Tag Archives: health and safety

September 2020 Legal Updates

 

Introduction

 

We want to detail the 2020 Legislation Updates for Health and Safety. As a H&S company, we want businesses and employers to be aware of the current legislation to ensure the safety and compliance of everyone in the workplace. The current Covid-19 crisis has resulted in legislation updates surrounding exposure and control. Below, we will talk you through the new legislation and regulation updates.

 

Coronavirus Act 2020

 

The Coronavirus bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020. It received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020 and is now in force. The purpose of the act is to enable the government to respond to an emergency and manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation includes:

  • Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020
  • Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020
  • Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020
  • Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

 

Brexit

 

Minor amendments have been made to regulations to remove EU references, but the legal requirements for employers remain the same as before Brexit day (officially 31 January 2020). Therefore, duties to protect the health and safety of those affected by your work have not yet changed. 

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 has been passed into law and implements the agreement made between the UK and the EU regarding the arrangements for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

 

Grenfell

 

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been suspended for the foreseeable future after the prime minister tightened restrictions on social distancing, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The full report on Phase 1 of the Public Inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower was published in October 2019. 

Phase 2 was underway before the suspension, calling witnesses involved with refurbishing the tower and installing the cladding, including members from Kensington and Chelsea borough council and the private construction companies responsible for the design. It seeks to identify how the building failed so drastically to prevent a disaster of this scale.

Budget 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged an extra £1 billion in a new building safety fund. The funding will go “beyond ACM to make sure that all unsafe cladding will be removed for all social and residential buildings above 18 metres high.”

 

Fire Safety bill

 

The Fire Safety bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020 (bill 121). 

Its purpose is to clarify that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order) applies to external walls (including cladding, balconies and windows) and individual flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings. The provisions in the bill extend and apply to England and Wales.

 

 

Key legislation and guidance that has come into force

Carcinogens and Mutagens (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020

These regulations came into force on 2 March 2020 and aim to:

  • Protect workers, and seafarers who are not workers, on United Kingdom ships from the risk of harm from exposure to carcinogenic or mutagenic substances at work 
  • Ensure an equivalent level of protection for workers on ships and seafarers who are not workers, as for workers ashore 
  • Increase protections for those coal mine workers who work below ground in relation to exposure to one carcinogen, namely respirable crystalline silica dust (RCS dust) 

EH40/2005 (updated to 4th Edition)

In January, the HSE published a revised version of EH40/2005 which details some new and revised Workplace Exposure Limits for 13 carcinogenic substances. These revised limits may mean that you need to review your COSHH risk assessments to ensure exposure is controlled to as low as reasonably practicable. 

The new or revised entries are for the following substances:

  • Hardwood dusts
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Respire crystalline silica
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
  • Bromoethylene

Welding fume risk

At the start of the year, the HSE announced that during the period January 2020 to March 2020 they would be inspecting sites across the country which carry out metal fabrication work to check that employers are controlling exposure to welding fumes and metalwork fluids.

HSE has now revised its Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) direct advice for welding: 

COSHH advice sheets: welding, cutting and surface preparation

  • WL0 – Advice for managers
  • WL2 – Welding in confined/limited/restricted spaces
  • WL3 – Welding fume control
  • WL14 – Manual gas and oxy-gas cutting
  • WL15 – Plasma arc cutting: fixed equipment
  • WL16 – Arc-air gouging (air-carbon arc gouging)
  • WL18 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (small items)
  • WL19 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (medium-sized items)
  • WL20 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (large items)
  • WL21 – Weld cleaning with pickling paste.

 

New Building Safety Regulator

The Government announced that a new building safety regulator, which was established immediately, would be part of the HSE. The purpose of the new building safety regulator is to improve building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher risk buildings.

 

Building Safety Advice for Building Owners, Including Fire Doors

Issued in January, this document brings together a number of advice notes for building owners on the measures they should take to ensure their buildings are safe.

It covers the safety of external wall systems (including spandrel panels and balconies), smoke control systems, fire doors and what short-term measures should be put in place should a significant safety issue be identified. It additionally reflects the independent panel view that cladding material comprised of ACM (and other metal composites) with an unmodified polyethylene core should not be on residential buildings of any height and should be removed.

