December Newsletter

The countdown is on — and with just 8 days to go until Christmas, the TriEx team is busy wrapping things up for 2019, and planning ahead for 2020!

We know how busy the last couple of weeks of December can be, so we’ve keep our latest email short and sweet. Mark your calendar with our Christmas break holiday dates, discover some useful reminders on health and safety for your staff Christmas party, and share some festive season road safety tips with your team to help them stay safe over the break. You’ll also find more info on our 2020 Workplace Flu Vaccination Programme, and our 2020 Workplace Training Calendars for those of you taking this time to plan ahead for the New Year.

Read the full email online for more info!

H&S Reminders for Your Team Christmas Party

The law requires employers to ensure the health and safety of staff in their workplace, so far as reasonably practical… but did you know this responsibility also extends to the work Christmas do – even if it’s off-site and outside of normal business hours?

Yes indeed – employers organising Christmas parties still need to be aware of their health and safety responsibilities, regardless of where the event is hosted, and whether it’s inside or outside a company’s normal hours of operation.

Business owners and senior managers may be liable if a worker is injured, harmed or harassed at the festive season staff party, and a business must allow employees to take paid sick leave (providing they have the days available) if they injure themselves at a work Christmas party. Even if the injury was a result of the employee’s own… negligence.

Sharing a few bottles of bubbly and some good food is a tradition for many Kiwi businesses celebrating the end of year – and there’s no reason your business can’t continue to enjoy the holiday cheer with a little forethought.

Here are our tips for celebrating the festive season with your team, while avoiding a health and safety hangover in the New Year.

#1 Remind Staff to Have Fun, But Act Responsibly

Intoxication doesn’t only have the potential to lead to injuries – it can also increase instances of harassment, so remind staff of appropriate standards of conduct for your event. You can do this without coming across like a stick in the mud – a quick email around or a notice up in the staff room using health and safety slogans like “look after your mates” is a good way to get the message across. A light-hearted reminder of what’s appropriate and what isn’t will set the right tone, so remind people that nobody likes to be sworn at, groped, assaulted or subjected to discrimination, and that drinking responsibly will reduce the risk of this type of behaviour.

#2 Know Your Legal Obligations Around Alcohol

Whether you’re having a barbecue and a couple of beers at the workplace or going to the local pub, be sure you follow the law around serving alcohol, and ensure no-one drinks alcohol who shouldn’t (for example, staff aged under 18).

#3 Offer Alcohol Free Alternatives

Make sure you provide low-alcohol options and alcohol-free alternatives. Not only will there be some members of your team who prefer not to drink, but having alcohol-free options will help to encourage staff to pace themselves and drink responsibly. Not everyone will want to imbibe at the Christmas party, so ask for volunteers who are happy to act as a “sober buddy” for anyone who needs help during the event. Encourage staff to pace themselves throughout the function. You could even make a game out of having everyone make every second or third drink a glass of water.

#4 Food, Glorious Food

Provide plenty of food, including healthy options. A meal won’t completely negate the effects of alcohol, but it will help. Alcohol is absorbed through the stomach wall. The less food in someone’s tummy, the faster any alcohol they consume will enter their blood stream. The faster alcohol is absorbed, the bigger the impact it has upon someone’s liver, digestive system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. Ensure your team eats before they drink – particularly foods rich in natural fat (think salmon and avocado, not pizza and burgers), which further slows down alcohol absorption.

#5 Games & Activities

Have a couple of fun activities planned for the staff party so drinking is not the sole focus of the event. It might be a Christmas-themed or ‘know your team mates’ quiz or the opening of your secret Santa gifts if you’re at a restaurant, some karaoke or dancing if you’re at the pub. Planning your event around a particular activity is a great way to take the focus off drinking, so take the team out for bowling, golf, a local concert, cart racing or something else a little different, followed by dinner.

#6 Limit the Quantity of Alcohol Available

Limit the amount of free alcohol on offer to discourage excess consumption and intoxication, or include 1 or 2 drinks on the company tab and let staff know they’ll need to pay for any extra out of their own pocket. Avoid activities or games that encourage excessive alcohol consumption (beer pong is definitely out) and ensure any alcohol is served by trained bar staff, as opposed to a free for all. As mentioned above, call for “sober buddy” volunteers to keep an eye on consumption levels and the wellbeing of their teammates, or nominate a member of your management team. Some organisations impose a drink limit if they know their employees tend to overindulge, and refuse to serve anyone that appears to be intoxicated.

#7 Safe Transport Options

One of the greatest risks to health and safety is transport home at the end of the night, so organise taxis, Ubers or sober drivers to ensure people get home safely after your event. Paying for staff to taxi, Uber or bus home will ensure they’re not tempted to jump behind the wheel if they’ve had ‘just’ a couple of beers. Offer an incentive for staff willing to sober drive their workmates, such as a petrol or grocery voucher.

A little planning goes a long way, so consider the impact on your business and your team, and take your health and safety best practices – and good old fashioned common sense – with you to the Christmas party to result in a great event!

Christmas 2019 Holiday Hours

A New Year is right around the corner, so our team will be taking a well-deserved break to rest and recharge over the holidays!

TriEx will be closed from 5pm, Friday 20th December 2019 — reopening on Monday 13th January 2020.

For urgent enquiries, a skeleton team will be available from Thursday 9th January.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The team at TriEx

Road Safety During the Festive Season

The health and safety of your team doesn’t stop when they leave the workplace. While you may not be responsible for your team’s wellbeing outside of work, reminding them to stay safe during the vacation break will help ensure your workforce is fit, healthy and ready to return to work after the New Year.

We’ve compiled a few useful summer road safety reminders below. Flick them around your team before you finish up for the 2019 Christmas break!

Summer Road Safety

Drivers should take extra care when travelling in holiday periods due to increased traffic volumes, fatigue and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

Other factors that can increase your risk on the road over the holidays, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency, include:

  • Increased stress from factors such as heat, traffic jams and noisy children
  • Decreased road safety vigilance (speeding, driving when tired, not buckling up) when people are in holiday mode
  • Increased instances of drink-driving

How to be Road Safe this Summer

Whether you’re nipping a few suburbs over to visit family and friends, or taking a longer trip to explore some of New Zealand’s beautiful sights, it’s important to give the road the attention and respect it deserves this summer.

Plan Ahead

  • Take just a few minutes to make sure your vehicle is safe before beginning your journey
  • Plan your driving to avoid the worst peak traffic periods, when many highways become congested
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Take plenty of rest stops make the drive part of your holiday

Have Your Vehicle Checked

Book in a pre-Christmas check or service with your mechanic. Most garages also offer safety checks for tyre tread and pressure, lights, brakes and cooling systems. A well-tuned vehicle is more fuel efficient, so planning head will save you money on fuel costs in the long run.

Pack Smarter

When packing your vehicle for a trip away, ensure everything is securely stowed. Loose objects can become dangerous projectiles in the event of a sudden stop or crash (even relatively small items), so take care to secure all of your family’s gear.

Drive to the Conditions

Driving to the conditions is vital – but it doesn’t only refer to the weather. When driving to the conditions, consider: 

  • The road you’re on
  • Traffic congestion
  • Your vehicle and load
  • Your alertness – if you’re tired, this will affect your driving

Be Mindful of Fatigue

Fatigue can be deadly when you’re driving. Plan to get enough rest before you set out on the road, and take regular breaks throughout your trip. Stop at rest areas to take in the view and stretch your legs, or take a couple of half-hour sojourns at one of the towns on your route to grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

Be Courteous and Keep Your Cool

Holiday driving can be frustrating when the roads are busy, the temperature rises, and out-of-town travellers drive slower to check road signs. One of the most important aspects of summer vacation driving is to be courteous to other drivers, and to keep any signs of travel stress in check.

  • Keep left unless passing
  • Be courteous and let others drivers merge into traffic
  • Remember to indicate before turning or changing lanes
  • If you’re on an unfamiliar road and driving a little slower, pull over when you can to let others pass
  • Be patient with other drivers on the road, including trucks and towing vehicles who have lower speed limits
  • Don’t be provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour
  • Never overtake unless it’s safe to do so. When traffic is busy, wait for a passing lane
  • Keep an eye out for cyclists and give them plenty of space
  • On country roads, be mindful of rural traffic (such as tractors) and horses

Remember the Two-Second Rule

Always keep a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.

Watch Out for Summer ‘Ice’

Few drivers have heard of summer ice, but it’s a hazard that is common over the Christmas and New Year period – resulting in conditions similar to the black ice experienced in winter.

During long dry spells, dust, dirt, oil and other materials can build up on the road’s surface. When it rains, the road surface becomes greasy – making it very slippery. Even a little rain after several days of dry weather can trigger these conditions, creating a potential danger for unsuspecting drivers.

If the road is wet after a long dry spell, be summer ice smart by:

  • Allowing extra travel time
  • Reducing your speed
  • Taking extra care on curves
  • Increasing your following distance from vehicles in front of you
  • Braking and steering gently

Find more driver safety information and tips via the New Zealand Transport Agency website.