Tag Archives: health and 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

First Aid Advice for Contractors (COVID-19)


We have been asked by a number of our clients in the construction industry about providing first aid during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Our First Aid trainers have pulled together some First Aid advice for Contractors undertaking key or essential works at this time.

Our advice is provided to support you in risk mitigation and provide some guidance for your nominated first aiders.


The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all construction sites to have a first aid box on site and an appointed and trained person to take charge of first aid arrangements. This obligation continues notwithstanding these times of social distancing. 

Because of social distancing, contractors need to be aware that a first aider might refuse to provide first aid in the normal way because of the risk of contracting coronavirus. This could result in the injured person remaining unsupported. Equally, liability could attach if a first-aider was to contract COVID-19 whilst giving first aid.


We would expect that most first aiders may consider that checking somebody’s airway, or carrying out mouth to mouth resuscitation, is too a high risk. On that basis they may refuse to do it. The Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) is in fact advising against mouth to mouth during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The RCUK offers this advice:

  • Recognise cardiac arrest by looking for the absence of signs of life and the absence of normal breathing;
  • Do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the patient’s mouth. If you are in any doubt about confirming cardiac arrest. The default position is to start chest compressions until help arrives;
  • Make sure an ambulance is on its way. If COVID-19 is suspected, tell emergency service when you call 999;
  • If there is a perceived risk of infection, rescuers should place a cloth/towel over the victims mouth and nose. Then attempt compression only CPR and early defibrillation until the ambulance arrives;
  • Put hands together in the middle of the chest and push hard and fast;
  • Early use of a defibrillator significantly increases the person’s chances of survival and does not increase risk of infection;
  • If the rescuer has access to personal protective equipment (PPE) e.g. FFP3 face mask, disposable gloves, eye protection), these should be worn;
  • After performing compression only CPR. All rescuers should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water with alcohol-based hand gel being a convenient alternative; and
  • They should also seek advice from the NHS 111 coronavirus advice service or medical adviser.


Administering first aid is simple. The steps to take in an emergency can be easily described to an injured or ill person so they can help themselves. For example, if they are bleeding heavily, you can ask them to apply pressure to the wound with whatever they have available.

This would be the same for burns – you could ask them to cool the burn under water for 20 minutes without you having to touch them.

Providing Assistance

If you do need to provide assistance to an individual who you are concerned may have coronavirus, wherever possible place the person in a location away from others.

Where there is no separate room, instruct bystanders who are not involved in providing assistance to stay at least 2 metres away from the casualty.

If barrier screens are available, these should be used.

Infection Control

It is important to remember first aid has always had to consider the risk of infection, not from coronavirus (COVID-19) but from other infections such as HIV, hepatitis and other viruses or infections which have the potential to harm.

Always follow the safety guidelines in relation to hygiene and personal protection when administering first aid, wash hands thoroughly before and after, wear disposable gloves and any other protective personal equipment you have access to e.g. aprons and masks.

Calling the Emergency Services

At the present the NHS and ambulance service are under tremendous strain. Consider whether you need to call 999 – this service is for life threatening emergencies such as unresponsive people, those with chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe allergic reactions or catastrophic bleeding. 

If someone has to go to A&E remember the first aider should never be the one to transport them. If you suspect the person has coronavirus and needs to go to A&E contact NHS 111 first. Anyone attending A&E should, wherever possible, attend alone.


In general terms, construction companies should proceed on a risk based approach and, if the risk of limited first aid exists, control measures should be put in place.

For example, businesses should, amongst other things, give consideration to:

  • Providing NHS style personal protective equipment (full face-fitted masks, eye protection, and medical gloves) to first aiders on site;
  • Reducing the volume and type of work being conducted during this time (perhaps low risk operations only will continue);
  • Checking that first aiders are comfortable to continue to act as first aiders in the current climate, and
  • Making sure first aid equipment such as first aid kits, PPE, defibrillators, etc are available on site.

