Ho, Ho … Oh, No! – OHS for Christmas Party



To outline processes that support the safe consumption of alcohol at work functions held by Company.


Function organiser: Person who is responsible for holding and managing the approved company function where alcohol is to be served.
Work function: Staff, or staff and third party work function at which alcohol will be served.


  • Under the OHS Act 2000, Company has a duty of care to protect health, safety & welfare of all people at our places of work including company’s approved work functions where alcohol is served.
  • While everyone in the workplace has a role to play in occupational health and safety including at work functions, ultimate responsibility for providing a safe work function rests with the employer.


  • Nothing in these procedures is intended to take away any individual’s own responsibility with regard to the use of alcohol.
  • Company encourages personal and social responsibility in the serving and consumption of alcohol.
  • Company does not condone the use of alcohol in any manner, which is unsafe, illegal or fails to respect cultural differences and the rights of others.


Prior to conducting the function the responsible manager may undertake a risk assessment entailing the nature of the event, people attending, alcohol being served, venue etc in consultation with employees & other parties to:

  • Identify foreseeable hazards
  • Assess the risks 
  • Undertake required elimination and/or control measures.

Relevant safety information regarding the work function including any venue rules need to be communicated to relevant parties and appropriate supervision maintained at the work function, including:

  •  Emergency evacuation procedures
  • Restricted areas
  • First aid
  • Toilets
  • Non-smoking
  • Responsible serving policy
  • Checking condition of venue during function
  • Transport arrangements & advice regarding ‘drinking & driving’ legal requirements

Ensure that procedures are in place to reduce:

  • Slip/trip/falls from spillages, cables & cords, props, etc.
  • Cuts, lacerations from broken glass, bottles etc
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Appropriate access & egress lighting
  • Car accidents from drinking & driving
  • Security


  • At least one person managing and serving at the function should have undertaken training in the responsible serving of alcohol prior to the Function. Alternatively professional servers with this training must be hired for the Function.
  • All Functions must comply where relevant with the following guidelines in particular, but not confined to:
    • the signs of intoxication will be recognised and individuals will not be served alcohol to or beyond the point of intoxication; and
    • Admittance to venue or the service or supply of alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated is prohibited.
  •  All persons managing the function, serving the alcohol or monitoring the consumption of alcohol should not themselves consume alcohol immediately prior to or at all during the function.
  • It is illegal to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. Organisers must ensure that there is a system in place to check identity, age and status of personnel attending where relevant. 


Function Organiser is responsible for ensuring that the conduct of any Function adheres to the following:

  • Alcohol must only be consumed in the area designated for the function.
  • Functions should not include any activity that encourages the excessive consumption of alcohol - drinking contests and/or drinking games are not permitted at any time.
  • No one may be pressured to drink, or feel compelled to drink alcohol because no reasonable attractive alternative is offered.
  • Food (i.e. substantial snacks or hot meals) should   be provided at all licensed functions. This should not be limited to salty snack foods such as chips or salted nuts, which encourage drinking.
  • Alternatives to full-strength alcoholic drinks must be offered:
    • Non-alcoholic drinks must be available and displayed as prominently as alcoholic ones.
    • Low-alcohol drinks should be served in preference to full strength alcoholic drinks and any differences in cost should be clearly displayed.
  • Plain water should be freely available throughout the function.
  • Where possible non-glass drinking containers should be used to minimize exposure to potential cuts etc.
  • An appropriate standard of conduct must be maintained to ensure the safety and peaceful enjoyment of those attending the function and of anyone who may be affected in consequence of the function. This includes the impact of the behaviour of people who have left the function. Organisers are expected to monitor this and to take action if necessary.
  • Offensive behaviour resulting from the excessive consumption of alcohol, which causes disturbance or annoyance, as this behaviour is unacceptable. This includes physical or verbal abuse, harassment, including sexual harassment, damage to property, both personal and company/venue property and noise, which disturbs the rights of others.
  • Where a person is or appears intoxicated at a function, it is the responsibility of those managing the function to provide that person with appropriate assistance to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
  • Smoking is not permitted inside the work function venue. An appropriate outside designated smoking area will be made available as determined by the nature of the venue and location.


  • Any incident involving personal injury or damage to property must be reported immediately to the Function Manager for action.
  • Failure to adhere to the conditions of this procedure:
    • May render the event organisers and participants open to civil or other action by the Liquor Licensing authority or other third party(s); and
    • Will render the event organisers and participants open to action, including disciplinary action, by Company.


  • Function Organiser is responsible for seeing that the venue is returned to its original state after the event is finished. This includes arranging for any cleaning and/or the removal of rubbish etc.


  •  Workers whose behaviour has placed the safety of themselves and others at risk at the company approved work function may be subject to disciplinary procedures in accordance with Company’s policy.

For further information please contact Peter Wasson at OHS Media Services:

Mob. 0438 382 070, Ph/Fax: 02 9516 0127
Email: ohsmedia@tpg.com.au