Hello and welcome to the seventh issue of the Ryder Partnership Limited fortnightly newsletter The Alchemist, in which we will keep you up to date on all the latest developments in the world of health and safety.

Having got over the shock and horror of Halloween I hope that you all had a safe

Bonfire Night. – Of course November 5th is less of a thing today than it was when I was growing up.

In many ways environmental and safety issues regulate in particular public firework displays however there are still risks and as recently as last week I wrote a risk assessment for such an event. Event safety being a hot topic of course.

However let’s get down to it and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are starting another new inspection campaign this time on farms.

This is another ratcheting up of their interventions on farms . We have reported a number of prosecutions of late amongst the agricultural sector.

Below is reproduced the article from the HSE introducing the campaign.

Changing the attitude towards Health and Safety..

Farmers are being reminded they must change their attitude towards safety as Britain’s workplace regulator readies itself for a wave of inspections in the coming months.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit farms across England, Scotland and Wales as part of a push to change the culture in the industry and check for compliance with long standing legal requirements.

People on farms are 21 times more likely to be killed in a workplace accident than other sectors.

In total, there have been 161 deaths on Britain’s farms over the last five years – an average of 26 people each year. This includes members of the public and children.

The visits, from this week to next April, will focus on the main causes of death in farming, including working with cattle, operating and maintaining vehicles and falls from height. They will also look at risks to members of the public, which often means the management of cattle around public rights of way, as well as child safety on the farm.

HSE plans to carry out 440 visits during the campaign.

One of the HSE inspectors helping organise and support the visits is Kathy Gostick, who offered the following advice to farmers:

“We will not only be checking farmers’ knowledge of risk but also making sure they understand their responsibility to themselves and others. We will look at actions they have taken to control these risks and comply with the law.”

Although, the number of deaths in the agricultural sector has fallen by around half since the early 1980s, the rate of fatalities, which is based on the number of people at work in the sector, has remained stubbornly high, much higher than comparable industries.

In a bid to reduce that number, Kathy Gostick has called for farmers to stop and think differently about their own and other peoples’ safety.

“There are simply too many tragedies in farming and it is time for that to change. We are committed to making work places safer and healthier and that includes agriculture – we will do this by highlighting the risks, providing advice and guidance, and by holding employers to account for their actions. This means changing attitudes towards safety – it is the only way we will reduce the numbers of people being injured or killed. These upcoming inspections will help drive home the message that the only way we can bring down the numbers being injured or killed is if we change behaviour.”

Alongside inspections, HSE regularly gives advice on safe practice to key industry stakeholders, including at agricultural shows.

The regulator is a key member of the Farm Safety Partnership.

A farm has been fined £60,000 following the death of a father-of-three who was electrocuted by an overhead power line.

Patrick ‘Paddy’ Rice was fatally electrocuted on 13 May 2021 while operating a tipper lorry at VB Farms LLP’s Littlecombe Farm in Crediton, Devon.

Paddy’s mother says her family have been“traumatised and deeply shocked” since the 43-year-old lost his life.

Employed by Langford Plant Hire, Paddy, who was from Crediton, was delivering stone that was going to be used to repair farm tracks by VB Farms LLP, when the hydraulic arm of the tipper lorry came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line.

He was electrocuted after exiting the lorry.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found VB Farms LLP failed to carry out an assessment of how the work could be completed safely and did not consider the dangers involved with working near an overhead power line.

One method of improving the health and safety within an organisation is through the concentration with the aim of improving it’s health and safety performance on employees behaviour.

After all it is employees who have accidents and it is their behaviour that causes them. Ultimately it is the culture of the organisation that determines behaviour and an organisation must WANT to change for it to happen.

This is the first in a series of articles on behavioural safety and how it can help reduce accidents.

A behaviour-based safety approach promotes interventions that are people-focused and often incorporate one-to-one or group observations of employees performing routine work tasks, setting goals carefully and giving timely feedback on safety-related behaviour, coaching and mentoring.