These and other measures may reduce the risk rating to an acceptable level on some projects and allow work to continue (perhaps at reduced volume). However, there may well be some projects where the risk of a first aider refusing to assist is too great, and a decision may need to be taken to suspend those projects accordingly.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

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First Aid Advice for Key Workers

We have set out some advice for Key Workers who are acting as a nominated First Aider for their business during the current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

These are supplementary to the existing guidelines for dealing with First Aid in the workplace. All other precautions for reducing the risk of infection should be maintained at all times.

Hygiene and personal protection

Hygiene and personal protection should be of the utmost priority when treating someone. Ideally hands should be washed first, gloves, aprons and masks should be worn before any first aid is carried out.

First Aid & CPR

If you suspect someone is not breathing do not place your head down to their face anymore to check, squeeze shoulders as normal and check for the chest rising and falling. If there is none, then dial 999 immediately and tell them that your casualty is not breathing and they could potentially have coronavirus (if they have been showing any symptoms). Then start hands only CPR, no rescue breaths should be given.

After any first aid has been carried please ensure all waste is disposed of in a biohazard bag and not in a normal bin. Wash hands thoroughly and sanitise everything that has been touched. 

Trionic wipes are great for this as these provide broad spectrum, fast acting antimicrobial technology that penetrates and lifts soiling from the surface, de-activating viruses, bacteria and micro-organisms.

These should also be used daily to sanitise any surfaces, door handles, etc.


Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Guidance during COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

How to protect yourself against COVID-19

How to wash your hands | NHS

Trionic Wipes

If you require further advice & support please contact Amalgamate on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email: info@amalgamate-safety.com

GN: Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a type of a virus that is transferable by respiratory secretions from coughs and sneezes from an infected person. It can be spread in two ways:

DIRECTLY  – from close contact with an infected person (the longer contact, the higher risk of infection).

INDIRECTLY – by touching a surface, object or part of a body (such as a hand shake) that has been contaminated by infected persons respiratory secretions (coughs and sneezes) and then touching your mouth or nose. 

Most common symptoms of an infection are a fever and dry cough. For most people it will be a mild infection, however, it may have severe effects on people with weak immune systems, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Smokers may be more affected as well.

Precautionary measures for individuals

The precautionary measures below are based on NHS and WHO advice:

  1. Wash your hands frequently – using soap and warm water. Follow recommended hand washing techniques. You can use alcohol based hand gel as well;
  2. Maintain social distance – keep approximately 2 metre (3 steps) distance between yourself and others. Especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and avoid shaking hands;
  3. Avoid touching your face: hands can pick up viruses from surfaces around you. If you then touch your eyes, nose and mouth you can transfer it to your body and become sick; and
  4. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. The best way is with disposable tissues which you must bin immediately afterwards. If you don’t have a tissue handy, bury your mouth and nose in your bent elbow.

If you show symptoms – have a fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Contact the medical service over the phone – dial 111 for NHS24 or call your GP.

If your symptoms are severe – dial 999.

Precautionary measures for Employers

Employers should follow general principles to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) such as:

  1. Ensure that all members of the organisation are aware of the requirement to self-isolate if they develop symptoms and support them in doing this;
  2. Consider how you can change working practices and patterns to reduce risk of spread of infection (especially for those at higher risk of illness);
  3. Introduce thorough routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks and tables);
  4. Promote good hand hygiene by making sure that staff, contractors, service users and visitors have access to hand washing facilities and, where available, alcohol based hand gel;
  5. Ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas are cleaned with hot water and general purpose detergent and are dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use; and
  6. Shared facilities like toilets, canteens, meeting rooms and social spaces must be thoroughly and frequently cleaned and disinfected as well.

For further general information and advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit NHS inform website:


For information for employers please visit:



If you require further information or support, please do not hesitate to contact Amalgamate

t. +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e. info@amalgamate-safety

We’re in the driving seat for safety with West Coast Motors!

