Christmas is a time for letting your hair down and having some fun, but it’s important to make sure you prepare for a safe Christmas season, particularly if you are responsible for other people. Office Christmas parties are meant to bring a company together and raise morale, make sure yours doesn’t do the opposite by carrying out a proper risk assessment before it begins.
Safety hazards and compensation claims
If you are responsible for maintaining a public space like an office then failing to address safety hazards at Christmas could put people in danger. An unsafe environment at Christmas time could cause serious injuries and injured people have the right to make compensation claims. Here are the top 5 tips for office party safety.
1. Keep an eye on alcohol consumption
Employers should take careful control of alcohol consumption at office Christmas parties. All underage visitors and employees should be supervised. If employees are supplied with so much drink that they end up with alcohol poisoning or any other injury then employers can be subject to compensation claims against them.
2. Ensure food is safe to eat
If you intend to supply food at your office party then it should be prepared with caution to make sure employees don’t become ill after eating it. Failure to carry out safety checks could result in compensation claims, and a potentially compromised workforce. Christmas party snacks such as canapés are liable to cause tummy upsets if the re-heating process is not administered properly.
3. Take care to label foods
Did you know that unlabelled food can potentially be dangerous? For example, if any food contains nuts then someone with a serious nut allergy could experience a fatal reaction. Ensure that all food and ingredients are clearly labelled to avoid any allergies and to ensure that the employer’s duty of care has been carried out. Employees should be able to decide what they can and can’t eat.
4. Make sure attendees get home safely
Employers have a duty of care to make sure their staff are capable of arriving home safely after the office Christmas party. Employees who are involved in car accidents as a result of drinking too much at the office party can make successful compensation claims against their employer. This can be avoided by Providing a shuttle bus or car pool.
5. Eradicate trip and fall hazards
Typical Christmas trip and fall hazards include seasonal decorations such as trailing Christmas lights and other decorations, office equipment which is out of place and bags and coats which are left in walkways. Make sure there is a proper place for everything, ideally signposted where necessary, so that items can be safely tucked away. Ensure that all Christmas decorations are securely fastened before the party begins, as an employer you should be covered against any compensation claims.
As long as employees and employers alike are vigilant about safety, the Christmas season will end with peace and happiness – not injured staff and compensation claims.