‘Tis the Season for an Injury
Tra-la-la-la-larrr …. la-lar-lar-lar.
Quotes from the Telegraph 24/12/11:
Christmas Trees are the root (ahem) cause of a number of accidents during the festive season. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2007 saw around 1,000 people injured in incidents involving Christmas Trees, including pine-related eye injuries as people reached for presents.
Those of a cautious nature are reminded that prickly Christmas trees can be made (more) safe by plucking the needles prior to erection. Ahem. Your Christmas tree might be bald, but at least your loved ones won’t get a pine needle stuck in their eye, nor will you have to suffer the stress of hoovering up those newly formed piles of needles that your tree would’ve otherwise shed each and every day.
Last year, [in the Czech Republic], one man received £35,000 in personal injury compensation after he was crushed by a 101ft Christmas Tree in Prague.
Numerous accident claims are made to insurance companies for furniture that has been damaged by a fallen or irresponsibly handled tree.
I can sympathise; the memory of wrestling with that damn tree on my Black and Decker Workmate - trying to trim the trunk and get it stood up correctly in the frickin’ stand - is still painfully vivid. Marmite (the Law Actually bunny) proved absolutely no help at all.
Decorating the tree and the walls can be a fun experience for all the family, but this annual tradition is also not without its dangers. In 2008/9 over 5,000 people were admitted to hospital after falling from a ladder whilst attempting to hang decorations.
Society’s love of drawing pins are an added danger too (particularly for those not wearing shoes!). Youch!
Others, however, skip the ladder altogether and choose to clamber over furniture to get to those hard-to-reach areas leading to hundreds of broken bones every year.
Guilty!! The control widget for our Christmas tree lights is safely installed up on the curtain pole - well out of the reach of Marms (who has a penchant for nibbling such things which are at ground or periscoping level). Sadly for us, the lights’ default twinkle is a fit-inducing imitation of disco lights on steroids, meaning we have no option but to risk serious injury to life and limb by clambering on the sofa to change the setting to something more suitable each time we put the lights on.
2007 also saw two fatal incidences of people eating decorations they mistook for chocolate.
What were they then? Cyanide coated baubles?
In an attempt to alert people to the dangers of Christmas, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer issued more than 150,000 leaflets which highlighted the risks associated with baubles. Readers were advised to avoid these spherical ornaments as they are easily broken and can be very sharp underfoot.
And it’s not just irresponsibly-placed decorations at home you’ve got to watch out for; workplace decorations can prove particularly hazardous to your health. The other day, I spotted an office stairwell which had tinsel wrapped all the way up the handrail in a spiral fashion. Anyone could have caught their hand in that mess on the way down and ended up in a heap at the bottom, spread-eagled with broken bones and a Christmas in ruin. They might as well have set up a tinsel tripwire at the top of the stairs.
But, hey, it’s amazing what a personal injury claim can do to focus minds and heighten aware of risk.
Around 350 people are expected to be injured in a fairy light-related accident each Christmas, as a result of falling whilst attempting to hang them, electric shocks, burns, or by children swallowing them. Lights can also have fatal consequences with an alarming number of deaths caused by people watering the tree with the lights switched on.
Come on, people. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean you’re excused from engaging your brains!