This is likely the longest post I have made for a while, but if you can take away my 20+ years of experience in one of the busiest nightclubs in Liverpool (capital of injury claims)! then I have helped you to save a ton of money, stress, time and insurance liability increases and excesses – then I will feel good about the post.
INCIDENTS – BEST PRACTICE
The first thing with any incident is to recognise that it is an incident that needs to be dealt with, this may seem a very obvious statement to make but lots make the first error in the chain by not recognising what it is.
I have been there and done this so this for me is not new or a surprise and almost every claim or incident can be dealt with in minutes and put to bed if you do it right.
A couple of easy examples are:
A customer comes to you and states she has a small cut on her foot and asks for a plaster, you look and it’s a minor thing, she admits she was at fault.
No records made, a plaster given out.
A group of males are refused entry into the venue, a fight with security ensues and then two minutes later it’s over and done with, no complainant, no injuries, a quick note in the door register.
What do you do about the above? Technically do you feel that enough has been done? Incident 1 is a nothing incident and incident 2 has been sorted, no injuries, no Police have turned up – so sorted??
I’m afraid it isn’t because this is what happens next:
2 years later a claim come in stating that the claimant cut her foot due to broken glass on the floor “It was everywhere, no cleaning taking place at all” – the wound turned septic, she was admitted to hospital and couldn’t walk for 3 months. All in all a £25,000.00 plus the same again in costs claim!
You receive a request for staff records who worked that night, cleaning records, staff training, a copy of the accident report, copies of risk assessments etc etc
3 months later, Licensing Police have received a complaint, a duplicate complaint has also been received by S.I.A and they want to know all the details as these people “have been violently abused and for no good reason”.
You are now subject to scrutiny from two enforcing agencies with powers to cause you no end of grief and that is not taking up the time it takes to deal with the above issues.
So what is ‘best practice’??
The first thing that I started doing was to treat even the smallest complaint, cut toe, strap on the foot rubbing to serious injuries, stabbings, spiking etc EVERYTHING is treated as an incident that is likely to cause a massive headache in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, you will spend time doing this and 90%, hopefully, will amount to nothing, BUT when you do need it then you will be hugely grateful for the footwork you put in at the start.
It is also notable that when you are getting this information together at the start it is 1000% easier than trying to do it 6 months later!
How did I do this?
Easy – (It was NOT easy) it was hard work, the major difficulty was at the start teaching my staff the ‘new’ way of doing things, some accepted it and got on with it, others kicking and squealing – but they got there in the end.
I used TWO different systems (I use these two systems still to help others) the first is a Compliance Management system, this is a real-time cloud-based system that covers the entire business operation:
- Staff training
- Risk assessments
- Incident/accident reporting
- Company records
- Fire risk assessment
- And lots more.
Once that was in place it meant that I could set the staff training and risk assessment training up just once, the system then generates the reminders, reschedules refresher training etc, if the staff leave we still had the records.
The staff each have a sign in and access to their own training, Management has different training and access rights so they may have access to complete maintenance tasks, like recording annual fire extinguisher services. The service documents are also stored on the system giving instant access from anywhere.
As the owner or GM, you can see where the staff are up to if they have outstanding training etc and they get a weekly reminder/update emailed to them so you don’t have to remember to schedule the training, the majority of which can be read and signed off at home by the staff.
The whole system enabled me to produce all the training records, slip and trips etc within minutes and have the whole lot as PDF to insurers or the Police within 15 minutes.
ISITCHECKED is a real-time cloud-based checklist system, this works by the staff having a free app on their mobile. A QR code is placed say at the front door or a toilet or a section of the venue.
The back office enables the system to be set up, you can add any amount of codes and each code can deal with different checklists dependent upon which group of staff are scanning the code.
So a different checklist would show for security staff and another for cleaning staff and another for the Manager.
When the security staff patrol the toilets, of course, they check to see if anyone is using or dealing drugs, the floor is dry and clean etc the problem is – ‘THEY DON’T RECORD THE CHECK’ so any ‘evidence’ of a check is not there.
The same thing with glass collectors, managers, bar staff – all pass through the toilets but don’t record it. Most ‘records’ have a fixed time and some scribble for a signature every 30 minutes (not 16 minutes or 37 minutes) which is why as ‘evidence’ they fail.
ISITCHECKED records the checklist records the time and dates and GPS location and the user’s name in clear print.
As an example, if you have 2x security patrolling, you have a glass collector and a manager, they each have to check the toilets every 30 minutes. On a 6 hour shift, you could expect that the toilets record a check over 48 times (better than 12) in reality they check much more frequently and the best result I got was over 200 times in a night.
Because you don’t have a visual form on the wall nobody knows when it was last checked, so they record a check every time they pass through, the bar staff using the toilets is a bonus check.
Now you have ‘real’ evidence that has not once failed to defend a venue.
ALL incidents should be investigated as a possible claim, no matter how insignificant it seems to be.
- Record all incidents and accidents
- Get exact location and save CCTV
- Take pictures of the location
- Gather witnesses and get a brief statement signed
- Get a signed report from the injured party (I guarantee their account will change)
- Note things and get pictures (i.e High heel shoes if they may be contributory)
- Place all the evidence in an envelope into a file box
- Don’t printout checklists and staff records you can access them later from the cloud.
Putting in place these changes provided the following benefits:
- Claim against us stopped
- Existing claims failed
- Insurance excesses reduced massiviliy
- Insurance costs reduced by 75% over 5 years
- Staff improved the quality of work
- Claims that came in were dealt with in ONE Email.
- Police complaints and a chance to go to review were stopped.
The same applies to incidents at the front door, record it properly, save CCTV and bodycam footage, log an incident report on the Compliance Management system, upload copies of any paper reports.
CCTV should be saved onto a secure medium, I used DVDs for years mainly because they all fitted into an envelope and didn’t deteriorate.
The main thing you are trying to show to your insurers or the Police is that you are a competent operator and that you have done everything ‘reasonably possible at the time. IF you have done all this then I would be very surprised if the end result was detrimental to you or the venue, mainly because the Police wouldn’t likely do this level of due diligence.
I have been supporting venues and Clients for over 10 years and everyone that has implemented these systems has had no issues or even been to review.
REPLY FROM S.I.A INVESTIGATOR (redacted for Client confidentiality)
All good here thank you. I hope it’s the same with you.
Thank you very much for sending through all this information so quickly. I really appreciate your help in resolving this enquiry. Very impressive record keeping. I know you developed a fabulous system but I think this is the first time I have seen the results in real live action.
I have yet to open the CCTV as I will need to go through our IT Dept to be able to do that so will view in due course. The incident report is very detailed and I have no reason to doubt it will be reflective of what sounds to have been a most unpleasant incident.
As I said to ******, you know how it works here. Intel comes in from all sorts of places and is then passed out to people like me on the regions to make enquiries. I am not privy to where it came from in the first place. I always approach it with an open mind and am well aware that the reality of the situation can be very different from what the intel alleges. Quite rightly though it all has to be considered.
Once I have viewed the CCTV it would be my intention to write this one up as closed on the basis of no issues found in relation to ****** door staff.
Thanks again for your help.