Fred S. Steingold's article regarding hazard liability litigation (The Law, November 1983) is worthy of being recommended reading in management seminars. The issues identified are not based upon conjecture or theory, but exist in a real sense and on a daily basis, and impact upon companies of any size, type of product, or geographical location. How well companies are prepared for, and respond to, liability litigation may determine future financial stability and even ultimate survival in the marketplace.
All of the steps recommended in the article are practical. When properly implemented they are cost effective. I make these observations based upon 35 years of experience in law enforcement and business security. Experience has also shown the recommendation concerning "employee involvement" to be the most vital of all. However, to have meaningful employee involvement there must first be clearly defined management commitment to the concepts of prevention and avoidance of the kinds of occurrence for which they might be liable.
Security surveys, case analyses, and court decision reviews reveal that prevention/avoidance programs succeed in direct proportion to the amount of management support given. Managers show support for prevention programs by identifying that such actions are an integral part of the organization. Further, managers demonstrate commitment by the nature and proportion of budgetary allocations. And finally, managers show involvement when they acquaint all employees with the fact that prevention/avoidance programs don't act as a drain on profits, but rather serve to enhance the economic health of the business.