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.

 

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.

 

 

Fixed Electrical Inspection

The testing and inspection of Electrical systems is required under the Electricity at Work Regulations and will therefore apply to business premises.

Most establishments require a full test and inspection every 5 years. This work must be carried out by competent and accredited contractor.

They also require an Annual Routine check, this check may be completed by a competent person who is a user of the system. The person doing the routine check will need to look for breakages, deterioration, signs of overheating and ensure that adequate labelling is in place.

 

The following is a general summary of of the requirements for certain establishments-

          • Industrial       Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 3 years
          • Commercial   Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 3/5 years
          • Offices             Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 5 years
          • Shops              Annual Routine Check        Fixed Test 5 years
          • Pubs                Annual Routine Check         Fixed Test 5 year
          • Restaurant     Annual Routine Check         Fixed Test 5 years
          • Hotels              Annual Routine Check        Fixed Test 5 years
          • Petrol Station  Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 1 year
          • Construction Site   3 Month Check            3 Month Test

It is a legal requirement to comply with this legislation and in the event of large fire loss at a premises a copy of the electrical report and certificate will be required.

 

 

Christmas Cheer and Decorations

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But before settling  down to a pile of mince pies and the wrapping of Christmas gifts, the decorations need to go up.

For many of us that means getting them down first, as Christmas decorations are very often stored in lofts, therefore it is important to ensure that you retrieve them safely from where you put them at the start of the year.

Christmas Tree

If you choose to have a real tree take care when handling it and transporting it and check the tree for unwelcome visitors and make sure you keep it watered to prevent it drying out and dropping needles.

Make sure the tree is firm and stable in place and avoid placing it in an awkward position.

If your tree is over 6 feet tall, then use a small step ladder to hang the decoration and do not decorate the tree alone. (Beware the helpful suggestions)

Christmas Lights

Visually inspect your lights for obvious signs of defects and switch them on to see if they are working prior to hanging.

Where you can use LED lights as they have a lower voltage

Never overload the socket or extension lead and keep the lights away from flammable materials

Turn off lights when you go to bed

Outside Decorations

Take care if you are hanging lights and decorations outside and at height. Particular care should be taken if you are using a ladder.

Ensure the ladder is fit for purpose and free of defects, make sure you place the ladder on level ground and that someone is with you to foot the ladder if necessary.

Ensure the lights and decorations are specifically designed for outside use and that the electric cables is suitable and connected to an adequate socket.

Avoid trips and falls by using cable ties to secure trailing cables and try to avoid placing decorations too close to pavements.

Charity Displays

If you are assembling a display for a charity at your home, please tell your home insurer.

These are just a few points from the team at PSP Risk who

 wish you all a very Safe & Happy Christmas.

 

Working from home

As so many of us are now considering that the new normal will include long term adjustments to working from home, PSP Risk have put together some top tips.

  • Find somewhere comfortable to work.
  • Move location in the afternoon only if you can, helps to reduce isolation.
  • Choose your soundtrack.  Some people like music, the radio or TV.  But do not lose focus.
  • Establish your rules for working at home and make sure that all your family members, particularly children understand.
  • Keep moving, do not sit at your work station for hours on end.  Go for walk, take calls standing up, make yourself a drink.
  • Structure your day.
  • Take plenty of breaks and in particular make sure you get outside during the daylight hours especially during the winter.
  • Stay social, do not become isolated.  Use a group app, check in with colleagues, have a buddy system.  Use video calls but make sure you are dressed appropriately.
  • Do not try to solve problems alone, use your team and any other methods that will help you.
  • Get ready for work and be work ready.
  • At the end of your working day switch off.  Close the door if you have one and do not go back  to check emails.
  • Further information about how to look after your mental health can be found here at the Mental Health Foundation 

 

 

 

making your workplace covid-secure

The Health and Safety Executive have announced that they will be carrying out spot checks and inspection on all types of businesses in all geographical areas to ensure that they are Covid-secure.

The HSE will carry out these checks by making, either site visits or telephone calls to businesses to discuss their arrangements and the measures put in place to keep there employees, customers and visitors safe.

There are some simple steps you can take in making your workplace Covid-secure –

  • Carry out a Covid-19 Risk Assessment
  • Maintain and promote social distancing on your premises
  • Provide adequate hand washing /sanitizing facilities
  • Talk to your team about working safely

A draft risk assessment form can be found on the HSE website, however, here at PSP Risk we are able to work with you to put together a bespoke Risk Assessment that meets the HSE requirements and your own business needs.

 

 

PSP Risk

It seems that Autumn is coming early this year and during the last couple of weeks we have already experienced two Autumn/Winter storms.

The ground is saturated, and trees are still in full leaf.  Consequently, there is more chance of large branches and trees being damaged by storm conditions.

When damage occurs or trees are blown down, the debris must be removed, and the area made safe.  Chainsaws are usually used for this type of work but there are number of factors that must be taken into consideration before you grab your chainsaw.

Training

A person who works on trees using a chainsaw should hold a certificate of competence or a licence to use such equipment.  This qualification should be updated at least every three years.

Any person using a chainsaw for any other works must have received suitable training from a qualified instructor on how to operate and maintain such equipment.

Location

Any person must ensure that they take extra care if trees are close to over head power lines (OHPL).  You must not work on trees if they are within 10 metres of OHPL and such work should be passed to a competent tree surgeon.

You must ensure that as a chainsaw operator, you know your escape route and that nobody is allowed within two tree lengths of the tree being felled.

Saws and Protective Clothing

Ensure that saws are well maintained and fitted with a chain catcher, combined chain brake and front hand guard, silencer and anti -Vibration mounts.

The chains have low kickback characteristics and are sharp, correctly tensioned and lubricated.

All operators wear a safety helmet, hearing protection, eye protection and gloves.

Operators must also wear protective clothing around their legs and feet, usually chainsaw trousers with all round protection and chainsaw boots

Before you commence any work, make sure that you have completed a risk assessment and that you are competent to undertake the task without risk or injury to yourself and others.

If you have any doubts, arrange to obtain specialist assistance.

Electrical Updates for Private Landlords

As a landlord it is essential that you keep up with legislation in order to protect you and your tenant.  The government has recently changed the electrical regulations and these will apply to new tenancies from July 2020 and existing tenancies from April 2021.

 

Landlords must ensure that the electrical installations in their properties are tested and inspected by an appropriately qualified electrician every 5 years and that any new alterations in the wiring system are also tested and inspected.

 

The documentation in respect of these tests must be freely available and shared with existing, new and prospective tenants.  The local authority is also entitled to see this information and if they make a request as such, you must supply the information to them within 7 days of their request.

 

The information must be supplied to an existing tenant with 28 days.

 

If the person is a new tenant, the landlord must supply a copy of the last report before occupation by the new tenant or within 28 days to any prospective tenant.

 

If the report identifies any remedial or further investigation work, this must be completed within 28 days.  Written confirmation of the work carried out must be provided to the tenant.

 

If a landlord is in breach of the regulations, the local authority can serve a remedial works notice, complete the works themselves and recover all their costs from the landlord.  They can also impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

 

As a landlord, you must regularly liaise with your managing agents in order to make certain that your properties are compliant and that you are able meet the terms and conditions of your property owners insurance policy.