25 Nov Christmas parties and health and safety
Does the Health and Safety at Work Act mean we can’t have Christmas parties?
You can still have Christmas parties!
A couple of things to note though:
- Whether the party is in your workplace or at another venue, you as the host are still responsible, as it is a work function. Do a risk assessment of the activities and venue. If there are risks that need to be discussed with staff prior to the event, organise a meeting to discuss – e.g. arrangements for getting to and from a venue, acceptable behaviour, sexual harassment policies, etc.
- If there is alcohol being served, host responsibility is important. Ensure that alcohol is consumed responsibility, make sure sufficient food and non-alcoholic drink options are readily available, and have plans to ensure that workers get home in a safe manner – e.g. organise taxis, etc. Have a cut-off time for serving drinks.
- If workers have to work the next day, consider lighter duties be the priority. Working while impaired by alcohol consumption (or tiredness) from the previous night can put your workers at risk – which is something that should be avoided.
“All the law requires is that persons conducting a business or undertaking do what is reasonably practicable to keep their workers safe – no more and no less” – see WorkSafe’s 2017 article “Health and Safety isn’t the Christmas Grinch”.