• Is your early learning centre prepared for the Reportable Conduct Scheme?

    The Victorian Government introduced changes to its Reportable Conduct Scheme that came into effect on 1 January 2019. The changes impact Early Learning Centres, Out of School Hours and Occasional Childcare providers.

    It is important to understand how this Scheme may affect your business. The key outtake of the recent change is the introduction of strict reporting and investigation requirements for the head of organisations to ensure the Commission for Children and Young People (the Commission) is informed of every allegation of certain types of misconduct involving children by employees and volunteers in relevant organisations.

    What is the Reportable Conduct Scheme?

    The Scheme applies to anyone who has witnessed, or has reasonable belief, that a worker or volunteer has demonstrated reportable conduct or misconduct towards a child. Under this Scheme, any event that is deemed as a ‘reportable allegation’ must be reported to the commission.

    A ‘reportable allegation’ encompasses a broad range of misconduct. Examples of reportable allegations include sexual offences, sexual misconduct, physical violence, behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm, or significant neglect, where the victim is under the age of 18 when the allegation occurred.

    Importantly, the scope of reportable conduct is broad and not limited to criminal conduct. For example, sexual misconduct includes inappropriate behaviours that are not necessarily criminal, such as inappropriate discussion of sex and sexuality with a child.

    If the head of an organisation or childcare centre becomes aware of any new information that causes them to form a ‘reasonable belief’ that reportable conduct was committed, this must be investigated.

    What is the process to take if reportable conduct occurs?

    Ultimate responsibility for compliance with the Scheme lies with the Head of the relevant organisation. For the Head of an early learning centre, it is important that when dealing with a reportable allegation they treat the matter with urgency in a structured matter. Systems should be in place to enable anyone to notify their concerns or allegations, to investigate the allegations and to prevent abuse and follow up allegations appropriately.

    Reasonable belief beyond just suspicion must be held that an employee or volunteer has committed reportable conduct or misconduct. While there must be some objective basis for the belief, proof or certainty is not necessarily required for an investigation to take place. The investigation should consider whether it is more likely than not that reportable conduct has occurred.

    The Commission must be made aware of any reportable allegations within 3 business days, whereupon after the investigation process must be clearly defined and developed, with the findings reported to the Commission.

    The Scheme does not replace the need to report allegations of abuse including criminal conduct and family violence to Victoria Police.

    Any matter under investigation by Victoria Police takes priority over a reportable conduct investigation, and may require an organisation’s investigation to be put on hold until the Police report is completed. Additionally, findings of reportable conduct can be shared by the Commission with Police, Working with Children Check Unit, and Regulators.

     How can I best prepare my early learning centre?

    • You should familiarise yourself with the broad range of obligations imposed upon your early learning centre by the Scheme, especially for the Head of the organisation.
    • Investigation processes need to be clearly defined and developed to ensure you and your organisation meet the Scheme requirements. The head of the organisation can be personally penalised for non-compliance, or an unreasonably delayed response.
    • It is important to understand the low threshold for reporting, the short time frame required for action, and the strict requirements stipulating the steps taken in the investigation.

    All reportable allegations regarding current employee or volunteers must be notified, regardless of whether the conduct occurred before, during or outside their role within the organisation.

    Help is available

    If you have any concerns regarding your obligations as the Head of an early learning or kindergarten centre, contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213, or visit ccyp.vic.gov.au

    business
  • Notifying Guild Insurance of a claim - your requirements

    Imagine if… you are advised by AHPRA that a patient has complained about the treatment you provided, suggesting it was performed negligently. As you’re sure your treatment was appropriate, you immediately reply to AHPRA informing them of your version of events. Some time after you hear from AHPRA again stating that they still have questions about your treatment and will be investigating further.

    Guild Insurance’s Liabilities policies state that as soon as you, as the policy holder, experience a claim made against you or an incident which could give rise to a claim, you are required to notify Guild. However, Guild has noticed a worrying trend where practitioners are responding to complaints on their own without first notifying Guild. This can have a number of consequences for these practitioners as they’re not receiving the support or guidance their insurance policy may entitle them to. It can also mean the policy holder is not adhering to the conditions of the insurance policy.

    Possible scenarios

    The following scenarios are some examples of when you should notify Guild Insurance:

    • If AHPRA has notified you of a complaint from a patient or other person and AHPRA has asked you to reply with your version of events.
    • If a private health insurer, or other funding provider such as Medicare, has requested access to your clinical records as evidence of billing practices.
    • If a solicitor or law firm representing a patient has requested access to your clinical records.
    • If a patient has complained directly to you or your practice with a formal demand for compensation or suggested they’ll make a notification to a regulatory body such as AHPRA.
    • Any other circumstance where you have an uneasy feeling about an incident or situation; when in doubt, notify!

