Employers Encouraged to Adopt a Safe and Sober Approach to Holiday Parties

The holiday season has arrived and, with it, the opportunity for workers and
employers to gather together and enjoy the festivities. And, typical of some
workplace parties is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If that's the
case, the U.S. Department of Labor strongly encourages employers to take every
precaution that will prevent tragedy during the season. The department's
Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace program has a special
Web page that addresses steps employers can take all year round, but
particularly during the holidays, to ensure the safety of their workers. The
page focuses on impaired driving and offers tips for safe office celebrations.

Nine Tips for Office Celebrations

  1. Be honest with employees. Make sure your employees know your workplace
    substance abuse policy and that the policy addresses the use of alcoholic
    beverages in any work-related situation and office social function.

  2. Post the policy. Use every communication vehicle to make sure your employees
    know the policy. Prior to an office party, use break room bulletin boards,
    office e-mail and paycheck envelopes to communicate your policy and concerns.

  3. Reinvent the office party concept. Why have the typical office party? Try
    something new like an indoor carnival, group outing to an amusement park or
    volunteer activity with a local charity.

  4. Make sure employees know when to say when. If you do serve alcohol at an
    office event, make sure all employees know that they are welcome to attend and
    have a good time, but that they are expected to act responsibly.

  5. Make it the office party of choice. Make sure there are plenty of
    non-alcoholic beverages available.

  6. Eat...and be merry! Avoid serving lots of salty, greasy or sweet foods which
    tend to make people thirsty. Serve foods rich in starch and protein which stay
    in the stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.

  7. Designate party managers. Remind managers that even at the office party,
    they may need to implement the company's alcohol and substance abuse policy.

  8. Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative
    transportation for all party goers and make special transportation arrangements
    in advance of the party. Encourage all employees to make use of the alternative
    transportation if they consume any alcohol.

  9. Serve none for the road. Stop serving alcohol before the party officially

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor