How to minimise risks during the festive season and beyond

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With the festive season fast approaching, it is time to reconsider those matters which we can sometimes leave to chance or believe (mistakenly on occasions) that we are up-to-date with.
We are constantly aware of the need for risk management or risk reduction in the area of legislative compliance, for example OLGR (Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation) and OHS (Occupational Health and Safety). Of course, these risks are spread over a myriad of operational areas in the business.
One of the key areas of risk management which falls under both of these banners, is the protection of staff. When you consider how you keep your staff safe, the usual considerations relate to ensuring that you have robust workplace practices for how they deal with issues such as troublesome patrons (OLGR) and/or good practices within the workplace (OHS).
At this time of the year, when all risks are elevated, we need to make sure we keep our staff safe and in doing so, also keep our patrons and our business safe.
A serious consideration is the on-going concern related to armed hold-ups at licensed venues.  These incidents are obviously serious and have the potential for tragic outcomes. They also impact on the business both directly (loss of money stolen by the perpetrators) and indirectly (becoming known as a potentially unsafe venue for staff and patrons alike).
By regularly assessing risk at your venue, the impacts of this type of occurrence can, to some degree, be mitigated.
Training staff on what to do in the event of a robbery occurring is paramount. No amount of preventative actions can guarantee that you won’t be the victim of a robbery. Of course, you should take action to reduce the likelihood, but this needs to be properly balanced with training on what to do during and after such an incident.
The basic crime prevention advice is to advise staff to always remain calm. This is a lot easier to say than do, particularly when faced with a violent offender who is centrally focused on his desire to relieve you of your hard-earned money. As part from remaining calm, staff should be advised to always obey the directions of the offender. It is not worth their life to try and save money (that’s why you have adequate insurance coverage) and no amount of persuasion will deter an offender from their hell-bent desire to steal from you, thus staff should not try and engage an offender in discussion, but always be prepared to obey instructions.
Of course, there are other strategies that will assist staff (or anyone) when faced with these types of incidents but these couple of hints will, we believe, go some way to helping staff successfully navigate their way through a robbery incident. For a more extensive review of your strategies, consider getting an outsider perspective – DWS provides comprehensive compliance auditing, OHS and robbery prevention training for licensed venues.
This time of the year also means you need to check to see if you have attended to those matters which you think you have, but sometimes get so busy working in your business, that you forget!
For example, have you lodged your applications for your extended hours or temporary increase in your licensed area, for those special one-off events you are going to host during the holiday period? Remember there are very strict timeframes associated with a number of applications that the OLGR have to process.
If you are time poor and are actively working in your business, then these are matters which can be easily overlooked until the ‘11th hour’.  Perhaps we at DWS can assist you in this regard?
The most important process to have in place, is to have a plan – a plan on what you will do to best utilise the facilities at your venue to maximise your return and minimise the potential for harm.
Consider – is your RAMP reflective of your current business operations?  A recent review of some venues revealed that their RAMPs referred to redundant conditions, out of date legislation and non-existent practices.
All too often the issue of out of date documentation doesn’t get attended to until ‘after the event’ – we recommend getting ahead of the issue and being best placed to show that you have the required governance and due diligence to show that you are doing the right thing.  Not only will this stand you in good stead during the course of an investigation by showing the regulatory agency you have attended to matters in a compliant manner, but by having the right practices may avoid the situation developing in the first place.
Doing the right thing (Governance) and then having the records to prove that you have done them (Due diligence) is critical to supporting your claims that you are trading compliantly.   Is your governance and due diligence adequate and able to withstand scrutiny?
If you have any doubts then perhaps, we can assist you by undertaking a compliance review, general or specific.
And lastly, remember the requirements of OLGR Guideline 60 as it relates to liquor promotions.  Have you completed a Harm Management Plan for your liquor promo?
If not, then please make sure you do and ensure the staff involved with liquor service during the promo are fully briefed.  Remember the plan doesn’t have to be a ‘novel’, just a practical guide to managing the service of the promotion and ensuring your RSA principals are maintained.
Again, if you are unsure about this process, we at DWS can assist in this regard.
Give me a call if you need to discuss any of the above matters.
DWS provides a variety of services that can assist you in planning strategically. Contact Michael on (07) 3878 9355 or to work with you to maintain compliance, good governance and due diligence.

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