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News and Updates

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

  • Navigating the Post-Brexit PPE Supply Chain - Arco Publishes an Expert Guide to Ensure Compliance

    23 March 2021

    Following the UK's exit from the EU and the transition period finishing at the end of December 2020, new rules for businesses came into effect on 1 January 2021. For many businesses, the challenges of adapting to the changes may seem overwhelming, particularly for those buying PPE, who want to ensure the products they purchase meet the required standards.

    With its experience of the global supply chain, expertise in PPE regulations and standards and in-depth knowledge of product compliance and quality assurance Arco, the UK's leading safety company, is in the unique position to advise its customers on the changes. The company has created an Expert Advice sheet which includes essential information for those purchasing PPE, guiding them through changes in Regulations, the Standards and assessment bodies and providing an overview of the introduction of the new UKCA marking. Arco also advises on the transitional arrangements in place for existing manufactured products and CE marked products.

    The Guide also covers key aspects of the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking, that will be placed on products as a means of showing conformance with the relevant UK legislation, it will become Great Britain's equivalent of the CE mark. Category I PPE will remain self-certified however, Category II and III PPE for sale in Great Britain will need a UKCA certificate from a UK Conformity Assessment Body. (Or a CE mark during the transitional period). Arco's Expert Advice sheet summarises the essential information that those purchasing PPE will need to know and explains:

    • Geographical regions
    • Where to look for a UKCA marking
    • Relevant dates and timeline from January 2021

    Neil Hewitt, Arco's Divisional Director Quality and Technical Standards, says:

    "With 2020 dominated by the UK's response to the Corona virus - pandemic, our exit from the EU has dropped down the news agenda but there are some critical changes to deal with and businesses buying and producing PPE need to be prepared. Our expert Advice Guide is designed to help all business get a better understanding of their obligations, to make sure conformity is guaranteed and that people remain safe at work."

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  • World First in Safety Gloves: Arco brings Traffi's Carbon Neutral Range to its Customers

    23 March 2021

    Safety Experts Unite to Maximise Worker Hand Care, with Minimum Impact on the Environment

    Arco, the UK's leading safety company, is working closely with hand protection specialist Traffi to provide Arco customers with the world's first carbon neutral safety glove range*. As signatories of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), Arco is committed to cutting carbon, water and waste across its product ranges. Traffi's new Life Extending Technology (LXT) Carbon Neutral collection marks a new environmental standard for safety gloves and progresses Arco's ongoing journey towards a sustainable future.

    The LXT range ensures Arco customers can access a high-quality glove that does not sacrifice the environment's needs or worker hand health. To reach net-zero, Traffi worked tirelessly with its glove production partner to calculate the total greenhouse gases emitted from the production of its LXT glove range. The process, supported by The Carbon Consulting Company and The Sustainable Future Group, resulted in a final figure that enabled Traffi to select a globally recognised carbon reduction project to compensate for its emissions. Through this initiative, Traffi reduced its carbon footprint for the LXT range to net-zero*.

    Gloves are a high volume and high wastage product. However, Traffi's LXT life extending technology means the LXT cut protection range of gloves last longer. LXT gloves are certified washable for three washes and tested to EN388 2016 after being laundered. This results in lower daily costs, helping businesses to save money and reduce waste.

    The alliance between Arco and Traffi enhances Arco's social values and principles of sustainable development and its commitment to being an environmentally responsible business. In addition to its partnership with Traffi, Arco has embedded sustainability into its day-to-day operational activity, including its National Distribution Centre (NDC), retail stores, offices and vehicle fleet. Arco's objective is to go beyond the minimum requirements and help its customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability pledges. Under its Product Stewardship process, Arco takes responsibility for minimising a product's environmental impact throughout its life cycle. Arco developed its Responsible Processes in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, enabling the safety expert to ensure its initiatives effectively address global challenges.

    Danny Hobson, Head of Ethics and Sustainability at Arco, says:

    "Our core purpose is to keep people safe. As a fifth-generation, family-owned business, showing respect for people and regard for the planet means future generations will have the opportunity to stay safe and protected too. Although we're early in our greener journey, we're committed to the goal. In helping to bring great initiatives like Traffi's to the market, we're paving the way for other manufacturers to follow suit as, together, we work to make our planet that little bit greener."

    Adrian James, Director of Traffi, says:

    "At Traffi, it is our duty to continuously innovate and help our customer make a difference. Most glove users have little knowledge of the significant carbon footprint in manufacturing gloves, as is the case across the wider PPE portfolio. We're here to share our insights and enable customers to make better informed decisions in both, selecting the best products for keeping hands safe, but also acting responsibly in reducing carbon footprint."

    Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne, CEO of The Carbon Consultancy Company, says:

    "Measuring the "cradle to gate" emission of the LXT gloves and the organisational emission of the Traffi itself was a challenging exercise. The project took many months and required engagements at all levels of the supply chain. CCC is proud to work with clients such as Traffi that have demonstrated their commitment to the environment in a tangible way. Measuring and compensating for their greenhouse gas emissions is an intrinsic part of their business model. Our planet needs more of such responsible business owners."

    *Traffi LX Carbon Neutral gloves have been certified in accordance with (PAS)2050, ISO 14067:2018 and ISO 14064-3.

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  • It's Time to Throw Away the Throw-Away Culture

    18 March 2021

    How the First PPE Manufacturer and Distributor to Sign the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan is Supporting a Circular Economy

    Three hundred and fifty thousand tons of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK each year. Clothing waste, worth around £140 million, is a hallmark of the UK's excessive and expensive 'throw-away' culture. As the world's first PPE manufacturer and distributor to become a signatory for the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), Arco is focussing on ways it can adapt its clothing and own label product range to support a circular economy.

    Since joining SCAP in 2017, Arco has absorbed the wisdom of sustainable manufacturing leaders to identify areas it can improve its supply chain. The safety expert has set targets to develop and sustain a 'fibre-to-fibre' model, meaning fabrics are recycled and then incorporated into new pieces of clothing. Arco is committed to transforming the ways it buys, uses and reuses textiles and apparel. Danny Hobson, Arco's Head of Ethics and Sustainability, is spearheading the safety expert's research and strategy so that it can cut carbon, water and waste across its product ranges.

    Danny Hobson has been leading new trials in Arco's Hull and Manchester stores in collaboration with third-party recycling companies, enabling customers who purchased items from the two stores to drop off their worn PPE and workwear. The used products are then collected, assessed, and dissembled for recycling rather than thrown into the UK's mounting landfill. For example, fabrics are ground down to form new items such as housing insulation, turning valuable fibres into new products and minimising the effects on our environment.

    By concentrating on a 'reduce, reuse and recycle' model, Arco's mission is to make its clothing manufacturing as regenerative as possible. However, Danny Hobson's commitment goes beyond Arco's own sustainability vision, as he supports UK-wide business and industry initiatives and projects to drive change on a larger scale. Danny represents Arco in various working groups within Textiles 2030, a new ground-breaking, expert-led initiative from Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The initiative harnesses the knowledge and expertise of UK leaders in sustainability to accelerate the fashion and textiles industry's move towards circularity and system change in the UK. With an official launch in April 2021, the new voluntary agreement builds on the learning and success of SCAP, of which Arco is a signatory, and aims to engage the majority of UK fashion and textiles organisations in collaborative climate action.

    Arco's Head of Ethics and Sustainability is also helping to develop the Business in the Community's (BITC) Circular Economy campaign, which seeks to tackle the climate emergency by making the Circular Economy a mainstream business priority. By moving towards a model that focuses on retaining value from materials for as long as possible and eliminating waste, responsible businesses can minimise their environmental impact, as well as saving costs. Arco has joined the Circular Workwear panel to discuss ways to 'close the loop' on the clothing manufacturing process and ensure positive supply chain collaboration is agreed upon and adopted.

    Danny Hobson, Head of Ethics and Sustainability at Arco says:

    "We're committed to making a meaningful difference by investing in doing the right thing, learning from early adopters and exploring all the ways we can make a positive impact. Our involvement with WRAP and BITC is a fantastic opportunity to bring our supply chain and procurement expertise to the table and help form the approach the nation takes with tackling the 'waste and replace' problem that, ultimately, we must all address."

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  • Arco Celebrates World Corporate Social Responsibility Day 2021

    01 March 2021

    Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has played a key role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. With a core purpose of keeping people safe, the company responded as soon as the pandemic was declared. Within 48 hours, Arco increased its National Distribution Centre shifts to a 24/7 operation to help make sure frontline responders and those working in critical businesses, were properly protected. Arco's product and supply chain specialists worked quickly to source, procure and distribute over 140 million face masks, 18 million gloves, over 50,000 coveralls and 5,000,000 hygiene products to the NHS, ambulance services, other public health bodies, local authorities and critical industries.

    However, the company's commitment to supporting the communities it serves goes further. Through its dedicated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative and the Arco Community Panel, Arco delivered a programme of charitable support during 2020, with a number of initiatives focused on those needing support as a result of the pandemic. To achieve this, the company created the Arco Coronavirus Grant scheme and invited employees to apply for 40 one off grants of up to £1,000 on behalf of organisations and charities in their local communities. After receiving 44 high quality applications, the Arco Community Panel awarded grants to all 44 and a total of £42,000 was donated to causes including Hull Women's Aid, Dove House Hospice, Kaleb's Wish and Hull Vineyard Trust. In 2021, the Arco Community Panel is preparing to launch its second tranche of Coronavirus Grants, totalling £50,000.

