THE Australian Drug Foundation is urging employees to watch their alcohol consumption this Christmas season after a new study revealed that one-in-five workers reported victimisation by a colleague intoxicated at a work function.
The Victorian-based survey also found that three in every 100 workers suffered an injury due to excess alcohol consumption at a work-related event.
The foundation’s head of workplace services Phillip Collins said the statistics placed large organisations at higher risk of being affected.
“For organisations with a couple of hundred staff, these statistics warn us that if a Responsible Service of Alcohol policy is not adhered to, you could have a dozen injuries and potential liability claims,” Mr Collins said.
“It’s not just about protecting the safety of your employees but ensuring the reputation of your business remains intact.
“Better still, work functions are a good opportunity, if a strong alcohol service policy is in place, for business to promote the company’s image of being a responsible employer and safe, healthy workplace.
“It’s important companies plan for and deliver a function which ensures all staff members enjoy an incident free night and get home safely.”
To help protect organisations from the potential pitfalls of Christmas party intoxication, the Foundation released its ten tips for planning ahead:
- Serve ‘mocktails’ (non-alcoholic drinks) at the start of the party. It’s a lot of fun and gives staff choices.
- Increase the amount of non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Consider limiting drinks to beer and wine and avoid high alcohol content drinks.
- Promote your organisation’s Code of Conduct before the event so everyone knows what’s expected of them.
- Appoint someone to be responsible for overseeing that the festivities run smoothly and to be the point of call should any problems arise on the day. Ensure this person is not drinking.
- Ensure your employees are being served by Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) trained bar staff.
- Avoid table service and ‘top-ups’ as it makes it harder for employees to keep track of how many drinks they’ve had.
- Stop service of alcohol during formalities and speeches. This will help reduce the chance of high levels of intoxication.
- Provide plenty of free water.
- Promote your event as a fun, activity-filled celebration where alcohol is not the focus.
For more information about the Australian Drug Foundation, click here.