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Arco publishes guide to ensure PPE compliance 16/04/2021

FOLLOWING THE UK’s exit from the EU and the transition period finishing at the end of December 2020, new rules for businesses came into effect on 1 January 2021.

For many businesses, the challenges of adapting to the changes may seem overwhelming, particularly for those buying PPE, who want to ensure the products they purchase meet the required standards.

Arco has created an Expert Advice sheet which includes essential information for those purchasing PPE, guiding them through changes in Regulations, the Standards and assessment bodies and providing an overview of the introduction of the new UKCA marking. Arco also advises on the transitional arrangements in place for existing manufactured products and CE marked products.

To get a better understanding of the new requirements, to make sure conformity is guaranteed and that people remain safe at work, visit: www.arco.co.uk/brexit

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Positive mental health in the workplace 30/03/2021

MARK NIXON, senior health, safety and wellbeing consultant and trainer at Arco Professional Safety Services, shares three key areas of focus for positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

I have been a passionate Occupational Health and Safety Professional since 1995, but something changed five years ago. I was fortunate enough to be able to prevent a young individual from committing suicide. On hearing the phrase “you saved my life”, I made a commitment to improving my knowledge around the wellbeing and mental health of the people I work with every day and the employees in my clients’ organisations. I now deliver Arco Professional Safety Services suite of courses to clients and instruct the MHFA Two Day Adult Mental Health First Aid course. The feedback for these courses is breathtakingly positive; quite simply, the courses change lives and save lives.

Mental distress across the nation is at an all-time high compared to pre-pandemic levels.1 As individuals face grief, forced isolation, an economic slump and unfamiliar ways of working, we can help organisations make the decisions that will strengthen, rather than harm, an already vulnerable workforce. Beyond the human cost, better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year.2 There are three key areas that demand organisations’ attention to support and improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace: the business, the managers and the individuals.

The Business 

The ‘Hierarchy of Controls’ is an approach to risk reduction that has become entrenched in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) sector. It aims to provide a consistent structure for managing safety, ensuring effective control measures are put in place to eliminate or reduce workplace hazards. However, mental wellbeing is one of the only areas of health and safety where the 'hierarchy of control' does not apply. At Arco Professional Safety Services, we have developed an alternative hierarchy that better suits the aims, problems and solutions in this critical area. Key principles include:

  • Prevention is better than cure. Recovery takes far longer than prevention and the costs to individuals' livelihoods and businesses are far greater

  • Failing to maintain health and wellbeing increases the likelihood of poorer mental health

  • Enhancing and maintaining overall health and wellbeing increases the likelihood of better mental health

The Managers 

How much stress a team faces is dependent on factors such as resource availability, workload, corporate culture and the strength of their support system. Managers are ideally placed to help handle employee stress as they have a greater understanding of the people in their team, their roles and the stress risk factors. In as little as one day, we can help managers acquire the knowledge and confidence to manage mental wellbeing proactively. We recommend a ten-point action plan that can help managers support their teams more effectively. Key actions include:

  • Carry out Stress Risk Assessments based on the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) Stress Management Standards (HSG218) to establish and resolve the causes of stress in the workplace and use the HSE’s ‘Talking Toolkit’ to engage with individuals about the topic and make reasonable adjustments

  • For non-work-related stress, managers can use a coaching approach (ask rather than tell) to help employees identify what is causing their stress, why it’s stressful to them, how they can tackle it and where they can go for help and support

  • Managers can encourage employees to complete a Wellness Action Plan (WAP), which can be used to promote wellness in already healthy employees and help those suffering or returning from a mental ill-health absence

The Individuals

There are many ways for individuals to manage stress, from guided breathing to decrease stress hormones and lower blood pressure, to understanding the importance of positive psychology. We teach recognised models such as PERMA as part of our mental health training courses to help achieve positive mental wellbeing. PERMA can help increase wellbeing by encouraging individuals to focus on living meaningfully, establishing supportive relationships, accomplishing goals and being fully engaged with life. Another key aspect of positive psychology is resilience, defined as the ability to cope with and recover from adversity. 

Individual resilience will differ from person to person and throughout a person’s lifetime. It is not a fixed trait; it can be taught and developed over time with experience. Dr Lucy Hone, researcher and resilience expert, outlines three key traits of resilient people:

  • Resilient people understand that bad things happen to everyone
    Every life will come with ups and downs and understanding this is critical to a balanced response to fortune and tragedy

  • Resilient people can focus their attention skilfully
    Being able to view a situation ‘as-it-is but not worse than it is,’ is a vital skill for resilience and mental wellbeing. In addition to the things that may not be going so well, individuals can focus their attention on extracting the positives, otherwise termed as ‘benefit finding’. We recommend individuals ask themselves, ‘what has gone well today and what is still right with me, others and the world?’

