Working in Hot Weather

During the summer months we can look forward to some hot weather, however, it is not what most people consider to be ideal working conditions and it carries risks whether you work inside or out.

What constitutes acceptable working temperatures?

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the temperature inside workplace buildings, during working hours, must be ‘reasonable’. But what is meant by ‘reasonable’?

Health and Safety legislation does not refer to maximum temperatures, but it states, “the employer must provide a working environment which as far as is reasonably practicable, is safe and without risks to health.” Therefore whatever the temperature and measures taken to control it, the result must be a workplace that is safe and without risk to health.

What does it mean in practice to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of employees at work? We want employees to remain safe and healthy even when they are not at work, so what advice should we give them?

Indoor Workers

People working indoors have a broad mix of conditions to cope with, ranging from those who work in air conditioned offices to others who are in accommodation that offers little or no defence against outside temperatures.

People who particularly need our sympathy are those who work in premises that are hot and humid at the best of times, such as kitchens. High outside temperatures usually make things so much worse and there may appear to be little that can be done to improve the conditions because of the nature of the work being carried out.

Adequate ventilation must be ensured. Additional fans may be needed and efficient means for extracting stale air. In the worst cases, it may be necessary to call on the services of a ventilation engineer to solve the problem.

It is in everyone’s interest to address these issues because, apart from the risk to health, people who are working in premises that are too hot and humid will be uncomfortable and less efficient. That in turn is likely to lead to lower productivity and increased risk of accidents.

Outdoor Workers

Outdoor workers run major risks from sunburn, sunstroke and heat exhaustion and the risks typically increase for those involved in heavy physical work.

If adequate precautions are not taken, there are further risks with the possibility of rashes, burns or even skin cancer. The people most at risk are those who have fair skins and who don’t tan quickly. Whatever your susceptibility, good sun protection creams may help.

Recommended precautions, however, include frequent and plentiful drinks (clean water being preferable to other types of drink), with regular rest breaks in a cool place. Clothing should be worn to protect from the effects of direct radiation but, for obvious reasons, it should be light and loose fitting to allow body heat to escape easily.

Vulnerable Workers

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of heat than others. A good example is pregnant workers.

Apart from personal consequences for the mother, breastfeeding may also be impaired by heat dehydration.

Regardless of temperature, employers are required to undertake specific risk assessments for pregnant workers. Typical temperatures in the workplace and the effects of particularly warm spells of weather should be included as part of such assessments.

Simple arrangements need to be made to combat the effects of excessive heat, such as ensuring adequate rest provision, along with suitable refreshment facilities.

Precautions

So in general, what should employers do?

The first task is to assess the problem. People’s comfort depends on a number of factors including humidity, air movement and change, heat sources associated with the work and any protective clothing that has to be worn. It is fair to say that if most people are complaining about the heat, then action needs to be taken regardless of thermometer readings.

Alongside assessing the problem, it is also worth assessing the effectiveness of control measures that are already in place. Is the air conditioning in need of maintenance or repair? Are window blinds broken? Are there sufficient fans and are they strategically placed? Is there an adequate supply of clean drinking water?

Other, less routine, possibilities includes examining job design or organisation of the works to move people away from direct heat sources (including windows, for example). Heat gain from windows can also be controlled at little additional cost by applying reflective film.

The next task is to ensure employees know how best to cope with the hot temperatures and, perhaps, relax such things as dress code. Employees should be actively encouraged to take plenty of drinks. Water coolers might encourage people to drink more water rather than other drinks, particularly anything containing caffeine. Outside workers in particular need to be able to recognise the symptoms of heat stress and how to deal with them.

If the problem is persistent, it may be appropriate to look at longer term solutions such as installing air conditioning or upgrading an aging system. Even small portable air conditioning units can make a useful contribution.

Although the law is vague when it comes to precise numbers, that doesn’t mean we are without authoritative guidance.

