Tag Archives: health and safety

It’s not always fun in the sun!

This year, IOSH is backing a campaign to raise awareness of occupational cancers. The No Time To Lose campaign is currently focusing on skin cancer, and they have recently published a study which reveals the number of people in the UK diagnosed with or dying from the deadliest form of skin cancer because of sun exposure at work.

They estimate that in the UK, every week a person dies from malignant melanoma from sun exposure at work, with 240 new cases also being registered per year. Combining these findings with other recent studies into work-related non-melanoma skin cancer reveals that in the UK on average five people per day are being diagnosed with a form of skin cancer contracted at work.

IOSH states that “The research has given businesses the first full picture of the skin cancer burden on those working outdoors in industries as diverse as construction, agriculture and leisure and entertainment”.

The problem of excess sun exposure is widespread. It is estimated that in the UK 5.5 million people have been exposed to solar radiation through their work – particularly in the service industries, construction sector, manufacturing and agriculture.

Sadly, people are often disinclined to take the risks of sun exposure seriously, but if employers understand what a serious issue it is, they can use their influence to make cultural changes within their business.

The campaign urges employers to develop ‘sun safety strategies’ including, for example, consulting the UV index, making plans to minimise sun exposure around the middle of the day, and encouraging employees who work outdoors to wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops and trousers. They emphasise that using high-factor sunscreen is helpful, but should not be relied upon as the only strategy.

For assistance with a range of occupational health matters, including risk assessments and employee health programmes, contact us on info@amalgamate-safety.com or call 0141 244 0181

Proposed changes to ISO14001

ISO14001:2004 is currently under review and although these changes are still at ‘draft’ stage it is likely they will come into effect in May 2015 (from when the transition period for organisations already holding certificates will begin); further details on the expected changes will be provided on the Amalgamate website as they come to light.

Key changes

  • Improved top management leadership and commitment
  • Addressing of strategic environmental issues including the direction of the business and the interests of stakeholders
  • Sustainable development and social responsibility
  • Environmental influence within the supply chain and procurement
  • Environmental design as a tool for improvement
  • Environmental compliance and the use of performance indicators to track performance


It is becoming increasingly important for organisations to demonstrate that they are considering their environmental performance and impact. Implementing an environmental management system provides practical tools to enable identification and control of environmental impact and improvement of environmental performance, demonstrate senior management support, encourage employee engagement, ensure legal compliance and help to improve efficiency by reducing costs and environmental impact.

Benefits also include:

  • Increased stakeholder confidence and improved reputation;
  • Advantage over competitors when tendering for business, and increased likelihood of repeat business;
  • Cost savings in waste, recycling and energy consumption;
  • Proactive management of environmental risks;
  • Forward planning to ensure on-going and timely compliance with environmental requirements; and
  • Potential reduction in insurance premiums.

What next?

Amalgamate understand that implementing and/or maintaining an environmental management system can be time consuming, but our expert consultants are here to support you.

The revised framework for ISO14001 will enable organisations to implement an environmental management system which is specific to the context of their business. Amalgamate can help you take the first steps towards certification through completion of an initial gap analysis supported by an action plan and on-going project management.

If, as an organisation, you already hold ISO14001:2004, the next step is to revise existing processes, communicate changes to your business, and implement actions, such as training, which occur as a result of the changes. If you are running independent quality, environmental and health and safety management systems, this may be a good opportunity to consider integration; forthcoming changes can subsequently be incorporated.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. For further information email us at info@amalgamate-safety.com or call on +44 (0)141 244 0181.

OHSAS18001 is going international

OHSAS18001 is changing to become international standard ISO45001. The changes are currently under discussion but the proposed date for implementation is October 2016 (with an expected transition period of two to three years).

Key Changes

The main changes are expected to be:

  • More emphasis on risk management;
  • Involving, securing and demonstrating more engagement from senior management;
  • Increased strategic considerations including consideration of the needs and expectations of stakeholders;
  • Reinforcement of the need to demonstrate and understand compliance status;
  • Use of performance indicators to track improvement.


OHSAS18001 provides a framework for all organisations to instigate proper and effective management of health and safety in the workplace. By having a clearly defined management system in place to identify and control health and safety, organisations are able to plan to minimise risks to their employees and contractors, ensure legal compliance, deliver effective communication and training, and continuously review and improve occupational health and safety.


