Stood in a muddy field, warmed by the blazing inferno in front of you whilst the night sky is engulfed by fireworks means one thing, Bonfire Night. This is a night for families and friends, a night where all you need is your eyes, and most likely a coat.
Bonfire Night is a special night for many people, but to a pub, it is another event that needs to be managed well to make sure the customers can go home with a smile on their face. For a publican, you may not necessarily host an actual bonfire, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have other risks to think about. Due to the popularity of bonfire night, you may be located near a large-scale event which will result in passing traffic which could see an increase in people in and around your pub. Make sure that you have minimised the chance of any potential slips, trips, and falls to the public and have enough staff working to deal with the potential customers.
Hosting your own event: health and safety
If you are hosting your own bonfire/firework display, we cannot stress enough how important health and safety is. Sometimes people don’t take health and safety procedures seriously, but often ignoring a small health and safety measure can have big consequences. Given the fact that a bonfire is a large-scale fire, and fireworks are explosive pyrotechnic devices, health and safety is really something that cannot be ignored. You can never be too safe, we are here to help and advise so that your event can run smoothly, and the customers are going home more than satisfied.
Worried about preparation for your night?
If you are hosting a bonfire or firework event there are HSE guidelines you need to follow. For instance, when setting up the bonfire you need to make sure that the people supervising are properly trained individuals. We know you cannot predict the weather, but ideally the bonfire display needs to be downwind of the crowd and any buildings. We advise a firework display to have a 50×50 meters area for safe lighting, and another 100×50 meters allocated clear of trees, property and people. The area needs to be clearly marked with safety-barriers, a spectator viewing area and emergency exits. You must be ready to stop the event at any time if these rules are not respected or there is any interference in the designated Bonfire/Firework display area. Your Insurer may impose specific conditions in relation to clearance areas and designated supervisors, so we urge you to check your policy carefully.
Remember that the event will take place at night, where walkways, paths, steps and obstacles are not well lit for people that do not know the area. The ground will most likely be muddy due to the heavy traffic of people on site, which can cause people to slip over. A designated well-lit footpath would be good practice to have for the night. With these emergency plans clearly laid out, you must also inform the local council, police and fire services.
Will you need extra staff?
If the event is on a large scale and the crowd will need stewarding, you may want to look into hiring staff who are experienced should a risk present itself, ‘firework safety stewards’ and staff should be highly visible and identifiable to the customers.
For large-scale events the staff members are essentially stewards, and they must be trained properly and be prepared for any emergency. A full risk assessment must be taken out across the site before the event takes place.
First aid is really key at an event like this, after all, the last thing you will need on your night out is a member of the public having to step in and aid someone should something go wrong because there is no first aider on scene. A designated first aider should be present and understand the procedure for firework emergencies, if someone is seriously hurt, the display should be stopped immediately with no questions asked. If this is your first experience with a large-scale firework and or bonfire display, then consulting with at least one person who has experience in firework safety or events during the planning procedure will help you in your preparations.
Check Your Insurance Cover
You must tell your insurers that you are hosting a Bonfire Night/Firework display in advance of the event. An event like this might not be included in the insurance. They will go through the covers available and help with what is and what isn’t on cover, and you may have to purchase a separate Event policy for the evening; this will just give you the peace of mind before hosting such an event.
Bonfire night has the potential to be an extremely fun and profitable night for the business. If you implement the processes and training to your staff correctly before the event, you will be able to capitalise on the high-end organisation that has gone into the event.
As always, if you have any questions relating to your insurance or risk management do not hesitate to get in touch and see how we can help.