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Do employers need to be concerned about monkeypox?

By Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. It can pass between humans through close intimate contact, household contact or changing the bedding of someone who has it when not wearing appropriate PPE.

The Government has issued advice for anyone who has come into close contact with someone who has monkeypox to self-isolate for 3 weeks.

An important point to make is that monkeypox is not another Covid. We might be drawn to think this because of the use of ‘isolation’ but experts say it poses a very low threat to the wider public. It is not as easily transmissible as Covid, and recovery is fully expected. However, as we saw during the pandemic, things can change quickly so employers should be prepared.

It goes without saying that if an employee has a confirmed case of monkeypox, they should be treated under normal sickness rules. Most symptoms clear up within 14-21 days so they would receive SSP or sick pay, whichever is stipulated in their contract of employment, as with any other illness, if they met the qualifying criteria.

Issues could arise where an employee is advised to self-isolate – although currently this is only advised rather than being a legal requirement.

Currently the advice is that those who have had unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact with a confirmed case should isolate for 21 days including exclusion from work. If the person can work from home, that appears to be the most sensible solution.

Those who have unprotected exposure to infectious materials including droplet or airborne potential route should be excluded from work for 21 days if their work involves contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, or children. Again, working from home could be a solution here, or moving the employee to different duties which does not involve contact with those people.

If the person cannot work from home, then the question of pay crops up. SSP will not be payable for the isolation period unless the employee gets too ill to work during it. In a similar way to the current Covid isolation position, employers will have to decide whether they will require close contacts with a confirmed case to not come to work for the 21 days or whether they will still require them to come in.

If they require them to stay at home then this should be on full pay. Anything less than that is likely to risk an unlawful deduction claim as it’s the employer’s choice to temporarily withdraw work from the employee.

There is no legal requirement to inform an employer that you are a close contact with someone with monkeypox, but employers can make it a contractual requirement if they choose. Data on this should always be processed in line with rules on processing health data.

Although monkeypox is not generally passed through the air, colleagues may be concerned if they become aware that someone they are located near to is a close contact. Employers who don’t require close contacts to isolate should consider some adjustments to where they sit or work. This is particularly pertinent if any colleagues are immunosuppressed or pregnant.

Close contacts with a confirmed case are advised to notify the contact tracing system. Employees claiming to be a close contact should be able to provide their employer with evidence of their contact with the contact tracing system.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Visualise and manage your safety procedures with Brady Link360

One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a safe facility is information management. There are Lockout/Tagout procedures, confined space permits, maintenance schedules and other important documents. They all need to be regularly updated and reviewed. Discover how you can easily manage your safety procedures with LINK360 Software from Brady!

At Brady, we provide personalised consultation services to improve employee safety, productivity and equipment reliability, both today and down the road.

Link360™ Software is the first software to give you a complete view of the activities associated with creating, reviewing and updating visual information.

Link360 Software enables users to create, scale, update and validate visually instructive safety procedures. The software provides an easy way to keep safety procedures accurate, compliant and sustainable in multiple facilities.

  • Create clear and easy-to-follow, visually instructive safety procedures
  • Quickly scale and deploy standardised and approved safety procedures across facilities

Interested? Go for free 30 day trial!

Easily complete procedures using a smartphone

The Smart Lockout App sends the most recently approved, and relevant Lockout/Tagout procedures from LINK360 to the smartphones of coworkers servicing specific machines. Via their smartphone, coworkers receive one lockout instruction at a time and can confirm its completion before receiving the next step. The smart lockout app can send a report back to LINK360 including all lockout procedure steps marked as completed.

Watch the short video and discover benefits of LINK360 Software >>

Visit Brady’s booth at Safety & Health Expo in London, Stand SH1400 and discuss any workplace safety or facility identification topics with our specialists!

Safest day of the week to be in the office is a Wednesday

Workers looking for the lowest virus transmission risk day of the week to go into the workplace should go in on a Wednesday according to findings from an Air Quality Index launched by smart building platform Infogrid. The findings show that only a quarter of working days in 2022 have had a ‘low’ virus transmission risk, showing the effects of winter on the spread of infections like COVID and the flu.

The Infogrid Air Quality Index is based on data points collected in office buildings and workplaces globally including temperature, humidity, office occupancy and CO2 levels and shows how indoor air quality changes over time.

The data, collected between September 2021 and February 2022 shows how virus transmission risk increases around Christmas time. Through September and October virus transmission risk remained ‘low’, however once temperature and humidity start to drop in November, the virus transmission risk doubled with 12 days registering ‘medium’ virus risk.

The impact of Winter is clear as indoor virus transmission risk doubled from September to December 2021 and three quarters of the days in 2022 have been at medium virus transmission risk.