In terms of maximum temperature, the World Health Organisation recommends 24ºC(that is 75ºC). The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends an acceptable temperature range for most types of work as 16ºCto 23ºC(that is 61ºFto 72ºF). However there are different ideal temperatures suggested for different workplaces such as 20ºCfor offices, 19ºC for hospital wards, 18ºCfor shops and 16ºCfor warehouses.

Given the cold and wet that we have to cope with for most of the year, we should be able to enjoy the occasional heat wave. We are all responsible for each other’s welfare, including employers and employees. So let’s do all we can to keep our cool as well as our safety and health during the hot weather.

For Further Information contact: mike.martin@tldallas.com or david.cartwright@tldallas.com

Directors & Officers Insurance: A Business Necessity

There has never been a more important time to make sure that those senior individuals, either running or representing their organisation, are fully protected against claims made against them for the mismanagement of an organisation.

Whilst it may well be a very satisfying moment for new Directors or Trustees to join the Board, they are also obliged to accept new and potentially onerous responsibilities. If a Director (or trustee) is believed to have breached their responsibilities or duties by any one of a number of internal or external stakeholders, it can have significant consequences. The judicial system is easily accessible and even if an action doesn’t reach the courthouse, Directors can find themselves seriously out of pocket.

Those with responsibility can find their personal assets at risk – including their own home or savings – but there can also be severe reputational damage. Given the new legislation around General Data Protection Regulations (due in 2018), responsibilities will continue to increase. Directors need to remember that if they are fined or have costs awarded against them, they cannot recharge this to the business and it becomes a personal liability.

Directors and Officers (D&O) policies have been around for many years and the number of organisations that purchase cover has increased significantly over the last few years. However, not all organisations purchase cover and continue to ignore the potential risks. Given that the cost of D&O has dropped significantly over the last few years, it is harder to justify to a Board why cover hasn’t been purchased.

Employment claims are on the increase, particularly with employment legislation becoming more complex and changes to the rules around employment tribunal costs. Alongside this, breaches of Health & Safety legislation can also have serious repercussions on a Director who may just be acting on third party advice, despite their ultimate responsibility.

 

Potential claims against Directors can come from a number of areas under the general heading of “mismanagement of the business”.

Regulatory investigations are also becoming more common and with the impending introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, Directors need to be absolutely certain they are protected by a robust D&O policy with a dependable insurer.

D&O insurance is designed to protect Senior Executives (or those acting in that role), from the financial implications of a legal action against them, whilst they are carrying out their duties as a Director or Officer of the business. The policy will pay for the costs of defending a claim up to and including any court action and also any compensation that is awarded.

While the core insurance cover is the same amongst insurers, not all policies are equal and the devil is in the detail. It is vitally important to check endorsements and exclusions to ensure you are properly covered.

D&O cover is here to stay and will provide comprehensive protection to allow Directors to carry out their daily tasks and responsibilities without the fear of personal financial disaster.

 

To discuss further please contact Tim Mackenzie on 0131 322 2632 or email tim.mackenzie@tldallas.com.

 

Terrorism: What can you do?

In light of continued terrorism attacks and subsequent changes to the UK Government’s threat levels, businesses and individuals are urged to be extra vigilant.

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has issued a National Stakeholders Menu of Tactical Options in response to this raised threat level. It is recommended that all businesses/partners read and consider these. NaCTSO are not at this time recommending any specific changes to how you operate, but recommend that you consider increasing and/or reviewing the following:

  • Security presence
  • Staff Vigilance
  • Partnership working
  • CCTV

Whilst these measures are quickly achievable, by far the greatest asset and tactic you have is engaging staff who deliver a high level of quality of service – by speaking to visitors to your buildings and challenging those displaying unusual behaviour.

You should also review your building and business continuity plans in the light of this attack, ensure that first aid points are fully stocked, and make sure that the location of key equipment is made clear to all staff. We also recommend that employees are directed to the Citizen Aid app and Run, Hide, Tell on YouTube.

The NaCTSO recognise that many businesses will have innovative ways of managing protective security. They ask that where you think you have a tactic or operating model that could be utilised by another similar organisation to good effect, that you share it with the NaCTSO so they can, in turn, share with others.