  • Resilient people ask if what they are doing is ‘helping or harming?’
    We encourage individuals to identify their unhelpful thoughts, self-talk and behaviours and choose more helpful, realistic and empowering alternatives 
     

Ultimately, mental health is not only a major issue in the workplace, but a major opportunity to take stock and ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the wellbeing of our colleagues. Five years ago, a near-tragedy cemented my belief that with the right support in place, positive mental health and wellbeing can be achieved and sustained. 

Mark Nixon is a Senior Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultant and Trainer at Arco Professional Safety ServicesArco Professional Safety Services offers specialist courses including Mental Health First Aid, Mental Wellbeing Awareness and Stress and Mental Wellbeing for Managers. Its highly experienced trainers can help build bespoke programmes to meet client needs, whether that means delivering training on the client’s site or at one of its national safety centres. The expert in safety can also provide training online via its specialist video conference service developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure businesses can continue training while maintaining social distancing.

For more information on the mental health and wellbeing training courses available, visit the dedicated course finder at Arco Professional Safety Services.
Alternatively, to contact Arco Professional Safety Services call 0330 390 0822 or email info@arcoservices.co.uk.

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Dermatitis is a growing risk, says Arco 18/02/2021

ARCO WARNS dermatitis cases could be on the increase, with employees vulnerable to a life-changing condition.

With all of us being encouraged to wash and sanitise our hands more frequently, PPE being worn for longer periods and some employees reluctant to report symptoms unnecessarily, Arco is raising awareness of the dangers of dermatitis in a nationwide campaign.

Occupational skin conditions costs Britain 268,000 working days a year1. The most common type, occupational dermatitis2, is an inflammation of the skin caused by external agents such as chemicals and hazardous substances, biological agents, sensitisers or allergens which change the natural balance of the skin or damage its structure. Dermatitis doesn’t just affect workers’ hands but can occur anywhere on the body, including the face as a result of wearing PPE for longer periods.

Occupational dermatitis can seriously affect the well-being, quality of life and performance of employees. Absence from work, reduced pay, lower morale and self-esteem and even an unintended change in career can result. Employers, meanwhile, run the risk of bad publicity, reduced productivity, rising costs due to sickness days, increased costs for training and recruitment and, in a worst-case scenario, potential compensation claims.

With more than 1 in 10 workers suffering from the disease3, for a 250 strong company, that’s 25 members of staff. The average cost to treat an unreported hand health problem is £2,0004. In addition, each reported case of dermatitis costs an employer £6,000 on average, excluding compensation, fines and legal fees5. For 25 employees, this total cost equates to £200,000.  While the costs involved with increased claims and insurance are worrying, the highest costs are incurred from potential fines and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) fees for intervention. The HSE now charges £157 per hour to investigate an incident on site6 and the average cost of a health and safety related prosecution in 2018/19 was £150,000 per conviction7.

Darren Williamson, Arco Product & Procurement Manager – Cleaning & Hygiene, said: “Too often a lack of employee complaints means employers assume dermatitis is a minor risk. But the truth in the silence is workers can feel embarrassed, have a lack of understanding about the condition or fear they could lose their jobs. Worse still, underreporting means existing statistics merely represent the tip of the iceberg. We must raise awareness of the help available before employees and employers end up paying the ultimate price.”

With the right skincare programme in place, the risks of dermatitis can be reduced or eliminated.  Arco skincare experts offer a specialist onsite assessment and skin analysis programme and then help build bespoke programmes to reduce symptoms and develop training and awareness programmes to help change behaviour and ensure compliance.

For more information on skincare assessments, PPE products and training from the Arco team, visit https://campaigns.arco.co.uk/preventing-dermatitis-in-the-workplace/

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aqYxCflSis&feature=emb_logo

References

1 The Health & Occupation Research Network (THOR) GP Scheme 2011-2013)

2 EPIDERM/HSE: Work Related Skin Disease in Great Britain 2014

3 Luckhaupt et. Al; American Journal of Industrial Medicine 56:623-634 (2013)

4 Journal of Environmental Medicine, Thyssen J.P. et al; Contact Dermatitis 2010; 75-87

5 Diepgen T.L. et al; Contact Dermatitis 2013; 69: 88-106,

6 http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/what-is-ffi.htm

7 http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf?pdf=enforcement – Page 4

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Weather the storm with Arco 22/02/2021

ARCO WANTS individuals and business owners to understand how worker safety can be compromised and more importantly - restored.

