Article amended from one originally posted in November 2021.
Most work places have an annual Christmas party, however the organiser is under a lot of responsibility and they may not be aware of the very important health and safety obligations that need to be considered.
Remember, in the eyes of the law, work parties, even those held outside of hours and not on your premises, are still considered ‘work’, even more so if employees are expected to attend.
As such, the employer’s responsibilities to its staff does not change.
If you’re hosting the get-together in your own workplace, and you’re providing alcohol, you are responsible for your guests’ consumption and what they do during and after the event.
Err on the side of caution and make sure there’s plenty of non-alcoholic drink and food available.
Putting your employees’ health and safety at risk doesn’t sit well with either the law or your insurer.
Therefore it is a good idea to:
Remind everyone of your policies and that they apply at the party too
Have a dress code to keep things professional
Hand out drinks tokens to help regulate consumption rather than a free bar all night
Arrange taxis or a minibus and finishing before the last train leaves
Make sure your employers’ liability insurance (to cover your staff’s welfare) and your directors’ and officers’ insurance (to cover your managers’ liability) are up to date.
One final thought - my mum’s cousin was killed in an unprovoked attack in 2017 by a drunken youth. Don’t let alcohol ruin your Christmas. Alcohol can change the way you act. Stop the drunken violence. Think about the consequences. Walk Away. One Punch Can Kill. http://safersthelens.org.uk/pages/one-punch-can-kill/