ladder work at height

HSE have banned the use of ladders on building sites

No, this isn’t the case. Ladders and stepladders can be a sensible and practical option. They can be used for work at height when the use of other work equipment is not justified because of the low risk and short duration (short duration means working on a ladder for no more than 30 minutes at a time); or when there are existing workplace or site features which cannot be altered.

You need to be formally ‘qualified’ before using a ladder at work

No, you do not.  You need to be competent. This means having the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to use a ladder properly for the work you will carry out, or, if you are being trained, you work under the supervision of somebody who can perform the task competently. Training often takes place on the job and does not always have to take place in a classroom. What matters is that an individual can apply what they have learned in the workplace.

You need to have two feet and one hand on a stepladder at all times when carrying out a task

No, this isn’t true. When you need to have both hands free for a brief period to do a job using a stepladder (eg putting a box on a shelf, hanging wallpaper, installing a smoke detector on a ceiling) you need to maintain three points of contact at the working position.  This is not just two feet and one hand, it can be two feet and your body (use your knees or chest to help with stability) supported by the stepladder. Ensure a handhold is available to steady yourself before and after.

HSE has banned the use of ladders to access scaffolds and you will be fined if you ignore this ban

No, this isn’t true. Ladders can be used for access as long as they are of the right type (ie a suitable grade of industrial ladder), in good condition and effectively secured (tied) to prevent movement. You should ensure they extend at least one metre above the landing point to allow for a secure handhold when stepping off.

 

From the Health and Safety Executive Website – for more information about working at height visit the HSE – Working at Height  or speak to one of the team at PSP Risk on 01823 212951

PSP Group Somerset Regional Office

PSP Group expand in Somerset

 

PSP Group are delighted to announce our continued expansion with the opening of our new Somerset Regional office.

The expanded team of nine includes five experienced client advisors who enjoy visiting business owners or managers to provide a free insurance portfolio review. The new offices are situated on a small rural business park with easy access to both the M5 and A303. In fact perfectly placed to serve businesses in Somerset and adjoining counties.

 

Our team of experienced business insurance advisors are led by local directors Alison Wilmot and Steve McCarthy, and we invite you to make contact with them and explore what PSP Group can offer your business.

 

PSP Group Somerset Regional Officesomerset regional office

 

 

Vehicle theft has increased by 50% in the last five years and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the number of claims for vehicle theft is the highest since 2012, with a payment being made in respect of vehicle crime every 8 minutes.

In the last four years the overall cost of motor theft claims has doubled and works out at over £1.2m paid to policyholders every day.

This is surprising considering the improvements made to vehicle security over the last 30 years and whilst the traditional method of breaking windows and forcing door locks is still prevalent, more sophisticated means are being utilised. As vehicles become smarter and with the move towards autonomy, cyber security is an emerging risk for motor manufactures, insurers and drivers due to the threat of hacking and data theft.

Passive keyless entry systems that allow vehicles to be opened and driven if the key fob is in the immediate vicinity can be exploited using a technique called ‘relay attack’. Thieves using a signal boosting device can capture the signal from the key fob, allowing the vehicle to be unlocked and stolen within minutes.

 

What can you do the reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen?

  • Keys should be kept in a secure location at all times and not withing easy reach
  • If you have a keyless entry vehicle –
    • Make sure your fob is kept well away from doors and windows
    • Consider using a signal blocking pouch, to store the fob when not in use
    • Check the manufactures handbook to see if it is possible to turn off the wireless signal
  • If you are unsure of the vehicle’s history of do not have both sets of keys considering getting keys reprogrammed
  • Consider fitting additional security devices – steering wheel locks, alarms and tracking systems
  • Park the vehicle securely – in a garage, or well-lit area
  • Avoid leaving theft attractive items on display in the vehicle when it is unattended
  • Ensure any vehicle functionality that is controlled by a mobile phone app is regularly updated in line with the manufacture’s guidelines

With Farm Fatalities rising over 70% in the last 12 months which lets face it is a shocking devastating and worrying statistic and it recently being farm safety awareness week, what can you do to protect yourself, your families and your workers?

