If you’re thinking of employing contractors to work at your pub you should be aware that both you and the contractor are jointly responsible for the safety of your staff, your customers, the contractors (and their employees) and anyone visiting the premises.
First check that you have the necessary permission/approvals before work starts. Any structural changes, change of use and changes to the internal layout are likely to require planning permission and/or building control approval, Licensing Authority approval (and if you are a tenant a “licence to alter” from your landlord).
You must make sure that an Asbestos Survey is in place before any works are undertaken and that contractors have seen it before commencing any work. Make sure your chosen contractor advises if any CDM (Construction, Design & Management) Regulations apply to the required works. Be aware that you have a duty to ensure you employ only competent contractors to carry out all repair, maintenance and improvement works.
General repairs, maintenance and redecoration
When you are considering employing a contractor think about the safety risks involved and the precautions needed, the level of danger will depend upon the nature of the job. If work is to be carried out in the main public areas, can this be completed when the pub is shut? If not can you properly secure the area from access by the public? If not you may have to close the pub to do the works.
When quoting for work, do the contractors mention safety precautions, such as using scaffolding for roof work, or making sure all combustibles are removed and fire extinguishers are available when soldering pipe work etc?
Again, you will need to ensure that an Asbestos Survey is in place as with any major works.
You need to ensure that contractors hold the necessary insurance, have a good safety record and can produce the required Risk Assessments, etc. Can the contractor demonstrate good standards of safety? They should provide you with a method statement and Risk Assessments prior to starting work.
Conduct your own Risk Assessment, before the work starts.
Does the contractor carry a minimum of £5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance?
Make sure that the contractor removes any waste. Skips should be emptied frequently and located in a safe position well away from buildings.
Make sure you tell the contractor of any risks they need to be aware of, such as a slippery floor surface, low ceilings in cellars or fragile roofs.
Do your chosen contractors belong to a registered trade body, such as Gas Safe registered (The Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI in April 2009) fitters and NICEIC approved Electricians?
If your work involves anything hazardous you should be more stringent with your contractor selection and checks. Where possible avoid any hazardous work, if it can’t be avoided, can it be carried out externally in a safe area? For instance welding carries a high risk of fire if not carried out safely. Does the contractor need to use permits for specific high-risk work, such as working at height, hot work or working with live electrical systems?
Make sure you have suitable fire extinguishers located close to where the work is being carried out and that any building work does not restrict emergency fire exit routes.
This guide serves as a starting point only and does not cover all aspects of safety. For further information on any Health and Safety requirements visit the Health and Safety Executive website for further free information, guidance documents, forms, details of applicable legislation and example method statements, risk assessments, etc.
To put into context why you should make sure contractors, even window cleaners, carry out their work safely, take the case of The Loch Fyne restaurant chain, owned by Greene King. They have been fined £15,000 at Bath Magistrates’ Court after a window cleaner was filmed balancing precariously on a ledge outside one of its buildings. Loch Fyne admitted one breach of health and safety law and was also ordered to pay costs of £3,023. He was seen climbing along the ledges of the third floor of the Milsoms Hotel building – owned by Loch Fyne – in Bath without ladders or safety equipment.
To download your free specimen Pub Risk Assessment click here.
To help you write your pub’s Health & Safety Policy Statement click here for my free download template.