 

To Conclude

 

If you want more details about the 2020 Legislation Updates, you can download Barbour’s full Health and Safety Legislation Update for April 2020 and Beyond from this page.

You can also check out the Legislation and Guidance Updates section on our website here.

If you have any questions or want to get in touch please contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

 

Legionella and COVID-19

 

Introduction

 

Do you know how to keep your company safe from the increased risk of legionella during COVID-19? We’ve detailed some information and guidance on managing this increased risk. The HSE recently released information surrounding legionella risks during the current COVID-19 pandemic (click here to read). They’ve stated that due to water stagnation in closed or reduced occupancy buildings, there is an increased risk of legionella growth which can lead to Legionnaires’ disease.

 

 

This infographic from medicalxpress details the common signs and symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease.
This infographic from medicalxpress details the common signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease.

What is Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease?

 

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a type of severe pneumonia. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the growth of legionella in water systems which aren’t adequately managed. This can also result in the milder form of Legionnaires’ Disease, a flu like illness called Pontiac Fever. Breathing in mist from water systems containing legionella is what causes the disease. This mist may come from hot tubs, showers, or air conditioning units in larger buildings.

 

 

Why has it’s risk increased from COVID-19?

 

The risk of legionella bacteria, and hence Legionnaires’ disease, has increased amidst COVID-19 due to stagnant water. Closure of buildings, parts of buildings or their restricted use, can increase the risk of legionella growth in water systems and associated equipment including evaporative air conditioning systems, spa pools/tubs etc. 

This risk is relevant to all public, residential and office buildings with similar water systems.

 

 

Preventing Legionella

 

It’s important that during this pandemic you manage and keep all water systems safe whilst closed or during partial shutdowns. This is for the future health and safety of guests, visitors and staff.

Review your risk assessment and update it to reflect your current water system usage and other systems or equipment which have reduced use or are shut down. Document how you will protect staff, visitors and others from legionella growth who remain on your property and when it re-opens.

If required, get help from an experienced and competent water treatment advisor, public health or environmental health authority. Where national guidelines or legislation are in place then you must follow those.

 

 

Key points to remember

 

Legionella will grow in water systems to levels which may cause infection where:

  • The temperature of the water is between 25°C and 50°C – prevent hot water from cooling below 50°C and cold water from warming above 25°C.
  • There’s poor or no flow.
  • The use of materials which provide protective niches and nutrients for growth and biofilm formation may collect in the system pipework and calorifier.
  • There is a means of creating and disseminating inhale droplets such as aerosols generated by; evaporative cooling systems, taps, showering, pools, fountains, flushing a toilet etc.
  • There is potential for contamination from poor quality source water.

 

 

Resources

 

For an in-depth article by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on managing water systems to prevent legionella growth, click here.

You can also click here to read the British Lung Foundation’s article on Legionnaires’ disease including who is at risk, prevention, symptoms and treatment.

We also have a Beginner’s Guide to Controlling Legionella post on our website which you can read here.

If you require any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

FFP Masks: COVID-19

 

Introduction

 

FFP masks and face coverings have become the new normal for battling the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. An FFP mask is a disposable mask used as a barrier for preventing the spread of respiratory particles. This is called source control. The use of these masks have been advised due to the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. We will detail the types of masks available, selecting/fitting one as well as putting on (donning) and removing (doffing) a mask.

 

 

Types of FFP Masks

 

These are some of the different FFP masks available for use during COVID-19, an N95 mask is closest to an FFP2 mask
These are some of the different FFP masks available, an N95 mask is closest to an FFP2 mask

FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece and they are split into 3 categories determined by their protection level. OEL (Occupational Exposure Limit value) refers to the amount of toxic substance that is allowed in air within a workplace. The APF (Assigned Protection Factor) indicates the factor by which the wearer is protected from hazardous substances. For example a mask with an APF of 4 will reduce the hazard of the wearer breathing in toxic substances by 4 times.