What are the benefits of an effective occupational health and safety management system?

  • Increased stakeholder confidence and improved reputation;
  • Advantage over competitors when tendering for business and increased likelihood of repeat business;
  • Creating safe working conditions for employees and contractors;
  • Proactive identification and management of hazards;
  • Reduction in workplace accidents and ill health therefore reducing costs and downtime;
  • Engaging and motivating staff through communication, consultation and training to achieve safer working conditions;
  • Forward planning to ensure on-going and timely compliance with legal requirements; and
  • Potential reduction in insurance premiums.

What next?

If you are considering implementing OHSAS18001 now is still a very good time, the changes forecast for 2016 can be considered at the outset and incorporated in the forward planning.

Amalgamate understand that implementing and/or maintaining any management system can be time-consuming. We can support your business with expert resources to either maintain your existing management system and certification with ad-hoc or regular support, or help you take the first steps towards certification. We can provide an initial gap analysis, supported by an action plan and on-going project management.

If you are running independent quality, environmental and health and safety management systems, this may be a good opportunity to consider integration; the forthcoming changes to ISO14001 can also be included at this early stage.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. Email us at info@amalgamate-safety.com or call +44 (0)141 244 0181.

CDM 2015 – Are you prepared for the proposed changes?

As many of you will be aware, there are changes being proposed to the Construction (Design and Design) Management Regulations in 2015. These significant changes to CDM will have implications to those involved in the design process and will affect how you are currently managing projects.

The proposed changes include the removal of the CDM Coordinator role and the introduction of ‘Principal Designers’, which will see a shift in duty and responsibility for the following areas:

  • assisting the client in identifying, obtaining and collating pre-construction information;
  • providing pre-construction information to designers, principal contractor and contractors;
  • ensuring that designers comply with their duties and co-operate with each other;
  • liaising with the principal contractor for the duration of the appointment, and
  • preparing the health and safety file.

As the industry starts to prepare, draft industry guidance has been issued by both the CITB and the HSE on the proposed ‘Principal Designers’ role. This is obviously subject to change but should provide you with an insight on those new requirements.

If you require CDM 2015 systems development, training or delivery support please do not hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0)141 244 0181.

The Dangers of Diesel

IOSH has been trying to raise awareness of the dangers of diesel fumes. The fumes are carcinogenic, and it is estimated that every year 650 people die in the UK (and 4,500 in Europe) from lung or bladder cancers that they cause.

Some facts

Diesel fumes contain 10 times more soot particles than petrol fumes, and regular exposure to them means that you have a 40% higher chance of developing lung cancer.

800 people are diagnosed with cancer caused by diesel fumes in the UK every year.

Around half a million workers in the UK could be exposed to dangerous levels of diesel fumes.

Some of the main risk employment areas for exposure to diesel engine fumes include: construction, shipping, transport/logistics, vehicle repair, and warehousing.

What does this mean for your business?

This is a sizeable problem and, as with all health and wellbeing issues, employers must ensure that they are making sufficient effort to protect their workers.

Things to consider include: the type of diesel being used, the level of fumes, whether they are building up in enclosed areas, and if they are making sooty deposits or a smoky haze which workers are exposed to.

Where diesel fumes are present, a risk assessment should be undertaken. When doing this, you need to think about the following points:

  • What diesel engines or equipment are used in the workplace?
  • Do engines or machines emit blue or black smoke?
  • Are diesel exhaust fumes released into enclosed working areas such as garages?
  • Are diesel exhaust fumes drawn into the workplace through ventilation inlets?
  • Are diesel exhaust fumes concentrated in confined spaces or areas in buildings where there is limited air movement?
  • Are there visible soot deposits on surfaces in the workspace?
  • Is there a visible haze?
  • do those in the work environment suffer from irritated eyes or lungs?

