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Taking Care of Healthcare Workers So They Can Care For Us

Andy Owen, Head of Healthcare

It's our combined product and service offering that makes Arco unique within the healthcare health and safety sector. Not only can we source and supply the full range of healthcare PPE for medical and housekeeping staff, but we also offer specialist training and equipment in high risk, high harm scenarios for those working in healthcare estate management and maintenance.

For obvious reasons, PPE to prevent person-to-person infection has recently been very much in the spotlight in healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic, my team and I have played a key role in supporting NHS trust customers by sourcing, supplying and storing vital PPE supplies.

Even when global shortages and delivery issues meant that Arco was unable to supply certain items, we brought our technical experience to bear by checking that the PPE they had been able to source elsewhere was fully compliant and fit for purpose to protect their frontline workers.

A Range of Value Added Services

Beyond the supply, sourcing and testing of PPE we also provide a wide range of added value services to help frontline staff stay injury-free and I'm proud to think we’re doing our bit to contribute towards NHS capacity:

Face Fit Testing

Face fit testing and training is central to our healthcare offering and was central to our response during the pandemic. Recent research has shown that up to 50% of RPE doesn't offer the level of protection assumed because it doesn't fit properly. All our team members have taken and passed the industry-recognised exam and assessment for Face Fit Testing and are Fit2Fit Accredited. We also have members of our team who are Fit2Fit BSIF Assessors.

An App to Help Manage Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are an issue for healthcare staff who have to move patients and spend long hours on their feet. These are responsible for up to 40 percent of sickness absence in the sector. Working with a technology partner, we offer the FLX app to help employees and patients manage and prevent musculoskeletal problems via a range of self-management exercise programmes and advice.

Man holding smart phone displaying FLX app

Pendulum Testing

Another common hazard in healthcare is slips. To help our healthcare customers manage and mitigate this risk we can carry out pendulum testing on floor surfaces to help reduce the risk of slips and falls. Using specialised equipment, we can help assess each floor's slip potential and assign it a high, medium or low risk level, and then provide recommendations on footwear, the optimum cleaning regime and the most appropriate cleaning products. This kind of advice can reduce a floor's slip potential from 1 in 2 to 1 in a million!

Stepping Up During Previous Epidemics

Another source of pride for me was leading on our response to the Ebola outbreak which struck West Africa in 2014-2016 and resulted in over 10,000 deaths. I led on the project, working closely with what was then called the Department for International Development. Arco supplied hundreds of thousands of hazard suits and visors which were worn by doctors, nurses, charity workers and UK military personnel deployed to the West African country. We also provided three days of training to teach them how to put the suits on, wear them, and take them off safely to reduce any risk of spreading the virus. We also supported the MOD and NHS with appropriate PPE to ensure preparedness across the UK and Ireland.

Taking The Hassle Out of the Day-to-Day

Of course, alongside responding to health crises and pandemics, the majority of our work is simply designed to help make things easier and more efficient for our healthcare customers. We're on all the e-business portals to ensure easier more sustainable transacting and our UK-made products bring all the benefits of supply chain resilience, sustainability and the social value of keeping manufacturing in the UK and giving back to local communities.

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