Employers reminded of their health and safety obligations during work Christmas parties

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Queensland businesses are being reminded of their work health and safety obligations even during year-end celebrations and other functions.

WorkCover Queensland said that Christmas parties at work can be a source of anxiety for employers who are not sure of their safety obligations to their workers.

WorkCover Queensland Industry Manager, Melissa Steadman said that because of excitement during year-end parties, some people tend to forget they are still attending a work function.

“Particularly if the event is organised and paid for by the employer, the duty of care to workers remains the same as it would if they were at work,” said Ms Steadman.

“When it comes to work Christmas parties, employers need to make sure workers understand what behaviour and conduct are acceptable, and what the repercussions could be if misconduct occurs.”

Employers may be held liable for any inappropriate behaviour of workers during parties, including discrimination, workplace harassment/bullying or sexual harassment. Because of this, employers are urged to remind staff of harassment and discrimination policies, and intervene if they witness inappropriate actions by their workers.

“Responsible service of alcohol should be adhered to, as well as other health and safety precautions at the venue,” said Ms Steadman.

“Remember that workers who are injured on their way home from a work function may also be entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim for their journey home so it’s important to ensure that people have access to safe transportation after the party.

“If everyone is clear on their responsibilities beforehand, the Christmas party will be more enjoyable for everyone.”

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