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Risk Advisor - RMAS Newsletter

18th February 2011

Risk Advisor 02/11 – Fire Risk Management, Meet the Team, Insurance Surveys, Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System, Tag-Bak and more . .

 

In this issue of Risk Advisor we consider the impact on the comprehensive spending review on the Fire Service, fire and security surveys; how you can help the Fire Service save your property; how to get your valuables back; and as usual consider some of life’s little quirks . . .

 

What's in this month's newsletter?

 

 

 

Fire Risk to Increase?

Government Spending Review to Impact on Front Line Services.

 

Risk Management Advisory Services were present at a presentation given by the West Midlands Chief Fire Officer in January. It was clear from the speech that the Coalition Government Spending Review will impact on Fire Brigades front line services.

 

The proposals for the West Midlands and other Metropolitan Fire Authorities will see substantial reductions in funding with cuts of up to one third in the operating budget over the next four years. This will impact upon on the numbers of fire engines and officers. It will also impact upon the important community and social activities carried out by Fire Brigades which have seen a reduction in the number of calls to fires in the past ten years.

 

It was interesting to hear about the community activities working with (amongst others) at-risk groups and disaffected youths and in schools which has seen a 50% reduction in calls in the past 10 years. Some of this can be explained by the rising price of steel which has resulted in less end of life cars being set on fire, however a great deal of good work has helped reduce fires amongst the most vulnerable.

 

Unfortunately this reduction in incidents has not been matched with a reduction of fire related costs. These have effectively increased by a factor of 4 when the numbers of events are considered. This is explained in part by a combination of reasons –

 

Minimise your fire risk.
  • Modern building methods, particularly timber frame buildings. There are particular issues during construction, but the fire risk is increased during the whole of life and any reductions in maintenance could increase the risk still further.

  • Education establishments. The 1960’s CLASP type of modular building is prone to spread of fire. There are 20 school fires per week on average. means fires in such facilities are dealt with only from outside of the building.

  • The continued reduction in fire officers will result in even less inspections of commercial buildings by fire officers. The absence of detailed knowledge of the occupancy and use of these buildings will result in most fires being dealt with by covering the building with extinguishing materials from the outside only.

  • The lack of sprinklers in the majority of commercial buildings and the almost complete absence
    in domestic buildings. It is a quoted statistic that there has never been a death caused by fire in a sprinklered building.

  • The actions of contractors. The usual cause of a fire when contractors are on site is plumbers or decorators using exposed heat.
  • Ensure you have a Hot Work Permit system and ensure your contractors comply with it.

It was interesting to hear of some of the options being considered by the West Midlands Fire Authority. These include the use of motor bikes to check on fire alarm activations, and also use of Range Rovers in order to transport important fire officers to site in advance of the fire tenders.

 

What can I do to safeguard my property?

 

There are a number of measures we would suggest, many of which are low cost and will cause little interruption to your business –

 

  • Have an independent insurance survey of your premises. This will have the benefit of identifying some measures to help reduce the risk of a fire occurrence and the spread of fire (see item by Tim Twist in this copy of Risk Advisor). You may also benefit from reduced insurance premiums.

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment. This is a requirement for nearly all businesses and organisations under
    the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

  • Carry out fire safety training. It makes sense to carry out general fire safety training, and fire warden/fire marshall training
    is a legal requirement in most businesses and organisations.

  • Consider investment in a sprinkler system.

  • Obtain a premises information box (see the article below). This will assist the fire officers to understand the potential risk
    exposures in your building and also the location of any critical equipment or documents.

Don’t forget our 25% deal on fire alarm, fire extinguisher and security alarm servicing costs which could help fund further risk management measures.

For more information or to request a visit to discuss your approach to fire safety contact RMAS today. Please call 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS now to arrange an initial exploratory meeting .

 

Tim Twist Risk Control SurveyorMeet the Team

Introducing Tim Twist

 

Tim Twist has been in the insurance industry for nearly 40 years working for 10 years as a broker before moving to work for various companies and Lloyd’s syndicates in senior roles.
 
Since 2000 he has been offering Risk Control services to a variety of insurers and individual companies.

 

Tim is one of our team of trained surveyors providing businesses of all sizes with the benefit of his knowledge and skills.

 

If you would like to discuss the benefit of a survey contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS to arrange an initial exploratory meeting.



Insurance Risk Surveys

The benefit of another set of eyes to keep you safe and abreast of the law – by Tim Twist, Risk Control Surveyor

 

Stacked Pallets

 

Are your pallets and rubbish kept like this? An arsonists dream and a nice ladder on to the roof. You are also likely to be in breach of the Waste Warranty in your policy and therefore not insured!

 

Stacked Pallets

 

Do you know what does the company next door to you does? This chemical fire and the subsequent explosions damaged employee’s cars and surrounding property. Could this be you?

 

Rubbish causing fire hazard

 

Here is a nice corner where arsonists could light their fire undisturbed. Fortunately in this instance the gas cylinders did not explode. Once again this business is likely to be in breach of one or more of the Warranty’s in their policy and therefore potentially uninsured!

