By Michael Selinger
With the festive season just around the corner, most employers are looking to hold an end-of-year function to cap off what has been a very tough year for most. Festivities are well in order, and there are steps you should take to ensure these festivities are safe and incident-free.
8 things to do to reduce the risks at your work function
- If you are holding your own private function at a site you control, consider adopting a COVID-19 safety plan for the event. Follow Department of Health social distancing guidelines in your jurisdiction.
- If food is provided, accommodate any special dietary requirements, particularly health-related ones. Place time limits on the alcohol supply. Do not arrange or pay for drinks at alternative venues after the event has finished, as this may extend your liability.
- If your function will take place outdoors, there may be additional environmental hazards, such as high temperatures or slippery surfaces caused by rain. Check whether first aid facilities are available at the venue.
- Make it clear to workers that events are only authorised for a specific period of time and check whether everyone has left the venue at the end of the event.
- Remind your workers of the repercussions of excessive drinking, the legal driving limits and their responsibility to drink alcohol responsibly.
- Ensure there is sufficient responsible supervision in place to prevent excessive drinking and inappropriate behaviour. Those people will not be drinking but are there to monitor and stop incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- Consider how your workers will travel to and from the venue. In the current environment of COVID-19, the provision of safe travel to and from the function becomes even more important.
- Remind your workers about your social media policy, including that disciplinary action can be taken if inappropriate photos or comments are posted online about staff.
What if you are using a third-party provider?
If you are using a third-party provider, you should check that the third-party provider:
- is qualified to host the event;
- has experience hosting similar functions or events;
- has proper systems in place to control any risks involved with the activity, e.g. security, first aid and policies for serving alcohol responsibly;
- has enough resources to ensure that systems will be operating effectively, e.g. sufficient security guards and other staff;
- has a COVID-19Safe environment in which to host the function; and
- has a good safety record.