    When to notify Guild

    Practitioners are sometimes unsure whether a matter is serious enough to warrant notifying their insurance company. There are some occasions where notifying an insurance company is a must, such as when replying to AHPRA following an allegation, when there is a request for patient records from a solicitor or funding provider or when there is an allegation of the patient suffering harm following treatment. However, when a patient complains directly to you, this is when you need to use your judgement. If the patient has simply informed you that they didn’t respond as hoped to treatment following their previous appointment yet doesn’t seem annoyed or demanding, then this may be a matter which can be sorted by you alone. Yet if you’re in doubt or concerned about the complaint or allegation from the patient, then you should notify Guild.

    Will my premium go up if I notify Guild of a matter?

    Guild’s premium pricing is influenced by a number of factors. Notifying Guild of an incident is unlikely to be the cause of a premium increase the following year. However, as detailed below, not notifying Guild may lead to further stress and complications. Therefore, the cost of the premium should not be a factor in deciding whether or not to notify Guild.

    Consequences of not notifying Guild

    Facing an allegation or investigation of any sort can be an extremely stressful situation for a practitioner. When a practitioner handles a matter themselves without the support of Guild, that stress is compounded as the practitioner will be dealing with a process they’re unfamiliar with.

    Guild has seen many cases where a practitioner’s own response has either not provided the required information, or a response has been written in a way which is likely to inflame or escalate the situation. This usually leads to further investigations being conducted and Guild being notified after the investigation has begun, inhibiting Guild’s support and influence.

    When a practitioner doesn’t notify Guild as soon as is reasonably possible of a claim made against them, they may be considered to not be complying with the conditions of the insurance policy. This can lead to cover under the policy being cancelled or the claim not being paid.

    It’s also important to understand that a practitioner may leave themselves with out of pocket expenses by not notifying Guild at the beginning. This may occur if they engage their own legal counsel not approved by Guild and at a rate Guild believes to be exorbitant or if they have offered to settle a matter without Guild’s consent.

    The staff at Guild Insurance have a great deal of experience and expertise in managing allegations and investigations and are well aware of what is required when responding to them. For this reason, it’s of benefit to everyone involved to notify Guild immediately and be sure the necessary support is provided and process is followed from the start.

    How to contact Guild Insurance

    To notify Guild of an incident, and therefore make a claim against your insurance policy, either call Guild on 1800 810 213 or go to guildinsurance.com.au/claims

    Disclaimer

    Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS Licence No. 233 791. This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice. Guild Insurance supports your Association through the payment of referral fees for certain products or services you take out with them. RHQ21092 Notifying Guild Insurance of a claim 01/2019

    accidents
  • Guild's guide to a risk free holiday season

    With the holiday season approaching, it’s time to remind ourselves of the possible threats to our homes and cars during this time. In the lead up to what should be a fun and festive time with loved ones, it’s important to think about what you can do to protect your valuable assets during this period.

    Thefts and burglaries increase at this time as a lot of crime is opportunistic; thieves know that houses and cars might be full of newly purchased gifts. Thieves also know that with people away on holidays, there is an increased opportunity to break into cars and homes.

    However, holiday dangers aren’t just about thefts and burglaries. People also need to think about what they can do to protect their homes and cars from damage or unnecessary costs while on holidays, as well as keeping themselves safe.

    Protecting your home
    Before heading off on holidays:

    • Be mindful of how you dispose of packaging of gifts or newly purchased items. A bin full of boxes for items such as televisions, game consoles or tablets lets people know what valuable items are in the home.

    • Ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail. A build-up of mail is a sure sign someone isn’t home.

    • Use a timer to have your house lights turn on and off at certain periods of the day, creating a look of someone being in.

    • Consider what appliances can be turned off within your home. While usage is low, many appliances continue to use power even when they aren’t being used. Items to consider turning off include hot water tanks, televisions, microwaves and computers. However, be sure to think about what you’re turning off before you quickly switch off all power; for example, fridges and freezers, unless empty, should be kept on.

    • Clear out your gutters. A build-up of leaves and other debris creates a fire hazard as well as a risk of an overflow of water entering the roof space during a storm.

    Protecting your car

    • If leaving your car at home while on holidays, where possible leave it locked securely in a garage or somewhere else out of sight. Thieves will notice a car sitting in the sam spot every day which hasn’t moved.

    • Don’t keep valuables in sight that could entice those opportunistic
    thieves. This applies to items used all year, such as mobile phones. However, over the holiday season it also applies to shopping bags which are clearly full of new items.

    • When taking your car on holidays, be sure you have some sort of roadside assistance or breakdown coverage to protect you during those
    unexpected moments.

    • If sharing driving duties during a road trip, be sure the insurance policy for the car covers all drivers.

    • Take regular breaks on long drives by either swapping drivers or taking rest breaks. Also, when on long drives, plan your stops to allow for petrol fill ups and food and drink stops.

    • Be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk as visibility generally isn’t as clear as during the day.


