Thursday, 31 July 2014

College Clothing: Get Kitted Out For College

Are you or your kids embarking on a new college or training course this September? If you, or they, are studying or training in a practical based course, such as building, bricklaying, horticulture, agriculture, engineering, catering, beauty or healthcare we are sure you'll find all you need in our online store >

We stock a great range of coveralls and boilersuits, including disposable coveralls which are ideal for protecting your clothing if you're studying things like engineering or agriculture. We also have a fantastic range of safety boots and trainers to protect your feet during practical work and agricultural students will love our safety wellingtons - there's an especially great range from Dunlop. Our safety footwear range has options to suit all budgets, and for the fashion conscious there's modern styling and famous name brands.
Timberland PRO Splitrock PRO Safety Boot
Timberland Pro Safety Boot

Timberland PRO Bradford Safety Trainer G
Timberland PRO Safety Trainer

Catering students will find a great range of chefs uniforms and accessories at great prices, and machine washable, non-slip safety shoes are also available.

If you are studying healthcare, or beauty, you will find a great collection of smart and stylish, practical healthcare and beauticians uniform items, along with non-slip safety shoes.

We also have essential PPE including safety helmets, eye and ear protection, dust masks and respirators to ensure you stay safe in every situation, and you're sure to find something to suit you in our extensive range of hi-viz garments to keep you safe outdoors.

For tough jobs, check out our range of durable cotton polo's and tees, sweatshirts, hoodies and a great range of working waterproofs, from top brands to budget solutions!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Staff Uniforms and Workwear for Your Big Event

Do you have an upcoming event such as a festival, party, open day or formal event and need to make a great impression? Let kit of your staff from head to toe and add embroidery to complete the tailored look.

Your security staff are well catered for. We stock smart pilot shirts, warm security jumpers, a wide range of hi-vis garments for safety, non-metallic safety and work boots and shoes and a great choice of smart accessories from clip-on ties to epaulette sliders.

If you need well presented reception staff you'll be pleased to discover that we also stock an extensive range of smart office and reception clothing to ensure your employees present the perfect first impression.

Catering and waiting-on staff will find a fantastic range of specialist workwear and uniforms, from big names such as Dennys. We stock high quality chefs jackets, accessories and a variety of aprons, tabards and waiters' waistcoats. Smart shirts and blouses can also be found in our office and reception staff uniforms.

Car Parking Attendants. Take care of your car-park marshalls with our excellent range of hi-visibility workwear, waterproofs, over-trousers for those muddy events and safety boots and wellingtons.

If you are hosting an open gardens event, treat your gardening staff to smart new waterproofs, polo shirts, safety footwear, even accessories like gloves and knee pads will send out the image that you are a responsible employer as well as ensuring your employees are fully and correctly kitted out for work.

And don't forget, our range of workwear can also be printed or embroidered with names or logos as required. Adding a logo will anchor all of your employees and let your customers and guests know who they can approach for help. It is also a fantastic way to promote your business for free!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Marking 40 Years of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Forty years ago this July, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was introduced to the British workforce. It seems almost impossible now, that so recently employees were not legally protected from risks in their workplace by regulations and guidelines. Instead, before the introduction of the Act ,companies either had their own collection of internal rules, or no regulations at all.

A study conducted in 1972 - the Robens report - found an urgent need for change in the way workplace safety was regulated. Out of this came two main points: That there was a need for a move to a fundamental regime that offered a code of practice and guidelines which were to be used by all businesses and all workplaces. Secondly, and importantly, it was recognised that the regulations should be managed by the people who best knew the risks of their workplaces, the employers. The idea being that, 'those who create risk are best placed to manage it'. The issue of risk was central to this new approach, the risk assessment became king. The requirement was put on companies to assess the risks in their work places and processes and implement relevant measures to reduce the risks as far as viably possible. 

Looking at the figures, it is clear that the Act has had an enormous impact on workplace safety. Forty years ago fatalities to employees stood at 651 (the actual figure is probably even greater as this only counts employees covered by legislation then in place). The figures for 2012/ 13 had fallen to 148 (employees and self employed combined). Since the introduction of the Act, non fatal accidents have dropped by 75%. 

Often denounced as 'health and safety nonsense' or misused as an excuse to refuse certain services, these numbers show that, when used sensibly, in it's initial and well intentioned spirit, it is critically important to all of us.  

Friday, 11 July 2014

Summer Workplace Safety: Heat Stress in the Workplace.

Whilst we all enjoy the warm, sunny conditions of summer, it is probably safe to say that we don't quite appreciate the same hot, humid conditions in our workplace. Following the deaths of two soldiers on a training exercise in Wales last July, it seems it may be time to address the issue of thermal comfort at work.

Following last year's deaths, the TUC published a new briefing on temperature; 'Heat - The Case For a Maximum Temperature at Work'. The briefing states that when temperatures get too high, a health and safety issue is created. When people become too hot they risk dizziness, fainting and even heat cramps. In extreme heat the body's blood temperature rises. If this goes over 39°C there is a risk of heat stroke or collapse. Blood temperature at this level can be fatal or cause lasting organ damage.