 

FFP1

  • The most basic of masks
  • 4 X APF
  • 4 X OEL

 

FFP2

  • Offers more protection than FFP1
  • Recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the outbreaks of SARS, coronavirus and avian flu.
  • 10 X APF
  • 12 X OEL

 

FFP3

  • Offers the highest protection from breathing in hazardous substances
  • Can block both liquid and solid aerosols
  • Current NHS guidelines stipulate FFP3 face masks for virus and bacterial infection control when the contagion is spread through coughing and sneezing (such as with the coronavirus)
  • 20 X APF
  • 50 X OEL

 

 

Preparing your mask

 

FFP masks require a tight fit to your face therefore it is essential that you are fit tested as part of the selection process – this ensures that the mask forms a seal to your face. Your face must be clean shaven for an effective seal. If you do have facial hair, make sure that it is groomed and does not protrude under the mask seal or interfere with an exhalation valve.

 

Visual Checks

  • Before you start, make sure your hands are clean and disinfected
  • Read the manufacturers instructions and make sure this is the correct type and size of mask you have been fit tested for
  • Unpack and unfold the mask, check the straps, face seal and the nose clip
  • Check the filtering material for holes/damage by putting it up to light and examining it
  • If the mask is squashed, crumpled or damaged, don’t use it – dispose of it

 

 

Donning your mask

 

  1. Cup the mask in your hand with the straps hanging loose below
  2. Place the mask over your chin then pull over your nose
  3. Pull the bottom strap over your head to the back of your neck
  4. Pull the top strap over your head to sit above your ears and on the crown of your head
  5. Ensure the straps aren’t twisted
  6. If you need to tighten the strap, pull both ends at the same time, bottom strap first then the top
  7. Make sure the mask is tightly fitted but not uncomfortable
  8. Ask a colleague or use the mirror to check the straps are in the correct position

 

 

Nose Clip

Additionally some masks may have a nose clip which should be pressed firmly against the shape of your nose. To adjust it, roll your fingers from the bridge of your nose down to either side to ensure a good seal. Furthermore, if you wear glasses, take them off for the time of mask fitting to make sure a gap is not created between the mask and your face.

 

 

Doffing your mask

 

Method 1

  1. First make sure your hands are clean
  2. Pull the bottom strap of the mask over your head first and let it hang below the mask
  3. Grab the bottom straps and pull the mask off the face and up so the top strap of the mask comes off the crown of your head
  4. Do not touch the outside of the filtering material!
  5. Finally wash or sanitise hands

 

Method 2

  1. First make sure your hands are clean and lean slightly forwards
  2. Grab both straps of the mask behind your ears, pull them up and around your head and slide hands forward until the mask detaches from your face
  3. Do not touch the outside filtering material!
  4. Finally wash or sanitise hands

 

 

Disposal

 

FFP masks have a limited time of use. They shouldn’t be used for more than 3-4 hours, after that time they should be discarded. A mask should be discarded safely after it has been used, is damaged, soiled, damp, uncomfortable, difficult to breath in or if you feel that the seal is compromised. The mask should be discarded straight after use into an appropriate bin (ideally a pedestal closed bin). Sanitise or wash your hands after disposing of the mask.

You can also click here to read a great article that explains everything you need to know about the different types of FFP3 masks available.

Finally, you can click here to read the HSE’s fit testing basics.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com if you have any questions or require any further information.

First Aid Training Safety: COVID-19

Introduction

We’re beyond happy to be back delivering our First Aid Training but we understand that there is still an exposure risk to COVID-19. The safety of our participants is our top priority which is why we’ve taken new measures to minimise cross contamination.

One of our mannequins set up with a face shield provided to further prevent contamination. This is one of many precautions to ensure safety during our First Aid Training courses.
One of our mannequins set up with a face shield provided to further prevent contamination.

Before the Course

  • A polly pocket containing the material required for the course will be made up for each participant. 
  • All mannequins will be disinfected/sanitised before the course along with AEDs.
  • The equipment will be set up prior to the course starting so it can begin as soon as everyone has arrived. 