    Download the printable version

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    risks
  • Water quality in dental practice Part 2

    Various forms of water are used in the dental practice. The previous article, ‘Dental unit waterlines’, focussed on waterline biofilm issues. In this second article, Professor Laurence Walsh summarises key aspects of water quality that impact on instrument reprocessing and sterilisation.

    WATER FOR ULTRASONIC CLEANERS

    Tap water has dissolved oxygen and other atmospheric gases. Aerators on taps slow the flow to reduce splash, but they increase the dissolved gases. Degassing of water is essential to remove dissolved gases before undertaking ultrasonic cleaning of items.

    WATER FOR CLEANING ITEMS AND FOR RINSING INSTRUMENTS

    Water used in instrument cleaning should have low levels of viable bacteria and bacterial products such as endotoxin, and be free of heavy metals and other contaminants. A key property of water that is used with detergents is its hardness. In hard water, there are high levels of calcium and magnesium salts, particularly carbonates, bicarbonates, sulphates and chlorides. This causes faster build-up of limescale, which can foul plumbing in the water distribution system, as well as major problems with detergents, such as low foam height and reduced surfactancy. The reason for this is that calcium or magnesium ions form insoluble salts with detergents, reducing their surfactant effects. Instead, they create a coating of insoluble stearates on the surface of instruments. This is equivalent to ‘soap scum’ seen in a shower recess.

    Water softening creates soft water by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium or potassium ions, so that no insoluble products are created by the reactions with detergents. Typically, water softening uses an ion-exchange resin. When all the available sodium or potassium ions in the resin have been replaced with calcium or magnesium ions, the resin must be re-charged by eluting the bound calcium and magnesium ions off the resin using a very strong solution of domestic salt (sodium chloride).

    The hardness of ground water varies considerably around Australia, and water hardness problems are often encountered. This is why some detergents used for instrument cleaning include chelating agents such as citric acid or EDTA, which act as softening agents.

    IS RAIN WATER SUITABLE FOR INSTRUMENT CLEANING OR FOR FEEDING STERILISERS?

    In short, the answer is no. Normally, rainwater collected into polyethylene tanks is soft as it has low levels of calcium and magnesium ions and so forms a strong lather with detergents. Rainwater stored in concrete-lined tanks becomes hard due to dissolved calcium hydroxide that has been released from Portland cement into the water. Overall, rainwater is not well suited for use in a sterilising room. It is neither sterile nor is it free of anions and cations. Rainwater picks up multiple contaminants from the atmosphere (dust, pollutant gases) and from where it has been collected (off a roof). Normally, rainwater is acidic due to the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide (carbonic acid) as well as containing traces of sulphuric acid and nitric acid, both of which are derived from natural atmospheric sources and from industrial activity

    WATER FOR STEAM GENERATION

    Demineralised water is used for steam generation in steam sterilisers. Tap water is not suitable because this contains many cations (calcium, magnesium, aluminium, sodium, potassium, iron, and copper ions) and anions (phosphates, carbonates, sulphates, silicates, chlorides, fluorides). Precipitation reactions will cause scale build-up on water heating elements in steam sterilisers, in the same manner as occurs in water distillers, kettles, clothes irons and steam cleaners. In water distillers, regular removal of this white or yellowish mineral scale left on the heating elements of the distiller must be undertaken with an appropriate agent such as citric acid or dilute sulphuric acid.

    Water may be demineralised, i.e. rendered free of cations and anions, by one of three different processes – distillation, ion exchange in a deioniser resin, and reverse osmosis (RO). While these processes remove ions, they do not remove uncharged materials including organic compounds and microorganisms. Deionised, distilled and RO water are not sterile.

    When water is boiled the condensate is collected, resulting in distilled water free of inorganic minerals, and so is suitable for use in a steam steriliser. Distilled water does not have a neutral pH (7.0), but rather tends to have a low pH, caused by carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolving back into the water, forming a dilute solution of carbonic acid. When distilled water is made, the collection container is normally not sterile and so distilled water almost always contains some viable bacteria. To avoid this, additional treatment (such as ozonation or short wavelength ultraviolet light treatment) would be needed. The same holds true for deionised and reverse osmosis water; as with distilled water these are not sterile.

    Many dental practices use water deioniser cartridges to generate water for use in a steam steriliser, as the process is easier, less expensive and more energy efficient than distillation or reverse osmosis. In a water deioniser unit, an ion-exchange resin exchanges dissolved cations and anions for hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions. A water deioniser does not remove uncharged organic molecules or bacteria, except by incidental trapping in the resin. As mentioned above for water softening resins, the ion exchange resin beds in a water deioniser unit have a limited capacity and need to be regenerated or replaced periodically. In many cases, this is on a regular schedule (e.g. three monthly) based on the water flow through the cartridge. Often deioniser cartridges are fed by sediment and carbon filters, and will have their own replacement sequence. It is essential to follow the supplier’s advice on when the different cartridges in a multi-cartridge system should be changed. Commercial test strips and meters to check water quality are readily available for monitoring ion content.

