New laws that could open up pub companies and employer licensees to manslaughter charges will be put under the microscope at a British Beer & Pub Association seminar next week (3 April).
The new Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act will make companies and business partnerships liable for managing failures that result in a fatality caused by a gross breach of duty of care.
Trade experts say the legislation takes issues of risk assessment and due diligence to new levels. The new Act, which comes into force on 6 April, clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies, which can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter where health and safety failures result in a fatality.
Federation of Licensed Victuallers Association chief executive Tony Payne said the new laws could prove a minefield for licensees and operators. "Pub premises house a wealth of risks and hazards where accidents can befall staff and customers alike.
"We've had several deaths where people have fallen down cellar steps because the door has been left open. When this law comes into force pub operators will need to make sure they have carried out risk assessments and tested items such as electrical and gas appliances," he said.
Northern BBPA secretary Lee Le Clercq said the seminar would be addressed by risk assessment consultants, who will outline the implications of the Act for licensees, brewers and pub companies.