‘Do that again and you’re in trouble’. It’s like talking to a five year old.

I was reading about a hotel in Devon this week that has just been fined £40,000 plus £10,000 costs following a fire at the premises. The fines would have been £175,000 but for the financial position of the company –presumably as a result of the fire. The fire was attributed to arson caused by a guest staying at the hotel.

Sometime prior to the fire the owners were warned about a number of safety shortcomings including the fire alarm not working properly, insufficient smoke detectors, sub-standard fire doors and so on. So, even though the cause of the fire was beyond the control of the owners it exposed the fact that corrective action had not been taken following the earlier warnings.

The result is that at a time when the business has already suffered a significant impact the owners now face the additional cost of the fine and resultant reputational damage.

On another note, Blackberry email services went down again this morning. This has happened before. Last time customers were unable to receive emails to their devices for a few days. Has the company learned it’s lesson, has it heeded the warnings? Well it would appear so because the situation was resolved after a couple of hours. No major headline news this time. Now I don’t know whether it was a recurrence of the same problem, perhaps not, so we may not be comparing like for like, but I bet the guys at RIM were quickly onto it and anxious to avoid a repeat of last year’s outage.

None of us like services or products that fail, and we quickly start to lose faith when they do.

All the good work to respond effectively to an incident – the preparation, effort and control – can all be wasted if the root cause is not investigated and repeat incidents are allowed to occur.

Remember, part of any major incident should be a review of what happened, what was done and what can be done to improve the situation and prevent a recurrence.

Heed the warnings – learn the lessons.

FOOTNOTE: Immediatley after writing this I was on the BBC News website and saw this article which quickly highlighted two incidents involving the same company – http://bbc.in/P5MRi4

September 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm
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Category: Crisis Management, Uncategorized
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