    The process of RO uses high pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles including some bacteria. Tap water pressures of around 40 psi can drive a small RO unit. An RO system must have pre-treatment filters to stop membranes clogging. As with water deionisers, RO filter cartridges need to be changed on a regular basis as per the supplier’s instructions. RO water tends to have a neutral pH, but can be too soft and thus corrosive to pipes and control blocks which is why RO water is not approved for use in many types of dental chairs. Similar issues can occur when using distilled or deionised water, since these are mineral-free and can be very aggressive in reacting with some types of dental unit control blocks.

    An additional issue with an RO system fed from mains pressure water is that they tend to have low recovery (5-15%) and so will use a lot of water that will be discharged as waste water into the drains. Surprisingly, this can lead to high water usage bills.

    To achieve sterility, the steam in a steriliser must condense to transfer the latent heat of condensation onto the instruments or items. This raises an important problem when the water for steam generation is condensed and then re-used in later cycles, rather than being dumped. In re-used water, contaminants (such as handpiece lubricants) build up progressively over time, leading to problems with superheated steam that is too dry and will not condense. For steam sterilisers that condense and re-use water in multiple cycles, demineralised water must be completely replaced every week, and not just topped up.

     

    Disclaimer

    Insurance issued by Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS License No. 233791 and subject to terms, conditions and exclusions. This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice.  Republished from the ADA News Bulletin, December 2017 No 471 and February 2018 No 472 with the kind permission of the Australian Dental Association. Guild Insurance supports ADA through the payment of referral fees. Please refer to the policy wording and policy schedule for details. For more information call 1800 810 213.

    business
  • Water quality in dental practie Part 1

    This first article, in a two-part series on water quality in dental practice by Professor Laurence Walsh on behalf of the Infection Control Subcommittee, provides useful guidance for all practitioners managing water quality in their practices.

    The second part is published under the article Water quality in dental practice – Understanding water quality. 

    Biofilms within dental unit waterlines (DUWL) have been linked to respiratory infections and wound infections, involving pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella pneumophila and nontuberculous mycobacteria. These bacteria are widespread in natural sources of freshwater and are found commonly in manmade water systems. If tap water with no additional chemical additives is fed into a dental chair through a mains water connection or via a bottle, there will be rapid development of biofilm in the waterlines. Even with chemical treatments, growth of biofilms will occur more rapidly when there is stagnation (from periods of non-use such as weekends and holidays), and when the ambient temperature is higher.

    Dental units connected directly to mains water must have backflow prevention devices, such as reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valves, to prevent water from the dental practice running back into the reticulated water system.

    Many dental chairs now use self-contained bottled water systems, with the bottle located internally or externally. It is essential to check the dental chair manufacturer’s instructions regarding the correct water type and the appropriate chemical additives. When a water bottle contains a continuously acting antimicrobial agent (e.g. silver, iodine, chloramine), the bottle can be left on the chair overnight. However, if any visual contamination is present, the bottle must be removed for thorough washing.

    For dental chairs that use short acting antimicrobial agents (e.g. ozone, hydrogen peroxide), the manufacturer may advise removing the water bottle at the end of the day, then flushing the lines with water, purging them with compressed air, and keeping the bottle stored inverted and dry on the bench overnight. As before, if visual contamination is present, remove the bottle for thorough washing.

    Regardless of the system used for biofilm control, ADA recommends flushing all waterlines at the start of the working day for two minutes (with no handpieces attached).

    A range of chemical agents are available for biofilm prevention and control, including hypochlorites, chloramine T, peroxides, ozonation, silver and iodine. Systems for delivering these agents include external dosing, internal dosing, tablets, liquid dosing, and slow release collection straws. If using tablets, remember that it is necessary to wait two minutes for the tablets to fully dissolve before using the dental unit.

    There are special products made for long term ‘mothballing’ of low use dental units, to prevent biofilm growth over several months. These are left sitting in the waterlines, and are flushed out before the chair is brought back into service.

    MICROBIAL MONITORING

    Commercial tests can be used to assess bacterial levels in water coming from DUWL. These measure the levels of heterotrophic microorganisms using a nutrient agar. A typical test involves incubation at room temperature for 3-5 days, after which colonies are counted. Ideally, there should also be a second sample incubated at body temperature for two days. However, this requires an appropriate incubator.

    The objective is to keep bacterial numbers as low as possible. The ADA recommended threshold is no more than 500 colony forming units per mL (CFU/mL) for non-surgical dental procedures since this is a widely used international limit for safe drinking water. When treating medically compromised patients, it is recommended that the water from the dental unit waterlines contain less than 200 CFU/mL. The specimen container used to collect the water sample must be sterile. If there is chlorine present, a small amount of sodium thiosulfate (X-ray film fixer) should be added to the sample to neutralise any residual chlorine.

