For Business

HSE Inspection campaign targeting SME plastics companies

By Emma Drew

September 2, 2014

HSE Inspection campaign targeting SME plastics companies

The Plastics Industry employs around 220,000 in the UK across 6,000 businesses, 97% of these are SMEs. In October 2013 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began a programme with the purpose of checking risk management relating to exposure to plastic fume.

The 2014-15 programme is similar to the 2013-14 one and runs from 1 April 2014 to the end of March 2015. The purpose is to assess duty holders’ risk management of the standards for control of exposure to plastics fume against those outlined in the revised HSE information sheet advice on controlling fume during plastics processing.

Fume can be given off as part of plastics processing. The exact composition of any fume produced when the material is heated for processing will vary. It can include respiratory sensitisers, irritants and carcinogens. Immediate effects may include severe irritation to the eyes, nose and lungs. In some cases, the effects can be long-term and irreversible. It is important as an employer to properly assess the risks and put things in place to protect your workers from health risks.

The inspections will comprise the following:

  • Proactive inspections of your  fume management and exposure control arrangements
  • Take enforcement action if plastics fume is not being effectively managed
  • Broaden the inspection where necessary to look at other health and safety issues because poor control of exposure to plastics fume indicates a failure in management arrangements
  • Address any other matters of concern.


Be prepared

Our advice is to follow the action points as set out in the HSE information sheet . You may also wish to review your current risk assessment; free templates are available via the HSE Managing Plastics Safely webpage


How can we help?

If you would like to talk to Perkins Slade about your current manufacturing insurance policy please contact us today:

Bert Ramos
Associate Director – Business Development
T: 0121 698 8145


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Could Your Business Survive a Product Recall?

By Emma Drew

July 3, 2014

Could Your Business Survive a Product Recall?

The numbers of manufacturing recalls were down by 7% in 2013, driven in no small part by a drop of 18% in vehicle recalls. Despite these figures, as a manufacturer you should not become complacent, as the impact of such an event can be substantial, both from a financial perspective and reputational damage

Reasons for product recalls in the motor industry

Cars are becoming increasingly more complex, due in part to legislative requirements which demand certain improvements such as new safety requirements or fuel efficiency standards. A second factor is that more manufacturers are increasingly relying on third parties to manufacture parts, and leaning on them to make parts more cheaply; this, combined with regulation becoming more stringent, all combine to increase the potential for a product recall.

How can you ensure your business is in its best position to be protected against the repercussions of a Product Recall?

Perkins Slade recommends 

Audit Trail

Take an active role to ensure that standards are maintained for every component that goes into your product; however when a faulty component does enter the manufacturing process, having a good audit trail means you can quickly identify the source, which will allow you to rectify problems more efficiently and cost effectively.

Communication Plan

How well you manage a Product Recall can depend on how well you manage communications – both internally and externally. With multiple audiences to communicate to, responsibility for message development, outreach and documentation should be clearly defined in your plan.

It is also useful to understand and prepare for the role social media now plays in a communication plan. Social media can complicate a product recall; you should be prepared for answering questions if and when they come up.

Who Are the Key Stakeholders?

As part of your contingency plan you should know who the key decision makers are and have a pre-established communication protocol in place. You should decide in advance what channels of communication will be used and what is the key information to be shared. Having a protocol plan such as this already in place will accelerate information sharing and therefore speed up decisive action.

Putting it all together

Although you may have some of these measures in place, pulling everything together in an emergency can impede the effectiveness of your response, therefore having a skeleton infrastructure already in place which is maintained can be fundamental.

How we can help?

At Perkins Slade we have more than 40 years’ experience of providing expert insurance and risk management advice for UK and international business.

Perkins Slade can conduct an In-depth Audit of your organisation’s exposures and use the findings to build a bespoke insurance and risk management programme to protect your business

If you would like more information regarding any issue surrounding Product Recall please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative. Alternatively, you can contact

Bert Ramos

Business Development Executive

0121 698 8145


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Severe Weather Warning

By Editor, Perkins Slade

December 5, 2013

Severe Weather Warning

Many parts of the UK are braced for a storm which will bring gale-force winds and the risk of some flooding. The Environment Agency has 28 severe flood warnings in place in Wales and the east of England – meaning residents should be prepared for flooding and there could be a danger to life.


