ORLANDO, Fla.—In the upcoming weeks all offices, stores, and places of work may start decorating to spread some holiday cheer. It really makes this time of the year one to remember and look forward to, but decorations as well as parties have some risks that must be dealt with by the business’ owners.
First, a live tree in the office or workplace looks fantastic, but it needs to be watered daily in order to prevent it from drying out a become a fire hazard. It is also important to remember at the time of choosing where to place it, that it needs to be away from combustibles. In most cases an artificial tree is probably less work, for oneself or to delegate, and less risk for the business.
Second, in-door and outdoor lighting with strands of lights also complete an environment of fantasy and hope for both customers and employees. When you install them, you have to make sure they don’t have bare for frayed wires which can also become fire hazards for the establishment. Failure to inspect them well before its installation can leave your workplace in harm’s way.
Third, holiday decorations around the office, restaurant, shop or any particular place of work —Make sure to secure any ornaments that need to be hung up on the ceiling or racks to prevent it from falling, and causing an undesired accident that hurts anyone who comes to your place of business. Also, those ornaments on the floor could become obstacles becoming a hazard, causing a slip and fall accident.
Fourth, when it’s time to party —Most parties, especially holiday parties, are known to serve a reasonable amount of alcoholic beverages. You have to make sure to comply with your local liquor liability laws. When you host the party at the site of your business, you are at risk of anything that goes wrong during the event, and after your guests leave your establishment. It is always recommended, especially for small businesses, to whenever possible try to host the business party at an off-site location to avoid such exposure.
Fifth, behavior is key — a holiday party can create unintended negative consequences for employers. A quick search of YouTube videos can demonstrate how easily a holiday gathering can go wrong, especially if alcohol is involved. Despite their laudable intentions, employers could face liability for the conduct of employees who behave inappropriately.
In other words, while the holiday party is a worthy and festive tradition, preparation is helpful to ensure employee enjoyment and safety. Employers should contemplate carefully what type of party environment best suits their staff, budget, and goals. They should also consider issuing a memo or email to employees prior to the party, addressing, for example, the voluntary nature of the event, limitations on drug or alcohol use, anti-discrimination policies, social media etiquette, and/or gift-exchange expectations. With a little forethought, this year’s holiday events can be memorable—but not infamous. Looking forward a wonderful and safe Holiday Season!
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