    Frequency of water testing depends on the test results. A starting point would be to assess exit water from a dental chair as a baseline. If results are below 200 CFU/mL, then re-test after three months, and if they remain low, then extend that to every three or six months. With a new dental chair installation, it is advisable to test exit water quality on installation, then three months later. Annual testing would be a workable recommendation for dental chairs in most clinics that are using chemical treatment agents routinely, on the proviso that any indications of water that is turbid or cloudy entering or leaving the dental unit should trigger further testing.

    If test results indicate a bacteria level greater than 200 CFU/mL, then undertake a shock treatment to reduce bacterial contamination from the waterlines in that dental chair. Whenever applying a shock treatment, be sure to adhere to the product instructions provided by the manufacturer, as well as the instructions for the dental chair, since not all shock treatment products are compatible with all brands of dental chair. For example, only some control blocks can withstand sodium hypochlorite shock treatment without suffering corrosion. After a shock treatment, flush the agent out and continue normal chemical treatments, then re-test levels of microorganisms. Some types of additives to water bottles come with recommendations for regular dental unit water monitoring and shock treatment.

     

    Disclaimer

    Insurance issued by Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS License No. 233791 and subject to terms, conditions and exclusions. This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice.  Republished from the ADA News Bulletin, December 2017 No 471 and February 2018 No 472 with the kind permission of the Australian Dental Association. Guild Insurance supports ADA through the payment of referral fees. Please refer to the policy wording and policy schedule for details. For more information call 1800 810 213.

    equipment
  • Preventing glass damage

    Don’t underestimate the inconvenience of damaged windows or shop fronts. Prevention is always better than cure!

    • Reduce the opportunity for damage by installing:
      • break resistant glass
      • grilles and shutters over windows and shop fronts
      • ovideo surveillance and monitored alarms
      • ‘glass break sensors’ for early alarm activation
      • window locks
      • adequate lighting and perimeter fencing
      • clear signage alerting people to your security measures
    • Regularly check the area around your premises for any loose or unsecured items that could be used to damage windows or property – e.g. bricks, bottles or other rubbish.
    • Reduce the risk of vehicles crashing through glass doors and windows by installing bollards as a barrier.
    • Consider planting low shrubs in strategic locations to make it difficult for vandals to access windows or signage.
    • Think carefully about the signage or advertising you include on your windows or shop front.Images such as large smiling faces may be appealing to vandals looking for something to damage!
    • Consider applying protective film to glass surfaces to minimise acid damage caused by graffiti and the like.
    • Don’t delay cleaning up any graffiti or rubbish.The longer you leave it, the more likely it is to accumulate.
    • Work collaboratively with other businesses and police to reduce the risk of vandalism and malicious damage.
    • Don’t invite a break-in by leaving valuable items visible after hours.
      • If you use cash registers, leave the draws open out of hours to show they’re empty.
      • Where appropriate, display valuable stock on mobile stands that can be easily moved out of view.
      • Lock mobile devices, such as laptops and cameras, away.

    If glass damage does occur, report the incident to Guild Insurance as soon as possible on 1800 810 213.   

    accidents
  • Tips for the holiday season

    Why do risks increase at this time of the year?

    The summer months are a busy time of year for the retail sector. Extended trading hours and an increased number of shoppers creates a busy and often stressful environment for pharmacy staff. Not surprisingly, this results in a significant increase in insurance claims for:

    • Slips and trips due to crowding and poor housekeeping
    • Dispensing errors by pharmacists exposed to frequent interruptions and distractions
    • Breaches in patient privacy when good record keeping and dispensing practices aren’t followed
    • Thefts by opportunistic shoppers who capitalise on preoccupied staff
    • Armed hold ups by thieves aware retailers are holding more cash and stock than usual
    • Burglaries by those looking for higher stocks of perfume, medications and specialty goods

    What can you do to reduce risk exposure?

    Stop and think about the implications of a serious incident occurring in your pharmacy this holiday season. Communicate with all of your staff about the importance of:

    • Good housekeeping including checking more regularly for hazards
    • Reducing interruptions and distractions when pharmacists are dispensing medications
    • Adhering to good record keeping and dispensing practices despite increased demand for services
    • Checking that security alarms, lighting and CCTV are operating properly and that sensors are not obscured
    • Taking care with high risk stock. Don’t tempt thieves by storing desirable medications in areas visible to the public. Keep perfume and other expensive stock away from windows to discourage ‘smash and grab’ thefts.
    • Heightened security measures including protecting all entry points and ensuring staff adhere to correct procedures for opening and closing the pharmacy
    • Regular banking of cash earnings and the use of a time delay safe
    • Knowing what to do during and after an armed hold-up

     

    For further advice and support, please contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213, or visit guildinsurance.com.au

    injury-injuries
  • How to avoid a claim against you

    Take a look at our short video for some tips that you can use everyday. Give yourself the best chance to avoid a claim being made against you.

    accidents
  • What would happen if you can’t operate your business? Part 2

    The threat of storms and fire are obvious threats to any business; however it’s often the seemingly harmless incidents which can severely affect a business’s operations. Events such as prolonged unforeseen power outages, burst water pipes or a sewage leak can all wreak havoc on your business.

