News

Over 80 percent of businesses may be putting employees at risk of lung damage unknowingly’, warns Arco Professional Safety Services

To mark Love Your Lungs (Week 21 – 27 June 2022), Arco Professional Safety Service’s Respiratory Manager, Kevin Williams, urges businesses to better understand Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) regulations to ensure workers are protected

Over the past seven years, hospital admissions for lung disease have risen three times the rate of all general admissions, costing the NHS £11 billion a year in the UK.1 In the workplace, employees can develop these often life-threatening illnesses following exposure to harmful dusts, mists, fumes and vapours. It can take years following exposure before any symptoms of ill-health become apparent, despite being preventable through effective control measures. 

RPE is designed to keep workers safe, but research shows that up to 50% of RPE users may still be breathing in harmful substances.2 The main reasons for this are a poor fit, insufficient training, incorrect RPE for the hazard, poor maintenance and inadequate storage. 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) RPE at Work document states that employers must ensure reusable RPE undergoes thorough examination and, where appropriate, testing on a monthly basis or every three months if used less frequently. However, many employers are unaware of this legislation, resulting in a lack of compliance and safety. Arco Professional Safety Services estimates that over 80% of businesses are not meeting this legal requirement, leaving employees at risk of lung damage and respiratory illnesses. This issue affects any industry where employees are exposed to harmful substances and are therefore at risk.

As the HSE continues to focus on respiratory health inspections, businesses need to better understand the legal requirements to ensure that workers are protected. In addition to training employees on the steps they need to take to protect their safety, such as selection and routes of exposure, employers must understand how to maintain RPE correctly and using toolbox talks alone does not provide the required knowledge.

Thorough maintenance, examination and tests should be carried out at least once a month. Employers must ensure all staff are taught how to use RPE correctly, how to clean it, how to maintain it to industry standards, how to wear it and when it should be replaced.

Employers should record RPE examinations and tests and, where appropriate, any repairs made and retain them for at least five years. The records will help to keep track of the equipment’s maintenance and ensure businesses can demonstrate compliance with the HSE regulations.

With the right fit, training and maintenance, the risk of workers developing deadly respiratory diseases can be reduced or eliminated. The RPE technicians at Arco Professional Safety Services deliver Fit2Fit accredited services and tailor-made learning packages to provide employees with the knowledge needed to meet regulations, ensuring compliance and the protection of worker health. 

For Arco’s full guidance, visit: https://www.arcoservices.co.uk/services/respiratory-protection-services

Celebrating Women in Engineering

As International Women in Engineering Day is upon us, Siu Ho, Firmware Engineer at Casella, shares the challenges and opportunities for female engineers, her motivation for working in STEM and advice for women entering the field  

What was your motivation for working in STEM? 

Research has shown that children as young as six believe that girls aren’t interested in computer science and engineering, contributing to a self-fulfilling proficiency that girls ‘don’t belong’ in the field and to the gender gap in STEM education. As men tend to dominate the field, this can further discourage girls who have an absence of female role models. I was lucky to witness both my father and mother fixing things growing up, and they gave me hands-on experience too. Having the opportunity and encouragement to participate in less gender-stereotypical activities developed my passion for problem-solving and gave me the chance to imagine what a career in engineering could look like. 

Why did you join Casella? 

Casella is dedicated to cutting environmental and occupational health risks by developing equipment and technology that can improve and save workers’ lives. The company’s key specialisations include noise, vibration, boundary and air sampling monitoring, that can empower people, companies and communities to protect their health. I wanted to work for Casella because in doing so, I know that I’m helping to make the world a safer place. Casella has also invented a series of ‘world firsts’ including the first personal air sampling pump. Being at the forefront of innovation can accelerate the improvement of workers’ lives and I’m proud to be a part of that.  

The sector is aiming for a target of 1.5 million women working in STEM by 2030. This would equate to 30% of the workforce being female. How do you think we can move towards a more gender-balanced sector? 

As a firmware engineer, my focus is on the ‘T’ in STEM. Software is everywhere and having the ability to create and play with it is a superpower. Today’s young girls will be tomorrow’s workforce and they should be given the opportunity to learn programming from an early age, so that they can use science and technology to develop their own solutions and understand what they can achieve. There are programmes available that can teach children coding in bite-sized chunks, helping to instil problem-solving abilities. There needs to be a greater effort to incorporate these types of programmes into the education system, so that more girls can be introduced to the world of STEM from an early age. 

Why do you think there is such a small number of women pursuing STEM subjects and engineering as a career? 

