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Hosting a work party? Be aware of the risks

By Andrew Steele - 12 Dec 2014

Christmas work parties are now in full swing. Many commentators are reminding employers that they could face liability if employees are hurt, or hurt others, when under the influence of alcohol supplied at work functions. Drink driving is a particular concern, especially with lowered breath and blood alcohol limits. 

Employers or managers considering a function at the workplace should be mindful of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Employers are responsible for the safety of their employees for the duration of work functions.


  • Check the firm's alcohol policy is not zero-tolerance - if there's any doubt, consider having an off-site party
  • Keep an eye on underage drinkers
  • Remember there is a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20
  • A one drink limit guide can be misleading - not many of us pour a 100ml glass of wine
  • Provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks - get creative, these don't need to be boring!
  • Provide enough food
  • Consider providing taxi chits

With new health and safety laws due to come into force next year, it may be wise for employers to include in their New Year resolutions, a review and update of the alcohol policy. 


Andrew Steele


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