    However, there are ways you can attempt to minimise the effects of interruptions to your business.

    1. Identify ways in which your business may be vulnerable to an interruption.

    > For example, conduct regular building inspections and ensure preventative maintenance programs are in place.

    2. Develop a critical tasks checklist to follow in the event of a major disruption.

    > Include items such as diverting phones, photographing damage, securing stock and other assets.

    3. Maintain a list of critical contacts to call when an interruption events occurs.

    > Include staff, landlords, contractors, security providers, local council, suppliers and details of your insurance provider.

    4. Produce an essential items kit of things you might need in an emergency.
    > A site map of your premises showing the location of electrical switchboards, hot water service, water and gas shut-off valves and emergency exits.

    > Instructions for restoring IT systems and hardware.

    > Instructions for accessing updates from key government agencies such as CFA, SES, Bureau of Meteorology.

    > Emergency provisions such as a torch, mobile phone charger, and a battery operated radio.

    5. Maintain an accurate list of current assets.

    6. Regularly back-up electronic records and ensure a copy is securely stored offsite.

    7. If an event does occur, record evidence of any damage before beginning the clean-up.

    If you would like information on how Business Interruption cover can help you, simply contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213 or visit guildinsurance.com.au
     

    DOWNLOAD AS PDF

     

     

     

    business-interruption
  • Business cyber security obligations

    Did you know that approximately 4,000 reports of cybercrime are reported to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network every month? That’s a lot of cyber-attacks to arm yourself against.

    While you might do your best to protect your business, do you know what to do if your business is under attack? And do you know what your obligations are when dealing with an attack?

    Download your copy of Business Cyber Security Obligations and learn the essential strategies to preparing for a cyber-attack and the legal obligations you have to your clients and staff.

     

     DOWNLOAD AS PDF

    business
  • Business continuity planning

    In business, continuity is the key baseline for success.  It might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people rely on your business opening its doors everyday.

    Too often businesses are caught off guard and aren’t prepared when the unexpected happens. While it’s often impossible to reduce the likelihood of many of these events from occurring, business owners can reduce the impact they have by having a plan for what they’ll do if one of these events were to occur.

    Examples of this include:

    • Storm/cyclone
    • Fire
    • Flood
    • Loss of power

    Business continuity plans (BCP) help businesses stay operational during natural disasters, economic downturns, bad publicity and internal conflict or change. Ensuring a business has the correct insurance to continue functioning regardless of internal or external factors, is absolutely key to that business’s success, regardless of size. A BCP is essentially preparing your business for the worst. It is a formal response to a disaster that can help mitigate the impact of continued business interruption. Any business can face an unexpected event that will lead to the business being unable to operate for a period of time. Without a business continuity plan, you may have to figure out solutions in times of stress, and are reactive rather than proactive, which may result in you missing important steps, overlooking risks, and aggravating the impact of the loss. Imagine yourself in an emergency: would you rather have a plan or figure it out as and when the event occurs? It’s about implementing a step-by-step plan for the future should an emergency occur.

    Many business owners feel that they can come up with an “Emergency Plan B” at very short notice to work through a crisis. The reality is that in order for you to be successful with the least amount of downtime, the planning needs to done well in advance. The most effective plans are tailored to your business which requires time to fully imagine various scenarios to come up with solutions to allow your business to move forward even in times of uncertainty. A good BCP will help alleviate weaknesses that are emerging from within the business.

    All BCPs ideally should be unique as they need to be created for the individual needs and operations of the business.

    When businesses create their BCP, they need to consider the following:

    • How vulnerable are you to a major disruption? (for example, are you in a high bushfire area or a cyclone area)
    • How will a major disruption affect the business and the clients of the business? Will clients go elsewhere for the service they require?
    • How long will the business not be able to operate? And how long can the business survive if not operating?

    Some matters to consider including in a BCP are:

    • Possible temporary sites the business can operate from if the usual place of business can’t be accessed
    • Evacuation plan
    • A list of critical tasks needed to keep the organisation operating, such as how to access data and systems as well divert phones for communication
    • Emergency contact numbers (such as for utility providers, insurers, clients, suppliers)
    • Who is responsible for key actions
    • List of current assets

    Be sure all staff are educated on the plan and have rehearsed elements of the plan, such as an evacuation and accessing data off site.

    Plans should be continually reviewed and updated over time to be sure they match the business’ current needs.  For example, if the business changes locations or adds to the services provided, this will require a review of the BCP.

    A BCP gives guidance and takes away some of the stress and anxiety during a crisis.  Many people don’t think straight during a crisis, so thinking about what to do before the situation will greatly increase the likelihood of responding appropriately.  This appropriate response can assist the business to recover more quickly from the event.

