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News and Updates

All the latest news and updates from the UK's leading supplier of safety clothing and equipment

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  • Arco Hits Face-fit Testing 50,000 Milestone

    30 June 2023

    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.

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  • Reduce the Risk of Breathing and Lung Problems

    21 June 2023

    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.

    As part of a series of toolbox talks, Arco has produced a video around respiratory protection and advice for those working around wood dust and silica dust.

    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.

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  • Arco Provides Head Protection Advice for Hard Hat Awareness Week

    12 June 2023

    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:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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

    Shop our extensive range of hard hats

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  • New Safety Store Opens at Linlithgow Safety Centre

    05 June 2023

    Arco has enhanced the joined-up safety offer at its safety centre in Linlithgow, in Scotland, with the opening of a new safety store.

    In addition to providing state-of-the-art, purpose-built training facilities and an equipment hire and service centre, the safety centre will now also provide all the best personal protective equipment (PPE), workwear and workplace safety equipment from the biggest and most trusted brands like TROJAN, Snickers, Regatta, Puma, DeWALT, MASCOT, CAT and loads more.

    Chris Lett, Sales Director, said:

    "The opening of our new safety store at Linlithgow Safety Centre demonstrates our commitment to supporting the evolving needs of our customers, with an increased demand for our joined-up safety approach, which provides customers with access to both products and safety services from a single provider."

    Benefits of visiting Linlithgow Safety Centre, include:

    • Wide range of products: Arco keeps the most popular items in stock, ready to take away.
    • Price pledge: Enjoy everyday low prices. Arco is committed to ensuring its high-quality safety kit, workwear and site equipment is great value by giving customers the best possible price, first time.
    • Expert advice: Arco's safety experts are on hand to offer advice and help with product selection or alternatively customers can arrange to meet.
    • Arco Professional Safety Services: The team of specialists can advise on consultancy, training, services and products for high-hazard work environments, including working at height, confined spaces and respiratory management. Click here
    • Fit2Fit: Accredited face-fit testing facilities.
    • Equipment service centre: Offering PPE inspections, equipment calibrations, servicing and maintenance, BA cylinder refills and equipment hire. Click here
    • Suite of fully-equipped rooms: Ranging in size for training, seminars and meetings.

    Customers can also shop an extensive range of over 30,000 products online, check stock availability and have confidence of getting the best deal. Click here

    With free delivery on orders over £50 ex VAT, its simple to have everything you need delivered where you need it or arrange to collect in store. Alternatively, visit the Linlithgow Safety Store and pay by Arco account or card.

    For more information about Linlithgow Safety Centre, click here

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  • Promoting the Work of Colleagues in the Community This Volunteers’ Week

    01 June 2023

    To mark Volunteers' Week (1st - 7th June), Arco is celebrating the work of it colleagues in delivering social value for individuals and communities across the UK.

    Colleagues receive an extra two days of paid leave every year to give back to the things that matter most to them. So far, in 2022/2023, 145 days of volunteering have been completed with 16 charities and organisations.

    Recent community projects and initiatives supported included eleven colleagues from the business' Customer Engagement Centre decorating a hut for the Scouts, using donated paint and materials, to give the much-loved facility a refresh for its young members.

    Elaine Thomas, who is a Customer Support Advisor at Arco and a Scout Leader, said:

    "Being a Scout Leader, I get to see the massive impact the hut has on the children who use it. It gives them a creative space to do things they are not able to do in other settings.

    "The team volunteering their time and decorating the hut has given it a new lease of life. It also gives the scout leaders the time back that they'd have spent decorating to run additional activities directly with the Scouts."

    Another project that was recently supported was TCV Hull and Humber, where colleagues from two teams volunteered to plant trees.

    Luke Hilleard, Customer Insights Manager, said:

    "It was an exhausting, but very rewarding activity. It involved planting a variety of one-year-old trees, hammering in stakes and applying protective tubing. We planted around 800 trees that day and we can't wait to see the woodland in the future."

    James Marsters, Product Publication Lead, added:

    "It was a great day and we learnt lots about the trees we were planting and the work that they do."

    Kayley Rankin, Tree and Woodland Creation Officer at TCV, said:

    "Thanks to the volunteers from Arco, who braved the blustery weather with enthusiasm, we planted 1,800 saplings over two days."

    Arco also supports educational partnerships, with two healthcare colleagues recently providing advice and support to a group of jobseekers in central Scotland.

    Dougie Logan, Key Account Manager, and Keith Moir, Healthcare Specialist, spent time supporting the Clackmannanshire Economic Regeneration Trust, a charity which helps improve the economic inclusion, development and regeneration of Clackmannanshire.

    As part of Arco's relationship with NHS Scotland, Dougie and Keith volunteered to support the charity's pre-employability project, which aims to engage and develop local people and equip them with the skills they need to confidently apply for jobs and find employment.

    Mark O'Hare, Operations Manager at Clackmannanshire Economic Regeneration Trust, said:

    "Dougie and Keith's generous donation of time and expertise was truly invaluable to all those in attendance. We greatly appreciated their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with us, and I want to extend my deepest thanks for their contributions."

    Keith said:

    "I think it's great to be able to use a volunteering day to make a positive impact on someone's life.

    "The session was a great experience, and it was really rewarding to see how inspired the delegates were by hearing our stories."

    To find out more about how Arco is taking action for a safer tomorrow, click here or, if you our your organisation has volunteering opportunities you would like colleagues to consider, Email: Volunteering@arco.co.uk

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