During the Course

  • Each participant will have their own mannequin for the practical tasks and a face shield will be provided to cover the mannequin’s face as another precaution.
  • Participants will be asked in turns to place their used equipment in a designated area which will be collected by the trainer afterwards to maintain distance.
  • Any used equipment will be placed in a separate bag to prevent contamination with other equipment.
  • Hospital grade Trionic cleaning & disinfection wipes will be available throughout the duration of the course to sanitise equipment which will have a designated bag for disposal.
The Trionic hospital grade cleaning & disinfection wipes used throughout the course.
The Trionic hospital grade cleaning & disinfection wipes used throughout the course.

After the Course

  • Our trainers will bring home the equipment to be fully disinfected.
  • Mannequins will be sanitised with hospital grade Trionic cleaning & disinfection wipes as well as antiseptic disinfectant.
  • All used bandages will be soaked in disinfectant.
  • Any bags that contained used equipment will also be disinfected as well as the polly pockets.
  • The bag containing waste from the course will be disposed of appropriately.

To Conclude

The safety of everyone on our First Aid Training courses is our top priority and we are taking every precaution we see fit to minimise COVID-19 exposure risks and cross contamination. We ask that only those feeling well and showing no symptoms should attend our courses. We look forward to continuing to deliver First Aid training to our clients as safely as possible.

For more information on the training courses we have available currently, please click here to read our full post.

You can also read more about the Trionic wipes here.

Returning to work support: COVID-19

We’re starting to move towards a relaxation of the lockdown rules surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore many businesses are returning to work. At Amalgamate, we’ve been working to develop health, safety and wellbeing strategies for the reoccupation of workplaces across all different industries.

We have been working closely with our clients throughout the current outbreak to support them in managing the health, safety and wellbeing implications of COVID-19. Our team has built a recovery ready toolkit that allows our clients to fulfil their compliance needs and ensure they are protecting their employees.

These include:

  • Enhanced H&S Policy and arrangements;
  • Tailored COVID-19 secure and task specific risk assessments; 
  • Safe operating procedures for the reoccupation of construction sites, small and medium sized offices and large multi-location organisations;
  • Site inductions and toolbox talks for re-opening;
  • Online and blended learning courses for First Aid & Fire Safety
  • Developing audits and re-opening checklists; and 
  • Providing guidance and support

Our teams are also able to provide:

  • Updates to fire risk assessments to account for revised building operating models
  • Updates to First Aid risk assessments and systems
  • Legionella and asbestos surveys
  • Employee health and wellbeing programmes to ensure that you have a happy and healthy workforce

This a challenging and unique situation so if you need support in your business returning to work amidst COVID-19, please contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email us on info@amagamalgamate-safety.com

Our experienced consultants will be more than happy to discuss your needs and provide practical health, safety and well-being advice to ensure that your buildings are safe to re-open and it is safe for your employees to return.

We’re also able to provide environmental cleaning services through our network of specialist suppliers, for more information on this please click here.

For guidance published from the Government on reopening businesses safely, click here.

Supporting dyslexic employees

Background

At Amalgamate we believe that Health & Safety is an integrated part of every business – and people make businesses. That is why we’re focused on the individuals and them being effective at work.

Worksmart’s Managing Director, Steve Neilson, approached Amalgamate asking for support in implementing procedures to help dyslexic workers within their company.

Worksmart Contracts are a leading solutions based Interior Fit-Out & Refurbishment Contractor. They deliver Projects on Time with Value for Money, Quality with Communication and Determination throughout Scotland and the UK. 

This infographic illustrates how to support dyslexic employees including common strengths and challenges and how you can provide a Dyslexia-Friendly Workplace.
This infographic from Dyslexic Advantage illustrates common strengths and challenges that are often involved with dyslexia and how you can provide a Dyslexia-Friendly Workplace.

Managing Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. It is estimated that between 5-10% of the worldwide population is seriously affected by this.

Dyslexics are present in every industry, including high risk ones such as construction. Realising that risk, Worksmart requested guidance for managing dyslexic workers in order to maximise their potential at work and ensure that safety critical information was communicated effectively. 

Support

Our Consultant Roza Ketner provided Steve and his team with comprehensive guidance on managing dyslexia in construction. She has also adapted existing safety documents being used on Worksmart sites into a dyslexia friendly format.