The glass ceiling effect can be a concern, however, the sector is moving in a positive direction, so I think we need to raise awareness of what women can achieve in the field. In the past, we used maps to navigate our journeys. Today, we can find the fastest, smoothest route straight from our smartphones. There needs to a greater effort to highlight the positive aspects of the career because female engineers can change the world, one innovation at a time.  

What are the biggest challenges female engineers face, and what advice would you give to others thinking about entering the field? 

At university, I was one of five women out of a class of 70. In a male-dominated environment, it’s important to remember that your voice matters. Express yourself and don’t be afraid to share your opinions because they are just as important even if you’re the only female voice in the room. 

Can you tell us about any milestone moments in your career or notable mentors? 

Studying at university and within research centres was vital for learning the technical aspects of the field, however, it wasn’t until later in my career that I really developed my commercial awareness. Having an increased understanding of the way that businesses operate helped me to accelerate my career and I think there needs to be a greater focus on developing this within the standard curriculum. 

What future innovations are on your working on at Casella? 

I’m currently working on a new exposure monitoring device that can offer companies a more cost-effective method of making an exposure assessment, helping to identify workers at risk. It is important that the cost of monitoring devices is not a priority over employee health. Developing this new, lower-cost device will help to encourage more companies to protect their workforces and will join Casella’s range of products designed to help combat occupational disorders across the world. 

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Compliance with ATEX / EX regulations is achieved by modification of the casing together with the safe electrical circuit, which makes the tablets suitable for safe use in Zone 1 hazardous locations. All features of the original product are preserved, except for the fingerprint scanner.

The ATEX iPad mini 6 Zone 1 comes with an aluminum case finish and is available for both the WIFI only model and the WIFI  + Cellular 5G models. Beside safe use as smart tablet, both versions are excellent for use as safe video or photo camera with wifi or Bluetooth connection.

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Air quality monitoring of volatile organic compounds with PID – National Clean Air Day 2022

On the 16th of June this year, National Clean Air Day is observed. Clean Air Day aims to encourage awareness of air pollution and what everyone can do to improve air quality (both indoor and outdoor) and ways to reduce pollution by making cleaner, greener choices to improve air quality for everyone.

 

Protecting lives and preserving the environment is the vision of ION Science. To achieve these goals, ION strives to be the global leader in the design and manufacture of the most advanced PID (photoionisation detection) technology in the world.

 

Breathing poor quality air can have negative effects on both immediate and long-term health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 99% of the global population breathes polluted air.

 

Awareness of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the role they play in poor air quality in urban environments has seen a significant increase in recent years. There are many projects to monitor and control levels of pollutants such as near schools and hospitals, and schemes to promote alternative methods of transport where traffic pollution may be diverted, or alternative means of transport be encouraged.

Additionally, there has also been an increase in awareness of the importance of indoor air quality and the prevalence of VOCs indoors, where they need to be strictly controlled such as in clean rooms, or where they can rapidly increase to dangerous levels, such as on assembly lines or in paint shops. This requires accurate monitoring to minimise exposure to any compounds that may be immediately dangerous to life or damaging to long-term health.

 

VOCs have a range of toxicity levels and must be detected accurately and rapidly across a wide dynamic range of concentrations, from highly sensitive sub-part per billion measurements to wide range measurements such as tens of thousands of parts per million.

ION Science designs and manufactures industry-leading photoionisation detection sensors (PIDs) that allow targeted measurements for specific applications. This empowers end-users with accurate data to make informed decisions and take the correct action when needed to arrest and reverse increases in VOCs and other pollutants to improve air quality, save lives, and preserve the environment.

ION Science is proud to have over 30 years of experience in the continual research and development, manufacture and distribution of PID sensors. Most recently their work has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for their MiniPID sensor range.

For air quality to improve, monitoring and detection is essential to understand the landscape and implement appropriate levels of protection. ION Science is proud that their range of PID sensors can play a part in helping keep people and the environment safe from harmful VOCs and contribute to the protection of health in the long term.

To find out more about ION Science and their range of sensors, please visit: https://bit.ly/3NSwEQJ

Protection against Hydrogen Sulfide exposure: Single gas detection monitoring and ARA Dock4

Despite advances in health and safety strategies and personal protective equipment (PPE), hydrogen sulfide was still responsible for 46 worker deaths between 2011 and 2017, according to the USA Bureau of Labour Statistics. Mitigating the risk of hydrogen sulfide exposure is something ION Science is keen to emphasise. The ARA H2S Single Gas Detector is an essential piece of PPE from ION Science that can make a huge difference in protecting workers against hydrogen sulfide exposure.

