Our office parties can get a bit out of hand when people start playing pranks. Will our photocopier support anyone's weight?

If the office Christmas Party goes really traditional and you end up making 'cheeky' photocopies, you won't be exposed to toner or harmful light for long enough to hurt you, but you may well find yourself spending the rest of the evening face down in casualty, having shards of glass removed from your bottom. This is a surprisingly common occurrence, as photocopiers simply aren't designed to be robust enough to take any kind of weight.

The same goes with most other office or workplace equipment from staple gun shoot-outs to paper-opener sword fights. It goes without saying that items of work equipment are not toys, but in drunken hands, even fairly innocuous devices can turn seriously dangerous.

Hold the office party somewhere which is suitable for people to let off steam and have a good time. If it has to be in the office, then make sure that where possible everything is locked away or switched off, including the computers.

Never hold the party in a workshop, a warehouse or similar premises, as there are just too many accidents waiting to happen, and while the majority of them may be minor, it's not worth the risk.

Be sensitive to the feelings of others and remember that not everybody shares the same taste for pranks. A joke for one employee can easily feel like bullying to another, especially when the joke is shared by a group of high-spirited workers who can easily be perceived to be ganging up on another worker. Pranks at work are best avoided, as they can go badly wrong and result in disciplinary action, including even dismissal, as well as allegations of unlawful discrimination. A 'joke' rarely seems quite as funny when you see it written down in a witness statement prepared for use in your disciplinary hearing.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.