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Workplace Christmas Parties | Essential Health and Safety Guide

December 02, 2021 | By: Richard Lyons

workplace christmas partiesIt is that time of year when colleagues come together to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. Workplace Christmas parties are a great way for employees to relax and have a great time, they can be very good for staff morale and their wellbeing if organised properly.

If you are hosting a party and employees are still required to work the next day think about the alcohol consumption and the scheduled time of the party. If you want to provide a free bar or allow the consumption of alcohol or host a party till late evening/ early morning, you have a responsibility to not put your employees at risk of harm. The effects of alcohol or tiredness can still be experienced the next day which can lead to employees making mistakes through the lack of concentration resulting in workplace accidents. For Example:

  • Someone who is responsible for machinery and equipment should not be working under the influence of alcohol.
  • If an employee drives for company business their actions through the lack of concentration could cause them to have an accident, such as becoming entangled in machinery or if they are driving on the road mis-judge other driver’s actions resulting in an accident.
  • At Christmas parties the most common type of accidents are slips, trips and falls or burns from hot surfaces.

xmas fork lift
Ensure that you have instructed all employees who are required to work the next day that if they come to work still suffering the effects of alcohol then they could face disciplinary action.

Christmas Food Safety

If you are hosting a party and providing food consider employees who have may have food allergies, if not carefully managed it could lead to them suffering from a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. Ensure you check whether any members of staff have food allergies, if partners are coming too be sure to cater for any allergies they may have.

If you are also thinking about providing food or going out for a meal ensure that the food you are providing is safe and free from any microbiological bacteria. A good indicator when booking a venue or restaurant is to use the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme which is follows:

  • 5 – Very Good
  • 4 – Good
  • 3 – Generally Satisfactory
  • 2 – Improvement Necessary
  • 1 – Major Improvement Necessary
  • 0 – Urgent Improvement Necessary

You can also find out the food rating for the venue on the Government’s FSA website.

Christmas parties can be a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together, relax and celebrate the past year. If they are properly planned the likelihood of an accident or incident arising is reduced.

Is a Christmas party classed as being at work?

It certainly is. An official and organised Christmas party is an extension of the workplace and all the usual rules apply, even if they fall outside normal location and hours. Ensure you have clear policies and procedures in place regarding acceptable employee conduct at works parties.

Workplace Christmas Parties & Tips for employees

• The most important thing to remember is that you are effectively still ‘at work’, and you should conduct yourself accordingly.
• Try to avoid drinking too much so that you don’t know what you are doing.
• Know your limits if you are driving the following day, use the guide below to help you (Source:Kent 999).
workplace christmas parties

If you need further advice about managing health and safety issues at workplace Christmas parties, or have a query regarding Food Safety please get in touch with our team of Health and Safety Consultants.

About the Author
Richard Lyons
Richard Lyons
Richard Lyons, Author at Wirehouse Employer Services

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