1. Employers are responsible for staff behaviour during work functions so it is vital that you take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the public.
  2. Ensure that you have a Safety Action Plan in place for the function.
  3. Your Safety Officer must identify hazards, and then eliminate, isolate or minimise the hazards.
  4. Ensure that attendees do not become adversely affected by alcohol.
  5. Ensure that attendees do not endanger the safety of themselves or others – be polite but firm in stopping dangerous hi-jinks.
  6. Ensure your function does not bring your workplace into disrepute.  You do not want your carefully developed brand image to be ruined by senseless misbehaviour.
  7. Employers are liable if they do not take precautions to prevent sexual or other harassment.  Make sure staff understand that a few drinks are not an excuse for harassment.  If a complaint is made you must take it seriously and investigate it properly.  A failure to do so can result in an expensive payout to the victim and cause great disruption to your workplace.
  8. Make sure that staff can get home safely after the event.  An employer was held liable when a drunk employee drove home after a function.  You may also lose your insurance for office vehicles.

A free Safety Action Plan and guide to handling disciplinary investigations are available in our Downloads section.

* This is an extended version of an article which appeared in the Dominion Post.