Day 13 - Lucia and the occupational safety of Christmas

Blogs December 13, 2017

Have you ever thought about the working conditions of Christmas time workers? Work and working conditions have great importance for the well-being of people and society regardless branch and industry. Not to mention the effect of working time regulations and reality. This time of the year can be quite hectic and the Christmas hassle on top of everything else can even create some problems.

In the Nordics, occupational safety and health is based on the concept of a good working environment, which besides occupational safety and health, covers terms of employment and the psychological well-being of the employees. Santa has employees with various backgrounds and they are working with all kinds of different tasks. The main objective of occupational safety and health is to maintain and develop health, safety and working capability of the employee, as well as to prevent occupational accidents and illnesses. During the Christmas time and especially on Saint Lucia's Day, celebrated today in the Nordics some very specific issues can be raised. In the Nordics, where Saint Lucy is Santa Lucia (in Swedish and Finland), this lady is to wear a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. From occupational safety point of view, Lucia’s working conditions do make us wonder. When working, she wears a crone with burning candles on the top of her head walking through the windy streets of our cities. We have been taught not to play with fire, right?

According to legislations in all the Nordic countries working with fire elements fall under the pretty identical acts regarding hot work. Hot work is a process that can be a source of ignition when flammable material is present or can be a fire hazard regardless of the presence of flammable material in the workplace. Common hot work processes involve welding, soldering, the use of powder-actuated tools or similar fire producing operations, such as candles (!) outside of designated hot work areas. In some countries, such as the, the Nordics, UK and Canada, a hot work permit is required for hot work. Hope Lucias’ employers in all the Nordics have thought about that! Luckily many have and the candles are electrical ones...let's not get into electric work and permits now though...

Happy St. Lucia everybody!

Law, Fondia Sweden