Should Bartenders be Required to Learn CPR?

by Paul Martin -


Beer /

That’s the question that has been brought up by a lawmaker in Utah, who wants bartenders to undergo CPR training to deal with emergencies on the job.  Rep. Spencer Cox plans to pursue a statewide requirement.

He feels that the training makes sense in places that serve or sell alcohol, because there is a greater potential for violence and fighting.  “I think that’s a very small regulation in an environment where we see heightened medical risks — not just from potential violence but from the consumption of alcohol as well,” Cox said. He continued, “if bartenders and other bar workers had CPR training, they might be able to assist customers or even save lives.”

Alongside that, he’s also considering a proposal to require staffing of beer taverns with at least two employees at all times in case of an emergency.  Both proposals are directed toward workers taverns only, where they are only permitted to serve beer, but not liquor or wine.  Several lawmakers were concerned about the proposals targeting only one industry.  It’s unclear whether Cox plans to extend to proposals to establishments with broader liquor permits.  A club license allows a bar to serve liquor and wine.

This proposal was put in motion after by one of Cox’s constituents, whose brother-in-law received no immediate help after being punched in the head outside of a bar.  He later died from his injuries, and may have lived if someone there had known or performed CPR.

Targeting a single industry may hurt the proposals chances, as a fight like that, and a situation like that, could happen just about anywhere.  Opponents are also arguing that the state should not be telling businesses how many employees they need to have on-hand.

After the meeting in which Cox made his proposal, he said that he plans to pursue legislation that would require CPR training for bar workers, but not set staffing requirements.

One bar manager doesn’t like the idea, finding it “pretty ridiculous.”  He feels that it would be a waste of time, and taxpayer money, and wouldn’t be practical for taverns.  He does feel that it’s a good idea for people to know CPR, but “not because people are drinking alcohol and getting in fights.”  Rob Blonquist, manager of Uinta Brewing Co.’s Brewhouse Pub in Salt Lake City continued: “I don’t know how many bar fights result in people needing CPR anyway.”  We’re not sure either, but perhaps that would be a good number to look at.  “I pretty much think business would stop the minute someone keels over and needs CPR anyway,” Blonquist said.

What do you think?  Should bartenders be required to learn CPR?


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