A LETTER TO SANTA                 by Art Buchwald

To: Mr. Santa Claus, North Pole

From: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.

Subject: Violations of OSHA Codes

Dear Sir,

1 - Our inspectors have just completed a study of working conditions at your toy factory at the North Pole and find you in violation of Section C, Paragraph B of Regulation 1098, Article Seven, Division Four of Safety Factor 3-H and Rule 105, Registration No. 90087, Appendix Three of Safety and Health Regulations (See Items 54, 56, 69 in OSHA Code Book 361), in regard to manufacture of toys and other harmful objects.

2 - To be more specific, our inspectors have discovered that your wife, who helps you make toys, does not have her own bathroom facilities. Under Section Five of Code 345: "A male and female bathroom must be provided on the ground floor of a house engaged in the production of stuffed animals. The bathrooms must each have their own sinks, hot water as well as shower, and must be 43 feet apart from each other with signs clearly marking what they are being used for."

3 - Our inspectors have also discovered that you were opening mail with a scissors. OSHA Regulation 763 specifically says that all business mail must be opened by a mail opener nine inches long and no more than an inch and a half wide. You can get a waiver of this rule by filling out Form 987 A, but since it must be made at least 90 days before inspection it would not apply in your case, and you must pay a fine of $100 per 50 letters not opened in the manner as described in Code Book 19 B.

4 - I also regret to inform you that we have received a very negative report from Inspector X in regard to the space allotted to your reindeer. Under Section C of Article Four each reindeer must be tethered in his own stall of ten feet by eight feet covered with 1.6 feet of hay. In the case of Donner and Blitzen their stalls were only nine feet long and our Inspector measured 1.4 inches of hay in Donnerís stall and 1.3 inches in Blitzen's stall in contravention of Reindeer Regulation 43. You can appeal this charge by filling out OSHA Form 2356 in triplicate and posting it to our branch office in Anchorage. A hearing will be held at which time you will be given an opportunity to explain the shortage of hay in the stall. If the board finds you in error you can further appeal to our office in Seattle, but you may not have the use of Donner and Blitzen until a ruling in writing is handed down from the Seattle office and signed by our Chief Inspector in Los Angeles.

5 - It has been brought to our attention that on the evening of December 24th you intend to deliver the toys manufactured in your plant by reindeer sled, climbing on roofs and houses and sliding down chimneys. Our safety coordinator advises me that if you indeed go ahead with this form of delivery you will commit several infractions that would subject you to fine and possible imprisonment. The first is that if you arrive on any roof with a clatter you will be violating our regulation regarding noise. Any clatter over 1.9 decibels cannot be permitted. (See Index Three, Page 14)

6 - The manner of entering and leaving a house by chimney is of utmost concern to us. You may descend a chimney providing you are not carrying any type of bag with you, and providing the inside of the chimney has steps one foot apart with a safety railing along the side. Once in the house you may not leave any packages that could be tripped over or broken. The packages must be neatly piled with 1.9 feet between them. Filling of stockings is permitted providing they have the strength to hang from the chimney of four pounds per stocking or twice the weight of the articles to be deposited. Our inspectors will be out on the night of December 24th and any infractions of the rules will be dealt with severely.

We hope you accept this Letter in the spirit it was written, and let me take this opportunity to wish you and Mrs. Claus a very Merry Christmas

Sincerely yours,

E. SCROOGE, Director, Xmas OSHA

When replying please refer to letter No. 135 A. 0-190 Z.

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