Can I hang office Christmas decorations?
It’s that time of year again - the time where the health and safety grinch in your office pipes up and tells you about all the things they say you can’t do this year, in the name of health and safety.
One of the most commonly reported restrictions is that you can no longer decorate the office with lights and tinsel, in case it leads to a fire.
Shockingly, this slightly unbelievable report is unbelievable for a reason, because it’s a myth.
There’s no health and safety rule against decorating your office to get you and your colleagues into the Christmas spirit.
This myth seems to stem from reports that in 2006, the Royal Bank of Scotland ‘banned staff’ from putting up Christmas decorations. In reality, the bank sent a memo to staff that told them not to stand on desks or chairs to hang decorations, and specifically to avoid putting items such as tinsel directly on or around their PC screens, as it could be a fire hazard.
Sounds a bit less ridiculous when you put it that way, doesn’t it?
The bank offered to book engineers to safely hang the decorations, and most sensible companies provide staff with properly tested and maintained stepladders, reducing the risk of injury which might spoil the holidays somewhat.
As for the tinsel, computer monitors can reach temperatures of above 31 degrees celsius depending on brightness, and the computer itself could get as hot as 80 degrees celsius, which means covering them in any way probably isn’t a great idea in general.
Once again, this draconian health and safety rule comes back to something that is, in reality, just sensible. It’s worth remembering that health and safety guidelines aren’t there to ruin your fun or make your life harder, but to keep everyone safe.
So if you want to hang decorations in your office, go ahead, just make sure you have the correct equipment, and maybe just decorate your computer with a festive wallpaper.
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