anaerobic digester plant

Dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres regulations – Get specialist support with DSEAR

“DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal.” (www.hse.gov.uk)

What does DSEAR require?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, employers must:

  • find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
  • put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
  • put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
  • prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
  • make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
  • identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.

Who needs to take DSEAR into account?

Any employer or self-employed person that makes use of or stores substances that pose a risk of fire or explosion. For example anaerobic digester plants, grain storage chambers and pesticide production. The regulations are in place to protect staff, contractors visitors and the environment from the dangers of certain substances and the effects of explosion.

anaerobic digester plant

The noxious gasses that are produced during the anaerobic digesting process pose a significant risk;

  • In May 2014 anaerobic digester plant exploded in Shropshire causing a significant slurry spillage and risk to the local environment – no one was hurt. Full story
  • In August 2014 a man was left in a critical condition following a gas explosion at a Cambridgeshire farm – he was part of a team constructing a new digestion plant. Full story
  • And in February 2015 a worker lost his life following exposure to toxic gases in Dorset. The owner of the farm was fined a total £145,000 for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. There had been a previous incident that had not been properly addressed. Read more

Prevent accidents, prevent loss of lives and stay legally compliant using DSEAR

Mark Jones, CMIOSH Health and Safety Consultant for Safety Revolution has a strong Health and Safety background, including specialising in the technical content of Safety Revolution systems and the delivery of DSEAR risk assessment and advice.

Many facilities within agriculture choose not to train or employ DSEAR specialists in-house, instead sourcing the necessary experts from a third party such as Safety Revolution. The costs associated with training are often high and so by engaging an external expert, employers and facility managers are not tempted to cut corners or attempt to manage the risks themselves, which may result in disastrous consequences as outlined above.

Be sure that your Health and Safety compliance, including where DSEAR is a factor, is properly maintained and re-assessed for effectiveness every 12 months. The implications of not adhering to DSEAR run far and wide including legally, where businesses may be lost; financially, where large fines can be imposed; personally, where the lives of yourself and others are at risk and environmentally. It is the responsibility of the employer or self-employed person to ensure that risks are lowered and eliminated wherever possible.

For best advice and to arrange a consultation for your Health and Safety requirements, call Safety Revolution, specialists in Health and Safety risk management for the agricultural industry on 0800 0281965. Or visit our website for further information.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/dsear.htm

 

 

Glorious Twelfth, glorious 12th, game bird, shooting season 2016

The Glorious Twelfth – What risks are posed to landowners with game bird open season?

Open season for game birds starts on the Glorious Twelfth (of August), with Grouse and Common Snipe to be the first on target across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Closely followed by Partridge on 1st September and Pheasant on 1st October.

Glorious Twelfth, glorious 12th, game bird, shooting season 2016

Game bird shooting season opens on The Glorious Twelfth

Throughout the spring and summer these birds are allowed to breed and grow in their natural environment, giving them essential time to flourish, ready for the beginning of the game shooting season. With exception of pheasant, which is notoriously bad at breeding naturally and so are bred in captivity and released in time for the open season.

Since the Game Act of 1831, grouse shooting has been an exceptionally popular pastime, with August 12th being one the busiest days of the season, seeing very large numbers of grouse shot.

However, there are risks associated with game bird shooting, as highlighted below;

Landowners

It is common practice and indeed not against the law for landowners of neighbouring farms and estates to allow access to their land for the purpose of the shoot. The risk here is that on occasion not all the necessary paperwork is in place to cover insurances. To ensure the safety of those on the land, taking part in the shoot or otherwise is upheld, you must have a written and signed agreement between all concerned parties. This also forms part of the legal requirement to ensure permission is granted before shooting takes place.

Proper firearms

Of course you are aware of the need for a license to use a shotgun, rifle or other firearm, but this is not necessary for an air rifle less than 12ft lb in power or air pistols less than 6ft lb in power. You are not permitted to use bows or crossbows or explosives of any type for game shooting.

If using a shotgun, which is most commonplace for grouse shooting, the internal diameter of the shotgun must not be more than 1.75 inches and you cannot use a firearm that holds more than two rounds of ammunition, artificial lighting (so no night shooting) or additional sighting devices or a device which lights the target (laser sights).

These rules, set by the UK Government uphold the humanity of the shoot and reduces the risk of suffering for the game birds.

Shared access

Public access land with multiple uses can pose a risk to many. If the estate is private and accessed by multiple trades or industries a full risk assessment encompassing all possibilities must be in place to ensure the safety of all those who enter during game shooting season. For land which includes public access areas such as footpaths and trails the risks are less easy to control. Proper signage warning of shooting times and the necessity to keep dogs on leads, or to keep clear entirely, ought to be in place in clear view of those using the paths. These public access areas should also be included in your estate risk assessment.

Reducing the risks

Safety Revolution’s Health and Safety ideology is the basis of reducing risks to personal safety within the agriculture, estates and equine industries. With this purpose we have developed a depth of knowledge in key areas and an effective system to help you manage the health and safety of your estate.

We work with key individuals such as gamekeepers and woodsmen to increase awareness of best practice and develop a team consensus around how best to improve safe systems of work.

