Whatever the incident is, the consequences could be very severe indeed in terms of prosecutions and licence reviews.
It is not only the significance of very large fines and/or loss of licence that need to be considered in terms of consequences.
For many operators, the most damaging aspect of any serious incident can be the adverse publicity generated both by the traditional media, but also the various social media platforms.
Your initial reaction to the incident as a business can be absolutely crucial in determining whether the relevant authorities decide to work with you to sort the problem out or to enforce heavily against you. Even if the latter route is taken, your initial attitude, reaction and co-operation can be crucial in terms of any ultimate penalty.
So the question is, do you have adequate policies and procedures in place and are your staff properly trained on them?
Some of the key areas to be considered are as follows:
- Do you have the correct internal communication protocols in place so that issues are properly escalated to the person you would want to make the right decisions in difficult circumstances?
- Is that individual prepared and ready (trained?) to be proactive in communicating with the relevant authorities?
- Are relevant staff trained in crime-scene preservation?
- Do you have a plan in place to manage the press?
It may be worth wrapping all of this up in a crisis management plan or something similar so that you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. The existence of such a plan may benefit your perception in the eyes of the authorities even if such a plan is never triggered.
It is worth reiterating at this point, that the existence of such a plan, while admirable, is only truly effective if all of your key personnel are aware of its terms and properly trained such that it will be followedif the unthinkable occurs.
As the saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst!