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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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  • 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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  • Leading Safety Company Arco Supports Public Accounts Committee Report on PPE Procurement

    18 February 2021

    Arco, the UK's leading safety company, has welcomed the report published by the Public Accounts Committee - COVID-19: Government procurement and supply of Personal Protective Equipment - that looked into the Government's response to the demand for PPE during the Covid Pandemic and sets out recommendations on how to address key issues.

    With a responsibility to capture and share its experiences during 2020, Arco published a Position Paper: Personal Protective Equipment and the Government's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Arco's report offers insight into its own experiences dealing with Government bodies and other agencies as part of the PPE supply chain. It proposes a 10-point set of recommendations to prevent a repeat of the high-profile issues that were seen during the first wave of the crisis and to ensure the country is better protected in any future pandemic.

    Arco was pleased to see that the recommendations in Public Accounts Committee Report support its own recommendations. Most critical of these are:

    • The inadequacy of the Covid-19 pandemic PPE stockpile and the need to improve managing and distribution of fully compliant stock
    • The failures of the procurement portal at sifting credible and genuine offers of PPE from reputable suppliers, from those offered by dubious sources and the need to improve this for future emergencies and pandemics.
    • The need for a plan to show how the Government will use the PPE that has been procured during the pandemic, stock allocation and the handling of unused stock
    • And finally, a recommendation that the Government sets out plans to incentivise NHS Supply Chain and trusts to buy PPE manufactured in the UK.

    The report also recognises that hundreds of millions of pounds has been wasted on poor quality PPE which cannot be used for the intended purpose and recommends analysis and reporting of the extent of this failing. Arco would urge that this is taken further to ensure this cannot happen again and recommends that the Government should consult on whether PPE suppliers should be formally registered to be allowed to supply Category II and III products. Registration would ensure that a supplier is capable of providing compliant product, while market surveillance by an empowered OPSS would ensure suppliers live up to these commitments.

    Emma Hardy MP cited Arco's Position Paper in a Westminster Hall debate on the National Audit Office (NAO) report into procurement during the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing details of the report and its recommendations. Following the session, Emma Hardy sent a letter to the Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary, Julia Lopez MP, urging the Government to give the Arco report and its findings proper consideration.

    In response, Julia Lopez MP wrote:

    "We very much welcome the feedback that Arco has provided. My officials have sent a comprehensive response to the letter from Arco and will be following up with a meeting to follow up directly with Arco to ensure that their thoughts have been taken onboard. I would like to take the opportunity to reassure you of the great strides we have made to take us to this point, including already undertaking a number of the recommendations that Arco have proposed in their paper".

    Thomas Martin, Chairman of Arco said:

    "From the outset, we were both disappointed with the inadequacies of the procurement system and deeply concerned by some of the unnecessary mistakes made across the UK through a lack of experience of procuring the PPE needed. This is something the Government has acknowledged, and has been reflected in media coverage, through the National Audit Report, and now through the findings and recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee.

    "We are pleased that many of the conclusions made by the Public Accounts Committee support those Arco reached when we commissioned our position paper last summer, to look at the lessons that need to be learned from the pandemic.

    "As an established safety business that has provided critical support in the international SARS, Swine Flu and Ebola crises, we feel it's our duty to report on our experiences and to support the Government in continuing to help deal with the pandemic by sharing our expertise. We are grateful for the invitation we have received from the Minister to build on the dialogue with the Department of Health and Social Care, and look forward to contributing our resources to ensure that the Committee's recommendations are acted upon so the nation can be better prepared for future emergencies. The UK leads the world in health and safety and we are committed to ensuring that the leading role we play in keeping people safe is not compromised."

    With over 135 years of safety experience, its own UKAS-accredited product assurance lab and a 400,000 sqft National Distribution Centre, Hull-based Arco has been at the forefront of the most significant recent global emergencies, including the response to both SARS and Ebola outbreaks. When the Covid-19 pandemic was declared in the UK, the company played a key role in the response, navigating the global supply chain restrictions that led to an international shortage of certain types of PPE.

