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Comply at Work safety snippets & business bytes One day first aid course Spring Cleaning - are your staff safe? Ten top stress-busting tips

April 2013


Sn Saf ip ety pe ts

One day emergency first aid course

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Comply at Work

One day emergency first aid course Accredited to level 2 NOW Friday 7th June 2013 Call us now for details! Tel 01204 772977 or 07792 400 503 Free manual and id card Hse approved and certificated Competitive price just ÂŁ85 +vat

Please let us know if you have any dietary, access or learning requirements

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The HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel recently considered whether it was reasonable for an employer to remove cleaning products from the toilets. What was the outcome and how should you manage similar scenarios at work?

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Spring Cleaning! Can your staff use cleaning products? Incident

Minimising the risk

This case was sent to the panel for consideration by an employee. They were complaining that their employer had banned them from leaving any cleaning products in the toilets. They weren’t even allowed air fresheners. This followed an incident where a member of staff had attempted suicide using the cleaning products (presumably by ingesting chemicals). The employer had decided to remove them completely to prevent a recurrence.

Start by considering exactly which substances are readily available to staff and others. Bear in mind that if they can access substances which are designated as hazardous then they’ll need to know how to use them safely, what type of gloves to wear, what the first aid precautions are etc.

The ruling The panel determined: “Health and safety legislation requires cleaning products used in the workplace to be correctly labelled, but the removal of these products is not a health and safety requirement. Even if these measures were taken in response to a specific incident, they appear disproportionate and over cautious. The panel suggest that the decision taken in response to the unfortunate incident is reconsidered.”

Legal background Although the panel’s statement is useful, it’s worth bearing in mind that it doesn’t change the law. So before you decide to allow general access to chemicals in the workplace, it’s worth considering the legal implications of doing so. The legislation in question is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Regulation 7 requires employers to ensure that employees aren’t exposed to substances hazardous to health. Where it can’t be reasonably avoided, you should take steps to “adequately control” it.

Tip 1. If, like the company in question, you leave cleaning materials in the toilet or kitchen for staff to make use of, make sure that they’re low hazard and can be used safely without gloves etc. Tip 2. Essentially, you should check the label on the packaging for any hazard warning symbols. Avoid those which are labelled toxic, harmful, irritant or corrosive. Those which are extremely or highly flammable, such as aerosols, should be OK as long as they’re in small amounts and stored in a dry place away from direct sunlight. Tip 3. As the ruling shows, unless there are specific persons at risk, such as psychiatric patients or young children, it’s reasonable to assume that no one will try to consume your cleaning materials. There’s therefore no need to ban air fresheners and you’re allowed to make an assumption of common sense in the way that they’re used. Tip 4. A COSHH assessment should be completed for the use of each hazardous substance (see The next step). Once completed you can use the assessment to train staff in the hazards and precautions.

The panel found that the actions of the employer were over cautious. Unless your building users are especially at risk you’re entitled to assume a certain amount of common sense. But if substances such as cleaning products are intended for general use, check that gloves etc. aren’t needed. If you require any expert help on hazardous substances in the workplace, including the development of COSHH assessments, sampling, monitoring or health surveillance, please let us know.

e-mail info@complyatwork.co.uk www.complyatwork.co.uk

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Stress is perceived in the mind, suffered in the human spirit, experienced via the emotions, expressed in behaviour, and “held” in the body. – Anon

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Top Ten Stress Busting Tips 1. Learn to manage your time more effectively

7. Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries

We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, don’t put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.

8. Find time to meet friends

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep & rest our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. If any of these areas are not happening for you it is usually a warning sign, don’t ignore it, ask for some help.

3. Know your limitations and do not take on too much

We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we like people to like us and don’t want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively & be assertive so that you can say no without upsetting or offending.

Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts & behaviour to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, implications to your health & how to manage, cope & make those necessary changes.

5. Avoid unnecessary conflict

Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win – win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is & deal with it.

Friends can ease work troubles & help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress. If you do become stressed, engage in some form of physical activity. It works off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies.

9. Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style

4. Find out what causes you stress

Alongside holidays, with at least one break of 10-14 continuous days recommended, you will perform more effectively during work after even a short 10/15minute break, easily making up the time you used relaxing.

If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome & prevent ill health &/or burnout.

10. Avoid alcohol, mechanisms

nicotine

and

caffeine

as

coping

Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine & nicotine are stimulants, too much & the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant! Source: ISMA

6. Accept the things you cannot change

Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are & concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced.

Comply at Work can assist with stress risk assessment, stress management training and assistance when employees return to work following absence.

e-mail info@complyatwork.co.uk www.complyatwork.co.uk

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Comply at Work

a d v e rt ise wit h u s f or u n d er ÂŁ10 p e r m on t h

At Finchey Ltd, we aim to be your dedicated supplier. We promise to offer 100% Customer dedication followed up by our Customer Service delivery. Our Team is focused on providing Quality Products at Great Prices, we have a National Business Development Manager who has experience of working with a leading manufacturer in the industry and we believe we can carry that expertise forward to offer you the best service at the best prices. Finchey Ltd was formed as we felt that there was a gap in the market for excellent customer service and leading-edge industry advice coupled with quality products that cater for all budgets and business sizes. We fully understand your business needs & requirements for your PPE supplies, therefore we aim to give the most competitive quote in the market place for with right products that do the job. For your FREE, no obligation quote please contact our Team on 01204 417151

Tel 01204 77 29 77 mobile 07792 400 503 e-mail info@complyatwork.co.uk www.complyatwork.co.uk

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