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Holiday office party safety tip: Avoid flaming puddings

“Resist the temptation to photocopy parts of your anatomy.”

That advice comes from the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which sounds like something right out of a Monty Python skit. RoSPA helpfully offered some tips on how to throw a workplace holiday party that will not require any 911 calls, makeshift tourniquets or replacement glass for photocopy machines.

Working with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), RoSPA officials came up with these suggestions:

– Don’t dance on desks or tables.
– To reduce the need for assistance from the fire department, don’t light candles or serve flaming Christmas puddings
– Serve non-alcoholic drinks. Alcohol makes some people aggressive, and the party will be spoiled if it ends in a “punch-up”
– Party balloons can trigger deadly reactions for those who are allergic to latex
– Use stepladders to hang decorations, not swivel chairs

My favorite RoSPA/TUC safety tip is this one: Don’t hang mistletoe. It could lead to sexual harassment. I couldn’t help but picture Monty Python vet John Cleese playing the role of an apoplectic RoSPA inspector: “Egad! Mistletoe!”

Roger Bibbings–RoSPA’s Occupational Safety Adviser–told Reuters Health: “We are not being party poopers.”

Hmm. No alcohol? No mistletoe? No flaming desserts?

No–they’re not party poopers. Just veddy veddy British.

“Warning: Christmas Parties Can Damage Your Health” Reuters Health, 12/13/04,

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