H&S Basics for your Glampsite

With limited legislation within the glamping industry, it’s only a matter of time before we start to see the implementation of more official rules and regulations. Ultimately, running a glamping site falls under the hospitality industry so by understanding some basic considerations and legal requirements you can stay ahead.

When setting up there are a number of things to consider, whether you are creating a new site, or diversifying an existing campsite to incorporate glamping facilities.

Flooding
When choosing your development site consider all the positive and negative factors of that area:

• Although you may have never experienced flooding in the past, if you are in a flood risk area, it is important to put in place additional measures, such as run-offs away from the site, to avoid possible future incidents

• Ground Water – be aware of land that becomes heavily saturated or even temporarily flooded, it will also be considered a flood risk

Fires
Any fires carry potential risks so implementing alternative heating and cooking facilities such as electric is recommended. However, we recognise that part of the charm and romance associated with glamping includes a fire, so if you are planning on offering these types of facilities there are some key things to think about.

Firepit at a glampsite
Photo: Getty Images

• Spread of Risk – when designing the layout of your site and allocating pitches, you need to allow a minimum of five meters between each structure to diminish the chance of damage/fire spreading to surrounding structures.

Open fires & BBQs…
• Have designated spaces for outdoor fires or BBQs. These should be open (not under a covered area) and positioned away from any structures. For safety there must be sufficient space to be able to step away from the fire freely and easily with no trip hazards or obstacles.

• If fire is designed for cooking then accessories should be provided to allow for safe use such as grills or stands, with tongs, heat proof gloves and metal only pans.

• Prohibit use of liquid accelerants and educate guests to put out the fire after use when it will not be attended. Provide a bucket of sand or earth and a fire blanket that can also be used in case of emergency.

• Make guests aware that wood, and BBQ coals will still retain heat even after extinguished and to exercise caution around fire pits/ BBQs.

Wood burning stoves…
• When installing wood burning stoves, refer to manufactures’ guidelines. Using a HEATAS qualified installer is also advised. Remember that materials surrounding the stove must be non-flammable and thermally resistant. Fires should be installed away from walls.

• With any open flames, including gas burners, there must be sufficient ventilation to avoid possible build-up of hazardous or toxic gases.

• Provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all structures as an early warning system against fire, smoke and gas hazards.

• Smoking facilities – most commonly, accommodation is now non-smoking. That said, customers are generally free to smoke outside. It may seem obvious but providing facilities for safe cigarette disposal is important, especially around fabric and canvas materials that could get damaged or worse still lead to a fire.

• Note: it is worth being aware that compost bins are also a fire hazard. You might think that peat/compost isn’t flammable, but a cigarette could ignite it and will create a slow smouldering burn that’s much hotter than normal waste.

Winter months
Traditionally holiday sites close during the winter months, however glamping seems to have changed this trend with the installation of stoves for heating and with better insulation making the most of the 11 month license. There are some considerations when it comes to your insurance however.

• Any canvas structures should be taken down and safely stored during the winter months (November – March).

• If you are closing your site over winter, you will need to ensure any systems are suitably prepared for the winter e.g. turning off water and draining down to protect against freezing pipes.

Food and drink
Now we’ve covered the location and design of your site, let’s think about those extras that make it extra special. What will you be providing for your guests?

Champagne and glasses on a table
Photo: Getty Images

• Tea/coffee making facilities – think about providing individual sachets or biscuits; they are hygienic for your guests and simple for you to manage

• When supplying pre-packaged food and drink products, such as basic staples or produce from local suppliers, ensure they are stored in the correct manner, at the correct temperature and disposed of after use by dates expire.

• Sale of alcohol – should you wish to sell alcohol in any form, this includes providing complimentary alcohol, under the Licensing Act 2003 you must have a licence to do so, otherwise you are breaking the law!

• Food outlets, any outlet preparing and serving food and drink must comply with food hygiene standards.

• Note: the provision of any food and drink items (food operations) on site will require the premises to be registered with your local council.

Play and water
• Children’s play areas should be properly maintained to ensure all equipment is safe to use. Disclaimer signs and guidance on supervision is also highly recommended.

• Bodies of water are an obvious risk area; any place where someone could fall or inadvertently enter the water should be fenced, gated or such like.

• Swimming pools – there are lots of slip hazards, hard surfaces and hygiene challenges. Make sure you take every precaution to protect your visitors against the risks, as well as themselves.

Procedures, risk assessments and insurance
There are some important areas you need to cover for legal compliance, and some best practices you should adhere to.

• Health and safety procedures – for the protection of both visitors and employees, it is important that you have a clear health and safety policy that all staff are aware of. Any incidents should be recorded, and where identified measures should be taken to rectify and improve any risk areas. Staff should also feel confident to communicate these rules and regulations to guests and residents when required to protect both them and others on site.

• Risk assessments – a forerunner to implementing your health and safety procedures, you should ensure that you have carried out a full risk assessment for every element of your site. The idea of a risk assessment is to identify any areas or risk such as fires (as discussed earlier), what those risks are, and to take action to mitigate (ideally eliminate) those risks.

• Public liability insurance – this is essential to make sure your business is protected when it comes to claims from the public and guests, such as slips, trips and falls.

• Employers’ liability insurance – this is a legal requirement if your business employs one or more people and is designed to protect your business against damages and legal costs that arise as a result of claims made by an employee injured during the course of their work.

• Business interruption insurance – this is to help you financially for loss of income in the event your business is left non-operational.

The regulation of the glamping industry is a likely reality in the coming years, but by using common sense and following best practice from the wider hospitality industry you will be in the best possible position for both now and the future.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica AllnuttJessica Allnutt is part of the specialist team at Towergate Insurance, offering glampsite owners the protection and peace of mind to keep their businesses running smoothly.

Towergate has taken the time to understand the glamping market, tailoring cover to individual requirements and specific risk. Call for a chat about your glampsite – 0344 892 1413 / www.towergateinsurance.co.uk

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