In the last decade, issues that have threatened manufacturers, such as fuel strikes, bank failures, adverse weather, swine flu and acts of terrorism have caused severe disruption. Zurich commented that, ‘supply chains are critical to the wellbeing of most manufacturers and failure at any point in the chain can potentially cause the whole link to collapse. A recent Business Continuity Institute survey found that 75% of businesses reported at least one supply chain disruption during the past year.’

Are you prepared?

For businesses, storm damage should be one of the events considered in your business continuity plan. Preparations can be undertaken to ensure minimal damage is incurred:

  • Impact-resistant glass
  • Ensure exterior and yard items are removed or are securely tied down or stored away
  • Close all doors, particularly up-and-over type garage doors
  • Safety and communications plans are in place for employees
  • If instructed to do so turn off utilities
  • Trim back any dead or weak branches from trees.

A relevant and up-to-date plan will demonstrate to insurers and lenders that you’ve taken a proactive approach to risk management and can help stabilise the cost of your insurance in the long term.

Are you covered?

Commercial property owners should check their insurance policies to ensure cover includes storm/ flood damage. It is also advisable to review the key features of the policy including any excesses you will be expected to pay in the event of a claim. It is vital for companies to regularly review their insurance cover.

Most organisations will have material damage cover and business interruption cover but a full review of the sums insured and the indemnity period should be frequently undertaken. This isn’t just a question of insuring storm as a peril, denial of access and loss of attraction may all have an equally disastrous impact on business. If the nature of your business is complex, you may need expert advice from a specialist surveyor to review your requirements and help calculate the gross profit sum insured.

What to do if your business is affected?

  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible
  • If your property or workplace is damaged make sure the building is safe before you enter and ensure electricity and gas supplies are switched off
  • Do not use electricity or water supplies until the ‘all clear’ is given
  • Keep the numbers of people entering the building to a minimum
  • If necessary, arrange for temporary repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse
  • Keep receipts, as these will be needed for your insurance claim
  • Always make your own record of damage – photograph or video record your damaged.

We can help

If you would like to discuss your business insurance and/or risk management needs, please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative, alternatively  telephone 0121 698 8000 or email


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Are you concerned about your Intellectual Property being challenged?

By Emma Drew

October 10, 2013

Are you concerned about your Intellectual Property being challenged?

Government statistics show that the amount of Intellectual Property (IP) claims and proceedings issued in London in 2010 has grown by 144% when compared with those from 2006.

The recent increase in claims alleging infringement of intellectual property rights is being driven by the fact that knowledge, as well as information and proprietary products, are the true assets upon which the value of a business is based.

A company’s IP is its lifeblood, but more often than not, it is an intangible asset, existing as a collection of patents, trade marks, registered and non-registered designs, a variety of miscellaneous tools. Such assets can be legally protected and therefore enforcing IP rights in the courts can be achieved, however, it is often a lengthy and costly process. Particularly if the correct insurance cover was not in place.

As companies around the world compete for position, hoping to secure the maximum amount of market share for their company, the potential for IP litigation has grown at an exponential rate. It is hard to imagine any company in any industry without some type of IP exposure.

  • Is your company concerned that a suit brought by a competitor may result in significant loss or even threaten the very existence of the company?
  • Does your company wish to purchase or license a technology from another company but it fears that the indemnification offered by the company will be inadequate?
  • Is your company concerned that it may lose substantial revenue or be forced out of business if it cannot afford to enforce the intellectual property rights it worked so hard to secure?
  • Does your company want to protect the value of its intellectual property portfolio to attract additional investment?

If you answered YES to any of the above you need to consider IP cover. Click here to learn more about how Manufacturing insurance can include protection for your design ideas and business assets.




