Always remember that death will reduce damages

It is a well established point, but one that has now been reaffirmed by the Privy Council, that damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenity must be limited to the pain and suffering felt by the claimant in his or her lifetime and therefore, if the claimant dies, damages will be reduced.

This case arose out of a shooting in Jamaica where the victim died (as a result of septicaemia from the wounds) about three months after being shot. The Privy Council upheld that the award of damages for assault and battery had to be brought under the general head of compensatory damages for the assault. There was no indication that the Judge had applied the principle of the damages for pain and suffering, and loss of amenity should be limited to an amount appropriate to the length of time that the victim had survived after the shooting. As a result the award made by the Judge had to be set aside and a lower figure substituted.

Brown -v- Robinson & Sentry Service Co Ltd. Privy Council 14 December 2004.

Health and Safety

Waste industry accidents

There is an HSE report RR240, Mapping Health and Safety Standards in the UK Waste Industry, 2004 which discusses various injuries in waste disposal such as: vehicle access, faulty vehicle equipment, overloaded vehicles, overloaded bins, handling  problems and animal waste.

There is  an article discussing these sorts of accidents in Health and Safety at Work magazine January 2005 .

Among other simple tips, it suggest stickers be placed on overloaded wheelie- bins explaining to the resident they have not been collected as they are over-filled and asking the customer to remove some waste prior to the next collection.

Slipping accidents

 A reminder there is an HSE “Slips Assessment Tool“ ( SAT)  for use by those assessing slipping risks  at work in areas prone to contamination by water, oil, food, dust etc.

It is used widely by the HSE and local authority enforcement officers and is available to health and safety reps widely.

Private members' bill for health and safety duty for company directors

This Bill – the Health and Safety (Directors’ Duties) Bill – is supported by T&G, UCATT and the TUC and has been introduced by Labour MP for Jarrow Stephen Hepburn .

It aims to ensure there is a board-level director with responsibility for health and safety with custodial sentences possible where serious injuries or death (which accidents rose 4 per cent and 9 per cent respectively last year) result from health and safety breaches.