Our ‘Managing Dyslexia’ guidance provides information about dyslexia, its challenges and practical advice on how to support dyslexic employees in the workplace. It has been written and formatted in a dyslexia friendly format. This works well for everyone in the workforce – not just the ones with additional needs.

In addition, we have also reformatted Worksmart’s site induction presentation to support dyslexic users. The presentation is now being used across the company ensuring that all safety critical arrangements are fully understood by everyone.

To Conclude

We will continue to support Worksmart by developing all of their safety toolkits into a dyslexia friendly format including method statements and risk assessments. 

We believe that it is worth going the extra mile in order to ensure that everyone at work is safe and thriving – because a business can’t thrive without its employees.

For further information on supporting dyslexic employees in the workplace, click here.

We have also been helping to provide support for Polish employees, to read more about this click here.

If you require support with managing dyslexia on site or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email: info@amalgamate-safety.com

Statutory inspections: COVID-19

Introduction

We understand that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and businesses are facing restrictions or challenges to their normal operation including statutory inspections. This could involve the closing of premises and challenges associated with receiving support from contractors who normally carry out statutory inspections, examinations and tests of plant and equipment even if premises are open. 

We will detail guidance published by Barbour in relation to statutory inspections during COVID-19, including legal implications, facts to consider and advice on the best course of action in these exceptional circumstances.

Delays in statutory inspections, examinations and tests

Difficulty in getting support from contractors carrying out statutory inspections, examinations and test of plant and equipment or the need to close premises is to be expected in the current climate. However, failure to carry these out would be a breach of legislation which could lead to potential enforcement actions including prosecution.

As far as plant and equipment is concerned, you minimise your risk of prosecution and help to ensure the safety of your staff and others if additional steps are taken to mitigate risks arising from delays in inspection. It should also be considered to inform the HSE of your position and plan of action as you are less likely to be subjected to enforcement action if they have been informed of your situation and raise no issues with your proposal at the time.

However, there are some statutory requirements for thorough examination and inspection or testing of plant or machinery, including lifts, lifting equipment, pressure systems and local exhaust ventilation, which include a set time frame. These fall under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAH) (for scaffolding).  Failure to maintain some systems, in particular fire sprinkler and detection systems, may invalidate the insurance for the premises even if the premises are closed.

If taking plant out of use is putting vulnerable persons at risk, a careful decision would need to be made and it may be necessary to seek further advice from the HSE for these specific circumstances. This should only be considered when failure to keep plant and equipment operating poses a genuine risk, rather than an inconvenience, to vulnerable persons’ safety.

What mitigating steps should be considered

  • Assess which plant and equipment require statutory inspections and examinations and when these are due. 
  • Place any plant or equipment which has not had its mandatory inspection and is not essential, out of service until an inspection can be carried out.
  • Where, however, equipment is essential, a risk assessment of the equipment with input from engineers familiar with the equipment and those who operate it should be carried out to consider what might fail, the potential consequences that this poses, and focus on how that risk might be eliminated or managed.
  • Inform your insurance company if any planned inspection and testing is not being completed or if premises or part of the premises are closed. 
  • If closing premises for a period of time, and where it is decided to shut off the power to services such as electrical, gas, water and ventilation systems, plant shutdowns should be undertaken in accordance with manufacturer instructions to ensure that it is done safely. On subsequent restart manufacturer guidance should be followed to ensure that the plant is re-energised safely and to avoid potential damage. 
  • Follow Public Health England recommendations on hygiene and social distancing (maintain two metres between people). 
  • Additional checks with prescribed frequency e.g. daily or at the beginning of each shift.
  • Parts pro-actively replaced rather than reactively.

To conclude

Regardless of delays in statutory inspections during COVID-19 it is essential that all plant and equipment is maintained for the safety of workers. Equipment must only be used outside of its test regime if you can demonstrate that it is critical for essential work and that it can still be operated safely. If there are any identified faults with plant or equipment, which could lead to a risk from its operation, it should be taken out of use immediately and securely isolated to prevent further use until the necessary repairs have been completed. 

For the full article published by Barbour on statutory inspection’s during COVID-19, click here. Finch Consulting also have a great article on this subject, to read click here.

