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Lewis Preedy

Health & Safety Consultant

Navigating the Buzz: Alcohol and Workplace Violence

In an industry alive with the buzz of social interactions, alcohol often plays a significant role. However, with the cheer comes responsibility. It’s crucial to recognise how alcohol consumption can influence workplace incidents, particularly when staff face potential risks from customers or patrons.

Alcohol, well-known for its ability to alter behaviour, can serve as a catalyst for altercations. This risk is amplified when dealing with customers or patrons under the influence. As always, the heart of safety lies proactive measures – understanding this link and taking action is essential for businesses.

So, what can you do to keep staff safe? Be aware of the hazard, the risks, and empower your staff with knowledge:

  • Identify the hazard – this includes both verbal and physical assault and abuse, and also covers online abuse. This could include but not limited to: speaking to your staff, reviewing past incidents, and checking with a professional body or union.
  • Assess the risk – this is the likelihood and severity of harm, make sure to account for vulnerable workers such as new staff, and lone workers.
  • Provide staff with specialised training. This should include drug and alcohol awareness, violence at work as well as training on handling challenging customers, emphasising preventive measures, de-escalation techniques, and conflict resolution.
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for handling unruly/ disruptive customers, and communicate these to staff. This includes emergency response protocols and communication strategies to keep them connected with the broader team.
  • Support your team. Following an incident there can be a significant impact on staff directly affected as well as those who witnessed the event, and this can affect both mental and physical health. It can also impact the morale of the wider team. The HSE suggest seeking guidance from charities such as Victim Support.

Finally, this comes down to the culture in your organisation – by fostering an environment where concerns can be raised without fear of being seen as dramatic or “making mountains out of molehills” and by acting on this information, you empower your team to act preventively.

Armour can provide training for you and your staff, as well as support with policies and procedures so get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Let’s raise our glasses (responsibly!) and create an environment where safety comes first.

Need a hand with training or risk assessments? Get in touch today.

Our content is correct at the date of publishing, but should not be taken as legal advice, and our articles don’t replace Risk Assessments. Armour will not be held accountable for any legal actions the reader may take.