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More from Arco
Taking Action for a Safer Tomorrow
A Safe Tomorrow is our strategic plan to help secure a safer future by being more sustainable in how we develop and deliver products and services and how we work with customers and partners.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022
What the regulation update means for employers.
Shaping The Safety Agenda
To keep people safe at work our experts contribute to debates on regulation, quality and standards, PPE procurement and emergency planning.
Wherever you live and wherever you work, our vision is to keep you, your people and your business safe.
Arco Announces Website Improvement Plan
We're set to begin our latest website improvement plan designed to help more customers transact online.
The plan, which begins in September will initially focus on helping customers find the exact safety products they need. We stock over 80,000 lines on our website and are determined customers have easy access to the correct products to keep them safe.
Initial improvements to our product listing page will include clearer pricing and delivery dates, an updated design for customers across all devices and clear product lifecycle information to make buying decisions easier.
Customers that we've spoken to will welcome this update as it builds more certainty into their supply chain and helps them plan and buy the products that they need.
We've also added an alternative product link which means where a product is not available, customers can select a suitable alternative.
Head of Ecommerce, Gareth Wray, said:
"We know from customers that selecting products based on delivery time, availability and continuity of supply is critical to their supply chain and that's why we're introducing these changes at the start of our plan.
"Along with the new features, customers will see more time-saving changes such as an improved look and feel to Arco's listings page, more detailed search results allowing faster filtering and the ability to add products directly to their basket."
- Get clearer pricing by logging into to see your contracted price rather than list price
- Better plan your order with accurate availability dates, even if your purchase is in multiple consignments
- Be sure of ongoing supply with product lifecycle information showing which products are new, have limited availability or are discontinued
- View alternative products if your selected item is unavailable
- Check out faster by adding multiple products and quantities directly to your basket from the listing page
You can shop our full range of products 24/7 online, if you've not already registered to use our website simply register for an online account here.
Arco Clothing Centre achieves globally recognised Health Safety Management Standard
Arco, has been awarded certification from the British Standards Institution (BSI) for the health and safety management system at its clothing centre, in Preston, highlighting the company's continued commitment to exceptional health and safety standards.
Following a rigorous assessment, the BSI determined that the site conformed to the ISO 45001 Health and Safety Management Standard, which is designed to prevent work-related injury and ill-health and to provide safe and healthy workplaces.
The BSI assessor spent time talking to colleagues across the site, including the clothing centre's management and Arco's safety, health and environment (SHE) team, as well as assessing working practices and processes and examining documentation.
In the report, the assessor commented that colleagues had 'a very good understanding of the management specification obligations' and that this was 'demonstrated by all participants interviewed and evidence of implementation in all areas planned has been confirmed through this assessment'.
Stephen Crossley, General Manager of Arco's Clothing Centre, said:
"To receive the ISO 45001 standard is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates our commitment to living up to Arco's core purpose of keeping people safe at work.
"This is the first time we have secured this globally recognised standard and it is a great example of how we, as a business, are continuing to lead within the health and safety industry."
Jo Heselton, SHE Manager at Arco, added:
"We are proud to have attained ISO 45001 and I'd like to thank all those colleagues involved in supporting the assessment, this certificate really is a testament to their hard work, day-in and day-out, in ensuring our clothing centre is a safe and healthy workplace.
"As with any assessment, it's not just about the hard work on the day but the many weeks of preparation to ensure we can demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of our health and safety management system."
Arco Weaves Recycled Threads into its Embroidery and Decoration Services
Arco has begun using environmentally conscious recycled threads at its clothing centre in Preston.
Following a successful pilot with supplier, Madeira, Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has introduced recycled threads from Madeira's Polyneon Green range into its personalised workplace clothing embroidery and decoration service. Polyneon Green threads are made from 100% recycled PET bottles, reducing carbon emissions associated with virgin thread production and reducing the amount of plastic in the environment.
Over the course of 2022, when the trial began, 62% of the cones supplied from Madeira were Polyneon Green. So far in 2023, 67% of the total cones supplied to Arco have been with thread made from the alternative.
In addition to the thread being made from recycled materials, they also have Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, Annex 6 product class I certification, which ensures they do not contain any harmful chemicals. The boxes that the cones are packaged in are made of 66% recycled cardboard and they themselves are fully recyclable, the protective wrapper used for each cone is also 100% recyclable. In total, 1.148 tonnes of recycled threads have been used in the clothing centre since the trial began.
