Youthwork: The importance of logs

logs.jpg My worst ever morning in my Youthwork career was the one where a letter arrived indicating that legal action was being taken against me. It’s a bit cliche’d but I did actually feel physically sick, it was a horrible moment.
The story was this, three years previously to the letter I had been leading a ski trip. One of the teenagers had taken a tumble when a bunch of them were messing around and had twisted her knee. Myself and another leader had looked at the knee and gone for the RICE approach (Rest, Ice (for once this was readily available), Compression and Elevation). The next day she had insisted that she was OK to ski and I’d allowed her to.
Three year later, the letter stated the girl in question was having on-going knee problems as a result of the injury and levelled negligence against me for incorrect diagnosis and failure to get professional medical attention. My first concern was for the girl but the letter from the insurance company forbade me from having any contact or conversation with the family.
Not a great morning! I’d gone from my normal easy going self to feeling sick, frightened and worried! I went over what I could remember of the incident (three years on) time after time and what I might have done differently!
Anyway here’s the point about Logs. Three years on I had handed on the ski trip to another leader and had not kept my records. I had no written account of the incident and that was scary, nothing to back up my account, none of the details and context at all.
Fortunately the accounts from other leaders verified the details and there was no case for negligence on my part. The relief that no action was taken against me was enormous but I still feel tremendous sadness that the girl in question has had problems as a result of the trip.
Residentials are fantastic for the development of young people! Youth work rocks! BUT do the risk assessments, work hard at Health and Safety AND keep a log of all incidents and interventions, get everything written down ….. and keep it retrevable for a LONG time!

2 Replies to “Youthwork: The importance of logs”

  1. something we can all learn from. Still amazes me how many people do stuff without thinking – let alone keeping the records. Frightening. Thanks for sharing this tough experience, will probably pass it on to my team.

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