A final point to note, all terrorists use hostile reconnaissance in attack planning and we are reminded by the NaCTSO of the need to train staff and remind everyone of the vital role they play in recognising hostile reconnaissance. If in doubt, call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency, 999.

Useful Links

The following links provide additional useful information that may assist when deploying the tactical options:

https://www.cpni.gov.uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film

https://www.gov.uk/nactso

https://www.mi5.gov.uk

 

If you have any concerns or queries regarding your security arrangements, please contact your usual broking team or Gary Foggo (Health & Safety Consultant, TL Dallas) on 07920 862983 or email gary.foggo@tldallas.com.

 

Terrorism Insurance:

The nature of terror attacks are changing and so therefore are the types of insurance available. You may well suffer a loss of business following terror attacks even if the attack does not directly affect your premises and there are types of cover, such as ‘Active Assailant, loss of attraction & threat’ that would cover you in these instances.

For more information please contact your TL Dallas broker or email michelle.clewley@tldallas.com.

Time to sharpen up your approach to health & safety

The ‘Sentencing Guidelines’ introduced in England and Wales in 2016 saw a significant rise in the size of fines being handed down by the courts in health and safety cases. In 2016, nineteen companies received fines of a million pounds or more, compared to only three in 2015 and none at all in 2014. Further to the increase in financial penalties 46 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted under health and safety laws in 2016 and prison sentences are becoming increasingly likely. Businesses operating north of the border should recognise that the Scottish courts are likely to follow the English and Welsh Sentencing Guidelines.

The Guidelines have made it more important than ever for your business to proactively manage their health and safety provisions which should include your Health and Safety Policy, risk assessments, safe systems of work and staff training. If your health and safety documents are hiding in a dusty folder on the shelf which, for example, only gets opened every six months to record the details of the fire drill then they would definitely benefit from a thorough review. Not only should they be up to date and accurately reflect your business activities but they should also have been communicated throughout your business and be understood by all your employees.

The reasons for having practical, effective, specific and up to date health and safety documentation are compelling but what about aspects beyond the ‘paperwork’ – the human element?

A safety culture (good or bad) within a business can be determined by what its employees actually do rather than what they say and this applies from the boardroom to the shop floor. Attitudes and behaviours demonstrated by all employees are a good barometer of the health and safety culture within a business.

‘Safety culture’ is a frequently used term, but what does it actually mean and how do you measure it?

A safety culture cannot be bought off the shelf as a package; it takes determined commitment and involvement, an understanding of the required outcomes and how these will be achieved and genuine desire for it to succeed.

While the sentencing Guidelines do not impose any further burden upon business the consequences of a successful prosecution now even further outweigh the costs of taking the time and effort in implementing and maintaining a robust health and safety management system.

If you would like to discuss a review of your health and safety management systems or to learn more about the benefits of introducing and sustaining a positive health culture please contact the TL Dallas Risk Management team by emailing riskmanagement@tldallas.com.

Health & Safety – Early Plea Discounts: new guidance on sentencing

On 7th March 2017, the Sentencing Council for England and Wales published new guidance on sentencing offenders who plead guilty.

The new guidelines came into force on 1 June 2017 and can be accessed here.

In England and Wales, in accordance with s.144 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, in determining what sentence to pass on an offender who has pled guilty to an offence, a court must take into account the stage in the proceedings for the offence at which the offender indicated his intention to plead guilty and the circumstances in which this indication was given.

There is an almost identical provision to be found at s.196 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 in relation to Scottish proceedings.

The rationale for allowing “sentence discounting” is that early guilty pleas save court time, avoid witness distress and ultimately benefit the public purse.

Sentence discounting is not a new concept. It is rooted in statute, but its application by the courts both north and south of the border has raised issues in relation to what the court should take into consideration when dealing with an offender who pleads guilty and what discount should apply.

