Safe Workplace Holiday Parties

Written by Jenna Kressler | Curriculum Developer

With the holidays fast approaching, companies are holding their annual holiday parties. Not only is providing food and drinks a great way to boost company morale, but it also gives a chance for co-workers to mingle and socialize with each other on a more casual basis and it can be a time to celebrate company successes.

Although this is a time to be merry, employers can be held liable for any injuries or damages caused to the employee who consumes alcohol, drives, and injuries themself or other people.

Recently in London during the month of November, 11 drunk drivers were charged with impaired driving over a short span of four days.

According to Stats Canada, in 2010, approximately 1,200 impaired driving-related incidents were recorded in Canada over each weekend leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day. Half of the recorded impaired driving incidents were between 11pm to 4am, with a spike between the hours of 2am and 3am.

With this in mind, employers who are hosting their holiday party will need to protect their guests and follow best practices.

The best possible way to avoid any risks of liability is to host an alcohol-free party.

But, if hosting an alcohol-free event isn’t in line with your company culture, here are some tips on minimizing risks of employer host liability:

  • Promote and instil responsible drinking measures and company expectations.
  • Have a plan for handling intoxicated staff members.
  • Allow for employees to bring a plus one.
  • Hire / ensure the venue has Smart Serve certified bartenders.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages as well.
  • Provide drink tickets rather than open bar.
  • Ensure food is served when alcohol is available.
  • Provide taxi vouchers or reimburse employees.
  • Stop servicing alcohol at a certain time, an hour or so before the party ends.
  • Post signs around the venue with the number of several taxi and drive-home services.

Following these precautions won’t squash your party vibe, but it will ensure the safety of your employees while they cut loose on the dance floor and eat, drink, and be merry.

As seen in our December Be Safe Newsletter


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