According to a recent study by the European Environment Agency, EU consumers discard 5.8 million tonnes of textiles annually, two thirds of which from synthetic fibres. This accounts for around 13% of all plastic waste globally.
Jim Harbidge, Head of Sustainability at Arco, said:
"At Arco, we work in partnership with our suppliers, customers and relevant bodies to develop and provide responsible solutions for safer businesses.
"Switching to recycled threads is an example of how Arco is taking action for a safer tomorrow and making it easier for our customers to meet their sustainability and circularity goals and to be confident in making more responsible purchase decisions."
Stephen Crossley, General Manager of Arco's Clothing Centre, said:
“Working closely with our supplier, Madeira, we have successfully implemented important changes to the thread we use for our embroidery and decoration services.
"Our job is never completed when it comes to sustainability, so, as the Polyneon Green range continues to develop, in terms of colours and finishes, we will seek to source even more of the threads we use from this range."
Andrew Maylor, Managing Director of Madeira UK, said:
"As a long-term supplier of embroidery threads and accessories to Arco, we are proud to be working in partnership with them to help take action for a more sustainable future.
"Our Polyneon Green range was created in response to the global demand to reduce plastic bottles. With Polyneon Green, we are reducing the amount of plastic in the environment and making the textile industry more sustainable. Our aim is to develop the range further so that our customers can continue to have more sustainable options to choose from."
To find out more about the services available at Arco's Clothing Centre, visit: www.arco.co.uk/about/comprehensive-product-range/specialist-clothing-services
To find out more about Madeira's Polyneon Green: www.madeira.co.uk/embroidery-threads/polyneon-green/
Arco Colleagues Support the Plant a Tree Today Foundation and Foodbanks
The Plant a Tree Today (PATT) Foundation is a UK Registered Charity that want to take action against climate change by planting native trees and reforesting areas destroyed by illegal logging, development and agriculture.
Green-fingered colleagues from our Customer Experience Centre (CEC) used one of their two annual volunteering days to support the PATT Foundation on the charity's four-acre nursery site just outside of Hull. The team potted native tree seedlings, watered plants, sowed seeds and harvested food crops for local food banks alongside constructing wigwams to establish the planting of runner beans, lettuces and Pinus Sylvestris.
Chris Hepton, Customer Service Team Leader, said:
"It was great to learn about what the PATT Foundation do and it's good to know that that our efforts will go towards helping food banks".
Well done to all involved!
Arco Success at the Family Business United Awards
Arco won the Yorkshire Family Business of the Year Award at the Family Business United Awards last week.
We were up against 200+ national businesses, so we feel incredibly honoured to have taken the top spot in the Yorkshire category. Arco's entry outlined the company's joined-up safety solution offering, company values, philanthropic activity, innovations in sustainability, and achievements from across the company's 139 years in business.
The judges recognised the role which the Martin family has played and continue to play through their stewardship and investment in the business. Whether that be through being active members in our communities through charitable work or lobbying for change in parliament against non-compliant PPE, their passion, expertise and support is invaluable.
At a ceremony held in London, Charley Seward, Supplier Relationships and Transformation Manager and fifth-generation family member, and Becky Casson, Buying Director, proudly picked up the award on Arco's behalf.
Arco were also runners up in the Supreme Champion Award, the national title which they won in 2021.
Charley Seward said:
"I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the 1600 members of the Arco family who make this business tick. As colleagues, we know we have something very special at Arco, but it's wonderful to have this validated by Family Business United too."
Guy Bruce, CEO, said:
"It's a privilege and honour to have our business recognised in this space and to be able to share in the celebrations with other family business of all sizes, generations and sectors who were also awarded on the night. "Congratulations to all colleagues on this achievement - you all play a part in making this business great."
Arco Hits Face-fit Testing 50,000 Milestone
Arco has achieved an historic milestone following the completion of the 50,000th face-fit test, as part of its programme of respirator protection and fitting services being delivered to NHS and social care sector in Scotland.
In 2020, while health services were struggling to source PPE and ensure all their workers were adequately protected during the Covid-19 pandemic, Arco stepped in to supply essential PPE and face-fitting services to Scotland's health and social care sectors, with the business continuing to supply NHS Scotland successfully and reliably; to 50 local hubs for distribution to over 2,700 sites. Arco is continuing to ensure the nation's dedicated health and social care professionals are ready, whenever they may need to rely on respiratory protection.
