Halloween in the Workplace
Happy Halloween everyone! The next few days will be full of clowning around, dunking apples, zombie costumes and frightening food.
Whilst the practical jokes will be plentiful, let’s keep the accidents scarce and the leave the pumpkin carving for family time! We’ve put together some top tips to Halloween-proof your workplace and help prevent any unnecessary problems occurring, especially if you’re planning anything Spooktacular!
No matter what environment you’re in: public, office, childcare or other, dressing up can be a great way to have fun and give everyone a well-deserved break from the daily workplace humdrum.
So, let’s start with the obvious: nothing dangerous! No wearing or wielding any overly sharp, pointy accessories that could cause harm to anyone. Try to be mindful of any long or loose-fitting garments, the last thing you need is material trailing along the floor posing a tripping hazard. In addition to this, they can also get caught in doors, equipment etc. spelling trouble for the wearer. Not forgetting, an ill-fitting mask will inevitably interfere with vision which could cause further problems in this area, make up is a much safer choice.
Dependant on the workplace and job role, wearing any combustible materials could be a big no-no. Particularly untreated fabric such as, but not limited to cotton, linen and silk. A far better choice would be anything that states ‘flame resistant’ on the label.
Although amusing for most this can be a scary time for some, small children especially, so you may need to air on the side of caution by keeping your costumes palatable (particularly if working in view of the public) and leaving the dark stuff for night time!
A well-dressed room is sure to set the atmosphere off to a good start, but ensure Manual Handling techniques are still being employed when the decorating starts. No awkward postures, lifting correctly but nothing too heavy, sharing the load. Don’t let excitement get in the way, from transportation, pulling, pushing, carrying and putting down it should be enforced. Also consider working at height, do you need a ladder? No standing on filing cabinets and swivel chairs, an accident like that is sure to ruin the festivities.
All decorations must be kept far away from eye level, nothing should be sticking out, obstructing walkways or able to injure anyone. You could consider adding signs that clearly point to any heavily decorated areas. Be careful of gunge/fake blood or anything slippery if spilled.
Again, be mindful about flammable & poisonous properties found in materials and sprays.
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Food & Drink
Whether it’s a Halloween bake off or a full-blown spread, be aware of dietary requirements. Make sure everyone is made aware of what’s in the food before it’s consumed, some people may have severe allergies and/or have specific food restrictions. Any serious nut allergies? You may not be able to serve them at all. If the employees are providing the goodies, make certain they are reminded to double check all ingredients, food colourings and ensure everything is cooked or baked thoroughly! Keep things properly refrigerated/stored and covered.
A gentle reminder about hand washing before tucking into the buffet is always a good idea.
Remember to provide healthy snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. If you are providing alcohol, make sure it is served legally and responsibly, nobody likes a rude witch!
If in any doubt, hire a caterer.
If there is an accident while employees celebrate Halloween in your workplace, it should still be reported to RIDDOR (if applicable) and/or recorded in your accident book. The same goes with any reportable injuries (including an act of physical violence) and dangerous occurrences. It is important to familiarise yourself with what is reportable.