When hosting an event such as a holiday or cocktail party, consider proper planning to reduce liability risk from those attending.
Slips and falls, as well as serving alcohol, are two significant exposures that should be addressed ahead of time.
From preventing liquor consumption by minors to identifying intoxicated persons, avoiding liquor liability is a challenge. It is important to know the exposures associated with serving alcohol at an event and how to implement controls to avoid potentially high-cost incidents. Below are some commonly used risk management techniques when contemplating serving alcohol.
According to Liberty Mutual's Risk Control Service publications (see Resources section below), liquor liability cases against property owners are commonly over $1 million. The best defense from this liability is to avoid serving liquor all-together. Ask yourself whether the benefits of having liquor at the event outweigh the exposures.
Transferring risk to an insurer can help you redirect the alcohol service exposures. Contact your insurance agent or broker to verify that you have proper liquor liability coverage prior to hosting an event. Consider a licensed and credentialed server for your event. Be certain to have a signed contract that clearly indicates who is responsible for the alcohol-related exposures of the event. Verify the provisions with legal counsel and obtain their approval of the contract between you and the alcohol server. Confirm that the server has liquor liability coverage with adequate limits, and that coverage is in force at the time of your planned event.
For retained exposures, consider ways to control the frequency and severity of an alcohol-related loss. This can be done by reducing the amount of alcohol that is served to each individual. Consider providing each attendee with a set amount of drink tickets to limit consumption. Confirm that servers are trained to recognize the signs of intoxication and know when to stop serving an individual. Additionally, require servers to verify that the individuals they are serving are of legal age and know how to verify a false identification. Look for servers who have "Training for Intervention ProcedureS" (TIPS) certification as these servers will be best prepared to control the service of alcohol, a requirement of most states to be licensed alcohol servers.
Preventing Indoor Slips and Falls
One of the most common sources of liability is slip and fall incidents by your event attendees. Rain or snow can have a large impact on potential exposures when it is tracked in from outside. Identifying slip and fall causes can be complex and difficult to control. Dry surfaces tend to be more slip resistant; therefore, most slips and falls occur when the floor is wet and/ or contaminated (dust, grease, oil, etc.). Below are a few tips to help improve your attendees' safety during special events.
- Select mats whose edges that are designed to not curl . These mats often have a beveled edge or a flat edge to reduce tripping exposure.
- Select mats with no-slip backing that resists movement. Be certain they are placed in a way that will allow snow and wet footwear moisture to absorb well before attendees track onto the floor, usually not less than ten steps from the entry, or more depending on snow amounts.
Sweep Logs and Security
- Maintain sweep logs to monitor areas susceptible to slips and falls such as restrooms and building entrances. Be certain the logs document regular intervals of floor cleanup.
- Provide supervision of building entries and other areas with high slip and fall potential for better control of the exposure. Consult with your legal counsel to determine suitable placement for security cameras, if that is an option.
Warnings and Signage
- Provide warnings or signage whenever a slip and fall hazard has been identified and leave it in place until the appropriate action can be taken.
- Provide sufficient trash containers and locate them close to the points of waste generation. If trash containers are not close, waste materials may end up on the floor to be cleaned up later.
- Confirm adequate lighting is available to see floor hazards and defects.
Many liabilities arise when hosting an event. Consult with your company's risk management team prior to scheduling an event. By working with risk management, legal counsel, and your insurance company, liabilities can be better managed and increase the success of your event.
For more information about San Mateo special event insurance, give Concise Insurance Services a call at 650-401-8800 today!