InfoPage: BOC Sureflow - Keeping a safe cellar is as easy as pulling a pint

Related tags Occupational safety and health

This InfoPage is an online advertorial from our sponsor BOC Sureflow.Keeping a safe cellar is as easy as pulling a pint Licensees may feel slightly...

This InfoPage is an online advertorial from our sponsor BOC Sureflow.

Keeping a safe cellar is as easy as pulling a pint

Licensees may feel slightly overwhelmed by the numerous safety regulations which place the responsibility for staff safety and safe handling of gases firmly in their court.

But be it the Confined Spaces Regulations, COSSH or the Manual Handling Regulations, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that these rules are there to protect and help people by providing a safer working environment

If you manage or operate a licensed bar, you can find out more about Health & Safety Regulations and best practices for ensuring safety in the cellar by simply clicking here​ to register FREE.

Cellar Risk Assessment

In line with the latest Confined Spaces legislation, potential health risks to staff working in the cellar have to be identified and assessed and precautionary safety measures taken to eliminate or reduce foreseeable health hazards. Failure to comply with health and safety regulations can mean large fines or closure orders. It can also leave licensees open to lawsuits brought by injured employees or customers.

BOC Sureflow took the unprecedented step of producing a cellar risk assessment package immediately after the Confined Spaces Regulations were introduced in 1998 and The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has issued its own guidelines for safety and risk assessment. While the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have endorsed all such efforts to help publicans and operators of licensed premises to ensure compliance.

Asphyxiation Risk Assessment - Your Essential Guide

By law, all licensees are obliged to have their premises evaluated for potential gas asphyxiation risks. This involves a suitable and sufficient assessment being carried out by a 'competent person'.

In the cellar, dispense gases represent the main asphyxiation risk, and licensees should aim to achieve a 'low risk' rating for their cellar as this indicates a safer working environment. Anything more than this and corrective action will need to be taken to reduce the risk. Licensees can undertake the assessment themselves or get an expert to do the work for them.

However, there is help available. BOC Sureflow has used its expert knowledge of dispense gas to develop an easy to use formula to calculate the level of asphyxiation risks in the cellar. This takes into account the volume of the cellar, number and type of cylinders stored and other contributing factors such as type of ventilation etc and simplifies the operation even further.

Q: Is risk assessment a legal requirement?

Yes. The Confined Spaces Regulations together with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require that a 'confined space' be suitably and sufficiently assessed for all specified risks that constitute a potential safety hazard to persons entering or working in the area.

Q: What are a licensee's duties under the legislation?

Identify and assess specified risks Devise an action plan to reduce such risks Create a safe system of work for all those who work in or have reason to enter the confined space Train all personnel who might enter the confined space Record risk assessment findings and actions and review at regular intervals Devise a recovery plan in the event of an incident.

Q: What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Failure to comply could result in the Environmental Health Officer applying a prohibition notice on the outlet, prosecution of the licensee and any insurance policy may be invalidated.

Q: How often will a cellar risk assessment be required?

A risk assessment should be completed at regular intervals by a 'competent person'. A re-assessment should also be undertaken if conditions change in the cellar, for example, if new equipment is installed or there is an increase in the amount of cylinders or other materials normally stocked on site.

Q: Who carries out the risk assessment?

A competent person should carry out the assessment and it should be documented. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on competency states this is 'someone with sufficient experience of, and familiarity with, the relevant processes, plant and equipment so that they understand the risks involved and can devise necessary precautions to meet the requirements of the Confined Spaces Regulations'. This could be a licensee or appointed expert, for example, a BOC Sureflow expert on dispense gas safety.

Q: Who will be monitoring compliance with the Confined Spaces Regulations?

Environmental Health Officers are responsible for checking that cellars are safe working environments and that all reasonable measures have been taken to comply with the requirements of health and safety legislation.

Q: How much does it cost?

Very little if a licensee is confident to do the assessment themselves. BOC Sureflow has a self-assessment pack for around £11, while a full cellar assessment for confined spaces conducted by a BOC Sureflow expert will cost around £110.

Click here​ to find out how risk assessment can be made easy.

In conclusion, it's easy to sit back and adopt an 'it couldn't happen to me' type of attitude. But it does happen, there have been at least three reported incidents at licensed premises in the past year where people have been hospitalised as a result of asphyxiation. Why lapse into complacency and put the lives of your staff, friends, and family at risk when operating a safe cellar environment can be as easy as pulling a pint of beer?

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