Benalla’s parents can expect a knock at the door sometime on Christmas Eve, after Santa confirmed he’s succumbed to WHS pressure and has ditched the long-standing chimney-entry tradition.
The jolly fat man will now be required to knock on the door and wait to be let in — but only after he’s done a thorough risk assessment on each house.
The change forms part of a wider health and safety initiative, designed to bring Santa in line with modern safety standards.
The North Pole confirmed the policy change in a statement this morning, and said it was more good luck than good management that Santa had not been seriously injured already.
‘‘This is 2017, and we can no longer allow our greatest asset to free-fall down a chimney,’’ a North Pole spokes-elf said.
‘‘Parents just need to be aware that at some point during the night they will have to get out of their beds to let Santa in.
‘‘He will be easy to spot, because he’ll be wearing a high-vis vest.’’
Santa has been entering through the chimney for as long as people can remember, and the sudden move has left people wondering whether Christmas will be the same without it.
Concerned parent John Hamilton said letting Santa in the front door was a bit like ‘‘seeing how the sausage was made’’.
Brand new WHS manager Toby Stickler is the mastermind behind the new policy.
Mr Stickler, who got into health and safety after discovering he did not have the people skills to be an undertaker, appears to have other big changes in store for the North Pole operation.
‘‘I really don’t care how long they’ve been doing things this way, there are some serious safety concerns here,’’ Mr Stickler said.
‘‘Flying reindeer, excessive manual handling — not to mention some of the strictest time constraints on a job I’ve ever seen — it’s a disaster waiting to happen.’’
So what does Santa think of the new policy?
Well he’s far from impressed.
Santa said he felt ‘‘hamstrung’’ by bureaucratic red tape, and that these ‘‘pencil pushers’’ didn’t understand how things worked out in the field.
‘‘I couldn’t believe it when I read the health and safety bulletin. A risk assessment on each house!? You’ve got to be joking. Every second counts,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s two billion children in the world, and only 24 hours in the day. You do the math.’’
Santa also said he was being forced to take mandatory breaks every eight hours, as part of the North Pole’s new fatigue management strategy.
The breaks will no doubt put further strain on Santa’s promise to deliver everything in one night.
However, it seems not everyone is against the changes, with Mrs Claus agreeing her husband needed to know his limits, especially in old age.
‘‘He definitely has a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. But he’s getting on a bit and I just want him home safe and sound in time for dinner — which is not easy to keep warm,’’ she laughed.
In keeping with the Christmas spirit, myosh have sent Santa a copy of their globally recognised health and safety software.