This time of year can be exhausting for agricultural workers, with pressure of the weather being somewhat unpredictable and needing to race the clock to get things completed it is understandable sometimes risks can be taken

It is widely acknowledged that farming can be a very dangerous occupation, daily challenges are faced with contributing factors of long hours, fatigue, stress and isolated working conditions in many circumstances.

A quote from a Health and Safety Executive Inspector was hard to ignore….’In 20 plus years of doing his job he had only investigated ONE incident which could not have been genuinely unavoidable’

Quite a statement you will agree?

We all know farms can be hazardous places machinery constantly on the move, feed wagons and milk tankers in and out at all times of the day and night.

By taking the time to read if you haven’t already, or if you have take the time to refresh your memory on things like SAFE STOP when using a farm vehicle could save an incident from happening.

Take a minute to put a helmet on before jumping on a quad bike

No one wants to be thinking if only I did it that way, that may not have happened.

With these incidents on the rise, we can only expect more potential visits from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Incidentally it was just announced in the Farmers Weekly 3rd May 2021 their costs per hour have risen from £124 to £154 per hour.

Fees For Intervention were introduced in 2012, meaning businesses are charged for the costs of an investigation from the time a material breach is identified to the point when a decision is made on the enforcement action. Farmer’s Weekly estimate that on average, an inspector will spend 6 hours on one investigation.  Meaning the average cost of one investigation is £950

At PSP Group, we have access to a product called ‘Rural Protect’ which you may have read about, the product has many features and benefits, one of which is fees for intervention cover which essentially will cover the cost of the HSE Fees if they arrive at your farm for an inspection.  Please be aware it will not cover any ‘fine’ costs but it will cover court costs if needed limits will apply.

The policy can be sold in isolation and the premiums start at around £300 per annum, it is very quick and easy for us to obtain a quotation for you, don’t waste any time give us a call today 01566 777710.

 

Having heard that there had been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in the local area, the team at PSP Risk and Motor wanted to put some information together to help keep your vehicle safe and secure.

Claims for theft of catalytic converters from cars has increased by over 40% and the vehicles most likely to be targeted are older low mileage petrol hybrid vehicles.

Why is theft of catalytic converters so attractive?

It’s because they contain a honeycomb coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium which help to reduce and filter harmful gases from the vehicles’ exhaust systems. These precious metals can be sold to make money.

Unfortunately, the act of stealing a catalytic converter is relatively easy, but there are steps you can take to make it harder for the prospective thieve.

In order to steal the parts, thieves, need to gain access to underneath your vehicle to use cutting tools to detach the box and pipes. By parking half on the pavement and half on the road you are helping thieves to gain access, therefore ensure you vehicle is parked fully on the road and if possible, park close to walls or fence with your exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb.

Arrange for your catalytic converter to be tagged with a unique serial number, this will make it easy to identify if it is stolen. You may also get a sticker you can put in the window warning would be thieves that you have tagged your catalytic converter.

For a fleet of vehicles arrange the parking with the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles, therefore restricting access to the underneath.

If your vehicle is a target and you suspect the catalytic converter has been stolen, contact your insurer and arrange for the vehicle to be inspected for additional damage.

* Catalytic converter theft represented 19.8% of thefts from private vehicles October – December 2019 and 29.7% from January to March 2021, according to Ageas’  claims data.

 

Did you know that you can set up a “pop up” campsite, without requiring planning permission?

Whether you are a farmer, pub landlord or estate owner, you can look to utilise some spare land as a pop-up campsite for up to 56 days this summer.

Your site must be for tents only but can include glamping units, such as bell tents so long as you are not carrying out any construction or physicallychanging the land.

You will also be permitted to bring in some temporary buildings that can be used for washing facilities and a reception, bear in mind that each day these structures are on site counts as one of your 56. A separate licence may be required if you operate the site for more than 42 consecutive dates

It would also be advisable to contact your local planning department to check there are no reasons why your land could be exempt.

Other things to consider –

  • waste disposal
  • fresh water supply
  • accessibility

If you think you have great parcel of land that would be suitable for such a venture, then contact the team at PSP Rural or PSP Group to ensure that your insurance covers this additional activity.

