Recently, an environmental health and safety (EHS) audit was held at Santa’s Workshop to determine if the North Pole operations were in compliance with EHS regulations. Let’s listen to some comments being made at the scene of the inspection
Auditor: Thank you, Santa, for letting us evaluate your workshop for EHS compliance issues. Let’s start with environmental. First of all, there must be no pouring of alcohol down the drain. You are to deliver every last drop to those worthy adults on your “Nice” list.
Santa: Ho, ho, ho. It is yet to be determined.
Auditor: Secondly, any mercury-containing bulbs must be disposed of as universal waste. You must provide proof that your holiday lights meet the criteria of being “mercury free.” Santa: I assure you that the North Pole is a mercury-free facility. Why, we even insist on mercury-free thermometers to tell us how cold it is outside.
Auditor: Wonderful! How do you dispose of your batteries that don’t work and any electronic equipment you no longer need? Santa: We recycle everything. We even make sure that the paints we use on the toys are 100% lead free!
Auditor: Sounds like you have your environmental issues pretty much under control. Now let’s discuss safety. Do you have a hearing conservation program in place? All those ringing bells are starting to get to me…
Santa: All elves who work around bells, buzzers, banging drums, or blaring horns are required to participate in a hearing conservation program and are provided with earplugs to wear under their warm earmuffs.
Auditor: Great! What about fall protection? How do the elves put the stars on top of all those tall trees? Santa: All elves are required to take a course on ladder and lift safety. Fall restraints are used by anyone who must go on rooftops, including me.
Auditor: Have you done a hazard assessment for personal protective equipment (PPE) needs? For example, are gloves, goggles, and protective aprons available to all who need them?
Santa: Of course. My merry toy makers wear aprons and safety glasses. All who work outdoors wear warm gloves, boots, and snowsuits. I even provide PPE with my toy chemistry sets for the good little future scientists on my list.
Auditor: I guess there is no need to worry about shipping since you hand-deliver everything in such well-wrapped packages. Do you use placards/signs on your sleigh if there is anything hazardous on board?
Santa: Certainly. I have flammable placards for the alcohol you are so worried about…
Auditor: How is your respiratory protection program?
Santa: Under control. Everyone who picks up reindeer droppings has been trained, medically evaluated, and properly fit-tested to wear a respirator.
Auditor: Okay. There is one last thing to discuss. What about planning for emergencies? Santa: We have emergency plans for everything from a sleigh mishap to possible mistletoe overexposures.
Auditor: You pass the audit with flying red and green colors. Congratulations!
Santa: Thanks. Now I have to be on my way to visit my friends at Tulane University. They underwent a similar audit recently and I want to reward them for all of their hard work. Elves, is my sleigh placarded? Rudolph, is your nose glowing? Seat belts fastened everyone? Up, up, and away!!! Ho, ho, ho!!!