Loss Control Insights

Holiday Party Loss Control Tips

holiday party

The drinks are flowing and foods of all types are being shared. Sounds like your typical office holiday party. It also sounds like a potential loss waiting to happen. Be it the result of a drunk driving incident, sexual harassment or food poisoning, all are incidents to guard against at this year’s party.

Accidents After the Party
During the holidays, people who don’t often drink alcohol tend to drink and get on the roads. Likewise, people with drinking problems drink more because others are drinking. An increased tendency to drink, combined with hazardous winter road conditions, is a recipe for disaster. Take the following advice from the National Federation of Independent Business to make certain your guests leave the party and arrive home safely:

  • Use professional bartenders and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated.
  • Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of free drinks.
  • Serve heavy foods throughout the night so people aren’t drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to be on the lookout for people who have had too much to drink and are unable to drive or need assistance getting home.
  • Make certain employees have alternate transportation home, such as a designated driver or taxi.
  • Remind employees about company policies regarding conduct and substance abuse before the party.

Inappropriate Behavior at Office Parties
According to a study by human resources firm Adecco, 40 percent of respondents had either engaged in inappropriate behavior at office parties or knew someone who had. A holiday party is a work-related activity, so the rules of conduct that apply in the workplace also apply to the party. Employees should know that they have a responsibility to report any sexual harassment they experience or witness.

Share Food but Hold the Bacteria
It may be fun to share food that you bring from home or purchase at a store, but it also can be dangerous. Last holiday season, 60 cases of food poisoning were reported from a single office party. These tips may help to prevent outbreaks at your next party:

  • Hot items are best served immediately after cooking or reheating. If you plan to serve a hot item at the office party, take it straight from the oven and either place it in an insulated bag or hot food carrier.
  • Cold items should remain in the refrigerator for as long as possible. When transporting cold dishes, place items in a cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs.
  • For both hot and cold items, arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than large platters so you can hold food at safe temperatures until partygoers are ready to eat.
  • Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything that has been out longer than two hours. After two hours, enough bacteria may have grown to make partygoers sick. Exceptions include ready-to-eat items like cookies, crackers, bread and whole fruit.
  • Label products with nuts, milk products, gluten, shellfish and other common food allergens.

EMC wishes you a fun and safe holiday season.