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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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  • Arco Shares How Its Suite of Mental Health Training Courses Can 'Change Lives and Save Lives'

    08 April 2021

    On hearing the phrase "you saved my life" I became instantly dedicated to improving my knowledge around the wellbeing and mental health of people.

    Mark Nixon, Senior Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultant and Trainer at Arco Professional Safety Services, Shares Three Key Areas of Focus for Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace.

    I have been a passionate Occupational Health and Safety Professional since 1995, but something changed five years ago. I was fortunate enough to be able to prevent a young individual from committing suicide. On hearing the phrase "you saved my life", I made a commitment to improving my knowledge around the wellbeing and mental health of the people I work with every day and the employees in my clients' organisations. I now deliver Arco Professional Safety Services suite of courses to clients and instruct the MHFA Two Day Adult Mental Health First Aid course. The feedback for these courses is breathtakingly positive; quite simply, the courses change lives and save lives.

    Mental distress across the nation is at an all-time high compared to pre-pandemic levels. As individuals face grief, forced isolation, an economic slump and unfamiliar ways of working, we can help organisations make the decisions that will strengthen, rather than harm, an already vulnerable workforce. Beyond the human cost, better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. There are three key areas that demand organisations' attention to support and improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace: the business, the managers and the individuals.

    The Business

    The 'Hierarchy of Controls' is an approach to risk reduction that has become entrenched in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) sector. It aims to provide a consistent structure for managing safety, ensuring effective control measures are put in place to eliminate or reduce workplace hazards. However, mental wellbeing is one of the only areas of health and safety where the 'hierarchy of control' does not apply. At Arco Professional Safety Services, we have developed an alternative hierarchy that better suits the aims, problems and solutions in this critical area. Key principles include:

    • Prevention is better than cure. Recovery takes far longer than prevention and the costs to individuals' livelihoods and businesses are far greater
    • Failing to maintain health and wellbeing increases the likelihood of poorer mental health
    • Enhancing and maintaining overall health and wellbeing increases the likelihood of better mental health

    The Managers

    How much stress a team faces is dependent on factors such as resource availability, workload, corporate culture and the strength of their support system. Managers are ideally placed to help handle employee stress as they have a greater understanding of the people in their team, their roles and the stress risk factors. In as little as one day, we can help managers acquire the knowledge and confidence to manage mental wellbeing proactively. We recommend a ten-point action plan that can help managers support their teams more effectively. Key actions include:

    • Carry out Stress Risk Assessments based on the Health & Safety Executive's (HSE) Stress Management Standards (HSG218) to establish and resolve the causes of stress in the workplace and use the HSE's 'Talking Toolkit' to engage with individuals about the topic and make reasonable adjustments
    • For non-work-related stress, managers can use a coaching approach (ask rather than tell) to help employees identify what is causing their stress, why it's stressful to them, how they can tackle it and where they can go for help and support
    • Managers can encourage employees to complete a Wellness Action Plan (WAP), which can be used to promote wellness in already healthy employees and help those suffering or returning from a mental ill-health absence

    The Individuals

    There are many ways for individuals to manage stress, from guided breathing to decrease stress hormones and lower blood pressure, to understanding the importance of positive psychology. We teach recognised models such as PERMA as part of our mental health training courses to help achieve positive mental wellbeing. PERMA can help increase wellbeing by encouraging individuals to focus on living meaningfully, establishing supportive relationships, accomplishing goals and being fully engaged with life. Another key aspect of positive psychology is resilience, defined as the ability to cope with and recover from adversity.

