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Risk Advisor March 2012

We’re back!

Our First Newsletter for a while and there is big news . .
With sincere apologies to our regular readers for the lack of recent editions of Risk Advisor, but RMAS has been busy on a number of fronts. We are delighted to launch our new Insurance facility in this edition of Risk Advisor. More to follow.
We also bring you are usual mix of legal news and fun. Please read on.


What's in this month's newsletter?



Risk Management and now Risk Transfer . .

Professional Indemnity Insurance via the RMAS Website


Get an Insurance quote nowMany of our readers will be aware of our leaders’ background in the insurance business. Through his contacts Sheridan Smith has arranged for the market leading on-line insurance scheme for professionals to be available through the RMAS website. This scheme offered via Caunce O’Hara is available for more than 500 different professions who provide their expert advice or professional guidance.


Insurance adviceSimply click on this link and in just 5 minutes you can arrange insurance for your Professional Indemnity, Public and Employers Liability andbusiness possessions; as well as Legal Expenses, Business Travel and even your family holiday insurance.


As an additional service we are now able to support you when you suffer loss or damage to your business or personal property. We have linked up with Aspray to offer their services whether you have suffered damage due to a fire, theft or water damage.


They offer a full project management service from quotation to completion of the works, and liaise with your insurers as well. There is no charge for this service so please bookmark this message just in case. Full information on this service will soon be on our website so please remember to visit again soon.


If you need help call RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email us.


Latest Case Law

Here are two more recent cases that highlight the need to maintain good Health & Safety practices


Tafa v Matsim Properties Ltd (QBD, May 2011)


The Claimant was seriously injured when he was working in the roof void above the third floor. He was constructing a walkway to access an air conditioning unit. As he was moving a plank into position to stand on he lost his balance and fell through the suspended ceiling to the floor below. As a result he is now a T8 paraplegic.


The Claimant was working under the immediate instructions of a carpenter and handyman who had been engaged by the occupiers to carry out work on the building. The handyman was not insured.


The Claimant was able to sue the occupiers because they retained sufficient control over the way that the work was undertaken that they were in breach of the Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1996 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005.


The Court agreed, but deducted 10% for contributory negligence.


Note: First, check that contractors you use are insured. Secondly, don’t interfere as that shifts regulatory responsibility onto you, thus exposing you to liability.


Furmedge v Chester-Le-Street District Council (QBD, May 2011)

Insurance exampleDreamspace V comprised a substantial inflatable PVC structure described as “an interactive public art event” which uses “light, colour, form, movement and sound” in order to create “a harmonious special experience fusing together different disciplines to create this specific abstract space”.


In July 2006 a gust of wind caused the structure to break free from its anchorage and lift into the air. 2 visitors died and a number were injured.


The artist had no engineering or technical qualifications or expertise. The Council owned the land upon which the structure was placed, but the event was organised by Brouhaha International Ltd who also supplied the staff.


The judge held both the Council and Brouhaha to be significantly at fault in not recognising the inadequacy of the artist’s risk assessment and not taking steps to ensure that the anchorage was secure for all reasonably foreseeable conditions.


Liability was apportioned 45% to the Council and 55% to Brouhaha.


Note: This case shows that risk assessments are as important in considering exposure to the public in some situations, as much as the risks to employees.


With thanks to Ian Pears, Partner at solicitors Park Woodfine Heald Mellows LLP for providing the information on these cases. Ian qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and since qualification has specialised in personal injury work, inquests and clinical negligence.

Employment Law


Employment Law Changes


Here is the initial RMAS summary of changes to Employment Law. Our full review will follow in the next Edition of Risk Advisor.


Government publishes revised timetable for pensions auto-enrolment
The Government has published a revised staging timetable for when employers of all sizes must start enrolling their staff in a workplace pension scheme. Starting from 1 October 2012, and depending on PAYE scheme size and reference, employers will be obliged to enrol eligible employees automatically, and make mandatory employer contributions, into a qualifying workplace pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). If you would like further advice on setting up a workplace pension schemefor employees contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email us


Dates confirmed for the new statutory payment rates for tax year 2012/13
In December 2011, the Government announced the proposed new rates for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP), Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) for tax year 2012/13 but the dates they would come into effect were not entirely clear. These have now been clarified and we will confirm these shortly.


Government unveils reforms to support the rehabilitation of offenders into employment
The Government has announced that it intends to reduce the rehabilitation periods for ex-offenders. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, criminal convictions become spent after a defined period of time which depends on the type and length of sentence. Subject to certain exclusions, job applicants can conceal spent convictions from prospective employers and an employer cannot refuse to employ a job applicant because he or she has a spent conviction or has concealed a spent conviction.

The Government intends to reduce the rehabilitation periods in the Act and has tabled an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament.

Government to publish details of employers who fail to comply with the illegal working provisions
The UK Border Agency is to make available to the public information on the number of civil penalties issued to individuals and organisations for employing illegal workers.Employers who employ illegal workers currently face a civil penalty of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.


Draft regulations for increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period published
The Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 has been published in draft form. As previously predicted, the order increases from one year to two years the qualifying period of continuous employment needed to acquire the right not to be unfairly dismissed and for entitlement, on request, to a written statement of reasons for dismissal. The transitional provision has the effect that the new qualifying periods will not apply to those employees whose period of continuous employment began before 6 April 2012.


Regulations to clarify the conditions regulating to compromise agreements in the Equality Act 2010 published
The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Order 2012 has been published and will come into force on 6 April 2012. It amends section 147 of the Equality Act 2010 to make the meaning more transparent and to address theview amongst some lawyers that the section is currently defectively drafted.

Further information will follow but if you need any assistance in the meantime contact the RMAS tram on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS


It makes you think

It Makes You Think

Here is our latest view on life and its quirks


This month we have a Safety mishap on a construction site. I hope the man that kicked the ball wasn’t the Health & Safety officer!




Sheridan Smith

And finally

As we all know 2012 is London Olympics year. This will have an impact on most employers during the games. We will comment on this in the next edition of Risk Advisor. Sheridan Smith is pictured here at a recent Olympic torch event.


We hope you found the content of this edition of Risk Advisorof interest. If you would like further information on any of the articles please feel free to call 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS



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