personal protection measures to prevent the distance and consequences of a fall.

Working Outdoors

Late at night, in the middle of December, on an open sleigh, is going to be cold by anyone’s description. When working outdoors the effects of the weather in the UK environment can potentially have a serious impact on Santa’s health. He, therefore, needs to ensure that appropriate PPE is being worn and that regular access to hot drinks is available, as well as taking regular breaks indoors wherever possible.

Manual Handling

Santa’s present sack can be extremely heavy and awkward to carry, the last thing anyone wants is for Santa to suffer a work-related MSD on Christmas Eve! Santa would be wise to consider ongoing manual handling training before hauling such a heavy sack around all night and using mechanical aids where possible. 

Work-Related Driving (or Flying!)

Santa is responsible for the operation and maintenance of both a sleigh and fleet of 8 reindeers. He needs to undertake the necessary vehicle inspections to make certain that both the sleigh and his animals are maintained in good order. Each reindeer may well have different requirements – maybe Rudolph dislikes working from height and Comet struggles in icy conditions? Don’t forget the need for Santa to record his driving hours to ensure he doesn’t exceed his driving time limits, and make sure he watches his whisky intake to remain under the drink-sleigh limit. Finally, Santa needs to plug his phone into his hands-free kit (assuming sleighs come fitted with these!).

Lone Working

Let’s face it, flying through the sky must be pretty lonely with only a few reindeers for company. It comes with the added risks of sudden illness or accident, dealing with tipsy Christmas Eve revellers, or even mental health issues exacerbated by social isolation. Suitable lone working arrangements would need to be in place to ensure regular contact and tracking with the head office at the North Pole.

And there you have it, thankfully most of the risk assessments we help clients with a more straight forward than Santa’s, but if you do need help then our team is always available on 0845 459174.

Wishing you a safe and prosperous New Year from all at Lighthouse Risk Services.

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