We were fortunate enough to sit through a mock court trial in the County Court yesterday, with ex-police prosecutor Inspector Smith throwing the book at the Bent Hotel Group. Here’s the 5 messages we took home:
- By the time you get to court. You’re guilty of something.
- Is an absence of incidents always a good thing?
- An absence of incidents doesn’t mean you are compliant with legislation, risk-free or have discharged your safety obligations. It probably leaves you under-exposed and in a worse position.
- Is quality more important than quantity?
- Having a metric of tick and flick checks/audits is quantitative, yet I’m sure most of you answered yes to the question above. How do you measure your KPI’s?
- Great organisations make their paperwork hum for them. Adopt an inquiring mind and use it to harness the opportunity for improvement.
- Individuals are liable too
- It’s not just your business that will feel the wrath of the law. Think the one breach you’re being prosecuted on won’t be too bad? You’ve fixed it between the date of the incident and your date in court. The prosecutor proceeds to break down this fix into steps that are actually ten other breaches. All of a sudden it’s not just your business facing a fine for one thing, but it’s your business facing a fine for ten breaches, and you personally being held liable because a company is really just a piece of paper.
- Leave it to the experts
- Systems and procedure are only as good as the people responsible for using them. A judge will look much more favourably on an organisation that treats safety and injury management seriously by bringing in experts with appropriate skill sets. Better still they will keep you out of the court room in the first place.
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