We here at Keep It Simple Safety have this conversation every year with clients but now ever the regulators are getting in on the act. For me, I grew up in a time of epic Christmas parties through the 90’s and some of the stories I am unable to repeat in public but the times have changed and although I am saddened by that somewhat we have to move on. All I can say is thank god there were no camera phones around in my day.

Employers organising Christmas or end-of-year parties should review their bullying, harassment and social media policies, and ensure workers are aware that WHS and behavioural standards apply to work functions, according to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

“Staff behaviour expectations do not change at a work function whether alcohol is involved or not. Workplace harassment, bullying and even violence are serious issues and losing inhibitions after a little too much cheer is no excuse,” the regulator says in its latest newsletter.

“Complaints are often made after work functions, especially when photos or comments are posted on social media during or after the event. It is wise to review and send out your social media policy before the celebrations start,” it says.

“Employers should ensure staff understand what behaviour and conduct is acceptable, and what the repercussions are if they don’t act appropriately. Reminding people in advance of the policies around acceptable behaviour and conduct is a good start.”

WHSQ says employers should choose a venue that is appropriate for the planned event, serve alcohol responsibly, ensure managers and senior staff set a good example at the function, provide food and non-alcoholic drinks, and set strict start and finish times.

We would add to that list thinking about transport options, how are people getting home?

Don’t let the epic Christmas Parties end but let’s make sure everyone gets to enjoy them and nobody does anything they will regret. Party On.

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