From directors to drivers, West Coast Motors take pride in their safety management. So we’re delighted to announce a new health and safety partnership with the privately owned transport group.

Based in Campbeltown and established in 1923, the company employs approximately 415 staff, and has a fleet of 220 buses, coaches and boats. It owns and operates the following transport companies:

  • West Coast Motors
  • City Sightseeing Glasgow, Bute and Oban
  • Glasgow Citybus
  • Kintyre Express
  • West Coast Tours
  • Fairline Coaches Ltd; and
  • Perryman’s Buses Ltd.


Amalgamate have been engaged to undertake a gap analysis exercise to review the company’s current safety management system. Our gap analysis will include a detailed examination of the company’s health and safety arrangements, including their health and safety policy, responsibilities and arrangements, records of training, risk assessments, safe systems of work, management of contractors,  and maintenance records.

As well as the gap analysis exercise, we’ll be working in partnership with West Coast Motors’ senior management team to further enhance the company’s safety management system. This project will include an overhaul of their current policy and arrangements, development of a new safety manual and employee induction programme, and ensuring that the enhanced system is being implemented consistently across all of their locations.

We’re very pleased to be working with all the staff at West Coast Motors, and are looking forward to helping the company drive things forward!

For more information on our health and safety services click here, call us on +44 (0)7808 391228 or email annette@amalgamate-safety.com

2016 Sentencing Guidelines Update

On the 1st of February 2016, the new Sentencing Guidelines for corporate manslaughter, health & safety, food hygiene and food safety offenses came into effect. The introduction of the guidelines from the Sentencing Council is undoubtedly going to lead to increased fines being imposed on organisations, and increased custodial sentences for individuals. It is important to note that the guidelines will only apply to England and Wales, however there is no reason to doubt that the Scottish courts will follow the same principles.

The main objective is to ensure a consistent approach is being taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when handing down sentences, and will take into account the level of culpability, the risk of harm, and the turnover of the organisation being sentenced. These three points will be the basis for the CPS’s starting point for determining fines and custodial sentences appropriate to the offence.

In order to determine culpability, harm and turnover, defined categories have been developed on a matrix system and can be found via this link – Sentencing Guidelines.


Micro-organisations (those with a turnover of up to £2 million) could face fines of up to £450,000 for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £800,000 for corporate manslaughter.

Small organisations

Small organisations (those with a turnover of £2 million – £10 million) could face fines of up to £1.6 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £2.8 million for corporate manslaughter.

Medium organisations

Medium organisations (those with a turnover of £10 million – £50 million) could face fines of up to £4 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £7.5 million for corporate manslaughter.

Large organisations

Large organisations (those with a turnover of £50 million or more) could face fines of up to £10 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £20 million for corporate manslaughter.

What is very disappointing is that ‘Very Large’ organisations have not been defined in the guidelines, which only go on to say: “Where an offending organisation’s turnover or equivalent very greatly exceeds the threshold for large organisations, it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence.” This could be described as a missed opportunity, as there are a significant number of organisations in the UK which could fit this description.

The liability for individuals has been well defined and holds the potential for custodial sentences of up to two years being imposed.

Ironically, there have already been inconsistencies with how the guidelines have been applied since they came into effect, which was the very problem they were meant to alleviate; and the legal issues surrounding each of the above points (turnover/culpability/likelihood of harm) have been subject to considerable debate within the courts.

What is clear is that the level of fines and potential for custodial sentences is much greater, and will continue to rise over the coming months and years as the courts build their confidence in using the new guidelines.

Notwithstanding the existing requirement for your organisation to remain compliant with health and safety legislation, the new sentencing guidelines increase the risks of more serious prosecutions.

How compliant is your organisation? To find out more about how we can help, call us on 0141 244 0181 or e-mail info@amalgamate-safety.com.