At both low and high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide poses serious risks for health. High concentrations can cause ‘knockdown’, where workers are overcome and collapse due to exposure – this can lead to death in some cases. Low concentrations cause respiratory issues, eye irritation, and headaches. The impact of hydrogen sulfide is increased when areas are confined (such as wells, pits, pipes, tankers, tunnels, and service hatches). As a gas commonly present in industries such as oil and gas refining, mining, pulp and paper processing, and sewage and wastewater management, ensuring there is appropriate protection for workers from hydrogen sulfide should form part of a wider occupational safety approach that reduces exposure, risk, and injury.

The ARA H2S Single Gas Detector is a continuous monitoring device that operates for 24 or 36 months from activation (dependent on version). It is maintenance free, intrinsically safe, and offers three alarm notification in the event of H2S exposure exceeding limits: a flashing light, audible alarm, and vibration. These alarms are adjustable to high and low settings for user preferences. Calibration and bump test reminders also ensure that the user’s device is up to date and operating at appropriate levels of safety. Lightweight with a sturdy attachment for wearing within the breathing zone, the ARA H2S Single Gas Detector is designed for workers’ convenience and protection against the risks of hydrogen sulfide exposure.

To accompany the ARA gas detector range, ION Science offers the ARA Dock4 bump test and calibration station. This can simultaneously test up to four ARA gas detectors at once, saving on testing time and gas usage. The ARA Dock4 is ideal for larger plants and operations and the need to keep devices up to date with calibration

and testing. It has a rechargeable internal battery that offers up to five hours of operation when fully charged. The ARA Dock4 is certified electrically safe to UL 61010-1.

With greater monitoring and protection against hydrogen sulfide exposure risks, it is possible to reduce the number of work-related incidents and improve overall worker

safety. Using cost effective and worker-specific devices like the ARA H2S Single Gas Detector is an easy way for businesses to add another layer to the occupational health and safety strategy. Combining this with the ARA Dock4 means all devices can be always kept in peak condition for testing and monitoring.

ION Science continues to support the improvement of worker health and safety through monitoring devices, testing stations, PPE and expert insight for gas detection and instruments.

To find out more about the full range of ARA Single Gas Detectors available from ION Science, including the H2S version, please visit: https://bit.ly/3wrGBhL

MAN Commercial Vehicles in Romania Drives Reduction in Vehicle Downtime with RealWear Assisted Reality Wearables, Expects to Save 2700

MHS Truck & Bus, sole distributor of MAN Truck & Bus in Romania, estimates the time to fix the commercial vehicles was slashed by 75% with a 50% travel reduction

Demand for commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses and vans is high in south-eastern Europe, as there are many regionally based logistics companies responsible for transporting merchandise from Black Sea ports to central Europe. RealWear, the world’s leading provider of assisted reality solutions for frontline industrial workers, today announced that MHS Truck & Bus, the sole distributor of MAN Commercial Vehicles in Romania, has deployed RealWear assisted reality devices across its service network in the region to support the supply chain. Since the deployment, MHS Truck & Bus estimates that the diagnosis time of vehicle repairs has been reduced by 75% and with a 50% reduction of travel. The company estimates future savings of 2700 litres of fuel per month (based on 9 experts and 300 litres/worker).

MHS Truck & Bus has a commercial vehicle service network that comprises nine workshops and five service partners across Romania to service MAN commercial vehicles. It has 150 technicians throughout the region but only a few experts. In Romania, technician training is mandatory and required twice per year, driven in part by the broadening knowledge gap between the technician’s knowledge and the complexity of the vehicles being manufactured and serviced. Historically, this training was conducted in-person, requiring the expert trainers to travel up to 12 hours across Romania. In addition to the training, for complex vehicle repairs, experts are also required to travel again to assist the technician in resolving the issue. All of these requirements lead to fatigue for the expert and costly downtime for the customer, which grew to be a tricky problem for the company.

MHS Truck & Bus originally envisioned a remote training and remote diagnostics strategy using mobile devices and rugged laptops. However, after in-depth research, it saw that handheld devices and laptops did not allow the technician to use both hands and also forced the technician to look down at the screen rather than at the vehicle. RealWear’s partner SETH, who was consulting with MHS, recommended RealWear assisted reality solutions. The RealWear device was both rugged, voice-enabled for simple commands and for voice-optimised Android apps and functioned perfectly in noisy environments due to its noise cancellation technology. The expert can immediately see exactly what the technician sees through the device’s head-mounted camera, making the solution perfectly suited for remote training and diagnosis.