 

The team at Ageas Insurance, shared these “weirdest traffic jams ever” hope you don’t get stuck.

  • Joyriding Sheepdog – dog accidentally leant on the controls of a tractor sending it across the M74 hitting the central reservation. – No animals or humans were harmed.
  • Road Traffic Gin-cident – A damaged transport tanker spilled 32,000 litres of concentrated gin across the tarmac of the M6, bringing it to a standstill.
  • As stubborn as a swan – Traffic saw huge delays on the M6 after a swan decided the outside lane would be a good place to stop and take a rest. The swan refused to move for over an hour.
  • Sleigh what? – A giant inflatable Santa broke free its moorings in Wisbech, rolling onto the nearby B198. It blocked the road for the best part of the afternoon, causing hold ups in both direction.
  • Krispy Kreme Chaos – Edinburgh experienced three days of traffic chaos when Scotland’s first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop opened. Lured by a free giveaway of doughnuts drivers queued for up to an hour to get into the Hermiston Gait retail park, causing gridlock on surrounding roads.
  • The traffic jam that never was – Perhaps the strangest cause of a jam is one that involved no cars at all. An artist in Berlin set out to demonstrate he could influence the data used by map services like Google Maps. Walking a cart of 99 smartphones through the streets of the city, Simon Weckert gave the impression of slow-moving traffic on near empty road. The result – the streets turned from green to red on Google Maps, causing real-life traffic to be redirected along alternative routes to avoid the phantom jam.

The Motor Trade team have become aware of a significant increase in the use of fraudulent credit cards to acquire motor vehicles.

 In the last two weeks alone we have been contacted by 3 clients reporting 4 vehicles paid for by stolen / cloned credit cards.

 In two of these cases they were contacted by an alleged ‘motor dealer’ from Bristol.

The credit card company will contact you after the transaction has taken place and simply recover the money from your account but obviously by this time the vehicle has gone!

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that most Motor Trade Insurance Policies exclude losses caused by “Theft by Deception” and those Motor Trade policies that do provide cover often have significant excesses for this type of loss.

If you have any concerns regarding your policy cover or would like more clarification please call your usual Account Executive.

We would  suggest that you exercise extreme caution when processing debit / credit cards and take extra steps to satisfy yourself that the card holder is legitimate.

 

Alternatively, the safe option is not to take credit cards at all.

 

Despite the Covid-19 crisis and the several lock-downs we have had over the last year, criminals are still targeting the Countryside and are become more brazen about it. Farmers are having to go to extra lengths to ramp up security and protect their livelihoods.

PSP Group are always looking to help our rural community in any way we can so we have put together some top tips for keeping your farmyards safe and your business running smoothly.

 

Datatag Machinery

Police often find farm machinery that they think has been stolen but has usually been stripped of its identifying marks. Years ago nearly all agricultural machinery stolen would be found in the same county, but these days it is often destined for abroad. Around £1m worth of farm machinery is stolen from farms every week and is heading straight out of the country making it impossible to recover.

Tractors are being shipped out of the UK not only to Europe but as far afield as Australia and Africa.

Datatag and Cesar use unique layered security markings, which include microdot scattered around the vehicle, this makes it much easier to identify within a very short space of time and reunite it with the owner.

If you are unfortunate enough to have any of your farm machinery stolen you need to report it to the police as quickly as possible and provide as much information as you can including makes and models, colour, registration plate serial number, chassis and engine number and Cesar number.

Farmers that use security marking within Datatag and Cesar schemes, are enabling the true identity of stolen kit to be established and this will go a long way to having it recovered and returned to them.

 

Fertiliser

Failure to report either missing or stolen batches of ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser from your farm could mean prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws. This could lead to up to 3 months in jail or a hefty fine.

To avoid having to deal with a missing or stolen fertiliser you should always store it inside a locked building whenever possible. Make sure it is stored away from and out of view of the public highway and don’t leave it in fields or anywhere there is public access overnight.

Make sure you have a record of any manufacturer code numbers from the bags and a keep note of the resistance test certificate numbers if they are available. Always report any stock discrepancies to the police immediately.

