Safety Tip - Horseplay at work

Sun Apr 06 2014

Horseplay means things like running in the hallways, playing basketball in the office, etc. Horseplay at workplace can be anything from a harmless prank to harassment or other unethical and unsafe acts. Often times, employees who want to alleviate boredom or stress behave in such ways and engage in rough play in attempts to keep the environment light and friendly. However, rough plays are both distracting and dangerous, and such behaviors should be against company policies.

Avoid horseplay to instill a safe working environment. Horseplay may sound fun but it can lead to low work productivity, compromised working environment and even serious work injuries which can be potentially fatal in some cases. Every year hundreds of injuries are reported in the United States alone due to pranks pulled at work. Some states have laws against horseplay or prank injuries that could result in criminal prosecution. Whether or not your state has such laws, it is imperative that you maintain a horseplay-free environment not only for better work productivity but also to ensure the safety of your employees.

Avoid injuries at all costs. The best way to avoid hazardous situations at your workplace is to have proper policies in place which will limit if not eliminate horseplay. Horseplay after all, creates unnecessary risks and accidents which can include slipping, falling, crashing into objects, etc. Prevent injuries from occurring in the first place by ensuring everyone knows the rules and strictly abides by them. Injuries at work can create a lot of problems in the work environment including lost time from work and increases to workers’ compensation premiums.

Make sure you have a policy clearly outlined in your employee handbook. It is imperative that your employees are aware of the consequences of their behavior and are knowledgeable of what is and isn’t allowed in the workplace. You should clearly outline the policy in your employee handbook. Unacceptable behavior like practical jokes, pranks, playing within the premises etc. should be clearly outlined and consequences should occur for such behavior.

Take measures to progressively discipline employees who do not follow your safety policies. The best way to promote a safe and cordial working environment is by offering training and disciplining the employees who may be compromising the integrity of the workplace by being involved in horseplay. You should take appropriate disciplinary action for those who do not follow the safety policies, and be consistent in the application of the discipline.

Horseplay is not a joke and it definitely isn’t safe. It is recommended that you use professional coaching and training and development strategies to promote a safe working environment for all your employees. We at Executive HR Consulting Group provide HR consultant services to make your business more productive and safer for all involved.