Licensees and pub operators are being urged to step up safety and housekeeping procedures to guard against the escalating number of workplace accidents which is currently costing UK business more than £300m per year. More than 35,000 people are hurt in falls every year with pubs particularly vulnerable to incidents involving staff and customers. But one safety consultant says hosts can guard against potential accidents by paying more attention to simple housekeeping and carrying out essential hazard risk assessments as required by law. Stuart Mutch, of Croner Consulting, said: "Organisations too often forget such things as uneven floors, high shelves and slippery surfaces. Every accident brings distress to families and colleagues and legal action, if a member of the public is involved, can be extremely damaging to a business as insurance covers only a small proportion of the costs. "The law was upgraded in 1999 to require employers to assess risks, including slips and trips, and to take action to safeguard the health of their people." Trade groups, such as the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, have advised members about the heavy financial consequences of pub accidents. "We recently issued a health and safety booklet to members which also stressed the importance of carrying out a hazard risk assessment of their premises," said FLVA chief executive Tony Payne. "We drew the attention of licensees to a wide range of different safety issues.