Farmers and Landowners need to be responsible for making sure fertiliser doesn’t get into the wrong hands and they must report anyone who is suspiciously asking to buy fertiliser from them.

Firearms

Farmers have a responsibility for safe gun ownership. There are 1.9m lawfully held firearms in the UK. Farmers whose guns are stolen or lost could face prosecution and have their firearms certificates revoked, if reasonable measure to secure them haven’t been followed. The most common places for firearms to be stolen are from vehicles, while burglary is second.

The Firearms Rules 1998 require all firearm and shotgun certificates to be produced with the statutory condition that firearms and ammunition “must at all times be stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access by an unauthorised person”.

If you one of your guns is lost, stolen or missing you must report it to the policy immediately, with details of make, model, serial number, bore and the details around how it has gone missing.

Livestock

Keeping Livestock safe is becoming increasingly challenging whether it be from thieves or the general public walking their dogs across farmland, especially if they graze far from your main yard and buildings.

To help protect your livestock from thieves you should regularly check fields with livestock and keep all hedges, fences and gates in good repair. If able then the gates should always be closed and locked, as well as making sure the shed and stockyard gates are also closed and locked.

Always make sure livestock are tagged, identification is essential for proof of ownership and it can help to deter thieves. Things like ear tags, earmarking, tattooing, Freeze branding or microchips can put criminals off staling livestock. Taking photos or videos of valuable animals with the brand or tags clearly visible can also help. Keep recent and accurate records of all your livestock, this will help keep tabs on what is going in and out if the farm.

Dog walkers are becoming an ever-increasing issue with livestock owners. Making sure you have visible signage around your livestock requesting dogs to be kept on leads can make it clear to walkers that it is dangerous for their dogs to be off the lead. Checking livestock regularly that are situated on land that has public footpath access is also a must to keep on top of what is going on.

If you have an incident these should be reported to the police immediately.

 

Farm Yard and Farm House.

As a farmer your work is your life and often you live on your farm. Having a stranger come on to your property and steal and damage your belongings can affect you psychologically as well as physically. Not only have your belongings been stolen or damage you now don’t feel safe in your own home or at your workplace.

There are some steps you can take to keep your house and farm secure and to deter criminals.

Make sure you invest in some good locks for your doors and widows in your house and around the farm. Make sure gates are always locked when you’re not around. Often placing concrete blocks or rollers in gateways that are not being used regularly deters trespassers.

Be aware of unfamiliar people come and going, driving into or around the farm, stopping and asking unusual questions or trying to sell you machinery. Always report any suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible.

Keep logs of tools around the farm and valuables around the house, this can be descriptions or photographs. This makes it easier if an incident has occurred, to recover items.

Security lights around entrances to building and your property can be a great deterrent for criminals and can often alert you to something going on. CCTV is also a great way to put criminals off entering your property. Technology has evolved and some of the CCTV systems available aren’t too costly and they can alert you via your mobile phone if activity is detected.

 

Cases of Avian Flu have been detected in Swans in Cornwall and Devon over the last few months and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra) introduced measures in December to control the spread.

All keepers of birds should register your poultry to be informed if there is an outbreak and to be kept updated.

There is currently an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in force throughout England, this requires all bird keepers to take biosecurity precautions, including keeping birds indoors except in very specific circumstances.

Avian Flu can transfer to humans and the symptoms are similar to other types of flu, there are precautions you take to avoid the spread.

When working with poultry ensure you wear the correct PPE and be vigilant for signs of the disease within the flock. This can include increase mortality, falling egg production and respiratory distress. If you suspect the disease, ask your vet for advice an inform Animal Health.

Ongoing studies and surveillance is carried out among wild bird populations to monitor the spread of Avian Flu. Do not touch or pick up dead or visibly sick birds that you find in the wild. You should report any dead wild waterfowl, or sightings of sick or dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey to Defra. If you have any concerns about the health of any wild birds please contact the Defra helpline.

The Avian Flu has no connection to the Covid-19 pandemic with is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is not carried in poultry.