Health Safety Law Licensed Premises Comply Week Part One

How to ensure your licensed premises meet the requirements of the Public Safety Objective under the Licensing Act 2003 – comply in under a week – Part one

As a Premises Licence Holder or Designated Premises Supervisor, you are legally responsible for the physical safety for customers, staff and contractors on the licensed premises.  We at O’Brien Licensing, recommend you nominate a competent person to take responsibility to meet these requirements.

Part one of this article includes days one to four of a week long activity which will result in your premises being health & safety compliant at a basic level.  For expert advice please contact us directly.

The Law

Publicans must meet the requirements of health & safety legislation, food safety and hygiene standards, comply with fire safety law, COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) and RIDDOR (reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations). 

In this short article we will address how health and safety laws apply to your business and how to go about addressing it in just seven days.

The Health and Safety Executive provide the following advice for compliance with UK safety laws. By addressing each aspect, one at a time you can take control of the health and safety of your business to ensure complete peace of mind.

As a publican you are obliged to do the following:

  1. Have Employers’ Liability Insurance
  2. Provide a safe workplace
  3. Provide your team with relevant training and information
  4. Carry out a general Risk Assessment
  5. Write a Health and Safety policy (in part two)
  6. Fire Safety Risk assessment (in part two)
  7. Supply first aid facilities (in part two)


By tackling each of the following, day-by-day for one week you will very soon have all your health and safety obligations covered.  Peace of mind is less than a week away!

Day One

First things first, as an employer, you must purchase Employers Liability Insurance by law. You can attract hefty fines if you don’t have Employers’ Liability Insurance. Fines can be up to £2,500 per day for every day you don’t have it.

Day two

You are legally obliged to provide a safe workplace for you and your workforce. There are three main aspects to providing a safe workplace:


This includes:

Good ventilation – most pubs are spacious enough but if you’ve got a basement bar, you will require a ventilation system. Remember ventilation is also required for the cellar.

A suitable working temperature – usually between 13°C and 16°C depending on how strenuous the work is.

Suitable lighting – the ambient lighting in pubs is often dimmer than most other workplaces, but it still needs to be light enough so that people can work safely. Also consider the lighting in your cellar and kitchen.

A clean workplace – Ensure that all rubbish is cleared at the end of the night and that all areas are cleaned and tidied; typically with a cleaning rota or dedicated cleaning staff.

Welfare facilities

Your employees need:

Access to clean drinking water.

Toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer.

Somewhere to rest and eat meals. This may be in the public areas or in a private staff room.

A safe place to store clothing and other belongings.

Safety issues

To ensure your pub is a safe place you must, at least:

Keep floors and walking routes free from obstruction.

Properly maintain your premises and work equipment.

Have windows that can be opened and cleaned safely.

Make sure that any glass doors are protected or made of safety material.

Tour your premises and make sure each of the above are covered off and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Day three

To comply with health and safety law you must give training and information. Your staff must know how to work safely in your pub. Make sure you document any training you give them. This can include: changing barrels, lifting heavy items and dealing with broken glass.

You MUST display either the ‘Health and Safety Law Poster’ in your pub, OR provide each individual employee with the same information in the form of HSE’s pocket booklet.

While you have a legal duty to consult with your employees on health and safety issues, they also have their own legal obligations. They must take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and that of others and cooperate with you on health and safety matters. You must make them aware of this.

For complete peace of mind, O’Brien Licensing can provide training in all elements of health and safety law as well as helping you to prepare documentation. Contact 01723 864835 for a discussion with Michael. 

Day Four

It may sound a bit daunting at first, but you must create a risk assessment for your premises. This is a simple document and can easily be created to a template.  It’s easier than you might think! The HSE website has a handy template, a copy of which is on our website, to use to create your own.

All you need to do is take a walk around with the template in your hand, and fill it in as you go, in the following sequence.

  • Look out for the hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done
  • Record these findings
  • Review them when necessary

You are also legally obliged to consult your staff. They are likely to offer a different perspective and will have noticed hazards you have not.

Here’s some useful advice from the HSE website:

“The law does not expect you to remove all risks, but to protect people by putting in place measures to control those risks, so far as reasonably practicable. Your risk assessment need only include what you could reasonably be expected to know – you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks.”

To help you further, have a look at this example of a pub risk assessment from HSE. You’ll have yours finished before you know it! For complete peace of mind, O’Brien Licensing can help you to prepare documentation.

Contact 01723 864835 or 07920 090709 for a discussion with Michael.

Contact O’Brien Licensing & Training Services on for more information.

Part two of this article will be published next week