Studies show that accidents may increase by up to 35% when people experience excessive cold while working.1 Thermal comfort is key to worker productivity and maintaining a consistent body temperature is essential. Wearing three layers, a base layer, mid-layer and outer layer, is the perfect way to ensure outdoor clothing is suitable for the winter.

These layers should include:

  • A breathable base layer that sits next to the skin and wicks away moisture, keeping the body warm and dry
  • The mid layer, known as the ‘insulating layer’ should provide warmth. This layer should be fitted to allow minimum air movement, which ensures that maximum heat is retained, while still letting perspiration escape from the base layer
  • An outer layer to shield against wind, rain and abrasion

People who spend time working outdoors should be prepared to not only ensure that they are warm in winter, but that they can be seen as well. Ill-equipped employees are at a highly increased risk of being victim to a workplace injury if they are not noticeable. Every year there are over 2,500 RIDDOR incidents involving transport in the workplace and being struck by a vehicle is one of the most common causes of fatal workplace accidents.2

Hi-vis clothing attracts the attention of vehicle operators, gives them more time to react and reduces the risk of people being hit. It is therefore essential that employers ensure workers are supplied with EN compliant* and role-suitable hi-visibility clothing. The higher risk the environment, the more hi-vis clothing is required.

Hi-vis should be suitable for the job, comfortable for the wearer and it shouldn’t interfere with other PPE. Genuine hi-vis has two features which aid discernibility: fluorescent material providing day-time visibility, and retro-reflective tape which reflects light directly back toward light sources. Whilst dark conditions seem the most natural time to wear hi-vis, it should be worn in all light conditions to ensure workers are protected.

The EN standard for hi-vis clothing is EN 20471, which sets the minimum standards of visual performance and durability needed for high visibility clothing worn in the workplace. The standard is based on a series of tests including colour fastness, colour measurement, dimensional stability, reflective tape testing and garment assessment, all of which affect whether hi-vis offers the highest possible level of protection (class 3), or low level protection (class 1). Arco also warns that it’s crucial to review the condition of hi-vis clothing regularly, to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

Arco has released an Expert Guide to help employers get the best results from their garments because thoroughly waterproof clothing means less downtime, less sick leave and the job gets done no matter what the weather. For more information and to download Arco’s free resources visit: https://www.arco.co.uk/expert_advice_hi_vis

https://www.arco.co.uk/weatherwear

References:

[1] Chrenko, F. A. 1973. Bedford's Basic Principles of Ventilation and Heating, 3rd ed London: H.K. Lewis.

www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ridfatal.xlsx

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Arco becomes Core Funder to National Emergencies Trust with £250,000 donation 02/11/2020

UK SAFETY expert Arco has joined forces with the National Emergencies Trust (NET), an independent charity that raises and distributes funds at speed during domestic crises, with a major donation to support their core funding.

The NET’s recent Coronavirus Appeal has raised £94million to support people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic UK-wide, including the isolated, shielding and vulnerable.

The quarter of a million-pound donation from Arco towards the NET’s core funding, will continue to enable the NET to activate appeals at speed when the worst happens, by preparing and building its fundraising strategies and networks, liaising with the Government and wider sector to ensure policies and processes reflect survivor needs, and collaborating with them to ensure collective and immediate support for survivors. 

Lord Richard Dannatt, chairman of the National Emergencies Trust, said, “We are delighted to welcome Arco to The National Emergencies Trust’s Patron’s Circle. Their support for our core activities is invaluable, enabling us to develop, prepare and grow so that when the next national disaster arises, we can be ready to launch an appeal at speed, getting vital funds out to those in urgent need. We are hugely grateful for their support.”

Emergencies require rapid response and the NET creates a shared point of reference so that the public can donate to one central organisation, to limit confusion and ensure people receive the help they need quickly. During its recent Coronavirus Appeal, the NET allocated £89million to Community Foundations and other national funding partners across the UK as fairly as possible. In turn, helping to respond to the inequalities faced by the most-at-risk groups in society. 

Arco, now a ‘Core Funder’ and member of NET’s ‘Patrons Circle’, has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, operating as a key supplier to the NHS, ambulance services, local authorities, other public health bodies and critical industries. This year, Arco’s Community Panel also invited employees to apply for 42 one off grants of up to £1,000 on behalf of organisations and charities in their local communities that required vital support or funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in donations totalling £41,600 to support local community organisations. 

