On Campus Alcohol Event Risk Management Guidelines
Risk management is the process of planning, leading, organizing and controlling your activities in order to minimize injury or harm to event participants and any others they may come in contact with, and to minimize financial losses arising from legal responsibilities and liabilities to the organizers, student/employee groups and the University.
Keep in mind, that while event organizers do assume liability, and that the prospect of being sued is highly unpleasant, risk management’s main focus is to prevent injury or death: the worst case scenario we all want to avoid!
Putting together a risk management plan is a positive step in ensuring participant safety and security.
When you are planning an event, it is important to consider that the following individuals and/or organizations could be held responsible for any accidents or damages that occur during or after the event:
- The primary organizer
- The event planning committee (staff/volunteers/security persons, etc.)
- The group (executive and members)
- The Department responsible for the group
- Memorial University of Newfoundland
- Approval Process: Did you follow the approval process? Did you obtain all of the appropriate approvals?
- Duty of Care: Duty of Care is a legal principle in Canada. It simply means that you have a legal obligation to care for people, especially when they are present at an event you have organized.
- Foreseeable Risk: Did you plan for foreseeable risk? If underage persons are exposed to an event where alcohol will be served, is there a possibility that underage drinking could occur?
- Reasonable Steps to Reduce/Eliminate Risk: If there was a possibility that someone could get injured, what reasonable steps were taken to reduce or eliminate that risk? No one can completely reduce or eliminate all foreseeable risk. However, have you taken reasonable steps to curtail the risk of people injuring themselves or others?
- Ignorance is no Defence: Saying that you were elsewhere when the incident occurred is no defence. As an event planner, you are responsible for the safety of others, whether you were witness to the incident or not.
- Criminal Action: There have been many debates as to whether or not underage drinking is a criminal act. It is certainly illegal. When asked to consider whether they would honour a suit arising from underage drinking, many insurance companies said they would not.
If you are planning an event you need to identify and assess all possible areas of risk and determine appropriate risk mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood and severity of the identified risk.
The Event Risk Management Plan Checklist should be reviewed to assist in identifying and mitigating potential areas of risk associated with various events. The use of risk management strategies and techniques by all members of the university community can help ensure that all events, both on and off campus, are organized and implemented in the safest possible manner. Groups should be aware of the risks associated with an event prior to embarking on the event planning process.
- The Liquor License held by the University applies to all events where alcohol is consumed, dispensed or sold on campus, and as such adherence to the Alcohol Policy and Procedures, Newfoundland Liquor Commission (NLC) regulations and all federal, provincial, and municipal statues and regulations is required.
- At all times, prior, during and after the event, event organizers must take all reasonable steps and exercise due diligence to ensure that persons deemed intoxicated are given whatever assistance is required to prevent injury to themselves and others;
- A minimum of two executive members (event organizers) who have completed an approved Memorial University Server Intervention Training program must refrain from drinking alcohol prior to and for the duration of the event;
- Event organizers have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps and exercise due diligence to ensure that persons leaving an event and deemed intoxicated are given whatever assistance is required to prevent injury to themselves and to others. Some things you can do include:
- encourage the consumption of provide non-alcoholic drinks and food;
- limit the amount of alcohol available and the length of the event;
- ensure people know they must not drink and drive:
- announce it multiple times during the event;
- monitor people during the event and speak individually to persons deemed intoxicated;
- monitor people at the exit and speak individually to persons deemed intoxicated;
- have designated drivers
- use social club/group funds to cover the cost of taxis
- call family members
- call the CEP or police if all else fails. Courts have ruled that anything short of calling the police is seen as not taking sufficient reasonable action to prevent an incident from occurring.
- There must be at least one person at each entrance and exit, who have completed an approved Memorial University Server Intervention Training program, at all times during the event;
- IDs must be presented in order to gain entrance to the event. Any person under 19 is to be refused admission to the event. Person checking the IDs are to follow the NLC “Check 25”protocols;
- Any person who appears to be intoxicated is to be refused admission to the event;
- All servers must have completed an approved Memorial University Server Intervention Training program and refrain from consuming alcohol prior to and during the period when they will be serving alcohol at the event;
- Any person who appears to be intoxicated is to be refused alcohol service;
- If a situation arises in which a person(s) are forcibly removed from an event, event organizers have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps and exercise due diligence to ensure that all persons are given whatever assistance is required to prevent injury to themselves and to others. CEP and/or the police should be called to assist in the ejection and provide the appropriate assistance to the removed person(s);
- Should someone injure themselves or become ill during the event an executive member (event organizers) will remain with the person(s) to assist in ensuring proper medical attention, if needed, is received. If the injury is serious, they will be turned over to the care of a medical professional;
- There must be at least one person in attendance for the duration of the event who has completed a basic first aid course. This individual is to refrain from consuming alcohol prior to and during the period when they will be serving in the first aid capacity at the event;
- Event organizers must have a basic first aid kit on site at all times during the event;
- Event organizers must have access to a cell or landline phone at all times during the event;
- Non-alcoholic beverages must be available throughout the duration of the event;
- For events with duration of more than an hour and where drinks are expected to exceed one per person, food must be provided. At a minimum, finger foods are required for events between 1 and 3 hours in duration, and for events in excess of three hours in duration, a meal must be served;
- Event organizers must provide confirmation of liquor liability insurance, including forcible ejection coverage, in the amount of $2 million. Student groups can arrange this through their respective student union;