    Individual resilience will differ from person to person and throughout a person's lifetime. It is not a fixed trait; it can be taught and developed over time with experience. Dr Lucy Hone, researcher and resilience expert, outlines three key traits of resilient people:

    • Resilient people understand that bad things happen to everyone
      Every life will come with ups and downs and understanding this is critical to a balanced response to fortune and tragedy
    • Resilient people can focus their attention skilfully
      Being able to view a situation 'as-it-is but not worse than it is,' is a vital skill for resilience and mental wellbeing. In addition to the things that may not be going so well, individuals can focus their attention on extracting the positives, otherwise termed as 'benefit finding'. We recommend individuals ask themselves, 'what has gone well today and what is still right with me, others and the world?'
    • Resilient people ask if what they are doing is 'helping or harming?'
      We encourage individuals to identify their unhelpful thoughts, self-talk and behaviours and choose more helpful, realistic and empowering alternatives

    Ultimately, mental health is not only a major issue in the workplace, but a major opportunity to take stock and ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the wellbeing of our colleagues. Five years ago, a near-tragedy cemented my belief that with the right support in place, positive mental health and wellbeing can be achieved and sustained.

    Mark Nixon is a Senior Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultant and Trainer at Arco Professional Safety Services. Arco Professional Safety Services offers specialist courses including Mental Health First Aid, Mental Wellbeing Awareness and Stress and Mental Wellbeing for Managers. Its highly experienced trainers can help build bespoke programmes to meet client needs, whether that means delivering training on the client's site or at one of its national safety centres. The expert in safety can also provide training online via its specialist video conference service developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure businesses can continue training while maintaining social distancing.

    For more information on the mental health and wellbeing training courses available, visit the dedicated course finder at Arco Professional Safety Services.

    Alternatively, to contact Arco Professional Safety Services call 0330 390 0822 or email info@arcoservices.co.uk.

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  • Arco Donates an Additional £64,000 to Support Local Community Organisations and Charities

    24 March 2021

    Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has played a key role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the company's commitment to supporting the communities it serves has gone further. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and the Arco Community Panel, Arco delivered a programme of charitable support during 2020, with a number of initiatives focused on those needing support due to pandemic. This was achieved through a newly created Arco Coronavirus Grant scheme which made donations of £42,000 to support local charities helping those most in need, all nominated by Arco colleagues.

    Arco launched its second Coronavirus grant scheme in February, inviting colleagues to apply for 50 one-off grants of up to £1,000 on behalf of organisations and charities in their local communities. The Community Panel asked that applications were focussed on critical areas particularly affected by the pandemic including support for victims of domestic violence, homelessness, food poverty as well as care homes and charities supporting mental health and wellbeing. After receiving many high-quality applications, the panel decided to award 64 grants of £1,000 to organisations all over the UK and Ireland.

    The 64 grants will provide help and support to a number of great causes across the UK. Recipients of the grants include:

    • Mental health and wellbeing: Falkirk's Mental Health Association, Scotland
    • Victims of domestic violence: Black Country Women's Aid, West Midlands
    • Homelessness: Homeless Mobile Run, Dublin
    • Foodbanks: Rutland food bank, Rutland
    • The care home and hospice sector: Velindre Fundraising, Wales

    The company has now donated a total of £106k through its Coronavirus grant schemes following applications made by colleagues.

    David Evison, Managing Director at Arco has previously described the Arco Community Panel meeting as one of his 'favourite meetings each quarter.' Evison said:

    "These unprecedented times have impacted many people in our local communities and through these grants we are able to help those who need it most. Arco is continuing support local communities and national organisations through our two Coronavirus Grant schemes, and we look optimistically towards a reopened future, following the Government's Roadmap plan to ease lockdown restrictions. We extend our commitment to keeping people safe throughout the communities we serve, assisting in today's wellbeing for tomorrow's future."

    Arco continually supports and encourages colleagues to provide their time and skills to local charities and community groups, allowing each colleague an additional two days of paid leave for volunteering opportunities each year.