David Evison, managing director of Arco, said, "We believe safety is a fundamental human right. This year's emergency has had devastating repercussions for the welfare of our communities, and the NET can channel our determination to help in the best possible way. The £250,000 donation to the NET forms part of Arco’s commitment to support good causes each year. Arco is honoured to support the NET’s mission to help those affected by a national emergency at their time of greatest need.”

For more information visit www.arco.co.uk

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Arco launches 64th annual catalogue 06/04/2020

Since the launch of the first Arco catalogue in 1957, it has become the definitive product guide for the safety industry.

The latest edition offers the most comprehensive range of safety equipment, workwear, and workplace safety products, giving customers the best possible choice. 

The UK safety expert Arco is dedicated to keeping people safe at work and is the qualified partner for businesses across all industry sectors, whatever the health and safety challenges business owners may face. The 900-page catalogue features new products offering the latest in innovation from Arco’s own brands as well as specialist leading brands, with prices to suit every budget.

Arco has added new products across all categories including:

PPE

  • Eyewear: Arco’s own brand and from suppliers Riley and uvex.

  • Head Protection: Centurion Kalis Dry Cooling Helmet Headband plus an updated range of helmets from new vendor ENHA.

  • Respiratory: Powered and unpowered fresh air systems.

  • Hearing Protection: Sync Wireless Electro and Impact headsets from Honeywell.

Weatherwear

  • Trojan base layers that feature Hydrobase fabric, boasting moisture wicking alongside a close comfortable fit, and Odegon Deo Tag providing odour-free properties.

  • Jackets, fleeces, a jumper and over trousers from Berghaus and the new Acadia II Thermal Jacket as well as the Contrast soft shell and gilet from Regatta. 

Workwear

  • Includes an expanded collection of Snickers and Mascot workwear as well as Arco’s own range of Trojan two toned polo shirts.

Safety Footwear

  • Lightweight and breathable Arco S1P safety boot and shoe are fitted with Orthosole insoles designed to complement the wearer’s unique foot shape thanks to interchangeable arch pads.

Gloves

  • Gloves for a range of applications including the Skytech Radius which provides the wearer with cut resistance alongside thermal protection making them ideal for handling sharp objects in cold and wet environments.

First Aid

  • AED’s from Powerheart.

Hygiene

  • Tork skin cleansing products and V-TUF and Voom vacuum cleaners.

To ensure product quality, Arco conducts due diligence testing on its own-brand products, using its in-house UKAS accredited testing laboratory. The company is also taking the lead to drive improvements in quality standards across the industry. All of its manufacturers undergo ethical audits and Arco only works with vendors who share its values. Customers can be sure the products they buy from Arco meet the required standards and have been ethically sourced.

To get your copy of the 64th Annual Arco Catalogue visit www.arco.co.uk/catrequest

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£3billion for your thoughts 05/11/2019

With work related accidents and ill-health estimated to be costing UK businesses £3bn a year, Arco looks at the potential cost of safety to your business. How do you calculate your risk and what can you do to mitigate it?

No matter the size of your business or the industry you work in, good health and safety management is critical to the financial health of your business.  Any workplace accident or injury could have a significant impact, with the potential loss of production time, increased insurance premiums, possible fines and compensation payments all contributing to the ‘hidden’ costs of safety. Although there is a general downward trend in accidents and fatal injury rates, the costs to your business have risen and the HSE calculates that work related ill-health and accidents cost UK businesses £3bn a year.  Even this figures is widely considered to be an underestimation of the true costs.

Good health and safety management means meeting your legal obligations by carrying out the proper risk assessments, managing any of the risk identified, providing employees with information, training and PPE as well as making sure that adequate measures are available in case anyone is injured or taken ill at work. In the last two years, new sentencing guidelines have also made it tougher and more costly for managers, directors and UK companies to ignore their health and safety obligations.

In the current economic and political climate, many UK businesses are looking at ways of reducing business risk, whether that’s in their supply chain, future employment needs or in building confidence with and retaining their customers. This kind of atmosphere often leads to detailed spending reviews, with business owners looking at any opportunity to cut costs.  Investment in PPE and other safety services is often under scrutiny  and health and safety compliance is reduced to a box ticking exercise, rather than being seen as a positive investment that could reduce those hidden costs.

