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Arco Issues Respiratory Health Guidance as the HSE Cracks Down on Construction Dust

22 June 2022

From Tuesday 21st to Monday 27th June, it is Love Your Lungs Week, a national campaign to promote better lung health.

The week is an opportunity to remind those working on construction sites across Great Britain that, between Monday 6th June and Friday 1st July, HSE inspectors will be visiting sites as part of a month-long respiratory health initiative.

To help businesses prepare and ensure construction workers are safe at work, Arco is sharing expert advice to continue its efforts to educate business leaders about the long-term dangers of construction dust.

In the UK, 23 new cases of work-related respiratory diseases are diagnosed every day. As active members of the Construction Dust Partnership (CDP), Arco is dedicated to reducing this figure by working with the CDP to raise awareness and by offering expert guidance to its customers.

Those who regularly work on building sites, where there is excess dust created from activities such as wall chasing, stone cutting, demolition, drilling or sweeping, are more likely to be at risk from construction dust related respiratory illnesses. However, contracting these illnesses is avoidable with effective preventative measures and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) or respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Controlling the Risks

Once the hazard has been recognised, and the concentration identified through air monitoring, reasonably practicable control measures must be developed. Depending on the risk, measures should be applied to each task to make sure workers are not exposed to levels over the workplace limits, ensuring the health and safety of the workforce. In accordance with good occupational hygiene practice, the risk assessor should adopt the hierarchy of control to reduce the risk:

  1. Eliminate the use of harmful substances and remove the hazard in its entirety.
  2. Consider substitution, such as using a safer material.
  3. Use engineering controls that work to isolate or reduce exposure of the substance, such as less powerful tools, introducing water or bringing in on-tool dust extraction.
  4. Ensure there are a set of administrative controls in place, such as the implementation of an effective respiratory management programme which includes correct RPE selection, face-fit testing, training, equipment inspections and maintenance, storage and record keeping. Then ensure that employees are confident to use the control measures put in place and follow procedures and systems correctly.
  5. If these methods do not prevent or control the exposure, PPE in form of respiratory protective equipment will need to be issued and wearers will need to be face-fit tested.

Carrying out regular health surveillance on workers will check that control measures are working. By monitoring workers' health, the surveillance can identify early signs of ill-health and, by acting on the results, helps ensure that adequate control measures are being followed.

Kevin Williams, Respiratory Manager at Arco Professional Safety Services, said:

"Construction dust has been dubbed the 'silent killer' for a reason, as it's responsible for an alarming number of deaths every year. We have long campaigned to raise awareness of this issue, working with industry bodies and our partners. We will continue to help employers with the guidance they need to implement better safety measures for their workforce."

For Arco's full guidance visit: Arco Services - Respiratory Protection

Arco Receives Accreditation to Begin Delivering GWO Courses

21 June 2022

Arco Professional Safety Services has been accredited by the Global Wind Organisation to deliver its suite of basic safety training (BST) qualifications at its safety centres in Linlithgow, Scotland, and Stafford, England.

The onshore wind turbine industry is a growing sector within the UK energy market and generated around 24% of the country's electricity in 2020 with Scotland championing the industry where wind alone generated 73% of all renewable electricity output.

The UK currently hosts an estimated 8,600 onshore wind turbines with this capacity expected to double by 2030 in order to meet the target of having all of the UK's energy generated from "clean sources" by 2035. Approximately 39,000 people in the UK undertook GWO courses in 2019 and, with more turbines being built every year, the sector continues to grow while the workforce expands.

As a non-profit body, founded by leading wind turbine manufacturers and operators, the GWO sets the international standard for training qualifications required by those working in the wind industry in the UK. The objective of the GWO is to support common industry training standards for health and safety that have been developed in cooperation between members of GWO and a variety of other stakeholders from the wind turbine industry.

Arco Professional Safety Services provides training and accreditation for the GWO BST Onshore course package, which includes the GWO Working at Height, GWO Manual Handling, GWO First Aid and GWO Fire Awareness modules. After completing the course, the qualifications are valid for two years before workers need to be recertified.

Steve Dawson, Manager – Working at Height Training at Arco Professional Safety Services, said:

"As experts in safety, Arco Professional Safety Services is delighted to have received accreditation from the Global Wind Organisation and to be able to offer customers the full suite of onshore BST qualifications.

"In addition to our GWO BST Onshore training offer, Arco, as the UK's only integrated services and safety products business, is also able to offer additional products and capabilities which other training providers can't, such as fall protection equipment, rescue equipment, IRATA training (rope access), workwear, respiratory protection services and musculoskeletal disorder management, making Arco the expert safety partner of choice for those businesses and staff working in the wind industry."

Spaces are available for courses at Linlithgow Safety Centre, from Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th August, and Stafford Safety Centre, from Monday 12th to Thursday 15th September.

To book your place, visit: Arco Safety Services - Energy & Renewables

  • Arco Scholarship Supports the Enterprise of Over a Thousand Xiamen Students

    20 June 2022

    With a long history of supporting schools and education charities in the UK, Arco, the UK's leading safety products and services company, extended this to all the communities it operates in to support a key objective – to help young people achieve their potential.

