When planning workplace functions and events, where possible, organise and promote options where alcohol is not the primary focus or expected.
Where alcohol is provided, taking a risk management approach to the availability and use of alcohol can assist your workplace in meeting duty-of-care obligations, enhancing general safety and minimising the risk of intoxication and alcohol-related harm. The following strategies can assist you in achieving this:
Select venues that are recognised as having licensed bar staff trained in the Responsible Service of Alcohol 1 and make it clear to employees that service will be refused to anyone who is intoxicated.
Promote your workplace policy and procedures around alcohol prior to functions. If your workplace does not have a policy, promote your code of conduct to ensure that all employees know what is expected of them 1.
Promote and encourage employees to drink responsibly at all work functions. Make available tips and advice on how to stay within low-risk drinking limits and Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
Provide a range of food options and cater for all dietary needs.
Provide free water and make available a range of non-alcoholic drinks such as juice and soft drinks available for guests that want to ‘space’ their drinks.
Consider limiting alcoholic drinks to beer and wine. Avoid high alcohol content drinks and provide a variety of lower alcoholic content drinks options.
Provide small or standard size drink glasses 2.
Avoid offering refill or ‘top-up’ service as it’s harder for people to monitor their consumption.
Finish alcohol service approximately one hour before the function is due to finish, offer non-alcoholic options including tea and coffee.
Promote and provide safe alternative transport options including taxi vouchers 3.
Evaluate your function, what might you do differently?
1 Australian Drug Foundation. Christmas Parties and Functions. Good Host Event Management – Managing Alcohol responsibly.
2 Australian Government. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2009). Handy Hints for Functions.
3 Government of Western Australia. Department of Health. Strategies for Targeting Alcohol. Healthier Workplace WA.
Call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 toll free for country callers.
For emergencies call the 000 emergency line.