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So you have that office function tonight... Are you ready for your afterhour health and safety duties?

by , 18 June 2014
You run a tight ship between 8am and 5pm. Your employees know and follow safety procedures to the T. You're even very clear about the disciplinary action for not following safety procedures.

But tonight you have an office function. You may be tempted to forget about your safety responsibilities for the night and just have fun.

Big mistake! You see if your employees are acting in the course of their employment, you still have a responsibility to protect them.

But how do you know if they're acting under the course of their employment? Keep reading to discover the answer...

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Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer
When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses? 
Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations? 
There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations. 

Are your employees acting under the course of their employment?

According to SheqAfrica.com, the 'course of employment' includes the actual period of employment. 
And that's why activities such as team building exercises and office functions are also considered 'part of the course of employment' when you organise, encourage or support it.
This means, if you arrange a staff function and tell everyone to be there, you must maintain safety in the office. 
Even though they aren't actually working, they're still at work because you told them to be.
So how can you prevent workplace accidents during afterhour activities?
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 Here's how to keep your employees safe during afterhour activities 

If you arrange afterhour activities, consider these three ways to protect your employees:
1. Don't serve alcohol at your work functions. If your employees are drunk, they're more likely to have a silly accident, such as falling down the stairs. 
2. Stop your employees from wondering around the entire workplace. If your employees go exploring the empty workplace, they may have an accident which no one will see. 
3. Don't choose team building activities that could cause accidents. If you make your employees jump into each other's arms, you may end up with injured employees.
If you take the right safety precautions, you'll have perfect accident prevention even afterhours.

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