    Having insurance without a BCP is like driving somewhere you’ve never been at night, without a map or headlights. Business continuity planning and insurance go hand in hand. Ensuring you’ve developed a thorough BCP will help you get back on your feet if you suffer a loss. Proper insurance coverage which includes business interruption insurance can also be an advantage when faced with a loss.

     A good insurance policy will help alleviate some of the financial loss in an emergency, but you cannot expect it to protect you from all possibilities.  In today’s era of instant gratification customers aren’t as understanding as you may think. They will wonder why you weren’t prepared as they expect you to run your business in a timely fashion despite any hiccups.

    Once you have a BCP in place, it’s important to keep revisiting and tweaking it, as risks and potential solutions for addressing them will keep changing over time. By regularly reviewing your risk, you can ensure that, should the worst happen, you are ready to deal with the situation and have a plan in place that will help you resume and not go out of business.

    business
  • Are you prepared for a power outage?

    Are you prepared for a power outage?

    Power outages are unfortunately becoming a somewhat common occurrence in parts of Australia. The threat of heatwaves, and therefore higher than usual demands on power, means that power outages are a real threat to many businesses over summer.

    Insurance protection during a power outage

    It’s important that all businesses understand their insurance cover in case of events which impact the running of the business, such as a power outage. Guild Insurance will provide cover when the power outage is unplanned, and this is defined as when there is less than 48 hours’ notice that the outage will occur. Cover will be provided for the cost of hiring a generator. And the really beneficial part about this cover is that there’s no waiting period with Guild Insurance. So if the power is out for only 2 hours, the policy will still respond and provide cover for that short period.

    Planning for an outage

    Sometimes there is no notice that a power outage is to occur. And even when notice is given, there may not be enough time to allow a business to adequately prepare for the outage. Therefore it’s vital that all businesses have a plan in place, sometimes referred to as a business continuity plan, for what they’ll do if a power outage was to affect their business.

    Some factors to consider when making this plan include:

    • Is there a business nearby which provides generators for backup power?
    • Can the business continue running from another site or location?
    • Is there another location where items, such as refrigerated stock, can be stored so they don’t perish or become damaged?
    • Where will emergency contact details (e.g. power company, insurer, clients) be stored away from the business in case the business can’t be accessed?
    • What are the implications for both the business and clients if the business doesn’t operate for a period of time?

    Remember, planning during an outage is too late. Don’t think this won’t happen to you, have a plan just in case.

     DOWNLOAD AS PDF

    contents
  • AHPRA, advertising and breaches: be safe not sorry

    Breaches of National Law are serious and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are very active in ensuring that registered health professionals are compliant.

    Any breach of section 133 can have far-reaching consequence’s ranging from fines and penalties to prosecutions.

    This document explains what avenues are available to AHPRA for advertising breaches, and provides some real life examples of how and why some practitioners have been found to be in breach by the regulator.

    Download now

    advertising
  • Cybercrime - tips to safeguard your business

    Technology has not only revolutionised the way we think, communicate and do business… It’s changed the way we need to protect ourselves.

    Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. Every person in every business connected to a computer is potentially at risk.

    Here’s six tips to help protect your business and your reputation.

     

     PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS WITH GUILD’S CYBER INSURANCE

    compensation
  • Don't let social media damage your career

    Although social media can open the door to an exciting online community, it has made it harder to separate yourself from your professional life.

    Here’s five tips to help you protect your reputation online.

    advertising
  • Do you have the right insurance for your fitness business?

    Sally began her career as a personal trainer in 2012. With high hopes and wanting to make sure she did the right thing Sally purchased an exercise professional liabilities policy. Her hard work and focus paid off and a few years later Sally opened the doors to her very own fitness studio. Sally didn’t think to change her individual policy to a fitness centre business insurance policy and continued to renew her insurance annually.

    In February 2016, a personal trainer at Sally’s gym put down a barbell behind another client who wasn’t aware that it is was there, the client tripped over it, hit her head on the floor and was knocked unconscious.

    The personal trainer immediately called 000. After the paramedics arrived, the client was taken to hospital and underwent emergency spinal surgery.

    Two months later, Sally received a letter from the client’s lawyer requesting reimbursement for the ambulance, medical expenses, loss of earnings and pain and suffering. The letter also recommended that Sally should contact her insurer. Taking this advice, Sally informed her insurer and began the claims process.

    After reviewing her cover, Sally found that she held the incorrect policy and unfortunately wasn’t covered for any of the costs arising from the accident. This meant that Sally was held personally responsible for all expenses incurred – the costs nearly ruined Sally’s business. She has since purchased a Guild Fitness business insurance policy to suit her new circumstances, but is still to this day recovering financially from the incident.

    You can learn from Sally’s mistake. Keep in mind if you do change from being an individual fitness provider to a business owner, you need to make sure you’ve got the right cover.

