Whether this is your company’s first Christmas or it’s fifteenth, here are some important issues you should consider now, before they ruin more than your Christmas. With the fun and festivities of the holidays, it is easy to put your company’s future at risk. In addition to festivities and sparkling lights, the holidays also bring an increase in drink driving convictions, ID theft, fires, injuries, and other serious problems.
Here are ways to keep you and your company safe this year.
Christmas shopping is a popular time for theft of credit card information. A common way for someone to gain access to credit card information is at restaurants when the wait staff takes the card away to ring up the payment. Whist the number of client and employee lunches is likely to increase over the holidays, so is the risk of have credit card information stolen.
The busy hustle and bustle of the holidays in restaurants makes it easier for someone to quickly scan your card information, unnoticed in the rush. To cover the busy holiday season, restaurants are more likely to take on temporary employees who might have not been as fully vetted before walking off with your credit card. To protect your company cards, when possible encourage your staff to pay at the till rather than letting the wait staff walk away with their credit cards. When that isn’t possible, try to stick to restaurants with a more regular staff of employees. Frequently review online credit card accounts to look for any unauthorized activity.
Oh, Christmas Tree
By now your business is probably bursting with holiday lights, Christmas trees, and other festive decorations. To keep your company safe, make sure powered decorations are unplugged or turned off when no one is in your business. Make sure there aren’t too many electrical devices plugged into a single outlet. Decorations should be kept clear of fireplaces and open flames.
Each year about 1,000 injuries are due to Christmas trees with another 1,000 injuries related to hanging or removing other holiday decorations. An employee standing on a swivelling office chair to reach a string of lights around their cubicle can quickly lead to an emergency room visit.
If children visit your place of business, the risks and concerns are even greater. Cords should be secured so there is no risk of tripping or for children to become entangled in them. Make sure decorations are either out of reach of all children or are child-safe. Each year children are taken to hospital after biting glass ornaments and swallowing light bulbs. Keep Christmas trees and gifts away from fireplaces and candles to reduce the risk of fire. Decorations should never block access to walkways, emergency exits, or fire extinguishers. Particularly keep an eye out for electrical cords to ensure that they don’t present a trip hazard.
None for the Road
This year the police are again expected to be out in force over the holidays to identify and arrest drink drivers and drug drivers. With the large number of parties and other gatherings through early January, the number of drivers under the influence typically increases. Last year in Northern Ireland their Christmas crack-down resulted in a 42 percent more drink driving arrests than during the same period the prior year.
When planning your company’s Christmas party or other festive events, make sure you take steps to reduce the risk of employees leaving your event and drink driving. Many companies now routinely provide cab or other transport vouchers to employees to use to and from the company party. While there is no specific government requirement making employers responsible for employee alcohol consumption, companies are expected to ensure the general safety and wellbeing of their employees.
If your company is open the day after your holiday party, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, you are at increased risk for employees drink driving. We typically think of drink driving arrests taking place in the wee hours of the night as people are returning home from the pub or a party. In fact, 20% of those prosecuted for drink driving were arrested from 6am to noon the day after consuming alcohol. This means that your employees arriving to work the day after your holiday party or their holiday celebration may still be legally intoxicated.
Most people are unaware how long it can take to metabolize alcohol after consuming it. Since a drink driving conviction could lead to an extended driving ban, a substantial fine, and even jail time, it’s important for your employees to think before they drink. A pre-holiday reminder to employees can help them plan and avoid working or driving while alcohol is still in their systems. You want your company – and everyone who works for you – to begin 2017 safe and healthy.