Physical Intervention training is 'necessary' for Door Supervisors!

Click on the bars below to read more about the legal necessity for Door Supervisors to have suitable training in Physical Intervention Skills.

An SIA Licence does not mean fully trained for the role

Ignorance may sometimes be bliss - but it is not an excuse in law

Organisations that employ, or hire in Door Supervisors should be aware that although they may be sufficiently trained to qualify for an SIA Door Supervisor Licence, they may not be adequately trained to meet statutory Health & Safety requirements. This is true even if the door staff have just completed the 'Physical Intervention Skills' training which is required for licensing purposes by the SIA (i.e. Module 4, QCF Level 2).

Primarily, this is because the SIA training specification for the qualification does not incorporate floor restraint skills. We understand that these were omitted because the industry-employer consultation group made a strong case for these kinds of skills to be employer decisions based on Health & Safety Risk Assessments.

The SIA have clarified and confirmed the position

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) may be inadequate to fully meet Health & Safety requirements.

Physical Restraint Training is mandatory for UK Door Supervisors

Daniel Hutley, a senior Advisor employed 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.

Physical Restraint - HSE Expectations

The Health & Safety Executive's expectations of employers whose staff commonly need to physically intervene in situations to prevent harm (for example, those employed in the Security Industry, Police Forces, Prison Service, Healthcare, Mental Health Institutions, Education and Social Care) are detailed in HELA Local Authority Circular Ref: "LAC No. 88/2" dated October 2000 and Field Operations Directorate Circular 213/2 dated 08/09/2004.


Employers are expected to have taken appropriate steps to minimise any risks to employees that might arise from physical intervention and these steps will include ensuring that appropriate systems of work are in place (including appropriate policies, communication systems, manning levels and emergency procedures) to enable the safe application of physical restraint.
It would be appropriate for the employer to clearly state what form of restraint should be used and what forms should not be used.
Staff should be trained to know how to monitor the subject and what to do in the event of distress being noted.

Sector Guidance on Physical Intervention published 2007

In July 2007, BIIAB, (the awarding body for the licensed retail sector) and Skills for Security published a Guidance document titled "Physical Intervention - Reducing Risk".

The Guidance, backed by the SIA and ACPO, was aimed at employers in the licensed retail sector.

In the Introduction section (Page 1), Commander Chris Allison, MBE, on behalf of ACPO, says:

"Door Supervisors and other frontline staff in licensed retail premises play a key role in ensuring the safety of staff and customers. In doing so they can face some challenging and hostile behaviours, and it is vital that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to perform their roles as safely and effectively as possible.......Some staff need additional training and this Guidance is intended to help employers better understand the specific issues surrounding the training and use of physical intervention........ It is unfortunate that physical intervention needs to be considered but it is a reality for staff in higher risk security roles such as Door Supervision."

Note: You can download the Guidance document (.pdf) from the Skills for Security web site (Cost £5).

Are Management 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.

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 sections 7, 8, or 37 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. 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 Act also increases the maximum level of fines available to magistrates for breach of health and regulations from the current £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 a full stop in trading.

Given the advantages and affordability of the AEGIS Programme, it really does make 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 would like free advice on your situation, contact us