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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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  • HSE Safety Alert for Ear Loop Respirators and Masks

    03 May 2022

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a new safety alert advising that respirators/masks that rely on ear loops do not provide the necessary protection when compared to those that use head straps to achieve an appropriate seal.

    There has been an increase in respirators/masks with ear loops that indicate that they offer the same protection as FFP2 respirators. However, new research, conducted by the HSE, has demonstrated that respirators which rely on ear loops (including those that are provided with additional means of tightening the mask to hold it in place, often known as 'snuggers') do not protect people adequately when used as tight-fitting respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

    Both FFP2 and FFP3 respirators depend on there being a good seal with the wearer's face in order to protect the user's respiratory system. The lack of a tight fit and good seal may lead to the creation of small gaps on the face which will mean that the respirator is not providing the necessary protection. This could increase the risk to the wearer's health, or even life, if the mask is being specified in high-risk areas.

    As part of the RPE selection process, individual wearers should be fit-tested to ensure a good seal and therefore adequate protection. The HSE research showed that in most cases respirators with ear loops did not pass face-fit testing, despite being UKCA or CE marked.

    The HSE therefore recommends that ear loop mask/respirators are not used as RPE in the workplace and that duty holders revisit their Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 risk assessment and review their Respiratory Management Programme.

    Adam Willcock, Category Manager for PPE at Arco, said:

    "Arco does not supply respirators with ear loops. We first became aware of this issue in July 2020, in the early stages of the pandemic, while we were trying to source FFP2 and FFP3 masks. We have a wealth of experience in respiratory protection and have one of the largest BSIF Fit2Fit accredited teams in the UK. We became aware of the issue of the lack of an adequate seal and failures with face-fit testing. We offer a range of respirators that use head straps to hold them in place, are fully compliant with the relevant standards and are UKCA or CE marked. We always advise our customers to use these and to undertake face-fit testing to protect their workers."

    Find out more about the HSE alert here.

    See Arco’s full range of FFP2 respirators with head straps here and learn about our face-fit testing here.

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  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work

    26 April 2022

    World Day for Safety and Health at Work - 'Open Communication is Crucial in Building a Safer Workplace'

    This year's World Day for Safety and Health at Work focuses on participation and social dialogue to foster a positive safety and health culture.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, developed effective ways of communicating with its colleagues from a safety, health and environment (SHE) perspective and is keen to maintain these high standards in the future.

    However, in recent years, a shift to new forms of working, such as hybrid models, has presented opportunities for workers but also posed potential risks, including a decline in mental health and wellbeing.

    At the peak of the pandemic, psychological distress across the nation hit an all-time high and it is estimated that one-in-six people experienced a common mental health problem. In the UK, that's equivalent to over 10 million people.

    The uncertainty caused by the pandemic meant the way businesses communicated was critical to manage the fears and concerns of their colleagues and it remains just as important today.

    Although restrictions have eased, many businesses continue to operate with hybrid models.

    Jo Heselton, Arco's Group Safety, Health and Environmental Manager, said:

    "There are many days where employees cannot simply look over their shoulder to check on a colleague, so we need new methods to provide consistent support and an open dialogue to ensure our workplace is safe from a mental health perspective."

    Jo has worked in health and safety for over 30 years and her work during the pandemic was recognised by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), receiving a Covid Workplace Champion Award.

    "Mental health should always be a priority for employers and one of the best ways to address this effectively is to have a dedicated team of mental health first aiders. Mental health first aiders act as a first point of contact for colleagues with mental health issues, providing support and guidance."

    As well as dedicated and trained mental health first aiders, a strong and open internal communication system is a critical part of maintaining a positive dialogue and culture. For example, setting up a wellbeing hub that is frequently updated with mindfulness tips, FAQs and employee assistance programmes, such as confidential phone-line support. It's also a great place to share tailored advice for colleagues, with specific information relevant to their team and the potential for employees to share their own stories. Creating guides specifically for colleagues to use and share with friends and family can also help employees feel valued and informed.

    Jo added:

    "As businesses look ahead at the 'new normal' of hybrid working, it's important not to neglect the social and human benefits of the workplace.

    "Assistance during working hours is important but supporting individuals who are isolated should also be a priority for employees' welfare. Colleagues and volunteers from across the business can organise virtual opportunities outside of work hours to promote human connection, for example, cooking and music lessons, quizzes and even seasonal activities like a virtual pantomime! Activities like these provide welcome distractions, and invaluable connections which so many were deprived of during the pandemic."

    In terms of final thoughts for businesses and organisations seeking to build on what they learned during the pandemic and develop best practice."

    Jo said:

    "Ultimately, clear communication, accessible resources and support for team members are the key lessons businesses should take away from the pandemic. Each of these points is not enough on its own; clear resources will do your business little good if no one reads them and even the most supported worker cannot be in all places at once. A combined approach is essential to ensure, in an increasingly hybrid working model, that open dialogue is pursued and encouraged from a variety of angles. Every business is different, and the exact system of support required will reflect that, but it should be at forefront of all businesses priorities."

    Shop our wide range of First Aid and PPE, designed to keep you and your staff safe

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  • Arco to Sponsor East Riding Village Halls Network's Conference on Safety

    25 April 2022

    Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has been confirmed as a sponsor for this year's conference of the East Riding Village Halls Network (E.R.V.H.N) on Friday 13th May at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor Village Hall.

