Alcohol risk assessments should be issued to customers in pubs
Do you really want to know the risks of what you’re drinking?
The local pub is a reliable staple of many streets in the UK, but you could be getting more than just a drink next time you pop into your local boozer.
One company is calling for risk assessments to be issued in pubs, with drinkers signing off on the potential effects booze will have on their bodies, allowing them to make smarter choices with alcohol which can benefit them in the long term.
Health and Safety experts Protecting.co.uk sees the benefits of such a system being put in place, as increasing numbers of people already exceed government guidelines by excessively consuming alcohol.
“It’s safe to say that even though we all know the effects of drinking a lot of alcohol, many people seem to be ignoring the facts,” says company spokesman Mark Hall, “so maybe they need to be hit with a constant reminder every time they order a drink.”
“If we’re killjoys saying this, then we’re happy to be killjoys.”
Is it plausible to get drinkers to sign consent to buy their booze?
Protecting.co.uk wanted to know how people would feel about signing a risk assessment before purchasing a drink, so we asked dozens of people in pubs up and down the country on their views.
Simon, Penzance: “I lost my nan to liver cancer last year, and I know she used to drink a lot. It’s definitely made me more aware about what I’m putting into my body, so I think it’s a good idea to give people all the facts to make their own informed choices.”
Lauren, Trowbridge: “I’m a uni student and I attend enough lectures, I don’t want to be lectured in the pub as well. I know alcohol can be bad for you, but at this point in my life, I don’t really care.”
John, Edinburgh: “I wish we had this in place years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been so stupid. When you’re young you think you’re invincible, but suddenly one day you’re as old as me, with high health risks and a beer belly.”
Andrew, Norwich: “I agree that it’s bad for me and I’ve read all the reasons why but having to sign consent to be allowed a pint is a bit too much. I don’t blame Dave the barman when I’m hungover, and I won’t be blaming him if my liver fails.”
Stacey, Gloucester: “I currently work behind the bar in a busy pub and trying to find the time to get everyone to sign a risk assessment to drink when the bar is packed is going to be practically impossible. I know my regulars won’t be happy about this.”
Protecting.co.uk’s Mark Hall says that the main purpose of a risk assessment scheme is to show people the consequences that can come with drinking too much, as not enough people understand how many units of alcohol are in each drink, and just how quickly they can add up.
The NHS recommends a weekly limit of 14 units of alcohol for men and women in order to stay ‘low risk’ for drinking related illnesses such as cancers, liver disease and heart disease.
“On average, a small glass of wine is 1.5 units, whereas a pint of high strength beer could be 3 units,” Says Hall, “If you had to sign a risk assessment, you would be able to keep track of your drinking habits and protect your body in the long run.”
Risk assessments for cigarettes too?
Since 2008, all cigarette packets in the UK have been produced with pictorial warning, in order increase awareness about the negative heath impacts of smoking and deter people from buying them.
However, Protecting.co.uk feels that this is not enough as many individuals are still choosing to continuing smoking. This is why they propose that risk assessments should also be signed when purchasing cigarettes.
“We ran an online vote and found that 75% of people believed that customers should be made to sign a risk assessment for purchasing cigarettes,” Says Mark Hall, “even with the pictures on the packets, it’s still not hitting home to most people just how bad smoking can be for you.”
This seems to be the case, as the NHS estimates that each year, around 78,000 people in the UK will die as a result of smoking, and it has been linked to over 50 serious health conditions, such as cancers, heart disease and heart attacks.
The damage from smoking and too much alcohol consumption can be irreversible says Mark Hall, so if there is a new way to get people to stop and thinking about the damage they are doing, isn’t it worth a shot?
It might be worth a shot, says Mark, as long as the shot’s not alcoholic.