On many occasions visiting businesses over the years directors have said how valuable it has been to have another pair of eyes look over their company, and point out areas to which management and employees have become familiar as the “way we do things”. Inevitably this can lead to complacency and subsequent problems which have put the company’s wellbeing in jeopardy, if not out of business completely.        

                                                  

This is why the insurance industry employs Risk Control Surveyors to visit their policy holders and make an assessment of the company – be it hotel, engineering works, warehouse or retail unit. The surveyor is viewing your business with an experienced eye and the knowledge of what can happen based on the claims the industry sees on a regular and sometimes not so regular basis. Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it can’t.

The surveyor will then be able to assist in implementing a series of measures to help reduce the risks.

 

There is not always a cost to implement many improvements, sometimes it just needs a bit of awareness and small changes in working practices. Common ones I find are lack of control over “Hot Works” on site. This involves a simple two page tick box form setting out a standard of working practices for contractors or employees welding/brazing/using blow torches on or in buildings. Other simple things are having the correct accident book on site, having RIDDOR forms for serious accidents and displaying the correct HSE notices.

 

Of course some legislation puts a very heavy duty on to employers and with the advent of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the “burden” of more Risk Assessments is just another. This may need substantial outlay to comply; upgrading fire alarms, training staff etc. but it must be addressed. The fines are now substantial for non compliance and some individuals have even attracted a jail sentence.

So if your insurance company ask for some improvements they are for a purpose – to reduce the risks inherent in your business and help you keep up to date. It may be you have missed something because you are too busy running your company.

 

If you have not had a risk survey carried out by your insurer recently we strongly recommend you encourage your broker to arrange one. Failing that a survey carried out by an RMAS surveyor, such as Tim Twist will provide you with reassurance, some easy fixes and a document you can share with your current broker as well as a competing broker, should you be considering alternative quotations. It could even lead to lower premiums.

 

If you would like to discuss the benefit of a survey contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS to arrange an initial exploratory meeting.

 

Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System

What do the Fire Brigade know about your premises?

 

A fire risk assessment is important to identify features of a building and the activities carried on that could present a fire risk. You may store hazardous materials; you will have valuable equipment and may well have irreplaceable data.

 

As each building is unique the Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System has been designed to accommodate information in a range of formats. This information will provide the fire fighters with information about the hazards present in your building; inspection pit, propane bottles or other flammable materials for example; and also information on valuable goods or materials or other vital equipment. Having a better idea of what they are likely to confront will give the fire brigade a chance of containing a fire and protecting your valuable goods while reducing the risk of injury to the fire officers.


The PIB® has the facility to hold A3 plans for the Fire and Rescue Service and CD ROMs with more detailed information specific to your circumstances.

What also makes the Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System unique is the key and security control system. This provides the Fire and Rescue Service with access but prevents unauthorised use of the information. 

 

Gerda Premises Information Box

RMAS strongly recommend the use of the Gerda Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System particularly in the following types of buildings – cold storage facilities, factories and warehouses, places of assembly, schools and other educational facilities, residential care premises, places with sleeping accommodation, transport premises, motor repair workshops and more.

 

For more information on how the Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System can help protect your major assets contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS to arrange an initial exploratory meeting.

 

 

 

 

Tag-Bak

Get your valuable items back

RMAS is always looking at ways we can help our clients and we have recently come across this initiative from a fellow member of The Business Club in Northamptonshire.

 

Tag-Bak helps to reunite you with valuable effects such as your mobile phone, Blackberry, Laptop, camera, watch, and many other personal items. The system uses a sticker with a unique identification number. If the item is recovered a simple phone call to the telephone number displayed can obtain a reward for the finder and result in your valuable possession being returned to you.

 

For more information on Tag-Bak  contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or or email RMAS

 

 

It Makes You Think

Some More of Life’s Quirks as observed by RMAS

 

ThinkerAt RMAS we are always amused by life and people, particularly when they can be so daft. Here are some more of our favourites:

 

Only the mediocre are always at their best.

 

Always borrow from a pessimist. He won’t expect to get it back.

 

No one is sicker than the man who is sick on his day off.

 

The main difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys.

 

A woman who doesn’t gossip has no friends to speak of.

 

If a book about failures doesn’t sell, does that make it a success?

 

 

This issue of Risk Advisor has focussed heavily on fire risk and follows on from Risk Advisor RA 01/11which dealt with Business Continuity Planning.

We make no apology for starting the year with these important issues and look forward to assisting your business in 2011.

 

Don’t forget our 25% deal on fire alarm, fire extinguisher and security alarm servicing costs which could help fund risk management measures including the Premises Information Box (PIB) ® System.

 

If you are interested in any of the services included in this edition of Risk Advisor please call RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS now

Alternatively if you know of someone who could benefit from our services please forward this message or provide them with our details.

 

There are two sides to every argument until you take one of the