Elf and safety on the roof for Santa!


Just how does Santa Claus achieve what he does, all in one night, and never seemingly have an accident? Presumably Elf and Safety regulations in the North Pole are particularly stringent and designed to meet Santa’s requirements exactly.

Given the fact that Santa visits around 108 million roofs at a speed of around 968 per second, we thought we’d take a look at some of the working on roofs policies he might employ –

The approach

For any job, planning ahead is key to identifying the safety hazards that may exist whilst working. When you’re visiting 968 different workplaces every second it must be difficult but Santa is probably working to something similar to the following checklist –

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess severity of hazards
  • Control hazards
  • Monitor the workplan

In more normal situations, documenting the information would probably be part of the list too. But, at the speed he’s moving, we’re not sure Santa is completing the paperwork!

The work plan

Whether Santa carries a work plan with him or not, we’re sure that he must be receiving information from North Pole HQ about each roof as he approaches. The sort of information the work plan should include is as follows –

  • Safe access to the roof area
  • Assessment of the roofing materials
  • Identify hazards associated with working at height from or through the roof
  • Brittle roofing assessment
  • Other working at height hazards (for example, weather, electricity)
  • Establishing equipment and hazard controls for working at height
  • Safe working practice
  • Training and supervision

Of course Santa also has a team of reindeer and heavy sleigh to manage too, making the work plan even more essential.

External hazards

Santa will be well aware of external hazards that may impact on his ability to go about his task safely. These may include –

  • Falling materials – With the amount of presents on the sleigh, this might be an issue when Santa is actually returning to the sleigh or just after touch down on the roof if any gifts spill from the sack and tumble back down on top of him
  • Electrical Hazards – Santa needs to be well aware of any wiring or things like satellite dishes or air conditioning units that may reside up on the rooftop. He certainly doesn’t want to trip over on a roof laden with presents! Given the pace at which he moves it’s unlikely that Santa would trip due to boredom but later on in his journey, fatigue might start to kick in.
  • Weather conditions – Santa completes his job irrespective of the weather, but that’s not to say that he’s not aware of the potential issues. Hazards resulting from adverse weather conditions should be anticipated and suitable precautions taken. Considerations relating to weather conditions will include the general condition of the roof surface, moisture conditions, wind speed and maybe, in certain parts of the world, UV radiation and sun glare.

The Master of Elf & Safety

One thing is for sure. Santa is certainly serious about his job and takes immense pride in doing it well. If anyone is going to take Elf and safety seriously it’s the big guy in the red coat! We at Safety Forward would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year!