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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Staff social functions and safety during the festive season

Maralyn Kastel - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Staff social functions – it’s that time of year again already - At Christmas and at certain other times in the year we organise social functions for the enjoyment of our workers. Sometimes these functions may be held either on the premises or at another venue. Clients and business colleagues may also attend these functions. 

Planning, for a work party or any other function, is a normal procedure and workplace safety is a part of that planning.

Discuss the impact of inappropriate behaviour in your pre-function toolbox talk.

  • excessive consumption of alcohol is to be avoided - this is both a safety and a social responsibility
  • any use of illegal drugs in the course of these functions is totally prohibited
  • company policy re: smoking in the workplace applies at these functions
  • client and business relationships can be badly affected if employees forget that there is still a business aspect to these functions and you expect employees to behave appropriately
  • respect for supervisors/managers giving reasonable directions as part of your normal business operations
  • expect that all reasonable care is taken with facilities and equipment provided (eg sound system etc)
  • ignoring company guidelines is potentially a matter for disciplinary action and, in serious cases, dismissal could follow such a breach.

If you having alcohol at a work function, the following may help to minimise the risk of harm to those attending the function.

Guidelines can include:

  • set a reasonable finishing time to avoid excessive drinking
  • setting a time limit for supply of alcohol
  • serve soft drinks and light alcoholic drinks and preferably serve food
  • supervise employees to stop excessive drinking & unsuitable behaviour
  • assist with organising taxis. Identify designated non-drinking drivers, public transport timetables as well as making sure employees under the legal drinking age do not drink.

You can still have fun – just take extra care at this time of year.

Related Toolbox Talks

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