If you’re an estate manager and would like to know more about how we could help with your Health and Safety and Human Resource management systems, please get in touch with us on 0800 0281965 or complete our contact form.

 

Safety Revolution – Health and Safety Specialists

gov.uk – Hunting and Shooting Wildlife

Wikipedia – Glorious Twelfth

scarecrows free

How to attract the best casual labour candidates for your farm or estate

Spring is the time when agricultural business owners start looking to employ casual labour for their farms, estates or equine operations. And with a large number of students and temporary staff looking for placement, how do you attract the best, most reliable candidates to your operation?

scarecrows free

What does your farm offer casual labour candidates?

It stands to reason that if your operation gives the best impression to candidates when they are comparing you to other options, you will attract the most interest. Guaranteeing a large number of candidates, guarantees a great choice.

  • Training – Training must be undertaken when: you are new worker, new working methods are introduced, new equipment or technologies are brought in. It might be standard practice and the law to ensure this is all taken care of, but demonstrating this to potential casual labour candidates demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding your staff and makes you a more attractive employer.
  • Duty of Care – Establishing the existence of a duty of care ensures precautions are taken to prevent damage to personal property, injury and physical or emotional abuse of staff and protect their general wellbeing. Other than a legal requirement, a duty of care that is talked about and advertised to casual labour candidates is key in building trust, demonstrating your commitment to your employees, improve staff retention, boost productivity and improve employee engagement and loyalty.
  • Accommodation – make sure the accommodation on offer is of a high standard, decent size and if possible has a private wash area, if not a private bathroom or shower room. The candidate’s rooms should be managed in the same way as a landlord would manage a rental property. Take an inventory, refresh the décor, PAT test all portable appliances, deep clean carpets and other fabrics and keep records of gas and fire safety checks and other health and safety measures.
  • Extras – Consider offering extras such as one hot meal per day, family dining or use of company transport for recreation time, even if it’s simply a bicycle. Added extras will be what makes you more attractive as an employer.

 

sheep free

 

What do your casual labour suppliers offer you?

When vetting your candidates there are things to consider that will bring the best potential employees to light.

  • Licenses – It is a criminal offence to use un-licensed labour provider if you use workers in the processing and packaging of fresh food, drink and other produce, agriculture, horticulture and shellfish gathering sectors. More information on the Gangmasters Licensing Authority is available from gov.uk.
  • Long hours – It is the nature of the farming industry that long hours are often required. Your candidates will be working from dawn til dusk on many occasions and should be aware of this fact from early on. This is also where your duty of care as an employer takes effect.
  • Self-management and discipline – Young farmers may require assistance in time management and keeping focus on tasks, especially when they are consistently lengthy. The best candidates will be able to exercise self-management, demonstrate self-discipline and keep focus when operating machinery or undertaking manual tasks for long periods of time.

 

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For further reading on the subject of employing casual labour workers for your farm, estate of equine operation, get in touch with Safety Revolution, or follow the links below.

Contact banner

Gov.uk – Gangmasters Licensing information: http://www.gla.gov.uk/i-am-a/i-use-workers/

ACAS – Duty of Care: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3751

 

HealthSafety-page-001

Four important but commonly overlooked health and safety issues

Safety Revolution was established to help farms, estates, contractors and equine operations maintain legal compliance to health and safety policy and procedures. This blog will highlight four of the often overlooked, important health and safety issues that members of the industry may be unaware of.

1.     Fire Risk Assessments

Fire safety law changed in October 2006 with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. To ensure your establishment is compliant, the Government produced the Fire Safety Risk Assessment consisting of five steps towards creating a plan and testing your own fire safety. Within each step is a checklist of questions for you to tick off as you go through, adjusting and improving your strategy, the five steps are:

  • Fire Hazards – Have you found a risk?
  • People at Risk – Who’s at risk?
  • Evaluate and Act – Think about steps one and two, remove and reduce risks.
  • Record, Plan and Train – Keep written accounts of your actions.
  • Review – Ensure the risks have not changed and react if they have.

2.     All protective clothing must be supplied free of charge since the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, came into force

The regulations require that all other means of up-holding health and safety must be in place before personal protective equipment (PPE) is supplied. Only when there is no other means of protecting staff should PPE be supplied. It is the requirement of the employee to ensure that PPE is properly checked and is fit for purpose, stored correctly and maintained for optimum performance, training or instructions are provided and that the employees are using it correctly. Guidance on the provision of personal protective equipment can be found in the Health and Safety Executive’s document.

3.     Telehandler drivers must be competent and authorised

As with any vehicle you are licensed to drive, your employee must be able to demonstrate their capability and competency at operating the telehandler. Recognised schemes such as the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) provide skills cards which are held by the licensee and are accepted by the vast majority of employees.

The Health and Safety Executive requires operators of telehandlers to inspect and maintain their vehicle, reporting any defects or problems immediately. It is therefore initially the operator’s responsibility to demonstrate their competency and maintain their own health and safety compliance. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the operator’s skills card complies to these regulations.