Any cost-cutting strategy will inevitably put the emphasis on price at the expense of quality and it’s here where the compromise is made and those ‘hidden costs’ that may result from a poor health and safety culture, or from using substandard or incorrectly specified equipment  are lurking in the background, waiting to make an impact and potentially break a business.  

Workplace accidents could result in a costly investigation, an increase in insurance premiums, the need to reorganise work plans and recruiting and training new staff. Fines are also on the up with the chance of incurring fines of more than £500k 20 times higher since 2014. If you have an incident, the HSE will now charge you £154 per hour to investigate the issue and for every £1 that is recovered through an insurance claim as a result of an incident, £8 is lost entirely.  Leading safety company Arco is working with businesses across the UK to help identify the true cost of safety.  Arco understands the challenges of purchasing safety products and services and managing costs at the same time.  But it’s the overall cost of safety that many businesses haven’t considered and Arco has provided a wealth of information, including a unique, free to use online tool to calculate the potential cost to your business.  Go to: http://www.costofsafety.co.uk to find out more. 

Then there’s the human cost, when things go wrong and when lives depend on it, health and safety should never be a Boardroom box ticking exercise. The best way to establish good health and safety practices is by working with a partner and engaging with every part of the organisation with an integrated approach to safety. This kind of approach doesn’t have to be expensive, but the risk of treating health and safety investment as a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘must have’ could actually put your whole business at risk.

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More must be done to prevent damaging and costly spills 08/10/2019

Businesses should be better prepared for spills and ensure they have the correct plan and spill kit in place, says UK’s leading safety experts Arco, as recent findings revealed 7 out of 10 companies do not have the adequate provisions in place to defend against spills and manage them effectively.

Spills pose a real risk to businesses. Not only could they cause significant damage to premises, wildlife and the surrounding environment, they can pose a threat to the safety and health of employees and nearby residents.

Recent figures from Ecospill reveal that over 70% of businesses are not fully prepared for a spill, while the Environment Agency reported that, in 2017, there were 1,827 pollution incidents in the waste and water industry alone – over five incidents each day.

Most health and safety managers think they are doing everything they can to properly control their spill risk, and believe they have the correct plan in place to address spills if they occur. But, what many don’t know is that spill kits and plans may not be comprehensive enough to provide adequate protection.

In many cases, when auditing sites for their spill risk, issues have become apparent, such as:

  1. Faulty assumptions have been made: this can be as simple as thinking small spills aren’t significant, when even a small amount of everyday substance such as milk or orange juice can be toxic to the environment  
  2. Spill kit is in the incorrect location: even if spill kits have been supplied there’s a possibility they might not be located in the correct areas, where risk is highest
  3. Spill plan isn’t right for the business and risk: using a ‘one size fits all’ approach can give false confidence in preparedness and be a waste of resources. Different kits are available for dealing with different types of spills
  4. Lack of training: spills can happen suddenly and be extremely disruptive. If staff aren’t adequately trained it can lead to confusion, panic or spill kits being used incorrectly
  5. Spill kit is poorly maintained: if spill kits have been exposed to the environment, or have drawn in too much moisture, they may be unusable

Without adequate spill control and prevention measures, the effect of a spill on a company’s reputation, including environmental, can be momentous. Companies can lose business as a result of bad publicity or because environmental permits have been revoked. A major oil company saw a 40% drop in sales due to a large-scale offshore spill.

Furthermore, the cost to clean a spill, the loss of material and damage to the environment can all be detrimental. Substantial fines can be issued and payments will be required for legal costs and to restore the environment back to its original state before the spill. Civil claims from residents and/or businesses in the affected area can also incur added costs. In 2017, a major water company was fined a record £20,361,140 for polluting fresh water, while a well-known supermarket was faced with costs of over £16 million in fines, health and safety charges, and environmental costs as a result of a petrol spill.

As such, businesses must do more to protect from the impact of spills and prevent damage to reputation, environment and life. Plus, if working towards ISO14001, businesses must be able to demonstrate commitment to continual improvement in their environmental performance, an area where spill plans can be of benefit.

Niall Robinson, Product and Procurement Manager at Arco, said “It is critical that all businesses ensure they have an appropriate and effective spill plan to prevent this serious risk from occurring. The effects of a spill can not only damage a company’s finances and reputation, but can have an overwhelming impact on employees, local peoples and on wildlife, so should not be taken lightly.”

For more information on how your business can address its spill risk and prevent future spill incidents, please visit https://campaigns.arco.co.uk/preventspills

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Safety expert supports customers' sign safety 28/05/2019

In its latest safety signs and lockout solutions catalogue, Arco aims to increase education surrounding the importance of safety signage and lockout tagout products in the workplace.

