As business owners, we often want to reward our staff and celebrate the end of a successful year (hopefully). The Christmas Party is an extension of your business and what occurs at a Christmas Party, may not stay at the Christmas Party!
Any party or function organised by you must be risk assessed. Under Work Health & Safety Legislation the Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking is still liable if incidents occur during work events.
Where will you hold the Christmas Party?
If you are planning an event at a licensed venue, they should have a risk assessment in place for their venue.
If you hold it on your premises you should already have a risk assessment in place.
If, however, you choose to hold an event elsewhere such as at a park or on council premises you must consider the risks to the staff at such a location. For instance:
- Will children be invited? Is the environment safe for them?
- Will alcohol be brought? You may need a liquor license. Also, how will you get people home if they have drunk too much
- Entertainment? Will you need power?
- Fireworks? That opens a whole can of worms…
- Traffic Control
- Food? Catered or everyone brings a plate? Food safety?
- Facilities? Washing facilities, water, rubbish bins
- People with special needs
- Fire Safety -BBQs
Staff Acceptable Behaviour
Incidents that have occurred at these end of year functions have often been induced by too much alcohol and things such as bullying, sexual harassment and violence have occurred.
This is a good time of the year to go over the company policies and to remind staff that they apply to the Christmas Party and poor behaviour will not be tolerated.
Managers should restrain from drinking too much at work events in order to keep an eye on the behaviour of staff. It is important that managers ensure that all staff get home safely.
Things not to do at a Christmas Party
- Advise staff on alcohol limits -remind them they may have to live with the photos if they act like idiots!
- Don’t chat someone up-they may not see it the same way as you (Sexual Harassment)
- Talking about work in a social setting could breach the company Confidentiality Agreement
- Gossiping about colleagues could be social suicide
- The Christmas Party is not the time to ask for a raise
- Obtaining souvenir from the event (cutlery, decorations etc) could result in criminal charges
- Picking a fight with your arch rival will ruin the event and may require police intervention
You have worked hard all year, don’t let a Christmas Party damage your business!