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  • Safety Expert Arco's Waverley Street HQ to be Demolished to Drive £355m A63 Upgrade Forward

    12 February 2021

    The demolition will support Hull's roadwork transformation, but the UK's Leading Safety Company won't be leaving its roots behind

    Demolition of Safety Expert Arco's longstanding Waverley Street Head Office is now underway to support the A63 Castle Street improvement scheme. The £355m upgrade, designed to relieve traffic congestion for around 47,000 daily road-users facing congestion, delays and long queues, is the largest the city has ever seen. The transformation of one of the busiest sections of the A63 is designed to make Hull's roads safer and cut journey times for businesses, residents, commuters and tourists. Once the project is complete, new roads and junctions will improve access to the port and connections between the city centre and the tourist and recreational areas at the docks.

    Highways England first published its plan to expand the A63 in 2010 when the preferred route was announced, however, Arco always made it clear that the proposals severely restricted access to its office, store and facilities for HGV deliveries, colleagues and visitors. At the same time, Highways England was tasked with finding a good location for a suitably sized production compound as close as possible to the Mytongate junction. This is required to build the 400m long underpass, which is a key part of the scheme. Arco's site on Waverley Street was identified as the ideal location and Arco, Hull City Council and Highways England worked tirelessly to find a solution. As a result, Arco's Head Office of the last 60 years was purchased by Hull City Council to push the scheme forward.

    The decision made by Arco, Hull City Council and Highways England over the last three years concentrated on securing the best possible outcome for the long-term future of Hull.

    The site is now owned by Hull City Council and leased to Highways England for the duration of the scheme. Balfour Beatty, who are Highways England's principal contractor will be responsible for coordination of the demolition work, and local firm Expotrack have been appointed to demolish the building, a process which is expected to take approximately 6 weeks.

    However, the demolition won't remove Arco from its roots. With longstanding ties to Hull since its first shop opened on Queen Street in 1893, the family business is relocating back to Hull's Fruit Market area with a new £16m headquarters.

    Arco's new HQ will be the largest office build in Hull in over 50 years. Once complete, around 600 colleagues will relocate to the five-storey complex. The building work also marks a major milestone in the £80m rejuvenation of the waterfront Fruit Market area, which is being transformed in one of the North of England's most significant urban regeneration projects.

    The UK's leading supplier of safety equipment continue to demonstrate their commitment to investing in Hull, having recently completed a £30m extension to their National Distribution Centre (NDC) on the A63. In preparation to leave its Waverley street site, the expert in safety has already moved its retail store to Liverpool Street and its Hose Division to new £2m purpose-built facility near the Hull-based NDC.

    David Evison, Managing Director of Arco, said:

    "We're pleased to be able to support a project that will bring so many benefits to Hull. The A63 development will be safer, alleviate congestion and improve access between the city centre and the docks. Our new head office will support the regeneration of Hull's Fruit Market, ensuring the city remains vibrant and commercially successful, whilst creating a great working environment for our colleagues.

    This is yet another demonstration of our commitment to the city and is part of a significant investment plan to support the growth of our business, which includes the recent extension of our Distribution Centre and investment in digital capability."

    Councillor Hale from Hull City Council, said:

    "There are many benefits to the scheme for people who live and work in Hull; relieving congestion, access to the port and road safety. We're happy that the site chosen allows the regenerated area around the Bonus Arena to remain untouched."

    James Leeming, Senior Project Manager from Highways England, said:

    "I'm delighted that for this part of the project we've found a solution that supports the regeneration of the fruit market and preserves Arco's well-established ties to Hull.

    The Castle Street scheme will usher in an exciting new era for Hull, creating a much better connection between the city centre and the retail and docks area. These improvements will make life considerably easier for road users and pedestrians."

    Will Neaves, Balfour Beatty Project Director, said:

    "Since early 2020, we have been working with Arco to finalise the demolition of its remaining headquarters in Hull, and to progress Highways England's A63 Castle Street project, which, on completion will help improve access between Hull City Centre and the retail and docks area.

    We are pleased to have reached this milestone with Arco and Highways England and are proud to support a project that will shape the future of Hull."

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  • Arco Supports Welcome to Yorkshire

    01 February 2021

    Walk This Way!

