Organisations that employ, or hire in Door Supervisors should not make the mistake of assuming that because they have completed the ‘Physical Intervention Skills’ training required for DS licensing purposes (i.e. Module 4, QCF Level 2) they are 'sufficiently trained' for H&S due diligence purposes.

They probably won't be!

Primarily, this is because the SIA training specification for the qualification does not incorporate Horizontal (i.e. floor) restraint skills. These were apparently omitted because the industry-employer consultation group had made a strong case for training provision to be employer decisions based on Health & Safety Risk Assessments.

What this means is organisations that employ/hire in Door Supervisors may be at risk of being held culpable for not providing adequate training in the event of an adverse incident occurring.

 

The SIA have confirmed this

The SIA Specification for Physical Intervention Skills training (August 2010) states:

“…..the training described in this specification outlines basic skills and knowledge required by a Door Supervisor and does not change the employer’s legal obligations with regard to ensuring the safety and security of customers and employees. This includes the need for any additional training that a Door Supervisor may require that is identified via an employer’s risk assessment of a particular venue or event.”

The statement is a candid recognition that, in certain settings, the training provided by the QCF Level 2 Award in Physical Intervention Skills (i.e. Module 4) will be inadequate to fully meet Health & Safety requirements - and this leaves everyone at risk.

 

Training in Horizontal Physical Restraint is ‘necessary’ for all UK Door Supervisors

Daniel Hutley, a Senior Advisor at the HSE Health and Social Care Division said in January 2011:

“It is difficult to imagine a risk assessment of a venue that needs to employ Door Supervisors that would not identify a need for them to have had appropriate training in how to physically restrain a Service User on the floor.”

In other words, all Door Supervisors need to have additional training over and above the SIA specification i.e. in Horizontal Physical Restraint – and not providing it can mean a threat of prosecution by the HSE and the potential for jail sentences of up to two years for managers responsible for Health & Safety training provision.

 

Are Management really at risk of going to jail?

When Physical Intervention goes wrong (or doesn’t happen at all) the consequences can be disasterous and even fatal.

The Home Office consultation with the security industry on training for Door Supervisors in Physical Intervention and Restraint (2009) included the following statement from the Security Industry Authority (SIA):

"The SIA is aware of at least 10 deaths that have occurred during ejections from licensed premises since 2003. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the figure could be even higher than this.”

Note: 5 of the 10 deaths involved 'Horizontal Physical Restraint'.

 

Whilst the numbers of fatalities occurring is quite low (especially given the number of physical interventions taking place all over the country every day!) the thing is that as possible adverse consequences increase in seriousness, so will a lesser degree of likelihood of occurrence satisfy the legal test of ‘reasonable foreseeability’. So, although the risk of Physical Intervention & Restraint leading to serious death may not be high, the gravity of the harm when it does happen means it is a risk that cannot legally be ignored.

Under S. 36/37 H&S at Work Act 1974, individuals within an organisation (including directors) can be charged with criminal offences where, through consent, connivance or neglect, they contribute significantly to serious harm occurring; and the Health and Safety (Offences) Act, which came into force on 16 January 2009, provides for the imprisonment of individuals convicted of a breach of section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (“HSWA”), or regulations made under the HSWA.

Magistrates can now impose 12 month prison sentences on any director, manager, secretary, or other similar officer of a corporate body, or person(s) who purported to act in that capacity. A Crown Court can impose sentences of up to 2 years. In addition to introducing prison sentences, the the Health and Safety (Offences) Act also increased the maximum level of fines available to magistrates for breach of health and regulations from £5,000 per offence to £20,000 per offence. Unlimited fines remain available to judges sentencing in the Crown Court.

So, managers who have responsibility for organisational policy, procedures, instructions and guidance to staff and/or commissioning staff training in relation to the management of dangerous or violent behaviour who, through consent, connivance or neglect, have contributed significantly to serious harm occurring (i.e. as a consequence of failing to implement ‘appropriate arrangements’), could potentially be sent to prison!

Note: Following convictions, prosecutors can obtain orders under the provisions of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA), to disqualify individuals from being directors for up to 15 years (i.e. on conviction in the Crown Courts).

 

No training or inadequate training could mean automatic conviction

Inadequate training could mean that cases and claims are settled without any evidence needing to be produced by the prosecution i.e. on the grounds of ‘Res ipsa loquitor’ – ‘the facts speak for themselves’.

It may also be interpreted by the employer organisation’s insurers as a significant breach of Health & Safety expectations – entitling the insurer to claim back from the insured the full costs of any compensation paid out to third parties under the policy.

On top of that a failure to immediately remedy the ‘safety shortcoming’ could also result in a suspension of the Employer’s Public Liability Insurance – requiring an immediate full stop in trading!

 

The Solution

The AEGIS Physical Intervention & Restraint (Part 1) Programme for Door Supervisors meets the SIA requirements and in addition includes a Module on Horizontal Physical Restraint - bringing the training into line with H&S 'due diligence' obligations.

Given the advantages and affordability of the AEGIS Physical Intervention Skills Training Programme, it really does make business sense for employer organisations to either provide their Door Supervisors with AEGIS training – or else insist their security provider only supplies Door Supervisors that have been AEGIS trained.

 

If you contract in Door Supervisors….

Many Security Provision contracts are based on staff having been ‘thoroughly checked as suitable’ and being ‘fully trained’.

Don't get ‘sold short’ of your expectations (or your 'entitlement' under the terms of the contract.)

Insist that all contract staff are fully trained for H&S purposes not just SIA Licence purposes.

For Door Supervisors, this will include training in Horizontal Physical Restraint (i.e. restraint on the floor).