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  • Mental Health Matters: Safety Experts Share Ten Recommendations

    23 March 2021

    Mental distress across the nation is at an all-time high compared to pre-pandemic levels (1). As individuals face grief, forced isolation, an economic slump and unfamiliar ways of working, organisations must make decisions that will strengthen, rather than harm, an already vulnerable workforce. Beyond the human cost, better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year (2). Arco Professional Safety Services helps businesses with mental health and wellbeing training, strategies, policy development and implementation. The safety expert is sharing a ten-point action plan to help managers support and improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

    How much stress a team faces is dependent on factors such as resource availability, workload, corporate culture and the strength of their support system. Managers are ideally placed to help handle employee stress as they have a greater understanding of the people in their team, their roles and the stress risk factors. In as little as a day, Arco Professional Safety Services can help managers acquire the knowledge and confidence to manage mental wellbeing proactively. As part of its "Stress and Mental Wellbeing Training for Managers" course, the safety expert recommends a ten-point action plan that can help managers support their teams more effectively. Key actions include:

    • Move to a proactive culture rather than a reactive culture by having a company Wellbeing Strategy
    • Utilise mental health and wellbeing policies, become familiar with internal processes and documents around this topic and make them easily accessible using company intranet links to enable fast access
    • Identify and manage issues that are likely to cause stress before they become problematic and intervene immediately where stress or mental ill-health is identified, establishing whether the cause of stress is related to work, home or a combination of both
    • If a person is absent due to ill-health, agree on a method and frequency of contact, discuss what she/he is comfortable speaking about, including what should be kept confidential, then actively engage as agreed
    • Avoid giving advice; give support instead. Colleagues need to feel that they are being taken seriously, are listened to and supported. Managers shouldn't assume that they know how their employees feel; instead, they should ask how they feel. If managers do not feel able to speak with their employees, it is important that they find someone who can, such as a mental health first aider
    • Carry out Stress Risk Assessments based on the Health & Safety Executive's (HSE) Stress Management Standards (HSG218) to establish and resolve the causes of stress in the workplace and use the HSE's "Talking Toolkit" to engage with individuals about the topic and make reasonable adjustments
    • For non-work-related stress, managers can use a coaching approach (ask rather than tell) to help employees identify what is causing their stress, why it's stressful to them, how they can tackle it and where they can go for help and support
    • Encourage employees to complete a Wellness Action Plan (WAP), which can be used to promote wellness in already healthy employees and help those suffering or returning from a mental ill-health absence
    • Reference any internal support services offered, such as employee assistance programmes, HR, Occupational Health 'phone lines, websites or mental health first aid functions and, also, external support including websites, helplines and support groups
    • Utilise phased returns, removal and gradual re-introduction of job-role elements; providing mentors and regular check-ins can all help to prevent relapse and increase the likelihood of a faster and full recovery

    Mark Nixon, Senior Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultant and Trainer at Arco Professional Safety Services, says:

    "I have been a passionate Occupational Health and Safety Professional since 1995, but something changed five years ago. I was fortunate enough to be able to stop a young individual from committing suicide. On hearing the phrase "you saved my life" I became instantly dedicated to improving my knowledge around the wellbeing and mental health of people, particularly the employees in our own and our clients' organisations. I now deliver Arco's suite of courses to clients and instruct the MHFA 2 Day Adult Mental Health First Aid course, the feedback for which is breathtakingly positive. Quite simply, these courses change lives and save lives."

    With the right support in place, positive mental health and wellbeing can be sustained. Arco Professional Safety Services offers specialist courses including Mental Health First Aid, Mental Wellbeing Awareness and Stress and Mental Wellbeing for Managers. Its highly experienced trainers can help build bespoke programmes to meet client needs, whether that means delivering training on the client's site or at one of its national safety centres. The expert in safety can also provide training online via its specialist video conference service developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure businesses can continue training while maintaining social distancing.

    For more information on the mental health and wellbeing training courses available, visit the dedicated course finder at Arco Professional Safety Services.

    Alternatively, to contact Arco Professional Safety Services call 0330 390 0822 or email info@arcoservices.co.uk.

    Sources

    1. mind.org: Mind warns of "second pandemic" as it reveals more people in mental health crisis than ever recorded and helpline calls soar
    2. mentalhealth.org: Mental health statistics: mental health at work
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  • 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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