    Arco also became a core funder to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) with a £250,000 donation, helping the charity respond to citizens' needs when domestic disasters strike. During its recent Coronavirus Appeal, the NET allocated £89million to Community Foundations and other national funding partners across the UK as fairly as possible. As a member of the NET's "Patron's Circle", Arco's support will enable the charity to distribute funds and activate appeals at speed, helping those in urgent need, and allowing it to continue providing support over the next three years should another UK disaster occur.

    Arco's commitment to corporate social responsibility activities is firmly embedded in its culture and purpose, encouraging employees to donate their time and skills to local charities and community projects on two paid volunteering days each year. This year, the business has extended its volunteer days programme for colleagues who have volunteered to support the NHS Covid-19 vaccine team alongside St John's ambulance.

    Each year, the company publishes the Arco in the Community Report, sharing and celebrating CSR initiatives and achievements. A significant example of a long-term partnership is Arco's 11-year association with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, working closely with the paramedics and YAA team to design bespoke hazard wear, custom fitted flight suits and protective wear. It's one of many partnerships which Arco is committed to supporting, both with financial support, as well as sharing colleague expertise and time.

    David Evison, Managing Director, Arco, said:

    "Whilst our core purpose is to keep people safe at work and ensure they go home safely at the end of the day, we have always recognised our responsibilities to the communities within which we operate. World CSR Day is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the efforts of our colleagues and the great initiatives they have achieved. Arco is committed to making a meaningful difference by providing support through donating colleagues' time, volunteering and contributing substantial funds through charitable donations, fund matching and sponsorship of partnership agreements.

    "The aim of our work is to do three things: to inspire local young people to achieve their full potential, to enhance local life, making the communities we serve better places to live and finally to align to our purpose, we aim to help keep communities safer. This year I am prouder than ever to share our achievements with other global businesses who have the same commitment to helping others".

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  • Dermatitis is a Growing Risk, says UK Safety Expert Arco

    25 February 2021

    UK safety expert Arco warns dermatitis cases could be on the increase, with employees vulnerable to a life-changing condition. With all of us being encouraged to wash and sanitise our hands more frequently, PPE being worn for longer periods and some employees reluctant to report symptoms unnecessarily, Arco is raising awareness of the dangers of dermatitis in a nationwide campaign

    Occupational skin conditions costs Britain 268,000 working days a year (1). The most common type, occupational dermatitis (2), is an inflammation of the skin caused by external agents such as chemicals and hazardous substances, biological agents, sensitisers or allergens which change the natural balance of the skin or damage its structure. Dermatitis doesn't just affect workers' hands but can occur anywhere on the body, including the face as a result of wearing PPE for longer periods.

    Occupational dermatitis can seriously affect the well-being, quality of life and performance of employees. Absence from work, reduced pay, lower morale and self-esteem and even an unintended change in career can result. Employers, meanwhile, run the risk of bad publicity, reduced productivity, rising costs due to sickness days, increased costs for training and recruitment and, in a worst-case scenario, potential compensation claims.

    With more than 1 in 10 workers suffering from the disease (3), for a 250 strong company, that's 25 members of staff. The average cost to treat an unreported hand health problem is £2,000 (4). In addition, each reported case of dermatitis costs an employer £6,000 on average, excluding compensation, fines and legal fees (5). For 25 employees, this total cost equates to £200,000. While the costs involved with increased claims and insurance are worrying, the highest costs are incurred.

    Darren Williamson, Arco Product & Procurement Manager - Cleaning & Hygiene, said:

    "Too often a lack of employee complaints means employers assume dermatitis is a minor risk. But the truth in the silence is workers can feel embarrassed, have a lack of understanding about the condition or fear they could lose their jobs. Worse still, underreporting means existing statistics merely represent the tip of the iceberg. We must raise awareness of the help available before employees and employers end up paying the ultimate price."

    With the right skincare programme in place, the risks of dermatitis can be reduced or eliminated. Arco skincare experts offer a specialist onsite assessment and skin analysis programme and then help build bespoke programmes to reduce symptoms and develop training and awareness programmes to help change behaviour and ensure compliance.

    For more information on skincare assessments, PPE products and training from the Arco team, visit: preventing dermatitis in the workplace.

    Sources

    1. The Health & Occupation Research Network (THOR) GP Scheme 2011-2013)
    2. EPIDERM/HSE: Work Related Skin Disease in Great Britain 2014
    3. Luckhaupt et. Al; American Journal of Industrial Medicine 56:623-634 (2013)
    4. Journal of Environmental Medicine, Thyssen J.P. et al; Contact Dermatitis 2010; 75-87
    5. Diepgen T.L. et al; Contact Dermatitis 2013; 69: 88-106, from potential fines and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) fees for intervention. The HSE now charges £157 per hour to investigate an incident on site6 and the average cost of a health and safety related prosecution in 2018/19 was £150,000 per conviction.
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