I have been asked if it is okay for some of our workers to play badminton after hours in our mezzanine area, which has a concrete floor. If we allow this to happen, would our business be liable for any injuries that may occur? This activity is of their own volition and not organised as a work activity.
Your business owes a duty of care under health and safety legislation to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of people in your workplace − this duty extends to activities that take place after hours.
Although badminton is not a work-sponsored activity and is to be played after hours, as it is being played in your workplace, your business could also be liable under workers’ compensation legislation for any injury or illness that occurs as a result.
If you are happy to allow the activity to take place, but want to minimise your legal exposure, you could require the workers who wish to play badminton to sign a release acknowledging that it is not a work-related activity and that the business is not responsible or liable for any injuries sustained by workers who play badminton. This may reduce your exposure to workers’ compensation claims. However, it will not necessarily reduce your liability under health and safety legislation.