Considering Best Practice in Compliance Monitoring & Management – Would You Still Watch Black & White TV?
I hope that you will excuse a slightly daft question and short anecdote before we launch into our latest tirade about compliance and monitoring…Would you consider watching black & white TV any more? Probably not I suspect. Why? Because it’s not as good as colour TV. Obviously.
When you are considering Health & Safety and compliance monitoring, choosing last year’s technology may impact you a lot more severely than not being able to tell the difference between pink and green. Yet still, people use and buy technology that is well over 10 years old to record fire walks in Hotels.
This has all been prompted after our meeting with the Kent Fire Brigade a few weeks ago. It made us think long and hard about exactly why you would want to record day-to-day compliance and maintenance tasks and activity electronically, rather than using paper. Or, dare we say, why you might not want to record compliance activity at all!
Our meeting confirmed that keeping compliance information, per se, is not mandatory or a legal requirement. In fact, a hotel MIGHT trade forever more without ever needing to produce so much as a log book. Avoid the obvious pit-falls like propping fire-doors open with a fire extinguisher or making fire exits out of Balsa Wood, and hopefully you won’t get reported.
But the problem here is the word “might”.
Between April 2015 and March 2016, there were 596 fires in hotels or guest houses in England alone. There were 12,895 hotels in the whole of the UK at that time. This means that statistically, there was a significantly greater than 4.6% chance of anyone having a fire in their hotel in that year.
Another thing that our meeting with the Kent Fire Brigade established is that if there is a fire in an establishment with a high-risk profile (people sleeping in an unfamiliar environment is deemed to be high-risk), then there WILL be an investigation.
Legislation simply does not answer this question, but we at TourTraxUK do feel the need to question the validity of paper-based systems in offering the required proof. How can signatures or dates written on a piece of paper prove that anything was done, where, or when? Even systems requiring hardware to be scanned at strategic points are vulnerable to abuse and tampering if all that is produced is paper.
And what if all your “proof” goes up in smoke when the very fire that we are all trying to prevent takes hold. OK, so you keep it in a fire-proof safe, but what if someone forgot to put it in there on the crucial night in question.
Our position is that anything paper-based cannot possibly demonstrate due diligence. In fact, many of the systems that are still being used are simply not “fit-for-purpose”, in our opinion. Electronic systems that will securely record, and prove, your diligence in maintaining the safety of your staff and guests exist. And they are common-place. In fact, they are easy to use and are readily available for the price of little more than a Smartphone. This being the case, how can writing (or printing) words on a piece of paper possibly demonstrate due diligence with the technology that is available to us today?
For more information about we can help you to track and monitor all of your fire safety related activity quickly, easily and securely, contact us now: