Christmas party employee safety – making sure it’s memorable for the right reasons
With the Christmas party season soon upon us it’s time to put plans in place to ensure staff aren’t put at risk from alcohol-related incidents.
Not only should staff avoid consuming alcohol while on the job, they must not work while still under the influence from the previous night.
Even a small amount of alcohol in the system has the potential to impair the performance of staff: slowing reactions, reducing co-ordination and adversely affecting judgement. This is important, particularly where staff are using machinery or driving.
Having clear plans and policies in place
Companies need to have a clear policy on alcohol whatever sector they operate in. Even in low-risk environments like office work, staff have to drive to work and be able to operate effectively in their role.
In contracts of employment, companies should include a requirement for staff to comply with health and safety policies including those on drugs and alcohol. This will make it a disciplinary offence if staff ignore the policy.
Planning for the morning after the night before
Regarding Christmas parties and events, the timing of these should be considered to reduce the risk that staff will be under the influence when back at work.
Having events at the end of the week or providing for a late start the next day, if it’s a working day, should be considered.
Before events, staff should be reminded of the company policy on alcohol so that expectations can be managed.
During events, if it is considered that someone is drinking in irresponsible way, they should be taken to one side and calmly challenged.
Staff should never feel pressured to drink alcohol either by managers or by fellow employees and adequate alcohol-free drinks should be provided and encouraged.