Preparing your pub play areas:
- The play area is no different to any other area of your premises, you need to do a full risk assessment. This is ideally written so you have a record of it being done and the outcome.
- The risk assessment needs to take account of the age of the children involved, and the fact they are likely to climb, jump off and run into any equipment contained in the play area.
- Pay particular attention to hard surfaces, corners and edges of equipment where fingers or clothing may be trapped.
- Once you have identified the risks, record them, and try to minimise them (eg padding corners, including soft matting etc).
- Make sure all staff working in the area are aware of the risk assessment – preferably include it in induction and refresher training.
- Depending what equipment (roundabouts, swings etc) you have you may need a regular inspection by an external inspector to check moving parts are functional and wear and tear has not made the items dangerous. An inspection before your busiest period – usually the summer – is recommended at the very least.
- You must decide on a supervision policy and record it. For example, you might choose to allocate a member or members of staff to the area at busy times, specifically to monitor safety. Or you may choose to install a CCTV camera focused on the area and have the feed in the bar area so staff can check how the area is being used. You may decide to place full responsibility for supervision with parents. If this is the case it is advisable to put up signage to the effect that ‘Children are welcome to use the play area but must be supervised at all times by a parent or responsible adult’.
- You would expect to have a trained first aider on site and first aid equipment available anyway, but make sure they are briefed in the procedure specifically for the play area.
- Record your incident procedure and include it in staff training – how and when to record any incidents (have a log book on site if you can), what staff response should be (eg alert first aider, locate parents etc) when an ambulance is required and so forth.
- Finally staff need to be trained to inspect the area before and after each trading session to look for any damage, spills, broken glass etc and the inspection and any findings should also be recorded.
If you need further advice in this area, simply call the 24/7 BII Legal Helpline on 0330 058 3878 and quote your membership number.