Win a free AA Emergency Car Kit

Business leaders are responsible for ensuring their employees’ safety, and when winter comes around it’s important to remind them of the need to pay attention to safe driving issues.  So this month we’re giving away an AA Emergency Winter Car Kit to help draw attention to the subject.

Read on for winter driving tips to share with your staff, and to find out how to win…


The kit fits easily into your car boot, and includes:

  • Foldable snow shovel
  • Emergency foil blanket
  • 9 LED torch with batteries
  • High-visibility vest
  • Snow and ice grips
  • Booster cables
  • Ponchos

Safer Driving in Winter

We all prepare to some extent for the winter, whether it’s with a boiler service or getting a new winter coat. But have you made sure that you’re ready for the changeable driving conditions that winter brings?

Have you:

  • Checked that your lights are clean and the car battery is fully charged?
  • Made sure that your tyres are in good condition?
  • Cleaned your car windows – on the inside as well as the outside? It’ll really make a difference when that low angled sun is shining.
  • Made sure that your brakes are working well and your tyre pressure is correct?
  • Checked that your oil, anti-freeze and windscreen wash are all topped-up?

It’s also a really good idea to keep an emergency kit (like the AA one shown above) in your car during the winter months. If you’re assembling one yourself, consider including a warm coat or blanket, a snow shovel, wellies, a hazard warning triangle (many cars have these included), a torch and a first aid kit. Having a bottle of water and a couple of cereal bars is a good idea too. We’ve all heard stories from when people got snowed into their cars for hours on the motorway a few years back – having access to food and being able to keep warm makes all the difference in an uncomfortable situation like that.

Before setting off on a long journey always make sure that:

  • You have plenty of fuel
  • You’ve checked the weather reports for the area you’ll be travelling through
  • Your mobile phone is fully charged before you set off
  • You’ve let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.

Driving in Snow
As always, it’s vital to adapt your driving to the weather conditions. Slow down, remember your stopping distances, and avoid harsh braking and acceleration.

Getting stuck in snow can be a real pain. Trying to power out is not the best option; instead try to rock your car back and forth gently using a high gear. If this doesn’t work you might need someone to give you a push or get that snow shovel out and start digging.

Driving in Rain
I’m sure we’re all pretty experienced at driving in the rain, but always remember – it can require twice the normal braking distance to stop when the roads are wet, so be extra aware of how close you are to the car in front.

Driving in Fog
Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Switch on your headlights/fog lights if visibility is reduced;
  • If you can see a car behind you, they can see you and your rear fog lights could be dazzling them. Switch them off when visibility improves;
  • Rear lights of the car in front of you can sometimes provide a false sense of security, be careful not to get too close; and
  • Fog can be patchy so be careful not to speed up as soon as visibility improves slightly, you could find yourself in thick fog again very quickly.

For more information / advice on driving safely visit gov.uk or the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

To win a free AA Emergency Winter Kit worth £28.99 for one of your employees, send a message to Annette@amalgamate-safety.com before the 21st of December, telling us what efforts you’re making to help ensure staff safety this winter.  A winner will be picked at random from all the entries. 

New H&S Sentencing Guidelines – Are you ready?

New Sentencing Guidelines come into effect in February 2016. Is your business ready?

The Sentencing Council’s new guidelines aim to ensure a consistent approach to health and safety, corporate manslaughter, and food safety and hygiene cases, and will lead to a more severe response to these cases, and potentially higher fines.

Company directors who are found guilty of “consent, connivance or neglect” in relation to an offence could face unlimited fines, as well as up to 2 years in prison.

Serious health and safety breaches could result in fines exceeding £10million, and corporate manslaughter cases could exceed £20million. 

Different fine ranges will apply depending on the size of the organisation. However it’s entirely possible that the fines could be of sufficient size to put a company out of business, which may be decided to be an acceptable consequence, if the offence is severe enough.

