Accident · Workplace environment

Don’t Get Caught Out on Health and Safety Grounds This April Fool’s Day

An ill-thought through prank, while on the face of it, may seem entirely funny to the trickster, can result in serious and long term consequences…

Think twice before playing a practical joke at work this April 1st

April 1st marks April Fool’s Day, also know as All Fool’s Day, and is traditionally celebrated by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are referred to as April fools. The day has been popular since the 19th century with Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (as far back as 1392) containing the first recorded association between April 1st and foolishness.

 When harmless fun turns bad

While practical jokes, for the most part, are just harmless fun, there are some occasions when a prank in the workplace can have serious and long-lasting consequences – for both the employee and employer.

Workplace pranks, on several occasions, have lead to employment law cases and legal action, including allegations of misconduct leading to dismissal, harassment against colleagues and serious injury for which the employer could be liable. An employee’s workplace prank can further serve to undermine the employer’s trust and confidence in him or her, and warrant dismissal…so you may well want to think twice before you pull that stunt!

We’ve linked 2 great articles below which highlight the dangers of exercising poor judgement in pranking decisions.

Safety Tips this April Fool’s Day

Think Twice

Plan in advance – spur of the moment pranks can turn out badly. Pick the right person to play a joke on, but bear in mind, it could be your turn next year!

Avoid Dangerous Stunts

Some practical jokes can start out as harmless fun, but get out of hand. For example, putting globs of Vaseline on a friend’s windshield may seem like some harmless fun, but when he turns on his windshield wipers, the Vaseline will cover the entire windshield – completely compromising his or her’s visibility and could result in a road traffic accident.

Avoid Being ‘Mean’

Avoid fake breakups, death notices, pregnancy announcements – the likelihood is that someone will be suffering due to such a loss and hurt or distress will ensue.

Put it to the Test

Try the practical joke out on yourself before you try it on someone else – this way you can ensure it’s safe.

Ensure Everyone Has Fun

A harmless April Fools’ Day practical joke can be both fun and memorable. However, you should choose your target to make sure that he or she can appreciate the joke and see the funny side. If you can dish it out however….you should be able to take it too. You could be on the receiving end next time!


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