As well as featuring more than 5000 safety signs, an extensive range of lockout solutions, posters, labels and stencils, the catalogue will offer customers information about Arco’s custom signage manufacturing service and its free workplace sign survey, which enables Arco to provide tailored expert guidance.

Under The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulation 1996, employers have a responsibility to provide adequate, current and maintained safety signs in circumstances where there is significant risk. The regulation also states that employers are required to ensure their staff are aware of and understand the meaning of individual safety signs and signals by providing training where necessary. 

Both British and European signage standards currently use colour to determine the purpose of safety signs to ensure transparency to all workers:

  • Blue signs denote a mandatory instruction with a specific course of action
  • Red signs can indicate a prohibited action, warn of a potential danger or provide fire safety information
  • Yellow signs indicate where caution should be taken due to hazards in the environment
  • Green signs indicate safe conditions such as escape route or first aid

To request a copy of the new Safety Signs and Lockout Solutions catalogue visit www.arco.co.uk/catrequest or for more information or safety signage, please visit www.arco.co.uk/signs and for lockout tagout solutions, visit www.arco.co.uk/loto.

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A safer vision 24/01/2019

LEADING SAFETY expert Arco is keen to increase both employers and employee’s understanding of the different safety ratings before purchasing safety glasses.

According to RIDDOR, a loss or reduction of sight accounted for 126 of all non-fatal injuries to employees while at work in 2017/18. Experts believe that 90% of those injuries could have been prevented with the correct safety eyewear. 

In recent years, there has been an increase of high street retailers selling prescription safety eyewear, however, without advice from qualified safety experts, employers could potentially be placing their workforce in danger. Those procuring safety glasses, whether that’s the employer or the employees themselves, need to be aware of the level of protection they require. In order to do this, employers should be completing a comprehensive risk assessment as different industries and applications require different impact and chemical protection levels and briefing those that are responsible for purchasing the safety glasses. 

To ensure employers are fully protecting their workforce, they should make themselves aware of the protection ratings under BS EN 166:2001:

  • Soffering the least amount of protection and no impact protection

  • Foffering the lowest level of impact protection

  • Boffers a mid-range impact protection 

  • Aoffering the highest-level protection against speed projectiles 

Arco’s director of QSHE UK & Asia, Neil Hewitt advises, “The thing to remember is that high street retailers and opticians aren’t personal protective equipment (PPE) professionals – and this becomes clear if the focus is around the cost and style rather than the key safety aspects. The lack of understanding of the PPE regulations and standards requirements can put workers at risk of serious, life altering accidents. It is essential that those purchasing or wearing safety glasses are getting the correct protection that they need for the hazards that they are exposed to”

Neil Hewitt also advises that high street safety glasses cannot meet all the requirements for different applications required by EN 166:2001 for high speed impacts. Workers who require both high impact protection above the absolute minimum level of protection and prefer prescription safety glasses will need to also be provided with over goggles and face screens – advice such as this often isn’t offered at many high street retailers as this is not normally part of their product offer and they may not be aware of the full extent of the EN166 product safety standard: “Spectacle type eyewear can only be certified to EN166, level F, which is the lowest impact requirement and not suitable for those using high speed power tools or machining equipment. It’s concerning that high street retailers often don’t relay this message to customers, meaning workers think they are fully protected when in fact they could be far from it.”

To offer UK businesses additional information when purchasing safety glasses, Arco experts have created the following easy Step by Step guide:

  • Complete a risk assessment: Employers need to carry out a risk assessment that clearly identities which rating employees require, as well as identifying whether they will require over-goggles. 

  • Equip staff with safety information:If not purchasing prescription safety eyewear from safety experts but instead high street opticians, ensure employees understand what rating they are required to specify during the ordering process. Those working in an opticians may not be trained to understand the safety UK regulations so, therefore, won’t be able to offer expert safety advice regarding different working conditions. 

  • Check the markings on the glasses:Many employees and employers aren’t aware what the marking on the glasses mean. If employers are worried about the glasses that have been provided to their workforce, they can easily check the letters on the lenses to check for the ratings. See below graphic for guidance. 

  • Think about where you buy your safety glasses from:Safety equipment should be procured from safety specialists. This means the correct advice is being conveyed and the risk of serious injury is reduced. 

For more information regarding Arco’s prescription safety eyewear range, please visit www.arco.co.uk

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