Be smart and safe at your summer work cookout

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Many businesses hold company-wide cookouts in the summer to celebrate and reward employees for their hard work. Sometimes these are held around the Fourth of July, while other times they're later in the summer so as not to interfere with people's other plans.

Although these work-related outdoor parties can be an enormous amount of fun and a great way to get to know people at work, there are a number of safety and etiquette concerns that shouldn't be ignored. Here are a few things to remember for your next work barbecue, cookout or party. 

Don't ignore safety precautions at work just because you're off the clock 
Safety is a key part of many businesses – industrial, food service, health care, etc – but at a cookout it's easy to forget that just because you're not working that doesn't mean those dangers don't still exist. If you go to run in to your warehouse to grab some more ice or use the restroom, you should be just as safe as you are on any work day. 

Of course, a barbecue is a great time to dress casually among your co-workers, but consider wearing some stylish work shoes if you're helping out or there's a chance you'll be running through your workspace. Slipping in a spilled drink and tripping over anything that may have been left on the ground are all examples of possible work dangers that remain during a cookout. Slip-resistant shoes may help reduce these dangers in combination with heightened vigilance. 

Be friendly, clean and have everything in moderation 
Business etiquette expert Terry Pithers wrote on Style for Success' website about some of the worst ways to make an impression at a work barbecue. 

Pithers advised against overloading on food or drinks. Filling up your plate may just look greedy to others, and is poor etiquette at any cookout. These could also lead to a messy face, clothing or hands – all of which Pithers called a bad idea. Drinking too much has obvious negative consequences for many. Pithers advised particular caution because often cookouts can be hot and stressful, which may lead employees to accidentally over consume. Pithers also suggested that people dress nicely and try to branch out and make new connections within the business. 

Beware of fire 
Fire can come up at barbecues in two big (and potentially dangerous) ways – the grill and fireworks. Every year the Red Cross puts out lists of safety tips for the Fourth of July and summer barbecues to help avoid the high number of injuries that also occur each year. 

The Red Cross advised that people never grill inside. If it rains on the day of your cookout, it's fine to move the party indoors, but don't try cooking out in the warehouse or some other work place. It's smart to keep the grill far away from any fire hazards, as when a grill fire starts it can be hard to move away flammable materials. It's also important to wear an apron, use long utensils and cook meat thoroughly to avoid injuries to the cook and other guests. 

Similarly, it's important to exercise precaution with fireworks. The Red Cross told fireworks users to keep them away from children, always point them away from everyone and never throw them near fire hazards. A large amount of water should be kept handy. Also, the most important thing may be for the person lighting the firework to be safe and sober. Eye goggles and gloves should be worn. Experience is also preferable, especially with larger fireworks. 

Keeping these simple work-cookout tips in mind can help you go back to work on Monday with new friends and no injuries. 

Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to many employees for more than 30 years.

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