Using RealWear Beyond Training at MAN

Beyond training, MHS Truck & Bus Technicians are frequently required to perform work on the side of the road alongside an immobilised vehicle, sometimes in high traffic or low visibility areas, which is not ideal to safely make repairs. Its experts are also required to drive around 2,000 kilometres per month, which can equate to roughly 40 hours of travel time.   

To solve both diagnostic and training challenges, the firm invested in a physical video conferencing and multimedia room, where experts can be stationed and connected with technicians across all of its service locations using Cisco Webex Expert on Demand on RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 model. During the diagnosis process, when technicians cannot resolve the issue, technicians initiate a call to an expert and use RealWear to undertake remote diagnostics. The RealWear devices are capable of providing high quality video recordings and photos during vehicle repairs, which facilitates rapid problem resolution. Experts who can be based at MHS’s headquarters or at any of the MAN locations in the region can use Webex annotations to mark items of interest.

Competitive Advantage 

“At the end of the day, the benefits of this technology are to our customers,” commented Marius Scutaru, Customer Service Director at MHS Truck & Bus. “Since our deployment of RealWear we can solve difficult problems far quicker and reduce the downtime of vehicles out on the road. As a result, customer satisfaction has increased.”

“This technology is also very much appreciated by our own technicians who can clearly see the advantages of it,” added Marius Scutaru, MHS Truck & Bus. “We’re using assisted reality as a communications system but also to display various documents, which the wearer has real-time access to via simple voice commands.”

Exploring new use cases for assisted reality wearables in automotive

Working with SETH, MHS Truck & Bus is actively looking to expand the use cases for RealWear’s technology. Potential use cases in the future may include extracting data directly from the vehicle computer onto the RealWear device and using the technology to assist in putting orders through for new parts. 

“Assisted reality wearables enable MHS Truck & Bus to repair vehicles faster and ultimately get the customer on the road more quickly. It was an easy choice to recommend RealWear to MHS Truck & Bus as it’s a hands-free solution that is far superior to other wearables such as smart glasses or other headworn devices. Solutions that require the use of hands are also problematic when frontline workers are using protective equipment such as gloves, where it’s cumbersome to use a touchscreen,” said Mihai Danila, CEO at SETH.

“As pressure is mounting to increase efficiency across the automotive value chain, we’re seeing more and more automotive companies like MHS (MAN Distributor) seeing RealWear as the new worker productivity platform,” said Jon Arnold, Vice President of EMEA at RealWear. “We look forward to taking MHS’s vision of connecting the machine data to the wearables as the next logical step.”

www.realwear.com

Monitoring Benzene exposure: Choosing the right solution for safety and health

As a common carcinogen found in many industrial applications, there is a need to protect against benzene exposure for workers, the public and the environment. It is essential to choose detection instrumentation that is designed specifically to monitor benzene. Due to its hazardous nature, it is not something that should be underestimated, and it must be carefully monitored to mitigate the risk of exposure. ION Science offer world-leading technology for the improvement of air quality and protection of worker health with its benzene specific gas monitor, the Titan.

Businesses that utilise benzene in their production or handle it as a by-product of their activity must assess and manage the risk of exposure in the workplace. It is a legal requirement as set out in directives specifically introduced by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the management of carcinogens (such as benzene) at work. There are several ways to adhere to regulations, such as limiting the quantity of carcinogens present, keeping exposure levels low through regular and accurate measurement, and using individual or collective protection methods, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and gas detection instrumentation like the Titan.

Snickers Workwear – SUSTAINABLE Hi-Vis Protective Wear.

Class 1 and 2 Hi-Vis Stretch Work Trousers with Sorona® sustainable performance fibres.

Whether its dusk, dawn or dark, Snickers Workwear has a superior range of Hi-Vis protective wear for both men and women to ensure comfort, safety and certified protection.

The latest additions to the Hi-Vis range are the new Stretch Work Trousers made from the innovative Sorona® sustainable performance fibre.

Sorona® delivers both environmental benefits and great performance. This recyclable, bio-based fibre offers exceptional softness for maximum comfort as well as excellent durability to help extend the lifetime of a garment.

The new Hi-Vis Work Trousers with Sorona® also offer long-lasting elasticity for ease of movement. Sorona® is also quick-drying, breathable and soft to the touch for optimal comfort and workday performance.

With advanced designs, high-tech fabrics and performance reflection features, all Snickers Workwear Hi-Vis protective wear has durable colour-fast protection that will last through wash after wash, retaining shape, comfort and protection levels throughout the life of the garments.

Added to which, Snickers Workwear High-Vis garments can be custom-profiled to ensure 'stand out' coverage for your corporate brand.

