Date PostedFebruary 14, 2013

Responsible Service of Alcohol Update: Alcohol Servers, have you done all you can to reduce alcohol induced crimes?


By Lee Edwin Coursey

Employees of the hospitality industry that are involved with the sale of alcohol must ensure that they do not contribute to the alcohol fuelled problems plaguing our entertainment districts. In order to do this they need to be aware of their responsibilities according to the law. The responsible service of alcohol certificate will assist in this regard and teach workers how to properly serve alcohol as to not contribute to these alcohol fuelled incidents. Some of the serious incidents we have heard of recently include assault, murder, robbery, drink driving accidents and brawling.

As an RSA worker, you must constantly ask yourself whether or not you have done all you can reduce the numbers of alcohol fuelled incidents. Have you fulfilled your duties by, not serving minors, not serving intoxicated patrons, recognizing the signs of intoxication and acting accordingly? This will in turn positively affect the community if all RSA workers employ this self-reflective approach to alcohol service.

For example if you are the security at a pub or bar, or a bartender or waitress you must undergo RSA training. Then the next step is learning to recognise an intoxicated or under-aged patron and deny them entry into the establishment. You will also need to learn the strategies to denying service to a patron because this can be tricky.

Some of the basic signs to look out for:

While the RSA course will teach students the signs to look out for in more detail, here is a basic outline of some of these indicators.

  • An intoxicated person’s speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is most often noticeably different and it is reasonable to assume these changes are due to intoxication.
  • Tact is needed when denying alcohol to a customer and you should always remain respectful and understand that the person is intoxicated and probably unreasonable at this stage.
  • Ask anyone who looks under 23 for their proof of ID. A current driver’s licence (or interstate equivalent) or passport will do.
  • Provide customers with good quality food and free drinking water wherever alcohol is sold.
  • Provide alternatives to full strength alcohol, such as low alcohol beer, soft drinks and coffee to patrons. Advise patrons to alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink or a glass of water.
  • Do not serve the same patron with too many drinks at once, this is an easy way of binge drinking which can have serious negative consequences for them and other bystanders.
  • Learn what a standard drink constitutes and know more or less the alcoholic content of drinks you serve so that you are able to advise patrons accordingly and assist them in remaining sober. Learn what a standard drink is and stick to the government’s recommended daily standard drink. This will allow you to remain within the limits of the law when serving patrons or drinking yourself.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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