Risk Assessment and Risk Management (page 4) 

FLOODING

Global warning and climate change are much in the news these days so you should be aware of flood and storm risks as these may be reduced by forward planning and action before the event.

It is your pub and you must adequately maintain the roof, its gutters and fall pipes. The gutters and drains should be checked and cleaned at least annually as part of your Planned Preventative Maintenance programme. This alone may well prevent serious water damage to the pub and its contents and has been known close pubs.

Is your building at risk of flooding? What is the local history? Use your post code to look this risk up on the Department of Environment’s website this will tell you about river and sea flooding risks for your area, another great source of further advice as is The Association of British Insurers.

In recent years a great number of pubs have suffered major loss due to flooding, not only from water ingress, but also from sewage contamination, non-availability of utilities and significant business interruption. You may not be able to prevent water entering your pub, but by following a few of my recommendations you could reduce the impact should a flood occur in your area.

Keep up-to-date – Listen to local radio and Environment Agency Floodline bulletins (0845 988 1188) for up-to-date information on the flooding situation in your area.

If your pub has been subject to flood in the past, then it is likely to be at risk in the future. Being prepared for this eventuality will mitigate the effects when it happens again. For instance a pub very near to us has been flooded out on several occasions in the past few years (it is miles away from any river or major body of water) by the inability of the local authority drainage to carry water from heavy rainfall away from the area where it is situated. That pub now has a novel outside feature – piles of sandbags near all its external doors!

Move valuable items (if safe to do so) from lower floors to higher levels.

Stay out of the water to prevent injury; flood water can hide broken drains, damaged floors, sharp/broken objects. If you must enter the water wear protective clothing (gloves & boots) and keep washing your hands; flooding can lead to pollution and contamination. Wash all cuts and cover with waterproof plasters. Anyone receiving a puncture wound during flood recovery should have a doctor determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary.

Don’t drink the water! Drinking water can become polluted, so get it tested by your water board before you drink it again.

Just like a Boy Scout, be prepared! Collect personal belongings including insurance and bank details and essential telephone numbers together and keep them in a waterproof bag.

Isolate services and be prepared to turn off essential supplies such as gas, electricity and water at the mains (but only if you can do that safely, remember water and electricity are not a good mix). When you return don’t switch on your electrical and gas appliances until they have been checked.

Make sure it is safe to go back in, structural damage may make it dangerous, slippery surfaces make falling a risk.

Protect you, your family your staff & customers by listening to the advice and instruction of the authorities. If you have to leave the pub make sure it is as secure as possible.

ELECTRICS

It is essential that the electrical installations (the “wiring”) within your pub are safe and comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations. Electrical appliances/systems are the second most frequent cause of fire within pubs. Fires are mostly caused by defective or poorly maintained equipment located either within the main pub or within private quarters.

The risk of fire and electrocution can be greatly reduced by taking these simple precautions. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of employees, members of the public and any persons living on the premises.

To reduce the risks of electrical fires you should make sure you comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations. The two main requirements are as follows:

Maintenance – The mains electrical installation (wiring, distribution boards, sockets etc) should be regularly tested (at least every five years) by a competent electrician, who is a member of an approved body such as the NICEIC or ECA. After all repair, inspection and testing work is completed, you should be provided with a certificate to confirm the installation is safe.

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