As the owner of a pub, bar or nightclub, the risks you face can sometimes seem endless, especially with the constant threats of crime, violence, fire, and slips and trips. These risks are exacerbated by long hours, late closing times, crowded premises and intoxicated customers.
However, many risks associated with licensed premises—businesses that are licensed to provide entertainment and supply alcohol for consumption on the premises—can be reduced with proper management and appropriate insurance covers. This article outlines how to conduct a risk assessment of your business, common risks of operating a licensed premises and strategies to mitigate those risks.
Workplace Violence and Security
Theft, physical violence and verbal abuse are particularly common risks on licensed premises. Incidents can escalate quickly and involve both employees and customers. Make sure to address the following security risks.
If you are not able to see your customers due to inadequate lighting, trying to spot and deter aggressive or illicit behaviour becomes more difficult. Entrances, exits, common areas and car parks should remain well-lit at all times to minimise risk.
The inability to see all areas of your premises could encourage violence or crime. Even if you witness criminal activity, without visual evidence you may not be able to identify and prosecute offenders. A surveillance system such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) can act as a deterrent, instantly direct staff to problem areas and make employees feel safer.
You likely already have security devices in place such as alarms and locks, but criminals will try to circumvent them. Make sure to implement extra security measures, such as window restraints, and educate your employees about responding to triggered alarms.
A well-trained security staff can reduce the risk of violence and crime and instil confidence in your employees. Make sure your security personnel are capable and possess the training you expect.
Large crowds of people in a small space can foster aggression, particularly when under the influence of alcohol. Write and distribute a safety plan so your employees know how to handle entry situations and manage a densely packed crowd when your premises reach capacity.
Customers under the influence of alcohol can be volatile. Your employees should closely monitor drink-up time and perform a thorough ‘sweep’ of the premises before locking up to make sure everything is in order and no one is lingering. Consider investing in toughened glass or plastic drinking vessels to reduce costs and broken glass hazards.
Location and Premises
Your establishment’s location helps determine your clientele. If your licensed premises is located in a busy urban area, increased security and theft prevention measures will help offset risk. Urban areas are at a higher risk for fire, particularly arson. Mitigate the risk of accidental fire or arson by regularly checking fire detection and extinguishing equipment, as well as escape routes. An authorised electrician should assess and approve the wiring in your building.
Slips and Trips
Licensed premises are particularly vulnerable to slips and trips because many are dimly lit and may have flashing lights, crowded dance floors or additional distractions. Your business could be held liable for slips and trips that occur. However, there are a number of ways to foster safety and prevent slips and trips, including the following:
- Cleaning and removing substances from the floor that are likely to cause a slip, trip or fall, including spilt drinks, broken glass and other obstructions.
- Maintaining stairs, steps, balconies and raised walkways by providing handrails and adequate lighting or signage.
- Positioning absorbent mats near areas where liquid is habitually present.
- Using no-slip floor coverings.
- Clearing gangways and corridors of any obstacles.
You can also mitigate your slip and trip risks by purchasing adequate public liability and legal expenses cover. Contact BC Underwriting today at 01444 810 444 to learn more about reducing your risk and planning for future success.