The purpose of the new guideline, which is applicable to England and Wales only, is to encourage early guilty pleas by making clear the stages in proceedings at which an offender can receive the various levels of discount available. It sets out that the maximum sentence discount of one-third is available only if the offender pleads guilty at the first court hearing. Offenders who tender guilty pleas after the first hearing are entitled to maximum sentence discount of one-quarter which will reduce on a sliding scale to a maximum of one-tenth if tendered on the first day of trial.

There are however some noted exceptions which include circumstances where it would be unreasonable to expect the offender to indicate a guilty plea sooner than was done. In such circumstances the maximum discount of one-third may still be applied, even if the offender did not plead guilty at the first opportunity. This may cover situations where further information, evidence, assistance or advice was required before a plea could be indicated. It is thought that this may cover more complicated criminal regulatory cases, including prosecutions under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

This is a welcome clarification of the law on sentence discounting in England and Wales and it will be interesting to see how this is applied. North of the border, the Scottish Sentencing Council is still working on drafting sentencing guidelines. Sheriffs frequently apply an early plea discount already but this is with much more discretion and flexibility.

Clearly, early legal advice in any near miss or incident is very important in order to mitigate the impact of any sentence.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please get in touch with Malcolm Mackay, Partner, Brodies – malcolm.mackay@brodies.com or call 01224 392 274.

A Change to the Ogden Discount Rate: How to Mitigate the Premium Increases Ahead

In February 2017, the Lord Chancellor announced a significant reduction to the Ogden Discount Rate of 2.5%, to the revised level of -0.75%, causing UK insurer shares’ to plummet and sparking reaction from the insurance industry – who was expecting the rate to fall to around 1.5%.

 

So, what is the Ogden discount rate?

  • It is a calculation used by the courts to determine how much insurance companies should pay out to customers in cases of life-changing injury
  • When victims of life-changing injuries accept lump sum compensation payments, the actual amount they receive is adjusted according to the interest they can expect to earn by investing it
  • The Discount Rate is linked, by law, to returns on the lowest risk investments – typically index-linked gilts. The yield on these gilts, or Government bonds, has fallen dramatically since 2001

 

The reduction means that those suffering from serious injuries will receive significantly higher compensation payments than before. Mike Mitchell, Group Broking Manager at TL Dallas observes, “this change has caused insurers to revisit their reserves for existing claims to ensure they have sufficient funding set aside to meet future liabilities; Aviva has announced that this change has increased its Combined Operating Ratio from 94.9% to 106.3%, QBE has announced that it is setting aside an additional $160m in reserves.”

The effects of this will be that insurance that covers bodily injury – principally Motor, Employers’ Liability  and Public Liability – will need to be re-priced to ensure the premiums generate adequate funds. Furthermore, some insurers may well choose not to underwrite these classes of business, so there may also be a contraction in the market supply. The net effect is that premiums will inevitably go up and insurers will become more selective.

Gary Foggo, Health & Safety Consultant at TL Dallas, commented, “now is the time for companies to proactively review their risk management procedures, as well as risk transfer solutions and claims defensibility.”

To combat price increases, businesses will need to demonstrate and evidence how well they manage their risks to ensure they are ‘top of the underwriter’s pile’ come renewal. Firms with resilient and demonstrable health and safety procedures (which drive attitude, behaviours and culture) will be in a stronger position to lessen the knock-on effects.

The first step to controlling risk in the workplace is hazard identification. Thereafter, it is down to control measure implementation and the effective documentation of both. He adds, “it is impossible to eliminate all risks and prevent every accident, but when an accident does occur it is vital a company has the resources available to minimise the effect; that processes are robust; and that documentation is available to defend the claims.”

As part of the process of risk management, businesses should also be considering risk transfer: working with their broker to explore whether their limits of cover and sums insured remain adequate, given the potential change in exposure as the revised Ogden Discount Rate takes effect.

What should you do?

