Management of alcohol related harm: Part 2

Management of alcohol related harm:  Part 2In our first part of this series, we talked about RMLV methods such as providing educational material to help remind patrons of their own responsibilities as guests in a venue.  This week, we’ll be looking at how you can create a safer, more efficient venue by addressing each area within your premises.


Well-designed premises allow staff to observe patron behaviour, which in turn, lowers the risk of crime, violence or other anti-social behaviour.  A bar area which is designed to be higher than the surrounding foundations will assist in the observation of patrons, and provides a safer working environment for your staff.

Although open-plan bars have a higher level of observation, they also increase the likelihood of group conflicts.  If your venue has a similar layout to this, one strategy to help reduce this risk is to provide two or three other bars which will help disperse congestion so that patrons are not facing lengthy wait times.  Adding artificial barriers such as real or imitation plants and solid or semi-solid partitions provide a sense of privacy, yet also enable your staff to observe any negative behaviour.


Providing a clean, safe environment for your patrons is an essential part of venue management.  For example, areas around toilets have typically been a key location for disorder.  Toilets located far from staff observation present a significant risk to patron safety.  Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that toilets are readily visible and accessible to bar staff, located in well-lit areas, preferably recently refurbished, and are regularly maintained.

Physical Hazards


It’s important to select your venue’s furniture and install it carefully to reduce the harm in licenced premises and minimise its use as a weapon or barrier.  Poor placement of furniture can create barriers within your venue, which can lead to congestion in walkways around bars and dancefloors.  This, in turn, may lead to injury to staff and patrons or lead to violent situations.


Glassware has the potential to present serious risk to your staff and patrons, with research showing that bar glasses are commonly used as weapons of pub violence or ‘glassing’.  To help reduce this risk, use of toughened (annealed) glassware can reduce the number and severity of injuries from bar glasses.  Another benefit of using this glassware is its hardness and its ability to shatter on impact rather than form sharp shards.

Removing the supply of canned and bottled beverage from major sporting events in favour of foam cups has also been shown to considerably reduce the occurrence of glassing to patrons.

Alcohol sold in glassware has also been restricted within Indigenous communities, to help combat the level of injuries sustained from glass beverage containers.

Police take a primary role as consultants or take positions on collaborative communities to assist in the identification and implementation of initiatives to enforce minimising alcohol-related harm.  It is recommended to seek advice from police representatives when considering implementations within your venue.

RMLV training is an essential part of creating a safe and welcoming environment for your patrons and staff.  To find out more about our training, click here.