The initiatives have a proactive focus, encouraging individuals and their workgroups to consider the potential for incident involvement, (accidents) and to assess their own behaviour as safe or unsafe always, no matter what.

A Behaviour Based Safety approach is one which:

  • Is based on solid principles about engaging, motivating, assisting, reinforcing, and sustaining safe behaviours.
  • Takes a systematic approach, examining the motivation underlying behaviours, in order to increase safe behaviour.
  • Is an ongoing effort; not ‘once-off’ provisions, but a new way of working that the safety leader must continually promote for sustainable, positive results.
  • Takes time to achieve; however, results can be observed immediately due to the nature of measurement involved.
  • Emphasises increasing safe behaviours rather than focusing on length of time without injury.BBS programmes do not depend solely on ‘lagging indicators’ (after the fact), and instead shift the focus to ‘leading indicators’(preventative).
  • Is not a substitute for an already existing comprehensive health and safety programme; it is a supplementary tool that will enhance the effect of already existing practices, and will allow for an objective measurement system.
  • Aims to understand causes of incidents and near misses and correct them through the behaviour of relevant people.

For example, reducing hazards often requires behaviour change of managers and frontline workers, and equipment redesign involves behaviour change of engineers.

“BBS is about everyone’s behaviour, not just the frontline” (Agnew & Ashworth, 2012) BBS stems from the field of organisational behaviour analysis.

The focus in both organisational behaviour analysis and BBS is behaviour. The overarching theme in behaviour analysis andBBS is that behaviour is maintained by what occurs after it (consequences).

Many safety interventions in work settings focus on antecedents, or events that come before behaviour that may evoke behaviour.For example, many work settings rely heavily on training, safety signs, pep talks, toolbox talks, or pre-briefs.

These can be effective in activating behaviours initially, but it is what occurs after our behaviour that ensures the behaviour will occur time and time again.

For example, a toolbox talk addressing correct manual handling techniques might result in correct techniques on the day of the talk; however, over time employees will revert to old practices. This is because nothing has occurred after their correct behaviour to indicate that it is correct, or that it has benefitted the individual or the organisation to be so safety-conscious.

The next issue: The ABC model of behaviour.


There may be a number of circumstances in which you may employ a young person, (defined as being under 18 (usually therefore 16 or 17 years old. Probably you have employed them as an apprentice..

Whatever the capacity you have employed them in, you need to carryout a young persons risk assessment.

Guidance is available form the HSE which is summarised below:

If you are employing a young person for the first time, or employing one with particular needs, you should review your risk assessment before they start.

You do not need to do a separate risk assessment for work experience students, as long as your existing assessment already considers the specific factors for young people.

If you already employ a young person:

If you employ a young person already, or have done recently, your existing arrangements for assessment and management of the risks for new young people should be enough. This is providing that the new starter is of a similar level of maturity and understanding, and has no particular needs, such as a disability.

Greatest risks to young people

For many young people the workplace will be a new environment and they will be unfamiliar with ‘obvious’ risks and the behaviour expected of them.

They may lack experience or maturity.Make sure they understand what is expected of them, check they understand and are able to remember and follow instructions.

They may not have reached physical maturity and be more at risk if their muscle strength is not fully developed.

They may be less skilled in handling techniques or in pacing work according to their ability.

When assessing a young person’s physical capability, you could simply ask yourself if a still developing young person could lift the weights older, more experienced workers can.

Young people may be unaware of how to raise concerns, so make sure this is part of their training.

They may be eager to impress or please people they work with, so you should supervise them effectively and make sure they understand any training and instruction.

Levels of risk

Low risk environments

For placements in low-risk environments, such as offices or shops, with everyday risks that will mostly be familiar to the young person or student, your existing arrangements for other workers should be enough.

Less familiar risks

For environments with risks less familiar to them (for example in light assembly or packing facilities), you should make arrangements to manage the risks. This should include induction, supervision, site familiarisation, and any protective equipment needed.