If you answer ‘yes’ to some or all of these basic questions, there is a risk of people being harmed by diesel exhaust fumes. It’s vital that you arrange a formal assessment of the hazard, which could include measuring elemental carbon concentrations. Depending on the results of the assessment, you may need to either prevent or control the potential exposure. Typical actions to control exposure include:

  • switching to other forms of fuel where possible, e.g. gas or electric
  •  replacing old engines with newer versions with lower emissions
  • making sure that engines are maintained properly – especially fuel delivery systems
  • making sure diesel engine exhausts have filters using ‘local exhaust ventilation’ and good general ventilation in fixed or enclosed workplaces
  • using forced ventilation to draw fresh air into the workplace
  • using connecting extraction pipes for vehicle exhausts in workshops
  • filtering air in vehicle cabs
  • making sure that engines are turned off when they’re not needed
  • if engines have to be left running, making sure the vehicle or equipment is moved outside (checking that no one else is then exposed)
  • making sure cold engines are warmed up in spaces with good ventilation
  • keeping building doors and windows open if it’s practicable
  • rotating jobs between different employees to minimise exposure.

Health surveillance

Ensuring that Occupational Health (OH) checks are undertaken is also key to maintaining workers’ health. Regular checks can alert you to potential problems that may require further action.

Some useful resources



How can you get help?

Hopefully this information will help you to make a start on establishing if there are steps to be taken to protect your employees. However, if you need any assistance with managing Occupational Health please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements. Phone 0141 244 0181 or email info@amalgamate-safety.com.

The Facts about Ebola

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virus is a serious, usually fatal, disease for which there are no licensed treatments or vaccines. It belongs to a group of diseases known as ‘viral haemorrhagic fevers’ (VHF). ‘Haemorrhagic’ means that they can involve bleeding. Lassa fever, yellow fever and Marburg fever are other examples of VHFs.

The current outbreak of Ebola is the largest ever known. It mainly affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In the worst affected areas authorities have implemented measures to control the spread of the virus, including quarantine, border closure and entry and exit screening. So far there have only been a few cases outside of these countries.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who has direct, unprotected contact with an infected person or their contaminated items, such as needles. Healthcare workers, laboratory workers and family members of infected people are at the highest risk.

The risk of Ebola transmission is low. Becoming infected requires direct, physical contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, faeces, urine, blood, semen, etc.) of a person who has been infected with, or died from, Ebola virus disease (EVD). Business travellers are generally considered at low risk in urban areas with good sanitation and hygiene. Travellers to remote undeveloped areas in those countries affected are at higher risk.

How is it spread?

There are two ways people can become infected with the Ebola virus, either from contact with infected animals or by coming into unprotected contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person. However simply washing hands with soap and water can destroy the virus.

When a person is infected, precautions must be taken to prevent an outbreak. Strict hygiene, sanitation and infection control procedures minimise the risk. Breast milk and semen can remain infectious for several months after recovery.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

Symptoms develop between 2 and 21 days after exposure. An infected person will typically experience:

  • A sudden onset of fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pain and intense weakness
  • A sore throat
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain
  • In some cases organ failure, internal and external bleeding

An infected person usually does not become infectious until after they have developed symptoms.

How is Ebola diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis is made based on the symptoms and history of exposure together with specialised blood tests. There is currently no cure for Ebola virus disease. People diagnosed are placed in quarantine in intensive care, where their blood oxygen levels and blood pressure are maintained and their organs are supported. Early treatment in specialised units increases the chance of recovery.

Staying safe

When abroad:

  • Restrict travel to undeveloped remote areas of the African continent where sanitation and hygiene are poor;
  • Pay strict attention to hygiene – always – wherever you are;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly;
  • Do not touch the blood, body fluids or secretions of any person or animal
  • Only eat well cooked meat;
  • Drink only clean water from a confirmed source and avoid ice cubes;
  • Avoid bats, primates, and bush meat, and forest animals that are sick or found dead.


When in developed countries:

  • Pay strict attention to hygiene – always – wherever you are;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly – always, even in your home country
  • Drink only fresh water;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and dispose of tissue in the toilet. Then wash your hands;
  • Ensure door knobs, handrails, office equipment, etc are regularly wiped down.

Following this advice will also help to protect you from more prevalent contagious diseases like flu, the norovirus and the common cold.

Useful resources

International SOS Ebola: What business travellers need to know

NHS Ebola virus disease: an overview

World Health Organisation

Travel advice


Amalgamate’s Occupational Health team can provide training, information, support and advice to companies with employees travelling and working in affected areas. Please contact us directly if you require further information.

Getting ready for the changes to ISO14001

ISO14001 is the recognised standard for environmental management, and is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, which enables organisations to manage environmental performance within a sustainable model.