    Not sure if you’re on the right policy for you, call us on 1800 810 213. We’d be happy to help.

    The above case study is based on general claims scenarios and do not reflect any particular claim. Names are fictitious and any resemblance to a real person is purely coincidental.

    accidents
  • Do you understand your dispensing obligations?

    Over time, we all develop our own way of doing things and the workplace isn’t any different. Good and bad habits can be passed on to new staff, sometimes without even considering if the practices are still relevant and appropriate. Every year we work with many concerned pharmacists who have been reported for breaching laws. They are often unaware that their behaviour may have led to disciplinary action. Below are four common scenarios that might surprise you.


    Download Full PDF

    claims
  • Avoiding children's fingers getting caught in doors

    Children are curious by nature and too often that curiosity can end in tears. Unfortunately, little fingers can easily get caught in everyday objects like doors and hinges.

    Although finger injuries are easily preventable, they can have serious consequences, including fractures, stitches and even amputation!

    Here’s five simple things your centre can do to lower the chances of little fingers getting stuck in doors.



    accidents
  • Keeping podiatry chairs safe

    Not all podiatry claims are directly related to treatment; Guild Insurance regularly receives claims for injuries arising from podiatry chairs.  No one sets out to have someone injured in their care.  When it happens it can be distressing for you and your client.  People come to you for help; they don’t expect to be injured.  If they have a bad experience, they may never return to your practice and are likely to tell others of their misfortune.

    The following cases highlight how easily incidents can happen.

    Case 1

    A man fell from a podiatry chair when he bent forward to remove a shoe.  At the time the chair was raised to its maximum height, altering the centre of gravity.  The chair tipped and the man fell from a height of approximately one metre, landing on his left shoulder.  He suffered a fracture and as a result, could not work for an extended period. 

    Case 2

    An elderly woman attempted to move off the chair as the podiatrist was lowering it down.  She stumbled and fell, sustaining a laceration to her ankle.  Due to a long history of diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, the wound took many months to improve. 

    Case 3

    A client fell to the ground when the back rest of the chair suddenly gave way without warning.  The man landed on his head, suffering bruising and  serious lacerations.

    Reducing the risk of injuries

    Working with clients

    • Don’t assume clients will act safely on or around the chair, it’s not uncommon for clients to behave in a way you wouldn’t expect.
    • Ensure the chair is positioned at the lowest setting before clients enter the room.
    • If you leave the room, instruct them not to attempt to sit on the treatment chair, or the podiatrist’s stool, until you return. Have a conventional chair available.
    • Supervise people getting onto and off the chair. Instruct them not to attempt to reach out or get off the chair without your help.
    • Consider how a client’s size and weight may impact the stability of the chair, particularly when the chair height is raised.
    • Don’t let children play on, or under, the chair.
    • Consider the benefits of using signage to further alert clients to the dangers of not following safety instructions.
    • Ensure all staff have been educated about the risks of using podiatry chairs and how to use them safely.

    Maintaining or purchasing treatment chairs

    • Reduce clutter in and around the treatment area. Keep equipment or other objects away from the chair’s foot switch to avoid accidently activating the pedal.
    • Think about the age and suitability of your current chair(s).Is it suitable for safely treating obese or elderly clients?
    • Anchor the chair to the floor if possible.
    • Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Obtain another copy of the manual if the original has been misplaced.
    • Regularly clean and service the chair according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
    • When purchasing a new chair, consider the:
    • maximum weight it can safely accommodate
    • degree of stability the chair maintains as the height is raised, or if weight is transferred to the foot plate
    • ease with which arm rests can be retracted to help clients safely get on and off the chair
    • infection control risks and the ease with which it can be cleaned
    • importance of securely anchoring the chair to the floor
    • other safety considerations relevant to your practice.
    accidents
  • Caught in the middle of feuding parents?

    Avoid being caught in the middle

    Generally, people under the age of 18 years are capable of consenting to health treatment if they understand the nature, consequences and risks of the treatment. Whether the child has capacity to consent will depend on the age, maturity and intelligence of the particular individual and the nature and seriousness of the treatment.

    Where the health practitioner concerned is of the opinion that the child is not capable of consenting, then either of the parents (or guardians) may consent to treatment, unless there is a Parenting Order to the contrary.

    In most instances, it will be the parent and not the child who is paying the costs of treatment. For this reason, in cases where there may be disagreement about the course of treatment to take and who will cover the costs, it is good practice for practitioners to draw up a treatment plan setting out the proposed treatment, the estimated costs, and who will be responsible for payment. The treatment plan can then be signed by the consenting parent and kept on the file.

    Practitioners should keep in mind that even where only one parent has consented to the treatment, both parents have the right to request access to the child’s clinical records (absent any Parenting Order to the contrary). By having a written treatment plan to hand, you can demonstrate to another parent (or guardian) who disagrees with the approach to treatment, that valid consent to the treatment has been given.


    This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice.

    claims

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