Horseplay On The Job

Horseplay can be defined as rough or rowdy play and pranks that employees perform at their workplaces. Horseplay can include activities such as joking involving physical contact, playing around, racing, grabbing, or inappropriate vehicle operation, as well as social pressure for participants to engage in dangerous activities. Many work-related horseplay incidents often go unnoticed and are mistaken for harmless fun in the workplace. You may lose your health if you play with horses during your workday, and you can sustain serious or deadly injuries.

In the United States, pranks at work are responsible for hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. It is suspected that workplace horseplay incidents can cause serious injuries, divide the workplace, and cause employees to be unable to perform their duties in the workplace. Horseplay that results in injury can be subject to criminal prosecution in some states. There have been various findings in different courts that these injuries are not the result of an accident but rather are the result of deliberate actions.

Horseplay Safety Talk

The United States experiences countless incidents of injury and property damage due to horseplay each year. There are hundreds of examples of this type of incident on YouTube. In addition to enjoying your work, you should accomplish your work responsibly and safely.

Several companies, such as Google, encourage and provide resources to their employees for horseplay and fun, but others have zero tolerance for it. It might seem like horseplay is intended to be innocent and fun, but it can have seriously detrimental outcomes.

Examples of Horseplay Leading to Injuries

The following are a few examples of how seemingly innocent horseplay can lead to serious and life-altering injuries.

  • An employee pulls a chair out from under a coworker as he sits. For weeks, the victim could not walk properly after falling and bruising his tailbone.
  • An employee decides it would be fun to blow an air horn into his coworker’s ear just to amuse himself. The victim suffers a rupture of the eardrum, requiring medical care.
  • It is common for a worker to jump on the side of a piece of equipment and catch a ride while doing his job. The operator slams the brakes to the floor as quickly as possible to scare the other worker. As a result, the worker falls off the equipment and is fatally impacted.

How Horseplay Affects the Workplace

It is hard to pay attention to your job in an office where practical jokes are common because you are always looking for the next one. It is not uncommon for horseplay to go out of hand and cause injury or even death if it is not addressed immediately. Your horseplay or joke may lead to you being liable for damages if someone else is injured due to your horseplay or joke. This will also put your job at risk. A practical joke can have many negative consequences, even if it is not inherently dangerous. These consequences can include humiliation, embarrassment, anger, hurt feelings, distrust, and even a desire for revenge.

How Can You Prevent Horseplay in the Workplace?

Knowing your company’s limits is important if your company condones or allows horseplay in the workplace. Horseplay may be allowed in the workplace, but that does not mean an incident will not occur.

If your company does not allow horseplay, you should adhere to the following tips:

  • Do not initiate the horseplay, and do not let anyone force you into it. The last thing you want to happen at your workplace is to be responsible for an injury, fatality, or property damage incident.
  • At work, try not to be distracted by anything.
  • You must inform a supervisor if you see someone acting unprofessionally or unsafely at work. You cannot just turn a blind eye to what is happening whenever you see others participating or initiating horseplay. An incident can greatly impact you, your job, and the company depending on how serious that incident is.
  • Ensure you follow the instructions and obey the rules to ensure your safety.
  • When employees do not stay busy with work and have excessive downtime, they tend to engage in horseplay and other games to pass the time, which could create a distraction from the tasks that are taking place around them.

Employee Responsibility

  • Be sure not to engage or participate in unsafe behaviors or acts.
  • Make sure you follow all regulations and work rules to ensure the safety of others or yourself.
  • As a safety precaution, it is important to use protective equipment properly and ensure that operating equipment is properly maintained and presents no danger to employees.

Management Responsibility 

It is the responsibility of management to ensure that all employees have access to the following:

  • The workplace should be a safe, respectful, and harassment-free environment.
  • Make sure that all employees work in a healthy and safe environment.
  • Ensure that employees’ safety and health are protected by taking all necessary precautions.
  • Make sure that employees understand company operating practices and safety procedures and that they follow them.

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