07 Dec GUEST BLOG: Christmas in the Time of COVID: 4 Tips for Keeping Safe this Festive Season
Posted at 17:19h
How to ensure that your festivities are compliant and safe.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that Christmas is going to look a little different this year.
Gone are the massive blowouts filled with hugs, arms around shoulders, and singing.
Like everything in business this year, Christmas parties are going to have to, ahem, pivot.
In this article, we are going to give you the tools you need for a fun, safe party to celebrate the end of 2020.
1. Rush Hour
Before you can celebrate and shut down for the year, there are always tasks to be completed.
It can be all too easy for workers to rush to get through the day in order to finish up for the year or get to the staff party.
Depending on your business, this is a prime spot for accidents to happen. People rushing around can become careless and fail to follow usual safety protocol, causing accidents and injuries.
Another risk is people working themselves to the point of becoming fatigued. Deadlines are important, so employees need to make sure that they aren’t burning the candle at both ends.
Tired workers are careless workers, and employers have a duty to care to ensure that their employees aren’t becoming fatigued.
Ensure that you reiterate to your employees that they need to be ultra vigilant. No one needs a trip to the hospital right before the Christmas period!
2. A Very Covid Christmas Party
At the time of writing, the restrictions for Covid-19 and gatherings are beginning to ease. The last thing you want as a business owner is to be on the wrong side of the law with regards to the restrictions.
Regardless of numbers allowed at the time of your staff function, social distancing still applies, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
Make sure that you’re still supplying all the necessary PPE that is required, and don’t forget to make sure that people are checked in using a government QR code.
You may prefer to outsource your function this year to avoid having to worry too much about the above. Outsourcing to a local function centre or restaurant means that you’re helping out a local business, boosting the Australian economy, and reducing your own stress.
Your duty of care still applies so you need to ensure that any venue you hire is following government guidelines.
Alternatively, virtual parties are still all the rage in 2020! Consider hiring a local bar to host a virtual cocktail making class or a virtual paint and sip class.
No matter which option you choose, be sure to keep an eye on your state’s current laws and restrictions regarding Covid-19.
3. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!
Let’s face it, what is a party without some food and drink? Whether you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, sending grazing platters to your virtual partiers, or providing finger food on a Friday, there are a host of risk factors to consider.
The most obvious is allergies. This is a serious matter that needs to be considered when organising any function.
A sausage sizzle may be an Aussie institution but you need to make sure that everyone is catered for.
Ensure that you have a handle on everyone’s food requirements, not forgetting to include religious and lifestyle restrictions such as vegetarians and vegans.
This also goes for drinks. Not everyone drinks alcohol so always make sure you have soft drinks and water provided. It goes without saying that you should also make sure you provide water for those drinking alcohol.
You also don’t want to deal with people getting too drunk so it might be a good idea to limit the amount of alcohol that people are allowed to have during the party.
Another option is to only provide beer and wine- also limited, if you prefer- and not serve any hard liquor.
Remember that your duty of care extends to functions so it is important to be vigilant.
4. The Long Walk Home
Ok, chances are, you’re not going to make people walk home.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that people get home safely.
It is of utmost importance that your staff members aren’t left stranded or too drunk to get home. Think about options for getting your employees home safely, like hiring a bus, facilitating Ubers or providing taxi vouchers.
You may want to breathalyse anyone wanting to drive to make sure that they aren’t over the limit.
Bonus tip: Remember to have a debrief after the event to evaluate the effectiveness of your safety strategy, and how it can be improved on for next year.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate with your staff, we at OHS Compliance Solutions are here to support you in every way we can. Feel free to browse through our manuals and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more safety tips and information.