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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


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



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


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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:


  • 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.


  • 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. 


  • 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 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.


  • 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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Free advice on employee wellbeing this winter 10/12/2018

A person’s body temperature is affected by more than the environment alone. Health and lifestyle factors contribute significantly to the way individuals perceive cold.

Some individuals will feel excessively warm while carrying out the same task in the same environment. Safety company Arco stresses that being uncomfortably hot, wet or cold can cause irrational and unsafe behaviour as employees take shortcuts to avoid being exposed to these conditions for long periods of time and their ability to make decisions deteriorates.

In its latest educational campaign, Arco is emphasising the importance of layering this winter to ensure workers remain comfortable throughout the colder months as well as remaining safe. Employers need to recognise that in order for employees to work at their optimum productivity level, they must be able to maintain a comfortable body temperature. It’s also vital that employers understand that allowing workers to continue working in uncomfortably wet or cold conditions is detrimental to their wellbeing and can become a safety risk. 

One of the most effective ways to protect employees against their thermal environment is to provide them with a suitable layering system. A layering system simply means providing different garments so workers can adapt what they wear to the changing weather, their work activity and their personal needs. Multiple layers are also more effective and less cumbersome to wear than a single bulky item.

This includes: An outer layer to shield against wind, rain and scuffs with breathable properties to help prevent overheating; an insulating mid later to provide warmth and comfort; and a base layer to offer additional thermal properties but also wick sweat away to help keep workers dry.

To ensure employers are fully educated on protecting workers from the winter elements, Arco has created a dedicated section on its website and a free expert advice sheet for customers to download. Additionally, Arco has launched an all seasons, 3-in-1 jacket that offers extreme versatility by providing two layers that can either work separately or together to offer an enhanced level of protection. 

In order to give customers a choice of waterproof clothing, Arco’s GORE-TEX Fabric product range allows wearers to work in ultimate comfort while protected from the wind and rain.

Tested to almost eight times the minimum standards, Arco's GORE-TEX outdoor clothing range guarantees water from the outside will never penetrate, wind cannot pass through and perspiration from inside escapes easily ensuring the body is kept warm and dry. 

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Award for ‘CE failings’ Campaign 10/12/2018

Arco, a UK-leading supplier of safety products and services, has received a Gold award for its ‘CE is No Guarantee’ Campaign, at this years’ International B2B Marketing awards.

Arco became aware of dangerous gaps in the CE marking process for safety equipment that was allowing unsafe products to go to market. To ensure future safety and generate awareness leading to real change, and that workplaces across the UK become safer for workers, Arco decided it had no choice but to expose its findings by raising industry and government awareness. 

The thought leadership campaign needed to cut through bureaucracy and drive real change. With around 600,000 workers each year reporting that they have suffered an injury at work, the consequences of failing to apply due diligence to PPE purchasing are huge. 

Central to the campaign activity was a short, compelling documentary film which brought together legal experts, brand owners and health and safety specialists to examine how this was happening to legitimately CE marked safety equipment. The campaign resulted in a number of product recalls and competitor statements, inspired senior industry stakeholders to become involved, and ensured questions were asked in Parliament about post-Brexit safety legislation and the safety of workers. 

The campaign was further supported by smart use of challenging online banner messaging and ad placement, plus an emotive brand campaign highlighting the risks of non-compliant safety equipment.

Those concerned about the risks of failing CE marked PPE leaving their workers and business exposed can visit www.KnowYourRisk.co.uk to watch the short film and get a free risk profile to find out how exposed they are. 

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