    The event is the first in-person conference for E.R.V.H.N since the Covid-19 pandemic and will provide attendees with a variety of information on key topics around the theme of 'keeping safe', including food hygiene, working at height, play areas and safety essentials, combatting social isolation and resuscitation.

    The network provides support for 95 members across the East Riding, who in turn are assisted by more than 800 trustees and volunteers.

    The conference is anticipated to attract more than 100 delegates and will see keynote speeches from The Rt Hon David Davis MP as well as from representatives from local government, the East Riding Voluntary Action Service (ERVAS) and Action for Communities in Rural England.

    Sponsorship of the event came about because of an application from the E.R.V.H.N to the Arco Community Fund.

    Anna Harvatt, Community Engagement Manager, at Arco, said:

    "Village halls have and continue to play an important role in their local communities, with perhaps the best example of this being how many operated as hubs for distributing PPE and other important supplies, like food and medicine, to assist those delivering vitally important services to the most vulnerable in society.

    "At Arco, we are committed to supporting charitable organisations and community groups in the areas we operate in.

    "As experts in safety, we are proud to be sponsoring this year's E.R.V.H.N conference, which will focus on the theme of 'keeping safe'."

    Geoff Catterick, Chairman of the E.R.V.H.N, said:

    "The East Riding Village Halls Network is very grateful to Arco for its kind and generous support for this year's conference.

    "It is vital to communities that village and community halls are supported in as many ways as possible, as these buildings are an integral part of community life.

    "Without the wholehearted support of Arco, the E.R.V.H.N would not be in a position to fulfil its ambition to keep communities informed.

    "Working with Arco enables the E.R.V.H.N to provide members with essential information at this conference around the theme of 'keeping safe', which is even more important during the current crisis.

    "Our thanks to Arco and its community fund for the support. Together we aim to provide a first-class conference."

    For further information about the conference, visit the E.R.V.H.N website at:

    If you are a charitable organisation or community group and would like to find out more about Arco's Community Fund, email

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  • Arco Colleagues Spend Time Organising Hull Foodbank's Warehouse

    22 April 2022

    Colleagues from Hull-based safety company, Arco, have spent time volunteering in the community by supporting the city's foodbank.

    A team of nine colleagues from the business' customer engagement centre helped organise hundreds of crates of food at the foodbank's warehouse, helping ensure that all the items were in order and ready to be transported to locations around Hull ready to be parcelled up and handed out.

    As a fifth-generation family business, Arco is committed to being a responsible company and encourages its colleagues to share their experience, skills and knowledge in the community by providing two days of paid leave each year to support volunteering opportunities.

    Helen Garnett, Customer Support Team Leader at Arco, said:

    "Our colleagues had a really busy day supporting Hull Foodbank, sorting thousands of food stuffs, including cereals, tinned foods, jars of sauce, dried pasta etc. to prioritise the items ready for distribution and help avoid any waste.

    "The day was very physical and saw us packing, lifting and ordering the crates, at speed.

    "It was a real pleasure to support a charity delivering such an important service to the local community and I am glad that we were able to use our organisational skills to assist the food bank at such a critical time."

    Clive Da Silva, Assistant Manager at Hull Foodbank, said:

    "I would like to thank Helen and her colleagues for volunteering their time with us.

    "The team was really helpful and hardworking and accomplished in one afternoon what would have taken us and our volunteers' many weeks to organise.

    "It was a real pleasure to work with them. They are a credit to both themselves and to Arco as an organisation."

    Anna Harvatt, Community Engagement Manager at Arco, said:

    "Our colleagues really enjoy giving back to their local communities and to charitable organisations.

    "It is fantastic to hear such positive feedback from Hull Foodbank about the efforts of our colleagues and that their time and skills have made such a huge difference."

    If you would like to donate items to Hull Food Bank or volunteer with the charity, visit:

    If you are a charity or organisation with volunteer opportunities and would like for these to be considered by Arco colleagues, email:

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  • Arco Extends Partnership with Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity

    06 April 2022

    Arco has extended its support of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, the only charity that provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families.

    The construction industry has one of the worst suicide rates in the UK, with two construction workers taking their own lives every working day, on average. The charity was created to combat this and provides a free and confidential 24/7 helpline which provides emergency financial aid and support on a huge variety of emotional and physical wellbeing issues. They also offer a free self-support app, a text HARDHAT support service and free mental health and wellbeing training.

    Reliant on the generosity of its donors, Arco's continued support will help ensure that the Lighthouse Club has a sustainable income to grow and deliver its critical services, including its ‘Help Inside the Hard Hat' campaign.

    The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health by signposting the construction community to pro-active resources, including interactive wellbeing sessions and the MHFA England approved Mental Health First Aider Course.

    Dave Cox, Head of the Construction Sector at Arco, said:

    "Construction is vital to the UK economy and its workers are the lifeblood of the industry. Having initially supported the Lighthouse Club with a community grant during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am delighted that Arco's relationship with the charity has become a more enduring partnership. We look forward to continuing to support the Lighthouse Club's critical work in the year to come."

    Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Club, said:

    "We are delighted to have Arco as a company supporter. With Arco's sponsorship, we can continue to make a meaningful difference and deliver the emergency emotional and financial support that the construction community so desperately needs."

    For further information about the Lighthouse Club, visit:

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