    Arco is committed to providing a sustainable teaching community for the people and families working in, and located near, its Xiamen office and has supported 1,364 Xiamen students since launching its 'Hard Work and Enterprise Scholarship' in China, which celebrates achieving educational targets and a positive attitude towards learning.

    In 2019, Arco committed to a five-year sponsorship of the Datian No.1 Middle School Education Foundation, a large rural school two hours from Xiamen, in the Fujian province, where the business has had an office since 2005.

    Arco's Xiamen team play a critical role in the business's diligent quality assurance process, working with colleagues from the UK to carry out inspections against detailed product specifications and Acceptable Quality Limits (AQL) requirements.

    David Evison, Managing Director of Arco, said:

    "Our passion for inspiring and supporting the next generation in our communities goes beyond our UK operations.

    "By creating this positive learning environment, we hope that these students will continue their studies and strive for a bright future.

    "The scholarship is one of many initiatives we are proud to support, and I'd like to say a huge thank you to our Xiamen team who help make this happen."

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  • Arco Submits Evidence to Parliamentary Inquiry Consultation into Silica in Construction

    14 June 2022

    Arco has submitted evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Respiratory Health's follow-up inquiry into silica dust and its impact on construction workers.

    The inquiry follows the APPG's 2020 report into silicosis, which cited Arco's recommendations, including the need to raise awareness of silica exposure and increase the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) resources to support its capacity to enforce regulations and help reduce incidents of ill-health and fatalities.

    The 2020 report - Silicosis - the New Asbestos? - summarised the results of the APPG and B&CE's joint six-month inquiry which looked at the disease burden of silicosis, the diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease and the impact on patients' lives. The report also placed risk reduction strategies in context to consider the existing regulations and what more needed to be done to protect the health and lives of the workforce.

    The follow-up inquiry aims to investigate advances in risk reduction strategies and to evaluate the practicalities of industry-wide adoption of the latest technologies.

    As an active and leading voice on a variety of health and safety issues, Arco welcomes the opportunity to provide expert evidence and continue its commitment to help save lives.

    Arco is actively working to reduce exposure to crystalline silica on construction sites and raises awareness through its participation and support for webinars, health and safety events and business forums.

    As an expert in safety, Arco also works closely with the Construction Dust Partnership (CDP) to help educate young people working in the sector on the dangers of construction dust.

    Adam Willcock, Arco's Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Category Manager, said:

    "Respiratory illness is the cause of death and disability for many people, but it is often preventable.

    "Construction sites are known to generate high dust levels and workers are often breathing in excessive levels of harmful particles, particularly silica dust.

    "We have long campaigned to raise awareness of this issue, working with our industry bodies and partners.

    "We welcome the follow-up inquiry and hope the continued focus on silica will make a real difference to workers' lives."

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  • Arco Colleagues Receive Medal Honours for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

    24 May 2022

    Three colleagues from Arco Professional Safety Services, Mike Clayton, Bartek Biela and Rob Messenger, are being awarded the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal in recognition of their life-saving voluntary work with Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation and the Staffordshire Search & Rescue Team of Lowland Search & Rescue, respectively.

    The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal is a recognition of exemplary service by members in frontline emergency roles, prison services and the Armed Forces with at least five full years of voluntary service. The three colleagues have utilised their expertise in the safety sector to support emergency services in life-threatening situations in some of the country's most inhospitable environments, including the longest cave rescue in Welsh history last year.

    Within Arco, Mike is an Equipment Department Manager and is responsible for the selection, procurement and delivery of the equipment in Arco's Professional Safety Services business. Externally, Mike is the Chairman of Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation and the National Equipment Officer for the British Cave Rescue Council.

    Mike commented:

    "I am proud to receive this medal as recognition for all the voluntary work undertaken over the past five years. No one volunteers for cave rescue for reward or honours but to be there to help others in difficulty, however, these acknowledgements are a bonus."

    Bartek, a Training Instructor at Arco Professional Safety Services, teaches a wide range of practical work at height and rescue courses as well as the IOSH accredited Work at Height for Managers and Personal Fall Protection Inspection courses. As an avid member of numerus caving clubs in the past, coupled with his expertise in the safety industry, Bartek understands the importance of rescue provisions for outdoor activities which guided his decision to become a Team Leader at Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation.

    Bartek said:

    "It is a privilege and a great honour to receive the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal. When joining the organisation, I never expected any recognition or rewards as we are only there to help when this is most needed."

    Rob, a Work at Height and Confined Space Instructor at Arco, has been involved in several major incidents, large scale missing person searches and operations to provide lifesaving first aid to injured hikers. As a Team Leader of Lowland Search and Rescue Team, Rob is tasked with operational command and control as well as legal compliance with the regulations set by the Charities Commission.

    At Arco, Rob delivers comprehensive work at height safety and rescue courses, confined space courses and first aid training as well as bespoke rescue from height training.

    On being nominated for his Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal, Rob explained:

    "I feel honoured to be recognised amongst the men and women of the emergency services. People don't volunteer because they have the time, they volunteer because they care."

    David Evison, Managing Director at Arco, said:

    "We're incredibly proud that Mike, Bartek and Rob have been recognised for their excellent voluntary work over the last five years. They have each made a difference in their commitment to help keep people safe in inhospitable environments.

    "As experts in safety, Arco, as a business, encourages its colleagues to share their knowledge and expertise in the communities we serve, including through volunteer work."

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