Policy conditions may vary.
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Top 10 top design tips for business success

By Emma Drew

October 2, 2013

Top 10 top design tips for business success

Infographic created upon an article by Kurt Jacobs, Editor Midlands Business Insider


Top 10 top design tips for business success

  1. Design underpins everything in the value creation process
    People, processes, products, services and sustainable approaches through Research and Design (R&D), production, training, recruitment, marketing, sales and after-care, all make up a design-led culture. Design is integral, not applied. It is central to corporate growth and success.
  2. Culture and values really do make a difference
    Clarity of focus is essential to ensure that resources are devoted to areas that really matter. Pride in what you do leads to a culture valuing this activity.
  3. Manufacturing really matters
    Even the most advanced businesses in the world continue to generate great value from the way their products are made. The way things are made is at the heart of their design processes.
  4. Working in creative cultures is critical
    Creative cultures demand courage and commitment to developing the very best products and services they can.
  5. Leadership of creative companies flows from working in an integrated team
    Bring together teams with different skills and keep them together throughout projects, whether within design disciplines or across engineering, technology and business. Multi-disciplinary skills and approaches add value and encourages appreciation of how to work together with other disciplines.
  6. Design’s contribution to leadership is not always obvious or tangible
    There are some important contributions that design can make to the leadership of a company and it is important to realise that there is an aspect to design that is centred around intangibles that needs to be taken seriously.
  7. Ideas can be fiercely powerful but driving development can be fragile
    New ideas can be difficult to evaluate simply because there are no precedents, making business models difficult to define and create, but you should be prepared to support the unseen depth in invention sitting behind successful ideas.
  8. Great design education is a prerequisite to industrial and commercial success
    The very best manufacturing businesses have a genuine familiarity with the design process, either through some form of formal education or learned by working with the design process over years.  For educators the challenge is about training designers who can embrace business, finance, engineering and technology with confidence and fluency.
  9. The world is changing rapidly. Including the need for sustainable solutions, healthy living and ageing populations in developed economies together with population growth more generally. In auto markets, where previously the field of players had been contracting, they are now proliferating; multiple technological solutions are opening up where formerly one had been the accepted norm; changing consumer habits, for example resulting from ‘connectivity’ are now the catchword for a whole generation.
  10. Design is about delivering great experience
    Designing emotional connection, supported by technologies, processes, innovations, ultimately delivering great experience, requires a more in-depth understanding of users around the world and their different cultures, values and ethos.

Source: Beverley Nielsen, Director Employer Engagement, Birmingham City University.


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Manufacturing: Quintessentially British, and on the rise!

By Emma Drew

September 10, 2013

Manufacturing: Quintessentially British, and on the rise!

2013 seems to be the year for UK manufacturers; with car sales rising, house prices climbing and retailers’ having their best monthly sales since 2006 – the service sector is certainly accelerating at its fastest in 7 years.

Is this down to the next generation of British industrialists; the innovators with exceptional and unique skill sets? Yes, Yes it is.

After the Second World War, the manufacturing sector dominated Britain, providing work for over half the population. Now, manufacturing accounts for close to 10% of jobs, however the sector is still worth over £140 billion annually to the UK economy, according to Zurich.

With the rise in popularity of the IT and service sectors in past years, manufacturing became less attractive to the career hungry individuals. With the focus being more on higher wages and comfortable work environments – the manufacturing sector suffered a harsh blow. Yet in spite of this, the UK has a world class reputation in the manufacturing sector, being responsible for 74% of all business research and a pivotal 50% of all exports.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), a government service from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has been concentrating on a long term strategy to improve efficiency, develop supply chains and bring new products to market.  With a £50 million budget and 85 advisers, working with sector specialists to identify barriers to growth and to help implement solutions for small and medium sized enterprises, soon enough the UK manufacturing industry will grow enough to successfully compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

A national MAS survey, completed by around 700 senior directors, revealed 64% of companies questioned were expecting to increase sales over 2013, which reflected the new general confidence of the manufacturing sector.

The innovation and exceptional skills of the new generation of industrialists’ looks set to grow the manufacturing sector.

Contact us

If you would like more information on better managing risk in your business including:

  • Business Continuity Planning
  • Business Impact Analysis
  • Supply Chain Mapping and Grading
  • Total Risk Profiling
  • Full Product Recall
  • Valuations.

Please contact us today on 0121 698 8145 or email


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