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

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  • Advice and Guidance on Face Mask Selection

    04 June 2020

    As a key supplier of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the NHS, public health bodies and critical businesses in the UK, Arco the UK's leading safety company, is making a significant effort to support the UK supply chain for critical equipment including face masks and respirators.

    As the UK continues to make progress in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, there are some signs that the Government is considering a range of measures on the relaxation of the lockdown guidance, that would enable some businesses to re-open. This may include a recommendation for the use of face masks by healthy people in the workplace. As many companies are now specifying face masks for the first time, Arco has compiled expert advice and guidance for its customers on the correct selection of facemasks and respirators, particularly in regard to Type II and Type IIR facemasks. This is to ensure that the higher levels of protective equipment are issued to those that need them most.

    If full respiratory protection is not required and the objective is to prevent the possible transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, then the most appropriate PPE would be a face mask. A respirator would be more suitable alternative where full respiratory protection is needed to protect a worker from a hazardous substance - including COVID-19.

    It is important that respirators are not specified where Type II face masks could be used and the recommendation is that a full workplace risk assessment is carried out to determine the hazardous substances in the environment. This should include the risk of exposure to l infection.

    Medical face masks are classified into two types, Type I and Type II with Type II further divided according to their splash resistance pressure, which determines the mask's resistance level to contaminated fluid splashes. Type II face masks are suitable for most workplace situations, where masks are being issued with the objective of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 virus from one person to others. Type IIR splash resistant medical face masks are required in clinical settings to protect the wearer against contaminants contained in splashes of blood or bodily fluids.

    Neil Hewitt, Quality Director at Arco says:

    "The current demand for all types of PPE, especially face masks, is unique and we are seeing a daily increase in enquiries for all types. We are managing our supply chain to ensure that protective equipment reaches those that need it most and are not diverted from health care and front-line responders. We are issuing some specific guidance on the use of face masks to enable customers to select the right product for their needs and to ensure the that the higher levels of protective equipment are issued only where necessary. We would add a warning about the influx of non-compliant products coming into the market that have not been tested and certified to meet the necessary standards and could potentially put people at risk. We recommend that customers work with companies like Arco, that can provide assurance on product quality and conformity".

    Those issuing Type II masks for the first time will need to provide instruction to wearers of the correct way to put on, take off and dispose of the masks once used. Arco has compiled a step-by-step illustrative guide along with a list of FAQs for managers.

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  • Arco Helping the UK Get Back To Work

    01 June 2020

    As the Government eases lockdown restrictions in England in a bid to restart the economy, some businesses are making their plans to re-open. The Government has issued a set of guidelines to ensure safe working, but many business owners and managers are concerned about how these should be met and the measures they need to put in place to comply and to fully protect their people.

    With an expectation that where social distancing is not possible, the use of face coverings may be required in order to decrease the risk of transmission of infection from the wearer to others, Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has secured a supply of 40m Type II masks and 90m Type IIR masks. These are currently being delivered to its 400,000sqft National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Hull. A series of 20 trucks have been arriving in a carefully timed schedule to deliver the first 19m masks and work has begun inside the newly extended building to get orders out of the door, to customers across the country as quickly as possible.

    With a deep understanding of workplace safety and expertise in product sourcing and advising on product selection, Arco, the UK's leading safety company has been a key supplier to the NHS, ambulance services, local authorities and other public health bodies in the UK and has made a significant contribution to support the UK supply chain for critical equipment. Now the company has developed a set of expert advice sheets to ensure a safe return to the workplace. The 'toolkit' is aligned with Government advice and covers topics such as Managing Risk, Cleaning the Workplace, Working Safely During Coronavirus and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - what to wear and how to use it.

    It's important that the right type of respiratory protection is specified for the job, to ensure that the higher levels of protective equipment are issued only where necessary and critical supplies are not diverted from where they are needed most. Arco's freely available guidance offers expert advice on when to specify a respirator or a mask, selecting the right Type II mask, plus a set of guides and FAQs for end users.

    Arco is deeply concerned about the quantity of non-compliant products that are now on the UK market, many of which have fake test certification and do not meet UK standards. These products could potentially put workers at risk, rather than protect them. With its own independently accredited product testing lab on site, Arco is uniquely positioned to advise on fake and counterfeit products that are finding their way into the marketplace. The company is using its deep technical knowledge on product quality and conformity to assist the OPSS and Trading Standards in their effort to keep non-compliant products out of the supply chain.

    David Evison, Arco's Managing Director said:

    "Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been working with our customers in the NHS, ambulance services, local authorities, care homes and other frontline services to provide a range of PPE and other products to the staff who have been working tirelessly to help others in their fight against the disease. As lockdown eases and businesses get back up and running and we restart the economy, our experts are best placed to help business owners get their workplace ready and keep it safe for their people when they return. We will play our role in making work a safe place for everyone and in ensuring that the products we supply are the right ones for the job and are fully compliant".

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