High-risk environments

For work in a higher-risk environment such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing:

  • consider the work they will be doing or observing, the risks involved and how they are managed.
  • satisfy yourself that the instruction, training and supervisory arrangements have been properly thought through and work in practice

Consider specific factors that must be managed for young people, including exposure to:

▪ radiation
▪ noise and vibration
▪ toxic substances
▪ extreme temperatures

Where these exist, you should already have control measures in place.

Harmful exposure means exposure that has long-term health effects on a still-developing young body. You should be aware of the substances they might come into contact with, consider exposure levels and ensure legal limits are met.

Also consider legally required age limits on the use of some equipment and machinery (for example forklift trucks and some woodworking machinery)

If these measures are not followed things can go seriously wrong as shown below:

A 16 year old boy suffered serious injuries after becoming trapped under a tractor while on paid work experience..

Tom Cutler was gaining experience of vehicle repair work at Earlcoate, Construction & Plant Hire Limited,Folds Farm, in the New Forest, ahead of hopefully starting a vehicle maintenance course at Sparsholt College.

On 3 August 2021, the teenager from the New Forest was driving a tractor down an incline when it came off the track and overturned. He was alone and the tractor did not have a seat belt fitted. Tom was thrown out of his seat and his upper leg was trapped under the roof of the tractor – fortunately hew as found in time by passers-by who were able to call for assistance. Emergency services attended and hew as taken to hospital for treatment.

“Tom acted quickly”

Tom’s dad, David Cutler, said: “Tom was only 16 when this incident happened, and it’s changed his life forever. Had it not been for his own bravery and the amazing work by the emergency services we could have lost him.

Tom acted quickly and used his belt as a tourniquet to stem bleeding; he punched out the cab window to check his leg and managed to break off awing mirror to enable him to turn off the tractor and prevent a fire from fuel that was escaping.

He spent a month in hospital and has undergone seven different operations but can’t do the things he used to do. He was a keen mountain biker and cricket player but that has all stopped.

He doesn’t sleep properly and is more anxious; he had to put his education on hold for a year and we as a whole family have found it extremely tough. Lucky the outcome was not worse”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Earlcoate Construction & Plant Hire Limited, had failed to adequately protect Tom through a failure of supervision, and by not providing adequate information, instruction, and training to him.

At Southampton Magistrates’ Court on 16 October, Earlcoate Construction & Plant Hire Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £50,000 and costs of £9,223.


In the spirit of paying homage to the fact that we celebrate Christmas earlier and earlier each year… (picture of my neighbours!), I thought it would be useful to remind readers to ensure that their Christmas lights are safe.

This year, as with every other year, you should:


  • Read and follow the manufacturers instructions for all products.
  • Check your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken before use and look for any loose wires.
  • Only use replacement bulbs of the same type supplied with the lights.
  • Ensure all outdoor lights are connected via a 30mA RCD protected socket.
  • Replace failed lamps immediatly to prevent overheating.
  • Ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lighting is suitable for outdoor use.
  • Switch your lights off and unplug them beofre you go out or to bed.
  • Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easy.


  • Use lights outdoors unless they are specifically designed for such use.
  • connect different lighting sets together.
  • Connect lights to the supply whilst still in the packaging.
  • Remove or insert lamps while the chain is connect to the supply.
  • Overload sockets – try to avoid the use of extension leads and adaptors.
  • Attempt to repair faulty lights – replace them.
  • use lights that are damaged or faulty.

It is recommended by electricians that you use LED over traditional filament Christmas lighting because:

  • They operate on extra low voltage which significantly reduces the risk of an electric shock.
  • They use less power, generating little heat and so reducing the risk of fire and burns. This makes them safer to use.
  • They are estimated to use 80-90% less electricity than filament lamps, so they are less expensive to run and typically last up to 60 times longer.
  • They are more durable because LED lights are made of a special plastic with no filament, there are no glass lamps to break.
  • They are a great deal more efficient to run and good at saving energy, so are more environmentally friendly.

Our 2024 training diary is under way with plenty of IOSH Managing Safely training courses available!

For all training requirements, please go to our website, where you can see all the open courses we have planned.


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