Speak to your broking team. Companies should get support from a qualified risk management professional who will work with you and your broker to review your internal processes and advise on a relevant approach to ensure a safe workplace and proactively manage claims when they do occur.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact our Health & Safety Consultant, Gary Foggo – gary.foggo@tldallas.com or call 0131 322 2641.

Health & Safety breaches – the true cost

 

We take a look at the Sentencing Council’s revised Definitive Guideline to Health & Safety Breaches and increased fine levels.

Safety professionals have for some time spoken of the hidden (and uninsured) costs of accidents at work, but recent changes in the Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guidelines for Health & Safety Breaches (effective from 1st February 2016) are already resulting in huge increases in the levels of punishments (a very visible and direct cost) being handed out by the courts.

Fine in cases after February 2016 can be ten times larger than before.

 

ORGANISATIONS – HEALTH & SAFETY BREACH FINES

In the new Guidelines, fines are calculated through a number of considered stages:

  • CULPABILITY
    • Very High – deliberate breach or disregard to the law
    • High –Serious or systemic failure within an organisation to address risks to Health & Safety, typically characterised by ignoring concerns of employees or others, failing to implement changes following other incidents, or allowing breaches to subsist over a long period of time
    • Medium – Systems were in place, but these were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented
    • Low – Failings were minor and occurred as an isolated incident
  • HARM
    • The level of harm or potential harm that an offence creates
    • How many people (employees and members of the public were exposed)
    • Whether the offence was a significant cause of actual harm
  • COMPANY SIZE
    • The financial standing (in terms of Annual Turnover or equivalent) of the offending company
  • REVIEW
    • Adjustment based on how proportionate the fine is, taking into account profitability of the company, savings they made through taking safety shortcuts, risk of the business closing as a result of paying the fine
    • Consideration of ancillary orders (remediation of specified failings, compensation etc)
    • To illustrate, take an example of a company with a £12M Turnover, deemed to have ‘Medium’ culpability in an employees death (or even a ‘near-miss’ that could have resulted in death) would now be looking at a fine in the range £300,000 to £1,300,000 before the review/adjustment stage. 
    • If the same company was deemed to have High Culpability, that range increases to £600,000-£2,500,000.
    • If you compare these figures with a 2014 case against the significantly larger Thames Water for a workers death, which resulted in them paying £361,000 in fines and costs, you can see the revised Guidelines will result in hugely increased fines being paid.

 

INDIVIDUALS – HEALTH & SAFETY BREACH FINES

The revised Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guidelines also address the penalties against individuals for Health & Safety breaches.

‘Individuals – Go directly to Jail – Do not pass GO, do not collect £200!’

Culpability and Harm are judged in the same way as the company fine, but the individual would also have to make a declaration of their finances.

Using the example given above, for Medium Culpability the penalties faced by the individual are described as “Band F fine or high level community order – 1 years custody”.  Note that the starting point is set at 6 months imprisonment and a Band F fine means 500% to 700% of the individuals weekly income.

 

CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER

Utilising a two level view of Culpability and Harm (High and Low), the Corporate Manslaughter sentencing also uses the same company size categories as is applied to offending company fines for Health & Safety breaches.

There is still an adjustment/review process, but continuing the example of a death at a company with a £12M Turnover, a High Category offence would result in a fine in the range £1.8M to £7.5M, with a starting point of £3M.

There is much debate amongst Safety professionals about the overall impacts of the new Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guidelines, but one thing is clear, if there is any weakness in your Health & Safety regime (whether injury results or not) the financial price for getting it wrong is increasingly severe.

 

The Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guide can be found here, but for further details and advice, please contact your nearest TL Dallas branch.

Can Your Insurers Cope With The Heat?

If you use heat in your work, do you understand what your insurance requires you to do?

If you don’t and you breach the conditions, then you effectively have no cover.

The idea seems reasonable, but what are the conditions you need to comply with, and are they reasonable in the first place?

  • Do they require you to connect to a hydrant? How could you do that without advanced permission from the authorities to use the hydrant?
  • Do they require you to have a set number and size of extinguishers, within a set distance from the work?
  • Do they need to have the property owner/occupier (or their representative) present throughout the application of heat?
  • After completing the heat work, do you have to check the area at intervals? 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes or all three. Do they have to keep a written record of those checks?