Over past three years, Arco has supplied 200million surgical masks, seven million FFP3 masks and 10million visors. Arco has also supplied 200million gloves and one million medical type coveralls.
In addition to products, Arco worked with hospital teams throughout Scotland to deliver a face-fit testing programme, ensuring facilities, estates and clinical workers felt safe and were protected with correctly fitting FFP3 masks - the type that forms a seal around the face to protect healthcare workers when the risks mean a simple face covering isn't enough. As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it's a legal requirement and crucial that healthcare workers have a fit test to make sure their mask won't leak, and they know which masks are suitable for them to wear.
Dougie Logan, Healthcare Key Account Manager, said:
"A big thank you to our team of fit testers who have made this possible.
"I feel so proud we've been able to help those most in need. Thousands of people, both in and out of the NHS, have been protected thanks to the time and expertise of our colleagues. It was a huge team effort."
To ensure staff continue to benefit from the highest level of protection, it is recommended that face-fit testing is undertaken every two years or sooner to accommodate any physical changes to the wearer, such as weight loss or gain or things like new glasses that might affect how a mask fits.
Keith Moir, Healthcare Specialist at Arco, said:
"In the past two years, we've efficiently managed over 7,000 days of Fit2Fit approved testing at over 20 hospitals across Scotland for workers on both day and night shifts.
"As experts in safety, with a core purpose of keeping people safe at work, ensuring 50,000 frontline NHS and social care staff across Scotland have been face-fit tested is an important milestone.
"In addition to the Fit2Fit testing, in-person and virtual support has been provided to clinical staff wearing respiratory protection and we have also organised face-fit training for over 300 NHS staff across Scotland, delivering bespoke sessions, as well as ongoing coaching and mentoring for staff so they themselves can be trained to Fit2Fit standards, the scheme that helps ensure fit testing meets legal standards. Several have gone on to pass their Fit2Fit examination, a big achievement."
To find out more about the importance of face-fit testing and the services, click here.
Reduce the Risk of Breathing and Lung Problems
There are 19,000 estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work, annually over the last three years, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey. This statistic is entirely preventable if risks are appropriately controlled.
Businesses and organisations must know how to protect staff and provide adequate respiratory protection. Employers have a legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage workplace health and safety, including compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). A considered approach can prevent future deaths and ensure regulatory compliance.
What are the Dangers?
The inhalation of hazardous substances poses a serious risk to workers' health. Hazards can be present in the form of dusts, fibres and fumes, mists and sprays, micro-organisms, gases and vapours. However, this type of exposure is more common in certain industries, such as construction and manufacturing, with the largest estimate of occupational cancer cases. A hazardous substance of particular prominence is respirable crystalline silica (RCS) or silica dust. This is a common by-product of many manufacturing tasks, such as brick and tile manufacture, ceramics, stone working, kitchen worktop manufacture and foundry work, which can all produce airborne silica particles that are invisible to the naked eye.
Inhalation of RCS can cause the development of the following lung diseases:
- Silicosis- makes breathing more difficult and increases the risk of lung infections. Silicosis usually follows exposure over many years, but extremely high exposures can lead to rapid ill health.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - a group of lung diseases, including bronchitis and emphysema, resulting in severe breathlessness, prolonged coughing, and chronic disability. It can be very disabling and is a leading cause of death.
- Lung Cancer - can be caused by heavy and prolonged exposure to RCS dust. When someone already has silicosis, there is an increased risk of lung cancer.
What Can be Done?
The first step toward protecting employees and workers is identifying the materials and substances that present a respiratory health hazard. Organisations and businesses must understand the specific risks of any materials within a workplace to ensure the appropriate control measures are in place.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDs) serve as a valuable tool for collating and digesting information regarding any potentially hazardous substances in a workplace. This includes identification, make-up and usage and advice on exposure controls and personal protection.
Moreover, understanding relevant hazardous substances in the workplace is not only crucial for protecting employees, but also forms the foundation in conducting a risk assessment - a vital process to be carried out before work can begin. Being proactive is essential for any risk assessment, requiring a consideration not only of hazardous materials but also of individuals who may come into contact with them, including both employees and the public. A full risk assessment is essential to maintain regulatory compliance and safeguarding employees' wellbeing.
Following a complete risk assessment and recognising any potential hazards, preventative and protective measures should be implemented. This is highly conditional to the specific work scenario; however, all situations should first consider the possibility of substitution of hazardous materials. The removal of risk is the easiest path to safety. In cases where this is not possible:
- Utilise engineering controls to remove or reduce employee exposure. These might be less powerful tools, water systems or an 'on-tool dust' extraction solution.
