7 Ways to Limit Legal Liabilities with Video Surveillance

By: Randy Bragg, MBA, MISM

Many companies use video surveillance systems (VSS) to deter or catch theft and other criminal activity. What many businesses fail to realize is that this is not the only benefit of video surveillance; in many cases it may not even be the primary benefit of video surveillance. In today's business environment there are many potential liabilities that business owners and executives must be worried about including liabilities related to employee injuries, customer injuries, employee and customer complaints, and damage to property. VSS can be used to limit liabilities in the following seven ways:

1. Workers' Compensation Claims - Employee injuries can have a direct impact on workers' compensations premiums. Injuries result in increased premiums which directly impact a business' profit. VSS can be used to verify workers' compensation claims and eliminate fraudulent claims. It can also be used to lower employee injuries by providing a method review of employee conduct and by enforcing safety policies.

2. Third Party Injuries - Injuries to customers or other individuals at a business can result in a direct liability to the business. The end result can include insurance claims or lawsuits. VSS can be used to verify injury claims by third parties and eliminate false claims. It can also be used to verify exactly what happened and to what extend the person(s) was injured.

3. Property Damage - VSS can be used to review and verify any property damage claims. In cases where there is actual property damage, VSS can help verify the extent of the damage at the time it occurred. Claims for property damage incurred at a business location can result in lawsuits, payouts or increased insurance premiums.

4. EEOC Claims - EEOC claims can have a major impact on business operations. EEOC claims often result in payouts or lawsuits that can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. VSS can help verify or contradict activity that is claimed in EEOC-type claims such as discrimination and sexual harassment.

5. Customer Service Complaints - VSS can be used to verify or contradict the activity claimed in customer complaints. Audio may be used in conjunction with video surveillance so that the interaction between customers and employees can be reviewed. This information can then be used to determine a proper course of action to ensure customer satisfaction.

6. Employee Complaints - VSS can be used to verify or contradict employee complaints. This includes complaints about safety, working conditions, supervisors, customers, vendors, etc. The information gathered can then be used to resolve the situation and ensure there are no further problems or complaints.

7. Safety and Policy Enforcement - VSS can be used to monitor and/or review employee activity to enforce safety policies and other company policies involving employee activity. VSS ensures a productive and safe work environment that is free of potential liabilities for the company.

VSS provides a factual account of activities for many different types of situations, not just for criminal activities. VSS eliminates the need to rely solely on statements from the parties involved or witnesses. The use of VSS should be seriously considered as part of any organization's overall risk management plan.

Article reprinted with permission of Randy Bragg/Brownstone Companies.

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