2 min read

8 steps to avoid an end-of-year function safety incident

With the festive season just around the corner, many employers are looking to hold an end-of-year function to close out the year. When planning your function, you must take steps to ensure safety – because risks won’t take the time off and nothing will ruin a good party faster than a safety incident!

Following are some of the steps you can take to reduce the health and safety risks at your workplace:

  1. Emphasise the requirement for responsible drinking: Remind your workers of the outcomes of excessive drinking. Ensure they understand the legal driving limits and their personal obligation to drink alcohol responsibly, and call out if others are breaching those rules.
  2. Put supervisors at the function:Responsible supervision is essential to prevent excessive drinking and make sure that there is no inappropriate behaviour. A supervisor’s role is to stay sober, monitor and stop incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination.
  3. Arrange transportation to and from the venue: Your duty of care extends to how workers get to and from the function. The provision of safe travel to and from the function is something that should be arranged in advance and not left to chance.
  4. Privacy and social media: Remind staff about your social media policy, including that disciplinary action can be taken if inappropriate photos or comments are posted online about staff.
  5. Consider whether a COVID-19 safety plan is a good idea: If you are holding your own private function at a site you control, consider adopting a COVID-19 safety plan for the event. Asking staff not to attend if they have symptoms, and to test before the event, will reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
  6. Manage carefully food and beverages: If food is provided, accommodate any special dietary requirements, particularly health-related ones. Consider putting time and quantity limits on the alcohol supply. If you pay for drinks at alternative venues after the event has finished, you will likely be expanding your organisation’s potential liability for any conduct at that venue.
  7. Don’t forget the weather: High temperatures or slippery surfaces caused by rain can impact on the safety of attendees.
  8. Ensure the provision of first aid: Be sure to check that first aid facilities are available at the venue.

You can review the Health & Safety Handbook chapter Work functions for more detailed advice on how to plan a safe work function.

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