With Halloween just around the corner, many workplaces are getting ready for the holiday. Throwing a Halloween celebration is a great way to boost office culture, build strong team connections, and have some fun together. However, some potential risks like fire hazards, inappropriate costumes, and conflicts of religious beliefs could turn the Halloween celebration into a nightmare. Here are some common Halloween risks you should look out for and how you can keep you and your employees safe:
1. Tricksters Vandalizing your Commercial Property
According to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, more vandalism claims are filed on Halloween than any other time of year. Egging, teepeeing, and slashing tires are all common acts of vandalism on Halloween.
To reduce your risk of being vandalized install security lights and cameras around your property. These are simple solutions that can help deter criminals. However, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent acts of vandalism. The only sure way to protect your business is with Commercial Property insurance. Most Commercial Property policies will cover acts of vandalism, make sure to go over your policy with your broker or agent before Halloween to ensure your covered.
2. Spooky Decorations and Candles Causing a Fire
The rate of fires reported skyrockets around Halloween, mostly because of the increased use of candles as decorations. In fact, the U.S Fire Administration found that, on average, over 10,000 fires are reported each year over a 3 day period around Halloween. Instead of using open-flames are at your Halloween celebration, try using glow-sticks or battery-powered candles to avoid fire damage at your workplace.
But, if an unfortunate accident involving a fire does happen your Commercial Property policy should have you covered.
3. Slips, Trips, and Falls, Oh My!
Fires aren’t the only cause of injuries on Halloween, slip-and-fall injuries also spike on this spooky holiday. The Nitsche Group found that nearly 25% of all emergency room visits on Halloween are the result of slip-and-fall related accidents.
Some of the things that may cause these types of injuries on Halloween include masks that reduce visibility, bulky costumes, and dim lighting. To avoid these injuries at your office Halloween celebration make sure there aren’t any objects or debris on the ground that would cause a tripping hazard and make sure there’s enough lighting for people to see where they’re going.
To make sure you’re completely covered make sure you have Workers Compensation insurance in place. This will cover injuries caused to your employees on your property, and is a non-employee is injured at your party your General Liability policy will have you covered. These policies can pay for the medical payments associated with bodily injury and property damage.
4. A Pumpkin Carving Contest Goes Wrong
Now is the perfect time to host Halloween-related events, it’s a great way to help your small business generate sales. However, hosting any kind of event on your business property comes with liability. For example, a pumpkin carving contest is a great way to foster competition among employees or get potential customers in the door but, it should go without saying that sharp knives could cause some serious injuries.
Again, this is where your Workers Compensation and General Liability policies come into play. These policies can give you peace of mind while you celebrate Halloween.
5. Employees Wearing Inappropriate Costumes
Most adults know what an inappropriate office Halloween costume looks like. Still, you should set up dress code guidelines. The guidelines can include no toy weapons, no stereotypical images of cultures or people, and no costumes that affect an employee's safety or ability to complete their work.
For Halloween, you can consider incorporating the Halloween dress code section into your regular dress code policy. Also, show your employees examples of appropriate costumes before the holiday. To further minimize the risk of an employee showing up dressed inappropriately try hosting a party with a specific Halloween theme, like a superhero or Disney character theme.
As a business owner, there are certain things outside your control. If an employee does show up in an inappropriate costume that offends other employees could lead to a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. Make sure you’re covered from these liability claims with Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI).
6. Conflicts in Religious Beliefs
Celebrating Halloween is considered a form of worship in some religions and cultures. So, there might be employees at your workplace who choose not to participate, and as a religious accommodation, they may even request a day off. As a business owner, you should prepare yourself for this situation and respect those religious beliefs.
7. Employees Getting Harassed
The "trick or treating" tradition at your workplace may lead to increased risks. Some employees may choose to make jokes, play pranks, and send insensitive emails, overstepping reasonable limits leading to harassment. To avoid a harassment situation at your office, you should implement a zero-tolerance and inclusive culture policy. Clearly outline what is acceptable behavior at the office and that harassment will not be tolerated.
8. Alcohol Consumption
Halloween celebrations at your office may potentially involve alcohol consumption, which can be a major liability, as well as a safety concern. Stopping your employees from drinking alcohol can be a challenging situation, but it is important to remind them before Halloween that they are expected to follow the organizational norms and behave appropriately. If you plan on serving alcohol in the office, you should consider carrying Host Liquor Liability, this will cover any claims associated with damage or accidents that arise from drinking at the office.
9. Forcible Participation
Participation should be entirely voluntary. Therefore, if any employee informs you that they cannot participate in the Halloween celebration, respect their decision and do not force them to participate in the party under any circumstances. No one should feel uncomfortable.
Take Measures To Protect Your Business
Lastly, it’s crucial to get insurance policies to protect your business from all these potential workplace risks. You can protect your company against employee lawsuits with the help of the policies mentioned above, like EPLI, Workers Compensation, and General Liability. These insurance policies can cover claims made by employees or guests, such as discrimination, harassment, bodily injury, and property damage
The Key Takeaway
Halloween is a festive time of year and a great way to bring people together. Taking proactive steps to minimize these risks before Halloween will set a positive vibe for the festivities, and it will help prevent behaviors that involve discrimination or harassment. Having the right insurance policies in place will give you peace of mind to focus on the festivities and not the risks of celebrating Halloween.
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