Most critically, does the warranty apply to your direct employees, or anyone (including sub-contractors) working on your behalf?

Most critically, does the warranty apply to your direct employees, or anyone (including sub-contractors) working on your behalf?

  • If the conditions apply to anyone working on your behalf, can and do your sub-contractors comply with your heat conditions
  • If they do comply with your policy heat conditions, is the sub-contractor also complying with their own policy conditions?
  • If not, then there was no point checking that the sub-contractors have insurance – it won’t respond to a claim against them anyway – leaving you financially exposed.

The solutions are relatively simple, but the first thing you need is a broker who has thought about the problem.

To discuss solutions or any other Construction insurance issues please contact Mike Mitchell by email, mike.mitchell@tldallas.com or call 07496 888411.

Working in Hot Weather

During the summer months we can look forward to some hot weather, however, it is not what most people consider to be ideal working conditions and it carries risks whether you work inside or out.

What constitutes acceptable working temperatures?

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the temperature inside workplace buildings, during working hours, must be ‘reasonable’. But what is meant by ‘reasonable’?

Health and Safety legislation does not refer to maximum temperatures, but it states, “the employer must provide a working environment which as far as is reasonably practicable, is safe and without risks to health.” Therefore whatever the temperature and measures taken to control it, the result must be a workplace that is safe and without risk to health.

What does it mean in practice to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of employees at work? We want employees to remain safe and healthy even when they are not at work, so what advice should we give them?

Indoor Workers

People working indoors have a broad mix of conditions to cope with, ranging from those who work in air conditioned offices to others who are in accommodation that offers little or no defence against outside temperatures.

People who particularly need our sympathy are those who work in premises that are hot and humid at the best of times, such as kitchens. High outside temperatures usually make things so much worse and there may appear to be little that can be done to improve the conditions because of the nature of the work being carried out.

Adequate ventilation must be ensured. Additional fans may be needed and efficient means for extracting stale air. In the worst cases, it may be necessary to call on the services of a ventilation engineer to solve the problem.

It is in everyone’s interest to address these issues because, apart from the risk to health, people who are working in premises that are too hot and humid will be uncomfortable and less efficient. That in turn is likely to lead to lower productivity and increased risk of accidents.

Outdoor Workers

Outdoor workers run major risks from sunburn, sunstroke and heat exhaustion and the risks typically increase for those involved in heavy physical work.

If adequate precautions are not taken, there are further risks with the possibility of rashes, burns or even skin cancer. The people most at risk are those who have fair skins and who don’t tan quickly. Whatever your susceptibility, good sun protection creams may help.

Recommended precautions, however, include frequent and plentiful drinks (clean water being preferable to other types of drink), with regular rest breaks in a cool place. Clothing should be worn to protect from the effects of direct radiation but, for obvious reasons, it should be light and loose fitting to allow body heat to escape easily.

Vulnerable Workers

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of heat than others. A good example is pregnant workers.

Apart from personal consequences for the mother, breastfeeding may also be impaired by heat dehydration.

Regardless of temperature, employers are required to undertake specific risk assessments for pregnant workers. Typical temperatures in the workplace and the effects of particularly warm spells of weather should be included as part of such assessments.

Simple arrangements need to be made to combat the effects of excessive heat, such as ensuring adequate rest provision, along with suitable refreshment facilities.

Precautions

So in general, what should employers do?

The first task is to assess the problem. People’s comfort depends on a number of factors including humidity, air movement and change, heat sources associated with the work and any protective clothing that has to be worn. It is fair to say that if most people are complaining about the heat, then action needs to be taken regardless of thermometer readings.

Alongside assessing the problem, it is also worth assessing the effectiveness of control measures that are already in place. Is the air conditioning in need of maintenance or repair? Are window blinds broken? Are there sufficient fans and are they strategically placed? Is there an adequate supply of clean drinking water?

