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Safely Managing the Holiday Season

Safety and Liability Issues

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Safety and liability issues are more visible at this time of the year. What can you do, and what should you do, to ensure that all your employees - and your company - make it through the holidays safely.

Company Liability

You already know that your company can be held liable for injuries that occur on your property or at your functions. The company can also be liable if an employee causes harm to another employee or anyone else while engaged in company business.

These liabilities exist all year long. You take steps to prevent them and to limit the company's liability and exposure if they happen. So these hazards are not unique to the holiday season. They are, perhaps, simply more obvious.

The Holiday Party

Many companies provide a holiday party for their employees. It is a nice gesture, and an appropriate way to thank them all collectively for their efforts over the past year. It also exposes them to several dangers.

One danger we commonly think about in connection with holiday parties is drinking and driving. Another very common problem at these parties is inappropriate behavior. There is real danger of sexual, or other, harassment. Here are some sites that can help you address these dangers:

    Drinking and Driving:

  • MADD's National Programs Department specializes in developing and maintaining public awareness programs including Tie one on for safety.

  • MADD Safe Party Guide
    Your role as a responsible party host can prevent your friends from becoming the next alcohol-related statistic

Should You Cancel the Party?

Short of canceling the annual holiday party, what can you do about these dangers? In addition to the points made in the links above, here are two more suggestions I support.

Seems like we all drink more at an open bar than when we have to pay for drinks. Many law enforcement agencies and MADD urge cash bars at parties. While charging for drinks may be not be popular among your employees or your guests, it could save their lives.

You will seem less like a Scrooge if you announce the action ahead of time and explain why. Replace the typical bar with seasonal (non-alcoholic) drinks like eggnog and hot cider. After all it's the spirit that counts - not the spirits.

Here's another idea. Make it more of a family affair. Include the children of your employees in the holiday party. It will help to keep behavior in check and cut down on drinking. Besides, your employees may appreciate not having to find and pay for a sitter. Think of it as a Christmas-time extension of your company's family-friendly personnel policies.

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