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Risk Advisor October 2011


What's in this month's newsletter?



It is a mixed bag of risk issues in this edition of Risk Adviser


We look at an insurance claim in which we provided assistance, review a recent court case, look at how you can avoid slip injuries, look at the fall-out of the mine disaster in south Wales, and offer our usual look at life’s quirks


Insurance claim


RMAS helps double claims payment


InsuranceYou may recall that Risk Management Advisory Services was approached by a small local business that was struggling with its insurance claim ( see Risk Advisor 07/11).


We were pleased that due to our intervention our client was able to obtain two interim payments almost immediately. These helped with cash flow over the quiet summer months.


The claim has now been finalised with a settlement a little over £20,000 after deductions for underinsurance and the excess and we were delighted to receive this letter from our client Oundle Community Pre-School –
Dear Sheridan,
I would like to thank you on behalf of the children and staff of Oundle Community Pre-School for the help and advice you gave us regarding the insurance claim. You have doubled the amount of money we were expecting to receive and we are very grateful. It was very kind of you to give your time and support and we are most appreciative.
With kindest regards, Lisa Lucca, Chair of Committee, OCPS

We were delighted to be of assistance to this important and thriving community group and that our input had a positive result.



Latest Case Law

Asbestos exposure rule and it’s implications. You must maintain your insurance records!!


Sienkiewicz v Grief (UK) Ltd (SC, March 2011)
This is a mesothelioma case.  The Supreme Court (formerly known as the House of Lords) has further extended the scope for Claimants to sue in asbestos exposure cases.

Law CaseHere, the Claimant was exposed to asbestos by the employer, but the original trial judge calculated that the exposure was very light and that the occupational exposure increased her total level of exposure over the general environmental exposure by 18%.

The Supreme Court felt that the employer’s exposure was material and so awarded the Claimant damages.

This is a special rule for asbestos claims, which is “where a Defendant has exposed someone to asbestos in breach of duty and where such exposure materially increases the risk that he will develop mesothelioma, the Defendant will be liable jointly and severally for all the damage and loss if he does in fact develop mesothelioma”

Note: these cases are usually over 40 years old and trying to find the insurance policy that actually covered the period of exposure is particularly difficult.  Never destroy old Liability policy schedules as the period for bringing a claim is 3 years from the date of knowledge, not from when the exposure existed.  These claims are particularly easy for the Claimants to win and very expensive (usually a 6 figure sum for compensation) for the defendant.

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

These items of case law are proving popular to readers of Risk Adviser so we intend this becoming a regular feature. Let us know if there are any other subjects you would like us to cover.

Please contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS for our employment guide.


How rough is your floor?

Surface tension – you need it in some places, not in others


roughness meterFree Risk Assessment on your slippery floor
Under a microscope, any floor looks like a mini mountain range. A diamond-headed micro-roughness meter measures the distance from peak to valley over a suitable floor size (say 1 meter squared) and calculates an average measurement. This can be linked (via a laptop) to the UK Government's Slips Assessment Tool (software) known as SAT to produce a report and graph for your business highlighting areas of concern regarding the potential slip risk of your floor.


The SAT report covers the following areas of concern:

  • the surface microroughness data (Rz)
  • the causes of floor surface contamination
  • the regimes used to clean the floor surface (both in terms of their effectiveness and frequency)
  • the footwear types worn in the area
  • associated human factors and environmental factors

This gives an indication of the potential for a slip, which could lead to a bad fall and all sorts of problems for the injured person and the company who manages the floor. If you search the web, you will find many companies who charge for this service BUT this is a FREE service from SkidProof. You will receive a graph with supporting data matrix and an indication of the degree of risk your floor exhibits to you, your staff and your customers.


This is the micro-roughness meter used to take the measurements. Benefits from this service include:

  • easy to see the degree of potential slip risk
  • helps companies prioritise their investments
  • process is validated by UK Government HSE Dept.

This service takes only 20 minutes from start to finish. What have you got to lose?


Contact RMAS on 084 321 81 673 or email RMAS to arrange your free risk assessment.


Corporate Manslaughter

mine accidentMine Manager Arrested

Ensuring the safety of employees at work is paramount to staff productivity and to avoiding costly accidents and lawsuits. The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 means that companies can now be charged with corporate manslaughter as a result of gross breaches of care.

Rospa logoA case in point, the recent tragedy at the Gleision Colliery in South Wales, a mine known well by RMAS, has resulted in the arrest of Malcolm Fyfield the mine manager. Having escaped from the mine he is at the time of writing assisting the police investigation and faces prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter.

RoSPA have developed a course exclusively for directors and their important role in health and safety. Their next course is being held in Birmingham on 11th November 2011. The fee is just £350 plus VAT.


For more information on their Directors’ involvement in Health and Safety course please contact RoSPA on 0121 248 2233 or email 


Humour – Put Downs

Some more of life’s quirks as observed by RMAS


At RMAS we are always amused by life and people. This month we are indebted to Oscar Wilde for this selection of put downs.


thoughtful manActress (self deprecatingly) to Oscar Wilde. “Mr Wilde, you are looking at the ugliest woman in Paris.”
Wilde in a flattering tone: “In the world madam”


Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen, and they all fit. (Lady Windermere’s Fan)


She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman. (An Ideal Husband)


Last night at Prince’s Hall, Mr Whistler made his first public performance as a lecturer on art, and spoke for more than an hour on the absolute uselessness of all lectures of the kind. (Mr. Whistler’s Ten O’Clock)


She has exquisite Hands and feet, is always bien chaussée et bien gantée and can talk brilliantly on any subject, provided she knows nothing about it.
(The American Invasion)

Please let us know of any other Oscar Wilde put down’s you would like to share with us.


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

Please pass this message onto any of your customers, suppliers or other business colleagues if you feel this could be helpful to them.