Some changes will be made to ISO14001:2004 in 2015. These are aimed at providing improved benefits and consistency across management systems to organisations which use multiple ISO standards.

Here’s a brief summary of the changes:

Clause 4: Context of the organisation is a new clause requiring organisations to have a high level of awareness of their relationship with the environment, and strategic understanding of the important issues that can affect the way their environmental responsibilities are managed.

Clause 5: Leadership requires senior management to demonstrate leadership, commitment, support and accountability for the effectiveness of the Environmental Management System in regard to current, and future, business requirements.

Clause 6: Planning requires organisations to determine and document the risks associated with internal and external threats and opportunities which impact the environmental management system.

Clause 7: Support although this is already a requirement of the existing ISO14001:2004, the requirements of this clause will be more prescriptive to encourage consistency.

Clause 8: Operations now places greater emphasis on the concept of the ‘value chain’ that impacts the environmental management system. This clause also considers how organisations manage and control change, and outsource specific processes.

Clause 9: Performance evaluation combines a number of clauses from the current version, including monitoring and measuring, management review, and legal compliance; and requires organisations to hold records to prove that their environmental management system meets business objectives.

Clause 10: Improvement requires that performance improvement is continual, and can be demonstrated and evidenced.

So, what does your business need to do next?

ISO14001:2015 will enable organisations to implement an environmental management system specific to the context of their business. If, as an organisation, you already hold ISO14001:2004, the next step is to revise existing processes, communicate changes to your business, and implement actions, such as training, which occur as a result of the changes.

If you are running quality and environmental management systems which are currently independent of each other, this is a good opportunity to consider integration; forthcoming changes to move OHSAS18001 to ISO45001 can subsequently be incorporated.

Amalgamate can provide you with advice and guidance on either implementing or revising your existing management systems. Contact us at info@amalgamate-safety.com

Resources for Safer Travel

Many of us now frequently travel for work – sometimes to a city a couple of hours away, sometimes to more far-flung destinations such as Asia and the Middle East. So, how do we ensure that we’re keeping risks low while we’re away?

There’s a range of factors to consider, including how far afield you’re travelling, what transport you’ll be using, and where you’ll be staying, but in any case it’s worth doing a bit of research before you go, and using some of the many useful websites out there to help you plan to stay safe. For today, let’s talk about travel outside the UK.

As soon as you know you’ll be heading overseas, it’d be a good idea to check out these two websites: the UK Government’s foreign travel advice page – which has heaps of useful and up-to-date country-specific information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, and even natural disasters!; and NaTHNaC – which provides detailed health information including prevalent illnesses and required or recommended immunisations.

There are a number of websites now that offer advice on personal safety while travelling, including guidance on fire safety in hotels, personal safety advice tailored to women travelling alone, and information on different types of cons and scam artists that seek to part you from your possessions. To get current information on things to watch out for (as well as great ways to spend your downtime), you can take a look at the Lonely Planet forum for the country or city you’re visiting.

Make sure that while you’re away you’re not completely dependent on the internet for help, as internet access won’t necessarily always be available. It’s a good idea to have the local emergency services numbers stored in your phone (you may not remember them when under pressure) and leave copies of your travel documents and credit card details with a trusted person back home in case of theft or loss.

With a bit of research and forethought you can reduce the chances of an unpleasant experience while away, so you can concentrate on the important things – like getting your work done quickly so you can go check out the sights!

Consultation on replacement of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The proposed Regulations will meet the requirements of Directive 92/57/EEC on the implementation of minimum safety and health requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites, apart from certain requirements which are implemented by the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The proposals support the strategic objectives of improved co-ordination, better value for money, improved efficiency and use of technological changes in Construction 2025, the Government’s industrial strategy for construction.

The main proposed changes are to:

  • make the Regulations easier to understand;
  • Replace the CDM co-ordinator role with the principal designer;
  • Replace the ACOP with targeted guidance;
  • Replace the detailed and prescriptive requirements for individual and corporate competence with a more generic requirement; and
  • Align notification requirements with the Directive and apply the Regulations to domestic clients but in a proportionate way.

The proposals will be of interest to clients of construction work (including householders as clients), designers, principal contractors, contractors, sub-contractors including the self-employed, CDM co-ordinators, safety representatives and anyone else with an interest in construction projects.

Amalgamate Safety