Alcohol-related accidents can be a huge source of cost for businesses. The first risk that comes to mind with alcohol is the case of an employee driving drunk after leaving a company event. If a company bears legal responsibility for the consequences of an employee driving drunk, the costs can be severe. Drinking also increases the chance of other accidents, like falls.
Few businesses want to prohibit alcohol at all company functions—after all, it serves an important role in social settings. At the same time, businesses need to take a proactive approach toward the risks alcohol creates.
- Adopt and enforce an alcohol policy.
A written alcohol policy is foundational to managing risk in this area. Every business needs a clear statement about the limits employees and managers are expected to follow with respect to alcohol consumption at company events. This is especially important for businesses that provide alcohol on-site, such as a “company keg” that gets opened up toward the end of each Friday.
As with any corporate policy, enforcement is crucial. Managers will need to be the business’s watchdogs around alcohol matters, holding each other and employees accountable for sticking to the policy. Aim to fold the company’s alcohol policy into a broader culture of safety.
- Understand where the company’s liability ends.
Every state has different laws regarding a business’s legal responsibility toward individuals who are injured at business-related events. In some states an employer may not be responsible for injuries that can be traced to after-hours events, like an optional dinner with a client. In some cases, such as off-site parties, responsibility might lie with the location hosting the event. Working with safety experts and legal counsel, businesses need to develop a clear sense of when the business needs to be strict and when it can relax.
- Know where extra insurance is necessary.
A company’s general liability insurance may capture some of the risk associated with alcohol-related injuries. Special events or the company keg probably require separate coverage. When in doubt, consult with your insurance broker to discuss all the potential sources of loss that could affect the business.
Gunnin Insurance takes a comprehensive view of risk management
Every business needs to take alcohol risk seriously. For businesses with high experience modifiers or other insurance challenges, capturing incidental risks like these is crucial for bringing premiums down and improving financial results. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced insurance professionals, give us a call today.