assess christmas decorations

How to risk assess your school’s Christmas decorations.

Christmas should be an enjoyable time within your school and we don’t want to put a damper on this, however, it is important to ensure your school, pupils and staff remain safe.

We’ve put together a checklist of what you should be looking at this Christmas.

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is not blocking fire escape routes or the exits from any rooms and buildings.
  • Do not place your trees near ignition sources or decorate them with lit candles. Although real and artificial trees are both flammable, this is particularly pertinent for the former.
  • Check the condition of your Christmas tree lights to ensure they do not become a potential fire hazard, remember to carry out regular visual inspections.
  • If you are pinning Christmas decorations to walls and/or ceilings, have you considered if there is potential for asbestos to be present? If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, asbestos fibres could be released which, if inhaled, can cause serious diseases.
  • If your school uses tube lighting, do not just drape decorations over them, the added weight could result in the light becoming dislodged, falling, smashing, and injuring pupils, employees or visitors.
  • If your staff are carrying awkward or heavy boxes of decorations, make sure they follow safe manual handling practices at all times.
  • Working at height: if you are hanging decorations up high, ensure it is done safely and with the support of others – that means not dangling from wobbly chairs!
  • Do not hang tinsel, paper snowflakes and fairy lights near faulty electricals and bear in mind the fairy lights themselves could be the faulty electrical.
  • If you are decorating any outdoor areas (e.g. the school playground), be aware of hazardous, adverse weather conditions, and how they can present risks
  • Be mindful that during your Christmas productions, the school hall/function room will have more people in than normal. Make sure the safe seated and standing capacity of the hall is not exceeded and all exit routes are available before the performance.
  • Make sure all school fire alarms are fully working – these should be tested at least once a week and children and teachers should know the procedure in the potential event of a fire.

It’s also a good idea to review your fire risk assessment to include the festivities such as hazards of combustible material, electrical faults, fires caused by naked flames (candles) or obstruction of fire exits.

 

For more information on health and safety within your school, contact our safety team.

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