4.     ‘Grandfather rights’ no longer apply

On the 18th July 2012 regulations that implement the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive came into effect in the UK. This effectively removes the exemption in UK law allowing anyone born before 31st December 1964 to use plant protection products (PPPs) authorised for professional use on their own or their employer’s land, without having to hold a certificate. The abolition of Grandfather rights now means certificates must be held and renewed at appropriate times if the use of pesticides is to continue, regardless of age or how long the use has been in practice without legislation.

For further reading on any of the health and safety issues raised in this blog, please follow the links below.

CPCS Scheme: http://www.citb.co.uk/cards-testing/construction-plant-competence-scheme-cpcs/about-the-cpcs/

HSE Guidance on telehandlers and compliance to Health and Safety: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/telescopic.htm

Defra’s action plan for Sustainable use of Pesticides: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/82557/consult-nap-pesticides-document-20120730.pdf

 

 

 

pheasant

The 10 biggest hazards associated with pheasant rearing

1.     ‘Bird Breeder’s Lung’

Initial, short term indications that you may be allergic to dust from the feathers and droppings of birds are tightness in the chest, regular headaches and breathlessness. These symptoms will disappear if you avoid exposure to the allergens, however if you do not take measures to protect yourself, long term serious illness may develop. Disorders such as asthma, bronchitis and ‘Bird Breeder’s Lung’ are potentially life-threatening and pose a risk to your employment. As an employer, you must supply protective equipment to your staff to ensure compliance to health and safety regulations.

2.     Lone working

Considerations must be paid to the employee who is expected to work alone. These should include; assessing the risk of violence, manual handling, medical suitability to be alone and specific environmental risks associated with the duties. In addition to these considerations, procedures should be put in place for keeping in touch with supervisors and raising the alarm should it be necessary. It would be advantageous to avoid lone working conditions, but where this is not possible, emergency procedures should planned, practiced and regularly evaluated.

3.     Gas brooders

Where gas brooders are put in place a suitable and adequate air flow and ventilation system must also be in place. There is a reasonable risk to bird breeders of carbon monoxide poisoning when gas brooders are in use. The Health and Safety Executive issued specific warnings on this risk: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2007/gnnsco04007.htm. Flame failure devices should also be inspected and reported if any defects are found. These devices prevent the escape of un-burned fuel into the environment, reducing the risk of ignition and suffocation.

4.     Lyme disease

Lyme disease is contracted via a bite from an infected tick. The initial symptoms are treated easily with antibiotics and can identified as a faint ring shaped rash around the site of the bite, developing into intermittent flu-like symptoms. Left untreated Lyme disease can become a very serious illness.

5.     Weil’s disease – leptospirosis

This illness is contracted from contact between cuts and abrasions and the infected urine of rats. High risk areas include feed stores, hay and straw storage facilities and farm bird enclosures. Symptoms to be aware of include feverishness and headaches and left untreated may be fatal. Employers should make all staff aware of the hazards and issue leptospirosis medical contact cards to all staff that are at risk.

6.     Off road transport

Training should be provided, particularly if the terrain is steep sloped or especially rough, or when the employee will be towing loads. All safety equipment must be provided by the employer and meet specific standards. It is the responsibility of the employee to make use of it, for example wearing seatbelts and helmets. Vehicles must be kept in good working order and comply to licensing laws and when trailing loads behind vehicles such as quad bikes, the employee must not exceed the safety guidelines provided in training.

7.     Steam cleaners and pressure washers

Electrical equipment that use water pose risks of electrocution to the operator. Steam cleaners and pressure washers should be used with a circulating current earth monitoring device, or a residual current device (RCD) sometimes called an ELCB. These devices should be fitted at the mains supply point, protected by a waterproof cover. Regular inspections of the earthing devices, cables, switches and connectors should be made, checking they are watertight and un-damaged. PAT checks should be up to date and certified with date stickers on all electrical appliances.

8.     Electrical safety

Other than making sure PAT check procedures are followed, the user of electrical equipment must ensure the appliance is fit for purpose – that it is suitable for use in the chosen environment. It is the responsibility of the user to perform visual checks over the cables, switches and connections before each use and that any defects are reported immediately.

9.     Personal protection equipment (PPE)

Clothing offering protection from the weather and from specific hazards such as guns and respiratory illness legally required to be provided by you as an employer. If the staff are to be working in exposed environments such as moorland, emergency survival equipment should also be provided. All PPE must be kept in good condition and stored correctly and any instructions for the use must be followed.

10. Guns

The law on safe use of guns sates that ‘employers and people who conduct an undertaking involving the use of guns have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take all reasonably practicable measures so that no one is put at risk’. The safe use of guns is imperative and is detailed in the Health and Safety executive’s document: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais43.pdf.

The essential reason for highlighting these main points is to make you, as an employer of farm and estate staff aware of the main risks your employees could be under, when working for you. It is also essential that your business is compliant to Health and Safety law at all times to protect the safety and wellbeing of your staff.

The risks detailed in this blog are not the only risks associated with rearing farm birds. The Health and Safety Executive Document, ‘Game Keeping and Deer Farming’, goes into greater detail and can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg177.pdf