CCTV is essential in defence of claims. Simply having CCTV installed is not enough and operators need to be aware of several key considerations including:
- Coverage – is the whole park covered with no blind spots
- Quality of CCTV – Both the frame rate and resolution need to be of a sufficient level to clearly identify participants and staff
- Backup – Have you got a sufficient period of back up taking into account claims may not be made for up to 3 years after the incident (or 3 years after the minor’s 18th birthday).
- Is the safety briefing captured and recorded?
- Is footage of inspections / maintenance of equipment recorded?
- Obligations under Data Protection legislation including the need to acknowledge Subject Access Requests – please see https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1542/cctv-code-of-practice.pdf for more information.
The importance of CCTV footage has been highlighted in recent claims that have been reported to us.
Claims Example 1 – NO CCTV Available
The operator had a 3 month CCTV back up period and relied on clipping the footage of medium and major injuries and storing these to keep CCTV of all accidents which might develop into claims further down the line.
A participant was injured during an open jump session and it was noted that they had a minor foot injuring with some bruising and swelling. The operator attempted to follow up but no response was received. 4 months later the injured party submitted a claim alleging that they had broken their foot. As it was deemed a minor accident, the footage had not been clipped and the backup period had been exceeded so the footage was not available.
Whilst it is not impossible to defend a claim without CCTV, the case is clearly stronger with the footage.
Claims Example 2 – CCTV Used for Proof of Inspection Regime
A child suffered a broken leg. The cause of the injury was not obvious but one of the allegations from the solicitors was that the operator failed to ensure equipment was safe. The park had been built by a reputable manufacturer but they also needed to prove that regular inspection was undertaken.
The operator had a rigorous daily checking procedure and this was captured electronically and uploaded onto a central system. On the day in question however, the data failed to upload (the records of every other day from that month had successfully uploaded). As the operator records under the trampolines, they were able to show the pre-opening checks had been carried out that day. Even if records of checks are available, these can be challenged by solicitors, so the CCTV evidence really helps to build a strong defence.
Backup of footage tends to be the major issue operators are grappling with. We have therefore partnered with a firm who have a wealth of CCTV experience to provide an affordable and quality solution for operators. Please contact us for more details on this at firstname.lastname@example.org ) or by calling our office on 01189 875100.