This time of the year is usually filled with festive excitement for the greatly anticipated Christmas party. Perhaps more than ever in light of the new variant in circulation and us living somewhat “normally” at the moment, employers and businesses will need to be particularly aware of health and safety guidance and potential liabilities arising from the festivities.
Hosting a Christmas party or event goes beyond the decorations this year and it is essential as an event organiser to create a safe environment for everyone attending. You may consider asking attendees to sign a waiver to confirm that they accept the risks of attending. That said, you should be mindful of the challenges surrounding waivers.
Whilst waivers are fairly common practice, it is important to note that a waiver does not discharge a duty of care. In terms of section 16 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, the term of a contract which seeks to exclude or restrict liability for a breach of duty causing death or personal injury will be void.
Aside from their ability to manage expectations, in essence, waivers are of little value from a legal perspective. This means, as the event organiser, you have a duty of care to those attending that cannot be discharged by way of a waiver.
A waiver can serve as a useful tool to encourage the attendees to take precautions seriously and remind them of their own duty of care to themselves but it offers limited to no protection from a civil liability claim. It is imperative, therefore, that risks are identified prior to the festive event and adequately controlled throughout.
Please note that our advice must also be read in conjunction with Government advice at the time of the event. In our view, you must consider the following at a minimum.
Should any of the issues outlined affect you or your business please get in touch. Our specialist team in the Health & Safety Inquiries Unit can provide you with tailored legal advice, training, and court representation and help to ensure you are compliant with current health and safety regulations.
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