If you require any further information or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

Creating an Ergonomic Workspace

Introduction

We’ve put together some useful tips and tricks on creating an ergonomic workspace to alleviate pain and discomfort whilst maintaining work productivity.

Upper limb disorder/discomfort

Upper limb disorders (ULDs) include aches and pains in the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers, as well as in the neck. These may be caused or made worse by using a computer. 

ULDs are more common in work that involves:

  • Prolonged, repetitive work particularly using the same hand or arm action.
  • Uncomfortable or awkward working positions.
  • Sustained or excessive force.
  • Carrying out a task for a long time without suitable breaks.
  • Working with hand-held power tools for long periods of time.

Other influences may be:

  • A poor working environment.
  • Poor work organisation.
  • Individual differences and vulnerability.

Workers may have symptoms in their upper limbs such as:

  • Aches and pains, tenderness, weakness, tingling, numbness, cramp, burning, redness and swelling.
  • Stiffness, pain or reduced movement in their joints.

Alleviating discomfort 

Creating an ergonomic workspace is highly effective at alleviating discomfort. Below is a variety of quick stretches you can perform to prevent discomfort at your desk:

  • Neck glides – sit or stand up straight, glide head back as far as it will go, keeping head and ears level, then glide head forward. Repeat 3 times.
  • Shoulder shrugs – sit or stand up straight, circle shoulders backwards 3 times with arms relaxed by your side.
  • Upper Back Stretches – cross arms and raise hands to rest on the front of the shoulders, using your arms push shoulders back and keep elbows down. Hold for 15 seconds, repeat 3 times.
  • Forearm Stretches – sit or stand up straight, extend one arm in front, elbow straight and hand flexed. Stretch forearm muscles by placing the palm of the other hand across the front of the first hand and push towards the body.
  • Forward presses – gently interlock your fingers, press your palms away from your body, gently stretching the forearm muscles, fingers and the muscles between your shoulder blades. Hold for five seconds.

Posture

Poor posture can result in chronic pain, musculoskeletal disorders, and injuries all of which impact long-term health and productivity. To reduce those risks and enhance wellbeing, it’s important to implement healthy habits that will improve your posture.

Tips for improving posture:

Practice neutral posture

This is the spine’s natural alignment position. This can be achieved by keeping your computer monitor at eye level, keep your back flat against your chair, rest feet flat on the ground or even use a lumbar support tool.

Regular breaks

Regular movement every 20-25 minutes increases blood and nutrient flow and also loosens up your body so prevents stiffness. A brisk walk around the room can help boost circulation and energy.

Ergonomic aids

There are excellent supports available on the market to encourage neutral posture and promote better ergonomic habits. A good office chair can be one of the best ergonomic aids to relieve discomfort and prevent injury. Other aids include sit-stand desks, office footrests, monitor arms, and keyboard trays. 

This infographic details how to achieve the correct sitting posture when creating an ergonomic workspace.
This infographic from Yorback details how to achieve the correct sitting posture, click here for their full article containing this image.

Seating

Seating is highly important in creating an ergonomic workspace. If you don’t have space for an ergonomic chair, you could make some comfortable adjustments to your current chair. For example sitting wedges to angle your pelvis forward slightly for a better posture, or better yet, a back-friend to make it a little bit more supportive. If you are able purchase a new chair, there are thousands of Ergonomic or task chairs on the market to choose from in a range of prices.

Chairs should be adjustable, comfortable, sturdy, sourced from a reputable supplier, and come with at least a 5 year guarantee. If your chair can be adjusted, make sure you take time to adjust the chair appropriately. The chair arms should be adjusted or removed if they’re preventing the user from getting into the ideal seating position. 

Once the chair height is set to the optimum position, check to see if a footrest is needed. Once set, the chair and the height of the backrest should not be adjusted as these are based on the person’s height, which won’t alter.

Hydration, diet, and breaks

Our diets can drive anxiety and worsen mood which is what makes our food choices so important. Planning meals and being mindful of the types of food we buy can hep to reduce anxiety. When focusing on numerous different tasks, staying hydrated can be easily forgotten. Dehydration can cause headaches and decreased memory, and therefore decreased work productivity. Proper hydration boosts metabolism and reduces daytime fatigue, so its important to make sure that you’re increasing your water intake. 