    Arco supports Welcome to Yorkshire, the not-for-profit destination marketing organisation championing Yorkshire tourism.

    Hull-based safety expert Arco is donating its unrequired IT infrastructure to support not-for-profit organisation Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY). The donation will enable WTY to focus on investing its finances into recovering the county's tourism, worth £9bn to the Yorkshire economy and responsible for nearly a quarter-of-a-million jobs pre-pandemic. Members of the Arco team will also be using their paid volunteering days to help WTY with the installation to ensure a seamless transition to the new infrastructure.

    Arco is donating IT equipment that it no longer requires as it upgrades its systems as part of its head office relocation to Hull's Fruit Market. The donation falls at a vital time, as WTY's current infrastructure is aging and in need of critical replacement to mitigate risk to its systems. The donation will save the not-for-profit organisation up to £20,000 and allow it to re-direct its budget to projects supporting Welcome to Yorkshire members suffering throughout and post-pandemic, following the Government guidelines at the time.

    WTY plans to use the reclaimed budget to bolster its Walkshire campaign, celebrating Yorkshire's countryside, coast, cities, towns and iconic locations across the county so that visitors can discover its spectacular scenery, history and heritage safely throughout the pandemic.

    Simon Richardson, Cyber Security Director at ITogether, introduced the two organisations to facilitate the donation. Simon said:

    "We were delighted to be able to bring two of our long-standing customers together. It's great to know the infrastructure will stay in the local region and be recycled into a new investment that will be used for years to come."

    James McKenzie, Director of Strategic Delivery at WTY, said:

    "This donation will help the region, help the economy and help local businesses to recover from a very challenging period when visitor numbers have been so reduced. It comes at an ideal time as Welcome to Yorkshire has just launched its year-long Walkshire campaign. Over lockdown, people have been limited as to the activities they can enjoy, but we can all explore the beauty of what is on our doorstep, and at the same time underpin Yorkshire as the walking capital of the world."

    Daniel Spurgeon, Head of IT at Arco, said:

    "Arco is delighted to support Welcome to Yorkshire and recycle our IT infrastructure in such a positive way, and grateful to ITogether for bringing us together. With a 136-year heritage in Hull, it's great to know that we're ensuring continuity for a not-for-profit organisation in our county, whose work ultimately benefits local businesses and residents too. The pandemic has been a difficult time, but I'm confident the more we all rally together, the more we ensure life after the pandemic brings a brighter chapter."

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  • Arco Donates to Refuge Charity in Support of Domestic Abuse Victims

    22 January 2021

    Arco's community panel has donated £5,000 to charity Refuge in support of their mission to protect women and children from violence and abuse. Sadly, domestic violence has been particularly prevalent during lockdown, with demand for Refuge's services rocketing, so the donation comes at a critical time for the charity.

    Refuge has been working around the clock to sustain and increase their provision, as well as planning for the potential longer-term increase in need for services that they anticipate over the coming months and even year ahead. They have increased capacity in their National Domestic Abuse Helpline as well as accessibility, by speeding up online functionality including live chat.

    Arco's donation will help the charity respond to individual's needs with speed, flexibility and agility; providing lifesaving and life-changing services to all who need support.

    Arco remains committed to its Charity and Community support and donates 1% of its pre-tax profit to charity each year. Arco's Community Panel offers colleagues the opportunity to apply for an Arco Community Grant for causes which they are close to. The donation to Refuge follows an application made by Sharon Jakkula, Strategic Insight Specialist at Arco who nominated the charity for funding after being inspired by their work with women and children experiencing domestic violence.

    Sharon Jakkula, Strategic Insight Specialist at Arco said:

    "I'm delighted that the Community Panel donated to Refuge, a charity whose purpose aligns with our own, to keep people safe. Refuge does amazing work supporting women and children through very tough situations, and it's a sad inevitability that as lockdown progresses, there will be a rise in domestic abuse cases. I'm happy that we've done our bit to help vulnerable people trapped in these situations."

    Charly Meehan, Spokesperson for Refuge said:

    "We couldn't have done this without support like yours. Thank you for your commitment to our mission: changing society so that no-one has to live in fear of violence or abuse."

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