Incident Check List – HCR Law

Our colleagues at HCR Law are helpful in providing risk management and expert help post incident.  They have provided us with the attached incident checklist that gives you some top tips on what to cover in incident witness statements.

HCR_AIM incident checklist


Quad Bike

Risk Assessments – Review & Monitor

As recent court activity demonstrates the need to review and monitor your risk assessments is vital.

The operator of an outdoor activity centre near Bath has been ordered to pay £33,000 after a member of the public suffered a fractured hip when the quad bike they were riding tipped over and landed on them.

Council investigators discovered that staff had not received formal training in riding quad bikes and were not adhering to the risk assessments. Inadequate procedures were in place to ensure that staff were being appropriately supervised.

On 8 June 2015 the local authority served an immediate prohibition notice against Hamburger Hill, citing the risk of serious personal injury posed by an all-terrain vehicle overturning “and/or impact caused by loss of control due to inadequate rider skills and knowledge, lack of supervision and information, instruction and training”.

Hamburger Hill had introduced concrete tracks for quad bikes in 2009, surrounded by tyre walls of varying heights. The investigation highlighted failings in how these walls were maintained, as well as inadequate procedures to monitor and review the design and construction of the tracks to ensure that they remained suitable for their intended use.

“You can have the most wonderful risk assessments and policies in place but if they are not monitored and reviewed then they are worthless”

District Judge Taylor, Bristol Magistrates’ Court

Hamburger Hill director Russell Steel appeared on behalf of the company before District Judge Taylor at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 5 July 2018. The company pleaded guilty to an offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in that it failed to control, monitor and review health and safety policies and risk assessments; failed to monitor design and construction of the quadbike tracks and their suitability for that purpose; and failed to monitor and supervise staff.

The company was fined £8000 plus £25,000 in costs as well as a victim surcharge of £170. In sentencing, District Judge Taylor said: “You can have the most wonderful risk assessments and policies in place but if they are not monitored and reviewed then they are worthless.”

Rejecting the argument made by the defence in mitigation that the injury sustained by the member of the public was the result of an isolated incident, the judge said “it was a matter of chance of whether an injury occurred”.

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said the case “illustrates the importance for businesses to not only have the correct safety policies and procedures in place but also to make sure they’re adhered to – day in, day out –  and ensure that risks to public health are addressed”.

Author:- Robert Preston Health & Safety @ Work

Defending a Personal Injury Claim

What Evidence Would You Need To Provide?

By Ben Scholes

If you were to face a personal injury or civil litigation claim following an incident at your centre, how easily would you be able to provide all the evidence required to successful defend the claim? We all know that defending a claim can have severe financial and personal consequences for anyone working in adventure activities. Your organisation may well operate to impeccable safety standards and employ qualified, experienced staff. But in many cases, your ability to successfully defend a claim will depend on your ability to provide evidence to prove that:

  • Your staff are competent and have had the necessary training and guidance to be able to carry out their job safely
  • Inspections of equipment, installations and facilities have been carried out on a regular, systematic basis – with appropriate action taken as a result
  • Activities have been carried out in accordance with industry standards

Together with your completed accident report, witness statements, signed customer risk acknowledgment and photographs from the day – your equipment inspection records, staff training documents and risk assessments will form a vital part of evidence you need to provide to your insurance company.

The problem with paper records

As outdoor professionals ourselves, Rob Walker and I knew only too well the problems associated with using paper records for Health and Safety record keeping – paper gets wet, can be destroyed by fire, and consumes a lot of space.

We looked around for a suitable alternative but found nothing. Some organisations were dabbling with spreadsheets, but these were prone to user error and lacked accountability.

Frustrated but determined that there had to be a better way, we set out to create a new robust online safety management system designed to help protect outdoor operators, their staff and customers from avoidable risk.

The result, we believe, is an affordable, easy-to-use system which is already home to 95,000 records and trusted by clients including AIM members the Castle Climbing Centre, the Venture Trust and Low Mill Outdoor Centre among many others.

Here are just three key areas of the system which make it easy to provide the necessary evidence required in the event of a claim:

Equipment Inspection Records

The system makes it easy to prove that inspections of PPE, installations and other equipment have been undertaken systematically, by a competent person and that any necessary actions (such as repairing, retiring or quarantining items) have been carried out.

By recording all your equipment in your Papertrail account and setting inspection frequencies, your team will be reminded when inspections are due. All inspections are logged and because each user has their own unique log-in, there’s complete transparency and accountability throughout. Detailed notes and photographs can be added to equipment inspections, allowing anyone to see the history of an item from first use.

Risk Assessments

Defending a claim will invariably mean demonstrating that you have adequate risk control measures in place. It’s not enough to have risk assessments and leave them in the back of a filing cabinet. You will need to be able to provide evidence that they have been reviewed, updated and action taken as necessary.

By uploading your risk assessment documents to your account and setting inspection frequencies, you can ensure that regular reviews are carried out, documented and version controlled with a permanent time stamp.

Staff Documents

With instructor error one of the most common factors cited in claims in the outdoors, being able to demonstrate staff competence is of vital importance. Staff training records, certificates and handbooks can all be added to your account, ensuring you have a permanent record. Again, reminders can be set-up to ensure notifications are received when renewals or updates are due, and periodic observations, training sessions and other updates can all be recorded in your account.

All data is backed up four times daily and partnership with the best technology providers in the industry ensures ultimate safety, reliability and security.

We know that working in adventure activities has its own set of challenges as well as immense rewards. Our at goal at Papertrail is to remove some of the stress and anxiety involved in working in a high risk industry, by making it easy for your organisation to comply with legislation and maintain high standards of safety.

Ben Scholes is the CEO and co-founder of, the online safety management system for professionals in adventure activities and working at height. Papertrail is planned to be affordable for organisations of all sizes. To find out more visit