A recent survey of CRE professionals revealed that 96% of respondents plan to implement new processes to manage operational risk in the coming year.  Not surprisingly, the #1 area they plan to apply new tools and technology to is Building Incidents.

No matter what size or type of property you own or manage, you will, at some point, have to deal with an unexpected incident. In the past year alone, real estate organizations were vulnerable to 4.1 million reported workplace injuries.  That’s a lot of opportunity for loss and liability. In almost every case, liability and resulting losses are due to poor response and documentation- most of which could have been avoided with simple technology built to track the incident, attach all related documentation, notify the appropriate parties and store it all in a central location should it ever need to be pulled quickly. Unfortunately, properties can no longer afford to keep technology out of the incident tracking process.

“One of the things that we are frequently amazed at is when we compare companies who do have good risk management practices to companies who don’t, the loss histories between the two are dramatic, and that loss history relates to expenses far beyond just that loss. “ –Kathleen Nickerson,  Risk Management Consultant

Incidents & Loss: From Building Engines 2015 Risk Management Benchmark Report:
Mobile Incident Reporting Software and Management

Let’s look at a the most common building incident, a “slip-and-fall,” and the benefits and protection provided by an Incident Tracking system.

The Incident:

An employee from the International Parcel Service (IPS) slips and falls while delivering packages to your building. Shortly after the fall, he says he’s “ok” and leaves.  A few weeks later you receive an accident claim notifying you that you may be in whole or part legally responsible for injuries and medical attention that resulted from the incident.

Response with a Property Management System in place with Incident and COI Tracking:

You quickly pull up the following attached to the incident history:

  • A member of property management responded within 2 minutes
  • Following the incident, the IPS employee signed a Release of Liability and Refusal of Medical Care Form. The document, #8675309, was attached to the incident record
  • A copy of the current/active Vendor COI
  • Photos were taken and attached to the record
  • Security Footage of the fall was saved and attached to the record
  • A copy of the incident and all associated documents was sent to your legal representative at the time of the incident

Response With Manual Methods:

The incident report is filed away in a cabinet.  Unfortunately, the employee working that day …….. :

  1. Is no longer with the company and didn’t file the Release of Liability with the report
  2. Failed to offer Medical Attention
  3. Forgot to pull the Security Footage and the system has overwritten the Date / Time needed
  4. Wasn’t able to attach photos documenting the incident and proper response

Having a digital record of all incident data goes beyond the obvious time savings of having everything located in one system.  It helps to protect document loss and unavoidable human error. Employees can easily capture what they need and are visually reminded of required items.  All of this means there will be immediate actions at the time of the incident to assess next steps which may include:

  1. Stopping continued damage
  2. Addressing life safety concerns
  3. Notifying the appropriate authorities if/when needed

Incident Tracking software is about ensuring accidents are handled appropriately in the short-term and ensuring the data will be available should you need it in the long-term. 

If you would like to learn more about CRE Operational Risk Management practices and trends, download our FREE Guide to Managing Operational Risk. This benchmark report reflects the broad experiences of CRE professionals and provides comparative analytics to identify noteworthy operational risk management trends; the most common processes for reducing liability and insurance premiums; emergency preparedness best practices and hurdles; and much more.