- Provide PPE in the form of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). An effective respiratory management programme will ensure correct RPE selection, face-fit testing (for tight fitting RPE), relevant training and regular equipment inspections and maintenance. When selecting types of personal protective equipment, the correct selection of RPE is critical. Experts should be consulted if there is any uncertainty.
- Carry out regular employee health monitoring. This will ensure that all control measures are working. Monitoring employees' health can identify early signs of exposure and can inform updates on current control measures.
Together we can prevent these needless deaths from work-related lung diseases. A well-thought-out approach to risk management and the correct RPE can dramatically reduce the current statistics across all sectors.
Following submissions to both consultations by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Respiratory Health, relating to the hazards of silica dust, Arco accepted an invitation to join a panel of industry experts to advise the Government on how to tackle the risks associated with silica dust.
Click the links for further information about Arco's comprehensive product range and the supporting respiratory services and training provided by Arco Professional Safety Services.
Arco Provides Head Protection Advice for Hard Hat Awareness Week
Arco is sponsoring Hard Hat Awareness Week (12th - 18th June 2023), a not-for-profit event focused on bringing awareness of brain injuries to the forefront of safety, and is seeking to provide its industry-leading expertise on selecting the right head protection and how to maintain it to keep workers safe.
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), head injuries account for over 25% of fatal injuries in the UK workplace, and a further 3,500 non-fatal head injuries are reported each year.
The most common causes of head injuries are because of slips, trips and falls, which account for 30% of all incidents, followed by working at height and impact from falling objects.
These incidents can also result in a rotational brain injury, where a person suffers an angled impact to the head, which can cause a rotational movement, A rotational force to the head causes the brain to rotate inside the skull. The relative movement between the skull and brain can cause strain on the brain and lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Before selecting head protection, it should be determined if it is needed for the job or task in question, through a risk assessment and, where possible, through mitigation measures.
If head protection is needed, Arco advises that the following three points should be considered:
- Job / tasks - workers need to consider the daily hazards they face in the workplace. The European Standard for industrial safety helmets is EN 397, which provides shock absorption, penetration resistance and protection against impact. When working at height, additional protection should be considered as part of the product selection process. For example, chin straps or optional testing for Lateral Deformation are available for EN 397 industrial helmets. Alternatively opting for a helmet tested to the safety standard EN 12492 can be used more specifically for climbing.
- Wearer - include the wearer in the selection process of head protection. At the end of the day, workers are the ones required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) all day. In an industry survey by MSA Safety and Skill Builder, it was revealed that a lack of comfort was one of the main obstacles putting workers off wearing their safety helmets more regularly.
- Compatible with other PPE - it might be that workers are also required to wear other PPE with their head protection. Did you know that only certain products are tested together, making them compliant? Also, the use of personal hoodies, caps and bobble hats worn underneath hard hats can make the PPE non-compliant, which will not provide the adequate level of protection. The use of hard hat accessories are available as long as they have been certified by the manufacturer for the use with the helmet.
It is also important to maintain head protection to ensure compliance and that your workers are receiving the best level of protection.
Helmet shells are designed to be shock absorbent; however, the material properties used to protect workers can also be sensitive to chemical attack. More than half of workers mark or apply decals and labels to their helmet, possibly unknowingly decreasing its durability by compromising the integrity of the material it is made from.
To maintain safety standards, workers should remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise and clean their head protection equipment in a safe environment. Additionally, workers should audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear and make sure it is in date.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats every five years regardless of external appearance. However, excessive wear and tear in extreme environments, such as exposure to high temperatures, chemicals or sunlight, can significantly shorten the product's life span.
When evaluating a time frame for safe usage, workers should conduct a risk assessment to consider their unique environment.
Alex Turgoose, PPE Product and Procurement Manager at Arco, said:
"As experts in safety, we understand that each business faces its own unique and complex challenges when managing workplace health and safety.
"One of the reasons for Hard Hat Awareness Week (HHAW) is to bring awareness of the risks from head injury, and the risks of brain injury that can fundamentally lead to life altering consequences.
"We are passionate about raising awareness of safety risks through expert advice, guidance on hazards, compliance and best practice as well as in the selection of the right products - especially when it comes to head protection, which is why we're proud to support and sponsor an event like HHAW."
To find out more about head protection and how the MIPS system can reduce the risk of rotational brain injuries, click here