When a fine is being decided, the court will consider the overall seriousness of the offence based on the offender’s culpability and the risk of serious harm, even if no harm was actually caused. They will also take into account various factors including, amongst others, whether the business has:

  • any previous convictions
  • taken action to improve the situation
  • co-operated with the investigation
  • a history of relevant offences
  • committed the offence for the purpose of financial gain.

It is clear that the regulatory authorities expect companies to take positive action, and really prioritise health and safety issues. And although the guidelines will apply only to England and Wales, health and safety law is generally consistent across the UK, so it’s likely that Scotland will follow suit and implement tougher fines.

This news is a timely reminder to ensure that your business is compliant with all the relevant Health and Safety legislation, and that your H&S management systems are truly effective. Taking action now could protect the financial standing of your business.

To find out more about how we can help, call us on 0141 244 0181 or e-mail info@amalgamate-safety.com

Asbestos and the CDM 2015 Regulations

Due to the shift in responsibilities under the new CDM Regulations, there is a potential duty for the Principal Designer and the client to ensure that exposure to asbestos is being managed throughout a construction project.

In the HSE guidance on the new CDM Regulations it places more explicit requirements on duty holders to follow the general principles of prevention.

The HSE has also indicated that the new regulations are more focused on the client’s duties and making the client “accountable for the impact their decisions and approach have on health, safety and welfare on the project”.

We have put together a document to help you understand the implications of the new regulations, and what your responsibilities are. Read more here:  Asbestos and the CDM Regulations

Dealing with Lead Paint – The Risks of Lead Exposure

In the last 20 years, a lot has been done in the UK to remove the risks from lead exposure, but there is still a significant amount of lead paint in older buildings. Up until the mid-1960s, lead was used to make some kinds of paint – for windows, doors and other woodwork, as well as for some metal items, like radiators. A few minor uses continued until the 1980s.

Lead exposure can have serious health consequences, ranging from anaemia, to kidney damage, brain damage, and even death. The groups most vulnerable to lead exposure are children and pregnant women, but severe or ongoing exposure can be damaging to anyone. Therefore it is important to know how to deal with lead paint correctly.

When are you most at risk?

When the work you are doing produces lead dust, fume or vapour you are most at risk. This may include:

  • blast removal and burning of old lead paint;
  • stripping of old lead paint from doors, windows etc;
  • hot cutting in demolition and dismantling operations;
  • scrap-processing activities, including recovering lead from scrap and waste;
  • some painting of buildings; some spray-painting of vehicles;
  • working with metallic lead and alloys containing lead, eg soldering;
  • lead smelting, refining, alloying and casting.

How do you make sure it’s safe?

The easiest way of dealing with lead paintwork thats in good condition is to seal it with a coat of modern paint. But if the paintwork is in bad condition and needs to be removed before you can repaint, use methods that don’t create dust or fumes, like a solvent or caustic-based liquid stripper.

Don’t forget to follow the safety instructions, and remember that solvent-free, water-based paint removers are now available. If you have to use a hot-air gun, use it just enough to soften the paint – don’t burn it, as this will produce fumes. A good guide is to ensure the gun is set below 450C. Keep surfaces moist when removing paint.

Wear protective clothes, gloves and a good quality face mask with a filter conforming to EN143 P2, and shut off the work area. If possible, remove furniture and carpets; otherwise cover them completely.

When you break from the work, store the clothes you’ve been wearing safely (e.g. in a sealed plastic bag) and wash your hands and any other bare skin before you do anything else.

When you’ve taken most of the paint off, moisten the surface and smooth it with a waterproof abrasive paper – don’t use sandpaper.

When you’ve finished, put the paint you’ve removed and any collected on coverings in a safe container, a sealed plastic bag will do, and dispose of it. Clean the room you’ve been working in and any coverings with water and detergent. If you need to get rid of any dust after decorating, you may have to use an industrial standard vacuum cleaner (complying with British Standard 5415), and wash the clothes you’ve been working in separately from any others.


Amalgamate Safety