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The hidden risks of team building

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Team bonding days could cost employers more than a day out, as alcohol and dangerous activities may increase the risk of accidents.

Research by claims investigation and risk assessment firm Themis revealed that more corporate away days are turning into weekends, with popular activities including wine tasting, skiing, boating and horse riding.

But even though corporate away days take place outside the workplace, companies are still responsible for their staff and need to take precautions before organising activities, according to Simon Parums, founder and managing director of Themis.

Accidents with alcohol as a contributory factor are estimated to comprise 20-25% of all work incidents but even booze-free activities can have negative repercussions if employees file a personal injury claim should they have an accident.

"Companies planning corporate away days needn't be put off, they should just pay attention to all the risks involved and in some cases contact their solicitor to have a disclaimer drawn up for their staff to sign before the trip, in which they agree the company will not be responsible if anything goes wrong," said Parums.

His five tips for corporate activities are:

1. Identify all potential risks involved in any activity.

2. Make sure adequate training is given to everyone before the activity.

3. Always give the option of whether or not to take part.

4. Have a disclaimer drawn up for each employee to sign detailing the company will not be responsible if something goes wrong.

5. Write down full details of the activity and give to staff before it commences.

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