Working Environment

It’s important to have a working environment that will prevent distractions and discomfort. Finding a suitable and quiet area or separate room to set up your workspace will help to reduce distracting noises. Natural light is preferred to artificial light and can help to reduce dry or strained eyes. Temperature can also have an effect on work so make sure you are comfortable. If it’s too cold wear a jumper or put the heating on and if it’s too warm open a window or use a fan where possible. 

To Conclude

It’s clear just how important creating an ergonomic workspace is in maintaining your physical wellbeing whilst you are working. You can also click here to read our article on working from home during COVID-19 for more tips on creating an efficient workspace.

If you require any further information or support, please don’t hesitate to contact us on either t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

Supporting Polish employees

Background

At Amalgamate we believe in supporting all employees and that’s why we’re providing extra help for supporting Polish employees.

Our client, Steve Neilson of Worksmart Contracts Limited, approached Amalgamate asking for support for Polish workers. Worksmart employs a number of polish operatives and regularly engages with polish sub-contractors and therefore asked if we could translate their safety procedures into Polish.

Polish Workforce

Since 2004 nearly a million Polish citizens have migrated and found a new home for themselves in the UK, assimilating very well to their new lives.

Polish employees are present in every industry, and usually their English is good enough to freely communicate around the workplace. However, some industries, especially high risk ones like construction, may request additional support for their Polish employees. This is to ensure that safety critical arrangements are effectively communicated, understood and implemented correctly. 

At Amalgamate we have always been welcoming towards newcomers in both our own and our client’s businesses. We are dedicated to supporting our clients and their employees.

Toolkit Development

Our Consultant Roza Ketner (also a Polish national) translated Worksmart’s safety management toolkit into Polish on their behalf. This included the company’s H&S Policy, site inductions, risk assessment, method statements and toolbox talks. These are now used across all Worksmart sites, ensuring that safety critical arrangements are fully understood by all of their workforce.

We will continue to support Worksmart with all aspects of Health and Safety. This initiative enhances their ability to manage their construction sites safely and communicate effectively with all of their workforce.

Literacy, Knowledge, and Understanding

It’s important to emphasise that levels of English literacy must be assessed for foreign candidates before employment. This is to ensure the safety of both this individual and all other people in and around the workplace.

Both Amalgamate and Worksmart are determined to continue to build a strong and safe future for ourselves, our workforce and our clients. 

We’ve also been helping to provide support for dyslexic employees in the workplace, to read more click here.

If you would like to discuss how our consultants can support you and Polish employees please contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety

Amalgamate’s approach towards COVID-19

Amalgamate’s approach towards COVID-19 is to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and our clients. We’re doing everything we can to continue providing our clients with the best services we can as safely as possible. As such, we have made the decision to transition to home working as per the government guidelines to minimise exposure risk. However, this hasn’t stopped our team from providing the essential services our clients require to the highest standard we can.

Precautions put in place

For our approach towards COVID-19, we have put a pause on all of our in-person meetings and training, including first aid training. First aid commitment terms have been extended by three months by the HSE – which you can read more about here. The UK Resuscitation Council has also made amendments on how to administer CPR. The changes are aimed at keeping the rescuer safe whilst still providing the emergency care needed for the casualty. We’re continuously monitoring updates from all relevant bodies with regards to first aid. This is so we can provide our clients with the best and most informed advice as possible.

This infographic provided by the UK Resuscitation Council details the scenarios and phases of providing CPR for COVID-19 patients.
This infographic provided by the UK Resuscitation Council details the scenarios and phases of providing CPR for COVID-19 patients. They also have a YouTube video with guidance on out of hospital cardiac arrest during COVID-19, click here to watch.

To Conclude

Our consultants are diligently working with our clients to ensure that they’re supported through this time of difficulty and uncertainty. Some of our clients are doing essential work and have to maintain operation as normally as possible and our prerogative is to ensure they can do this safely. We are monitoring releases from the Uk and Scottish government and aiding our clients in adhering to these.

As our core staff are all working from home, our office hours are as normal. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or any queries via t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

Amalgamate Safety