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Safety for Santa

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA

Our recent blog on Superhero personal protective equipment got us thinking: What about Santa?  He certainly faces a number of occupational hazards. Maybe we can help him out.  Let’s start with the chimney. Talk about a confined space and what about the cancer risk?  Are those pants fire retardant?  Santa may want to follow our research on fire fighter boots.  Up on the rooftop?  Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Santa should check out our recent Falls Cost /Safety Pays campaign or our document on preventing falls through skylights.

Fortunately for Santa, Christmas Eve comes only once a year but it’s one long shift for the man with the bag.  The elves who toil away during this busy season might want to read our blogs on sleep and shiftwork and maybe the child labor page as well. How many elves work in the North Pole anyway?  Is the Workshop now part of a conglomerate with in-house safety and health expertise or is Santa a small business employer? There must be bears at the North Pole right?  Either way, he might enjoy our blog How to Avoid Bear Attacks (and other small business concerns).

Speaking of animals, the reindeer seem friendly but working with animals can be dangerous.  The elves with asthma should not be assigned to reindeer duty and no one should ever try to ride or race a reindeer.

We can think of a number of suggestions for preventing back injuries and other painful stresses and strains.   We hope Santa’s lifting that big bag of toys from his legs and would be happy to help him navigate the NIOSH  Lifting Equation.   The elves might want to try a sit/stand work station and the blog on joint pain in the workplace might help them all.  Come to think of it, Santa could afford to lose a few pounds.  A Total Worker Health program can help him incorporate occupational health protection with health promotion in Santa’s Workshop.

The hazards related to cold stress might seem obvious but Santa and heat stress?   His Santa Suit probably feels quite comfortable as he hitches up his reindeer at the North Pole or cruises at 30,000 feet, but not so much as he delivers presents in Honolulu,  the Caribbean or Africa.  There are effective ways for Santa to avoid heat stress before he heads back to colder climes.

While we are on the topic of stress, the jobs at the North Pole have the makings of a pretty stressful work environment.  Santa and the elves might want to implement a little organizational change and stress management.  The details can be fond on the Workplace Stress blog.  Global warming and the threat of competing holidays might also contribute to Santa’s stress level.  We know N-95 day is a new holiday but Santa needs to watch his back.

What about all that Christmas music?  Santa and the elves may be at risk for music-induced- hearing loss.  For that matter, the toy factory could use  a hearing conservation program.   We have to say it, all those cookies touched by so many little fingers.  It’s that time of year and he’s exposed to so many households… we hope Santa has had his flu shot.   A respirator might scare the kids, (and probably isn’t necessary) but we hope Santa is taking flu prevention precautions.

Luckily Santa doesn’t share the skies on Christmas Eve.  If a cell phone can lead to distracted driving, what about a mile-long naughty and nice list?  It can’t be easy to back up the sleigh either.  Our construction equipment visibility blog might be helpful.  And all of those presents make for an unstable load.  Maybe we should help Santa equip his sleigh with a roll-over protection device?

Well, the point is NIOSH has a lot of resources– for Santa, the elves and anyone interested in workplace safety and health.  Happy Holidays from NIOSH and warm wishes for a safe 2013! We are happy to have brought you 33 blogs this year and over 130 since we started blogging in November 2007 (many mentioned above).  Keep reading and commenting.  Topic ideas are always welcome!

Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA

Ms. Tisdale-Pardi is the NIOSH Science Blog Coordinator

P.S. If you are looking for a last minute gift for the safety and health type, consider any movie mentioned in our blog Mad as a Hatter: Mercury and Other Occupational Hazards at the Movies or its sequel.

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA

38 comments on “Safety for Santa”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Don’t forget that Santa should get and FAA check-ride in his sleigh if he has not flown it since last Christmas. Tip: If the FAA inspector boards your reindeer-pulled sleigh with a shotgun, you are probably going to lose one on take-off.

    As a Calgary Marketing Company I’m always looking for great blogs and this one, very funny.
    Santa has many hazards. I hope he has WCB insurance.

    I seriously haven’t seen a lot of friendly deers out there. Even those in the petting zoo, I don’t trust kids with them all the time. Sometimes they look even m ore viscous and angry. Well, I guess santa works like construction workers when handling roofs and chimneys and works like a zoo keeper with the animals. He does absolutely have to be really extra careful.

    What a great read! (I’m a year late.) Just goes to show you, what precautions are necessary no matter what your occupation – but especially someone who makes deliveries around the world in one night. Whew! That pressure alone, would send me to the hospital with heart failure.

    Glad to know your blog exists, heck, glad to have discovered NIOSH altogether! It’s a very interesting institution. I should have known of your existence since I have a degree behavioral science and work for a research company that helps HR survey its employees. I suppose it’s never too late to discover!

    Happy Holidays and the best in 2014!

    Krazzi

    Many people feel stress during their work time. It was fantastic to explain stress of the Santa. Great and flawless post.

    Don’t forget that Santa should get and FAA check-ride in his sleigh if he has not flown it since last Christmas. Tip: If the FAA inspector boards your reindeer-pulled sleigh with a shotgun, you are probably going to lose one on take-off.

    Sounds like Santa is primed and ready to start delivering his packages via drones. Just imagine the possibilities. He can stay in the North Pole, deploy the UAVs, sit by the fire sipping cocoa. He might, however, need to request permission from the FAA to use the drones in US airspace. Maybe Amazon could give him some tips?

    Many people feel stress during their work time. It was fantastic to explain stress of the Santa. Great and flawless post.

    Thanks for sharing this informative article, well I was looking for stuff but this stuff also made my day. Thanks again!!

    Glad to know your blog exists, heck, glad to have discovered NIOSH altogether! It’s a very interesting institution. I should have known of your existence since I have a degree behavioral science and work for a research company that helps HR survey its employees. I suppose it’s never too late to discover!

    Many people feel stress during their work time. It was fantastic to explain stress of the Santa. Great and flawless post.

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