With the party season just around the corner, it may be time to refresh your Drug and Alcohol Policy or familiarise your staff with its contents. Whenever employees consume alcohol at a work-related function, Work Health and Safety risks are increased, and so is your exposure to workers compensation claims. Your liability may even extend beyond the actual event if intoxicated employees are injured after leaving the function.
How can you limit risk?
Always ensure that soft drinks and low alcohol options are available. If you have young workers who are below the legal drinking age, ensure that they are not served alcohol at all. The time that food is served should also be considered; don’t leave too much time between arrival at the function and when food is available. You may also consider placing time limits on alcohol service and monitoring consumption to stop service to inebriated people.
The shorter the time frame for the function, the lower the risk to the employer. When the function ends, limit your risk by not organising or paying for drinks at alternative venues. When the event concludes, be sure that everyone leaves the venue. We also recommend ensuring that transport options are available so that everyone arrives home safely.
Having a clear Drug and Alcohol Policy and a well-thought-out Code of Conduct Policy in place will help to minimise risk. It may also be helpful to conduct training for managers and staff on the standard of conduct required at work functions. This can be done in a fun and light hearted way. Our clients find that this helps everyone to understand the risks and their responsibilities.
End of year functions are a great time to engage with staff and de-stress after a busy year. With the right policies and planning, everyone can enjoy these events safely.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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