William Cowell de Gruchy, Infogrid CEO, said: “The virus transmission risk increased in November and has remained high through the winter months. While the virus transmission risk moved from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ risk, that increase was enough to cause an influx of covid cases and hospitalisations which led the government to issuing a work-from-home recommendation.”

Wednesday is the safest day 

Further findings from the Air Quality Index show that in the last 6 weeks, Wednesday has consistently recorded the lowest virus transmission risk reading of any day of the week. Wednesday was also the day of the week which recorded the fewest days at medium virus transmission risk, making it the ‘safest’ day to be in the workplace.

The most dangerous day in the last 6 months of was 29th November 2021 when virus transmission risk spiked, nearly hitting ‘high risk’ of virus transmission.

There is also a geographic divide in the UK, cities in the North have been found to have consistently higher virus transmission risk compared to towns and cities in the South. Infogrid also found that virus risk in London is no higher or lower than other cities in the UK.

De Gruchy, added: “It has been really interesting to see how indoor virus transmission risk is no worse in London, despite the capital’s well-known air quality issues. The findings would suggest that buildings in London are better ventilated than those in the rest of the country, reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure their staff are able to conduct their work safely. We know that going to the office or physical workplace bring benefits to employee mental health and productivity, and with restrictions lifting the responsibility of managing virus risk falls to the employer. With the right tech in place, it is possible to reduce the risk of the transmission of not only covid but other seasonal infections like the flu, which is a long-term gain too.”

Impact safety with full colour precision signs

Discover BradyJet J4000 Colour Label Printer

Create a safer, more efficient workplace with compliant, photo-quality full-colour labels, signs and procedures that last. Balance the complexity of safety and compliance labels with the demands of an industrial environment while reducing your safety signage inventory and material waste. Discover BradyJet J4000 Colour Label Printer!

Features & Benefits: 

  • Create compliant labels and signs: Trust your regulatory labelling offers the colours needed for ISO, CLP/GHS, ANSI, BS5609 and arc flash
  • Extend label performance: Rely on specially formulated materials and ink designed to stand up to harsh environments
  • Maximise impact, improve efficiency and reduce waste: Stock and print only what you need, when you need it, in photo-quality full-colour every time

Watch the printer in action & book the demo >>

Best practices for a leaner and safer workplace

Visual Workplace is a lean concept that’s all about putting important information right where employees need to see it. This concept plays a critical role in some of the most popular lean tools, including 5S. That’s because it creates a sustaining base for lean improvements to remain clearly visible, readily understood and consistently adhered to.

Download the free 5S Plus Guide >>

BRADY Corporation

www.brady.co.uk

How to prevent slips and trips in the workplace

By Coral

Did you know that the most common cause of non-fatal injuries to employees is slips, trips and falls, on the same level? In fact, it accounts for 29% of all accidents[1]. As such, specifying solutions within a building that can prevent accidents is vital. Indeed, there are many ways to proactively avoid the possibility of slips and trips, but one of the easiest ways is to install an effective entrance flooring system.

An entrance flooring system will prevent dirt and moisture from entering a building, which in turn will reduce accidents and protect interior floor coverings. But that’s not all. The WELL Building Standard states that an entrance flooring system can also reduce pollutants entering a building, which will help to create a healthy and better indoor environment for all occupants[2].

While there are many solutions available on the market, Forbo Flooring Systems’ Coral collection has been the market-leader for over 50 years. Whether facing rain, snow, sand or soil, it keeps the outside from getting inside. Testing by Cleaning Research International has also shown that Coral can stop up to 95% of dirt and moisture from entering a building, with each m2 of Coral able to remove up to 5kg of dirt or 6 litres of water, which in turn can reduce the time spent cleaning interior floor coverings by up to 65%.

Forbo’s Coral collection has also recently been updated. It now consists of four existing products: Coral Brush, Coral Classic, Coral Duo and Coral Welcome a colour refresh, as well as two new solutions: Coral Grip and Coral Interior.

Coral Grip is a robust dirt and grit remover for inside and outside use, ideal for areas leading to and from leisure or sports environments, while Coral Interior is a unique concept that completes an entrance flooring system. To prevent dirt and moisture from being tracked into a building, prolonging the life of interior floor coverings and reducing maintenance costs for end users, it is suggested that a three-zone entrance flooring system is designed – and this is where Coral Interior comes into play.

Available in eight colourways, Coral Interior has been developed for use in zone three, such as in reception and larger circulation areas upon entering a building. The innovative modular design, which comprises a mix of planks and tiles, can also be colour matched with other Coral products. And as there is no pattern, tiles and planks can be laid randomly to create a unique design.