For more information on the Snickers Workwear range of Hi-Vis Protective Wear, call the Hultafors Group UK Helpline on 01484 854788, checkout the website at www.snickersworkwear.co.uk or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ELIS PROVIDES SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR PROTECTIVE WORKWEAR AND LAUNDRY

With businesses looking for ways to improve their sustainability, protective workwear and laundry services provider, Elis UK, explains how its circular economy approach can help.

Elis was the first company in its sector to announce its target of net zero emissions by 2045 and is one of only twelve companies selected to join the NHS Net Zero International Leadership Group. It uses a circular economy model to provide its customers with a more sustainable solution.

Elis supplies protective workwear on a rental basis, collecting used items and delivering laundered garments on a schedule to meet the needs of the customer. In its circular economy approach, customers’ items are maintained, repaired, reused and redeployed in order to optimise their lifespan. Elis’s expertise and processes in its highly efficient industrial laundries help to minimize water, energy and cleaning product consumption to reduce the impact on the environment.

 

The use of workwear maintained by Elis, rather than at home or using a traditional laundry, reduces CO2 emissions by up to 37% and water consumption by 48% (Source: EY). Based on the circular economy, Elis’s services increasingly enable customers to reduce their emissions.

Comments Elis UK marketing and customer experience manager, Paul Swift: “The circular economy is specifically designed to eliminate waste and pollution, circulating and sharing products and materials and regenerating nature. The Elis circular economy model, primarily through reducing the consumption of natural resources and keeping products in use, is a sustainable solution that addresses environmental issues. In 2021, the Group’s CO2 emissions per kg of delivered, laundered textiles were 19% lower than in 2010, which is testament to the efforts made over many years. Our mission is to make our customers’ lives easier and contribute to their success through a sustainable, responsible process.”

As part of its commitment to net zero carbon emissions, Elis is undertaking a number of major initiatives, which will help to ensure that its customers receive services that leave an ever-smaller environmental footprint. These include continuing to improve the energy efficiency in its operations; constantly improving the vehicle fleet and delivery routes; optimising the product lifespan, optimising the choice of materials and expanding reuse and recycling of textiles. In three years, Elis UK has already reduced its CO2 emissions by 33% and its consumption of water per kilo of laundered linen by 23%. Elis UK has been certified over many years by the Carbon Trust for reductions in CO2 emissions and water usage.”

For further information see uk.Elis.com or call free on 0808 1698265.

Glyphosate: no change proposed to hazard classification

Coverage Briefing

 

 RAC has concluded that the existing classifications for glyphosate as a substance that causes serious eye damage and is toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects should be retained. The committee found that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate for specific target organ toxicity, or as a carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substance.

The committee assessed glyphosate’s hazardous properties against criteria in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. They considered an extensive volume of scientific data and many hundreds of comments received during consultations when forming their opinion.

The new RAC opinion is consistent with the proposal of the four Member States currently assessing glyphosate: Sweden, France, Hungary and The Netherlands as well as with RAC’s 2017 opinion.

The adopted opinion will be published on ECHA’s website and sent to the European Commission and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by mid-August. EFSA will carry out its risk assessment of glyphosate, with this expected to be ready in July 2023.

The European Commission will analyse EFSA’s conclusions and the renewal assessment report that was prepared by Sweden, France, Hungary and The Netherlands. The Commission will then put forward a renewal report and a draft regulation to Member States on whether the approval of glyphosate can be renewed or not.

Background

Harmonised classification and labelling

Together with the Commission and the Member States, ECHA implements the harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) process for hazardous substances. The aim is to protect people’s health and the environment from those hazards that matter the most.

Harmonised classification and labelling focuses only on the hazardous properties of the substance: its potential to cause harm. It does not assess the exposure of people or the environment to glyphosate. This will be part of the peer review of the risk assessment done by EFSA.

Committee for Risk Assessment, RAC

The Committee for Risk Assessment is made up of scientists nominated by EU Member States and appointed by ECHA’s Management Board in their personal capacity. The committee has observers from different EU organisations representing civil society, academia and industry. Together, they are responsible for making scientific opinions that are then used by the European Commission and EU Member States when deciding how chemical risks need to be controlled.

Questions and answers: glyphosate

European Commission – status of glyphosate in the EU

EFSA’s assessment

Glyphosate - Hot topics

Harmonised classification and labelling report

ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) agrees to keep glyphosate’s current classification as causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life. Based on a wide-ranging review of scientific evidence, the committee again concludes that classifying glyphosate as a carcinogen is not justified.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is an Agency of the European Union implementing EU chemical regulations. We, together with our partners, work for the safe use of chemicals.

https://echa.europa.eu/