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Don’t let work Christmas parties get silly this season

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Celebrating success and the end of another working year should be the focus as the ‘silly season’ approaches and work Christmas parties get underway.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Tony James said employers should ensure staff understand what behaviour and conduct is acceptable, and what the repercussions are if we don’t act appropriately.

Mr James said reminding people in advance of the policies around acceptable behaviour and conduct was a good start, adding that managers also had an important role to play making sure events go smoothly and people start their journey home safely.

“No-one wants to be a Christmas Grinch, but staff behaviour expectations do not change at a work function whether alcohol is involved or not,” Mr James said.

"We are not out to stop people enjoying well-earned end of year celebrations with work mates. But the fun must not impact on the safety of you or your colleagues, or members of the public.”

Workplace harassment, bullying and even violence are serious issues and losing inhibitions after a little too much cheer is no excuse.

“Complaints are often made after work functions, especially when photos or comments are posted on social media during or after the event,” Mr James said.

“It makes a lot of sense to review and send out your social media policy before the celebrations start.

“Staff shouldn’t feel pressured to drink alcohol, so make sure soft drinks and food are available too.

“By the same token, workers too have an important role - it’s easy to get carried away after a couple of drinks, but you can’t rely on your employer to keep you safe if you let yourself take it too far.”

Tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas party include:

  • choose a venue that is appropriate for planned activities
  • remind staff about workplace policies, including bullying and sexual harassment
  • review and send out your social media policy
  • serve alcohol responsibly
  • ensure underage staff are not served alcohol
  • ensure managers and senior staff members set a good example
  • provide food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • set function start and finish times
  • choose a venue with access to public transport
  • encourage nominated drivers who won’t be drinking alcohol

ensure venue staff are briefed on limiting or denying alcohol to intoxicated staff.

Further information

You can find out more about quad safety and test your knowledge in an online challenge at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au

Media contact: oirmedia@oir.qld.gov.au or 0478 33 22 00.

Last updated
21 December 2018