The Importance of Keeping Records

Cleaning & Maintenance magazine recently featured Polished Insurance director, Lynda Allan to find out why it is so important to keep on top of company records and why it is as important to ensure that they are thorough, accurate and up to date.

Are you Keeping the Right Records?

You may have the right insurance in place for your cleaning business, but did you realise that one of the most important things you can do is to keep detailed records. This will ensure that you are successful in defending an insurance claim…should it happen.

The cleaning industry is a risky industry and we deal with many personal injury claims involving slips, trips and falls from height. Significantly, it is the businesses who have the most comprehensive records of their health and safety procedures, that successfully defend claims made against them.

What records do you need to keep?

Accurate, up-to-date, detailed, documentary evidence is critical to help insurers lawyers build a suitable defence against a claim and having the right documentation to hand will enable costs to be reduced when providing a defence to a claim.

For insurers, clients with good documentary procedures in place are seen to be the “better risks” and as such will be rewarded with premium discounts. As there is increased confidence that if a claim arrives there will be a good chance of a successful defence.

Alternatively, discovery by insurers that a client does not have relevant documentation in place may mean they must settle a claim, which could have been avoided. This can result in, at best, a requirement that such documentation is produced, and at worst it can necessitate increased premium levels or withdrawal of cover.

What can you do to ensure you have the right documentation?

There are several best practice examples that will help that you have the right documentation in place. For example, all training exercises should be documented and signed by all participants, if working practices change, the training log must be updated and documented accordingly, careful consideration should be given to the records that need to be kept and for how long they should be kept. Some records are required to be kept, by legislation. Ensure you know what it is essential for you to keep for your business.

Ensure that you carry out specific risk assessments for, the control of substances hazardous to health, manual handling operations and work at height.

Records of specific risk assessments may have to be kept for a prescribed minimum period, as described under specific regulations. Ensure that you know what these are and that your records are kept for at least the minimum period

If you are a business with five or more employees, you must record the significant findings of all risk assessments and they must form part of your health and safety policy

What happens if your business undergoes an accident and incident investigation?

As soon as you are made aware of an incident, it is important that you report it to your insurers, even if at the time there is no indication of a claim. This is so that they can assist in the immediate investigation of the incident and gather all required evidence and documentation from you, in preparation of a defence.

If your business is under investigation, you need to ensure that detailed records are made. These should record not only the details of the event but all relevant finding of the investigation, including:

  • Details of the accident/incident
  • Details of all injuries and injured persons
  • Details of all witnesses
  • Causes of the accident/incident
  • Photographic evidence – as this can be of assistance in defending a claim
  • Details of corrective actions to prevent reoccurrence of the accident/incident
  • Provision of health and safety training and all training records

In the event of more serious accidents and injuries, there are reporting requirements under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

RIDDOR incidents may be reported online or by phone. These regulations require records of reportable injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences to be kept.  If you are an employer who must keep an accident book, the record you make to RIDDOR will be enough evidence.

So, if you know that your records aren’t up to date, ensure that you start to rectify this now! If you are unsure as to the records you need to keep, specifically for your business, the Polished Insurance team can advise you if you already have the right documentation, or if more detail is required and we can advise how to do this.

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