In the briefing the TUC calls for a legal duty to be placed on employers to protect outdoors workers by providing sun protection, water and by arranging working hours so that workers are not outside during the hottest part of the day.

Working in hot conditions can also escalate existing safety risks. Heat is linked with lower mental alertness and physical performance and thus contributes to more accidents. Raised body temperature and physical discomfort can also cause employees to divert their attention away from the task at hand, the risks present and to overlook everyday safety procedures.

Some workers are exposed to heat all year round, such as welders and those working in glass manufacture, boiler rooms etc. Whilst heat is often considered a summer problem, some employers may need to take preventative measures throughout the year.

Reducing Heat and Protecting Employees.

In your workplace risk assessment remember to include issues of thermal comfort.

When carrying out the risk assessment, look at;

• Work rate: The harder someone is working the more heat they will be generating
• Working climate: Including air temperature, humidity, air movement, effects of working near a heat source
• Workwear, clothing and RPE: May impair efficiency of sweating and other means of temperature      regulation
• A workers age, build and medical factors which may affect their tolerance

Speak with workers and their safety representative and find out if they are suffering any early signs of heat stress; loss of concentration, muscle cramps, heat rash, feeling faint, nausea, headache etc. If it seems likely that there is a problem, consult with people who are more experienced at determining the risk from hot environments such as an occupational hygienist or doctor.

Reducing the Risk:

Remove or reduce the sources of heat where possible or control the temperature with engineering solutions such as;
• changing the processes
• use fans or air conditioning
• use physical barriers that reduce exposure to radiant heat

Providing mechanical aids wherever possible will help to reduce employees work rate meaning they do not generate so much body heat. You could also find ways, where possible, to reduce the amount of time employees spend in the problem area or allow them only to enter a certain area when the temperature has dropped to a safe level. If this is not possible provide regular rest breaks and a rest facility in a cooler environment.

Provide a good supply of water to employees and encourage them to drink regular small amounts, where this is safe to do so. To aid comfort you could also provide workwear in a cooling, breathable fabric. Train your employees about the risks of heat stress in their job and ensure they understand the signs and symptoms, safe working practices and emergency procedures. Identify workers who are most susceptible and monitor the health of those at risk.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Benefits of Branded Workwear

Introducing a workwear policy into your workplace may seem like an expensive and unpopular choice, but surprisingly, it seems like this just isn't the case. If done well, a workwear policy can encourage a feeling of wellbeing and engagement within the workforce with the added advantage of promoting a positive image to the public and your customers.

Where workwear is stylish (an increasingly important factor), comfortable, fit and safe for the job and work environment it can help employees feel more engaged with the company and act in a professional manner when off-site. It can also help with team building as it puts everyone on a level playing field.

We should, at this point, point out the difference between workwear and PPE. In this blog we are focussing on workwear which is used to present a corporate image, rather than PPE which is safety kit, legally required to be worn for certain tasks and work environments which carry risk of injury or illness.

Workwear should be fit for the individual employees job role and working environment; it should keep them cool or warm in a quality fabric which promotes comfort and breathability. It should be comfortable and provide ease of movement and there should be no loose tags, fastenings, buckles or long sleeves which may get caught in machinery. Depending on risks in your workplace you may want to consider quick release fastenings such as velcro and stud-poppers. Hi-Vis and waterproof  garments should also be incorporated into workwear.

A strong workwear policy, which is well implemented can also encourage employees to wear their PPE in a consistent and appropriate manner, as it has now been accepted into their day-to-day uniform.

For the employees, a workwear policy may be beneficial as it will save them from potentially damaging or staining their own clothes and will save them some money on replenishing clothing. It is also possible to claim tax back when laundering your own workwear or uniform. Wearing branded workwear can help employees to feel engaged with the brand and embody the spirit and values of the company. When working off-site it should encourage employees to take care to portray a smart and professional appearance.

Branding with Embroidery

When selecting workwear for your organisation you should consider how to incorporate branding without making your workwear garish or unappealing. If your branding features bright colours find a way to incorporate these in a tasteful and stylish way - what looks great on a logo might not be so appealing in a shirt! Shop around for good fabrics that will be comfortable to wear, suitable for conditions in the workplace and stylish - many people thinking of workwear imagine nasty, itchy polyester shirts and to ensure good take-up of the new policy you should avoid these 'cheap' materials. Tasteful branding with embroidery or printing will help anchor the workwear to a brand and identity and promote your company outside of the workplace. Brand awareness is generated purely from your staff been seen in their branded garments.

Well designed and smart workwear will portray you as a reputable employer who takes care of their employees. When buying, make sure you buy ample quantities of each size to allow staff opportunity to launder workwear regularly. Also consider seasonality; buy a range that will cover employees needs through changing seasons and allow for year-round waterproofs where staff work outside.

Finally, remember the importance of involving employees in the process. Take on board their suggestions and ideas - they are more likely to take-up the new workwear if they feel they have been listened too. They are also likely to put forward points about what they need/ what will be most comfortable which you may not have otherwise considered, and which will contribute to the overall success of the policy.