Inspection – As an employer, you should arrange for all portable electrical equipment to be tested on a regular basis (this is known as PAT testing). This should include equipment in the accommodation as items such as tumble dryers represent a high risk of fire.
Have the mains electrical installations been checked by an approved contractor recently?
Keep the use of extension leads to a minimum, if you find yourself forever using them think about putting in more sockets and don’t use multi-plug adaptors.
Know the danger signs, such as flickering lights, hot plugs, blown fuses, scorch marks, damaged plugs/sockets and visually inspect your appliances regularly. Don’t ignore these danger signs!
Identify how and where to isolate your electrical supply in an emergency and consider relocating the isolation points if they cannot be accessed quickly and safely.
Have your portable electrical appliances been PAT tested annually? Have refrigeration, cooking appliances and tumble dryers been serviced regularly?
Unplug all equipment where it is not necessary to leave it plugged in permanently and don’t leave equipment on ‘standby’ (it costs a fortune anyway).
PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION AND STAFF QUARTERS
Many pubs have private accommodation and/or staff quarters, often located on an upper floor and accessed by a single staircase from the main public area of the building. If your pub has living accommodation on site, please read on.
Experience has shown that families/staff living on upper floors can find it difficult to evacuate quickly and safely in an emergency, unless a problem had been identified early and a safe exit route was available.
Could this happen at your pub? Would you, your family or your staff be alerted if a fire or arson attack occurred in the middle of the night? Do you have intruder and fire alarms?
Also think about the fire risks within the accommodation area. Do you smoke? Do you make sure that cigarettes are properly extinguished before you go to bed? Do you turn off most electrical appliances?
Does the accommodation have emergency lighting? If not, make sure you have a torch available at all times.
Don’t store any clothing or dry anything directly on top of electrical heaters or central heating boilers.
Set your intruder alarm when the public areas are closed.
Ensure that you have a good quality smoke detection/fire alarm system and that this is maintained and tested regularly.
Is your escape route clear of objects? Make sure that there’s nothing you can trip over when you evacuate (as our flats usually double up as office and spare storage areas we’ve all been guilty of creating “dumping grounds”, the trick is don’t!)
Make sure that you have sufficient fire extinguishers to help the occupants escape in a fire and practice your evacuation route, develop an escape plan.
ROBBERY AND BURGLARY
A typical pub is at risk of theft/break-ins and violent attack due to the amount of items which are easy to sell on, this can range from wet stock, fruit machines, cash takings, large screen TVs etc. The industry has also seen a significant increase in theft of metals such as copper tanks, roofing lead etc. (For instance I was rudely awakened by two ne’er do wells at 3 in the morning happily trying to remove a significant area of lead roofing outside my bedroom window, although they didn’t succeed in removing it totally the cost of repair was fierce!)
You must review the security of your pub to see if there are any repairs or upgrades required to make it safer. The physical protection of your building’s often your first line of defence, how secure is the fencing around your rear yard/beer garden?
Accessible opening windows should at least have key operated locks but ideally, where permitted to do so, they should be fitted with lockable shutters, grills, or bars. (Although they don’t look good they are a necessary evil, for instance in one pub I ran, the pub was situated next to a public alleyway leading to a public car park. All the ground floor windows not only had external bars fitted but were glazed with wired glass.)
Doors should be in good condition, with substantial locks or internal bars/bolts etc.