Other, less routine, possibilities includes examining job design or organisation of the works to move people away from direct heat sources (including windows, for example). Heat gain from windows can also be controlled at little additional cost by applying reflective film.

The next task is to ensure employees know how best to cope with the hot temperatures and, perhaps, relax such things as dress code. Employees should be actively encouraged to take plenty of drinks. Water coolers might encourage people to drink more water rather than other drinks, particularly anything containing caffeine. Outside workers in particular need to be able to recognise the symptoms of heat stress and how to deal with them.

If the problem is persistent, it may be appropriate to look at longer term solutions such as installing air conditioning or upgrading an aging system. Even small portable air conditioning units can make a useful contribution.

Although the law is vague when it comes to precise numbers, that doesn’t mean we are without authoritative guidance.

In terms of maximum temperature, the World Health Organisation recommends 24ºC(that is 75ºC). The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends an acceptable temperature range for most types of work as 16ºCto 23ºC(that is 61ºFto 72ºF). However there are different ideal temperatures suggested for different workplaces such as 20ºCfor offices, 19ºC for hospital wards, 18ºCfor shops and 16ºCfor warehouses.

Given the cold and wet that we have to cope with for most of the year, we should be able to enjoy the occasional heat wave. We are all responsible for each other’s welfare, including employers and employees. So let’s do all we can to keep our cool as well as our safety and health during the hot weather.

For Further Information contact: mike.martin@tldallas.com or david.cartwright@tldallas.com

Personal Injury Claims Reforms – April 2013 (delayed until July 2013)

Back in January 2012, the Government announced that the current Road Traffic Accident (RTA) portal scheme for low value claims up to £10,000 would be extended to Employers’ Liability (EL), Public Liability (PL) and motor claims with a value up to £25,000.

This briefing highlights the key provisions of the amended RTA Protocol and the new EL/PL Protocol. Further details will follow once the protocol is finalised.

RTA Protocol changes

The value of claims which will be dealt with under the scheme will increase from £10,000 to £25,000 with effect from the end of July 2013.

The level of fixed costs payable under the scheme is currently being consulted on, however are proposed to be reduced to: –

£500 for claims between £1,000 and £10,000 that settle without a hearing
£800 for claims between £10,000 and £25,000 that settle without a hearing
The timescales for admitting liability will remain at 15 working days

EL/PL Protocol

This will apply to an EL or PL accident or an EL disease claim where there is only a single defendant and where the value of the claim is up to £25,000. This comes into effect from the end of July 2013.

The Claimant will have to try to identify the Insurer and a Claims Notification Form (CNF) will be sent to that Insurer. If the Insurer cannot be identified then the CNF will be sent to the Defendant.

The Insurer or Defendant must send an electronic acknowledgement of the CNF the day after receipt.

There is then a period of only 30 working days for EL and 40 working days for PL, from the date of service of the CNF, for liability to be investigated.

For an admission of liability to be valid under the scheme it has to be a full admission i.e., without allegations of contributory negligence. If a full admission is not made then the claim falls outside the scheme

In EL claims details of the Claimant’s earnings must be provided 20 days after the admission of liability.

Damages will be increased by 10% to reflect the fact that success fees will no longer be recoverable

The level of fixed costs payable under the scheme is currently being consulted on, however are proposed to be reduced to: –

  • £900 for claims between £1,000 and £10,000 that settle without a hearing.
  • £1,600 for claims between £10,000 and £25,000 that settle without a hearing.

It is obviously going to be economically beneficial for claims to be handled within the scheme wherever possible, however if the claim does fall out of the scheme a separate matrix of costs is being consulted upon which includes a contingency element based upon a percentage of the Claimant’s Damages.

An unsuccessful Claimant will no longer have to pay the successful Defendant’s costs (known as Qualified One-way Costs Shifting or QOCS) unless the claim is proved to be fraudulent.

For further information and details please refer to your usual contact at TL Dallas or call us on 01274 465500.