'Tis the festive season again, and no doubt all over the UK employers and employees are preparing their offices for Christmas and possibly even an office Christmas party. If so, here are a few handy tips containing very simple steps to make sure you stay safe in the office:
- remind staff that alcohol should be consumed in moderation, especially if the day after the party is a working day! Ensure they know what is and what is not acceptable behaviour;
- make sure you have policies in place that address issues that could occur at Christmas, especially at an office party. This should include alcohol, occupational health and safety and harassment;
- carry out a risk assessment to make sure there are no risks – for instance if you are having an office Christmas party you might want to put measures in place to make sure no liquids are consumed next to electrical equipment;
- make sure you assess the risk of Christmas decorations. This does not mean they cannot be put up though! Analyse potential fire hazards, such as decorations covering the vent of a computer, and tidy trailing cables away to avoid trip hazards – simple steps to ensure a festive but safe office;
- if providing food at an office party, make sure you double check any dietary requirements of employees;
- label any foods containing nuts or gluten (or other ingredients which employees could be allergic to);
- if your party is off-site, remember it is still a work function and your office policies around health and safety and harassment may still apply;
- make arrangements for appropriate and safe transport at the end of the night;
- if putting up Christmas decorations in the office, make sure you use safe ladders and don't ever use a swivel chair;
- avoid using the photocopier to photocopy images of your anatomy. The top of the copier is glass and could shatter under weight – sitting at the Christmas table will therefore not be a comfortable occasion;
- turn off any Christmas lights at the end of the working day; and
- make sure the Christmas tree is sturdy – unsafe trees could topple on employees causing injury.
But most importantly, enjoy it!