The update now means that there are a variety of ranges to suit all applications and locations. For example, for projects that require minimal downtime and a quick turnaround, Forbo’s Coral Click range is the perfect solution; the interlocking mechanism of the tiles means that they can be simply ‘clicked’ together using a rubber hammer. Available in a selection of Coral Brush colours as standard, Forbo also offers a plain PVC tile, which can be used as a perimeter fill-in for matwells or as the initial matting where it will remove coarse dirt from the soles of shoes and treads of wheels.

For more information about Coral, please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/coral 

[1] https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causinj/index.htm

[2] https://standard.wellcertified.com/v6/air/healthy-entrance

Winterproof your safety signage and don’t let safety slip

Winter is not the safest season. Slips & falls increase dramatically, especially when working outdoors, or simply walking to an office from the parking lot. When the cold and dark seem to conspire against health and safety, highlight your new safety communication to lower the risks. Discover safety solutions from Brady and make the winter safe!

Reliable safety identification solutions to support your Go for Zero programme throughout winter:

  • clearly identify winter slip hazards and other risks on your premises, and easily guide employees, even in the dark, using ISO-compliant ultra-visible reflective signs with excellent outdoor reliability.
  • easily apply reliable pipe markers to wet, rainy and cold outdoor pipe surfaces to make them compliant with any regulation or standard.
  • quickly re-paint or create new, straight outdoor floor marking with PaintStripe stencils
  • immediately highlight ice patches and other emerging winter hazards with outdoor safety cones and A-board floor stands

Snowball your safety messaging

While you can order any solution preprinted to your specifications, we can also offer full flexibility to get through winter. With the BBP37 Multicolour & Cut Sign & Label Printer at your premises, you can quickly update safety and facility identification to reduce risks.

  • create reliable, industrial-grade outdoor safety signs, labels and pipe markers in any shape
  • use in stand-alone mode, or add Brady Workstation apps to design an even wider range of signs, pipe markers and safety labels
  • a few blank label supplies, requiring minimal storage space, can sustain your safety identification needs throughout winter

Make the winter safe with Brady >>

Stay safe in the workplace this Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has begun and, with most festivities cancelled last year, many workplaces will be looking forward to bringing a festive feel to their working environment in 2021. However, it can be easy to forget about health and safety and compliance at this time of year.

Dan Lee, Managing Director of phs Compliance, says putting up Christmas lights and decorations, which are not normally part of the workplace, brings with it new risks and hazards that must be considered first.

“It sounds obvious, but it is surprising how many businesses forget that Christmas lights and decorations need to be considered as part of health and safety and compliance procedures in the workplace.

“After all, Christmas lights are an electrical item and should be treated in the same way as any other electrical item, like kettles or printers, which need to be regularly checked to ensure they are safe to use. It is a legal obligation.  You may want to have them PAT tested before using them, especially if they have been in the back of a cupboard for two years because of the pandemic. The end of the year is a great time to book your PAT testing, so why not incorporate them into the annual PAT test of all your portable electrical appliances and start the new year with some peace-of-mind?

“It is easy to get carried away at Christmas and one of the most common things we see is overloaded plugs. Unfortunately, if a plug is over its capacity it could easily start a fire so it’s really important not to take the risk.

“General health and safety matters should be a high priority when putting up decorations in any case. Ensure there are no trip hazards, keep wires tidy and secure, and make sure that decorations don’t block escape routes like fire exits or any safety signage. It’s also important to ensure decorations are safe and secure to avoid fall hazards.

“If in doubt, talk to one of our team and get some advice to ensure you are staying compliant this Christmas.”

phs Compliance is one of the UK’s leading providers of workplace compliance and building engineering services, offering everything businesses need to stay safe and compliant.

Fully accredited by all leading industry regulatory bodies, phs Compliance has the largest team of specialist statutory testing operators in the industry. It provides statutory electrical services including testing (including PAT tests and fixed electrical testing), inspection services, maintenance, and remedial work. As the UK’s leading provider of electrical testing with nationwide coverage, phs Compliance ensures workplaces of all sizes stay safe and compliant. It is part of the phs Group.

phs Compliance also offers a comprehensive project design, installation, commissioning and maintenance service for fire and security systems.

Accredited to the highest standards, phs Compliance offers significant experience, technical expertise and nationwide capability to support customers’ capital expenditure project needs for fire systems and security systems.

phs Compliance also offers expert project management services, including the design, supply and installation of everything from power and lighting to electric vehicle charging points.

With over 400 engineers across the UK, phs Compliance delivers more than 14 million compliance inspections for 35,000 customer sites nationwide every year.

www.phscompliance.co.uk

Get your facilities into shape with this free guide

Facilities are among companies’ most important business assets, so are you still making the most of them? Are they maximised to support your needs and goals? Brady offers all of the solutions, and the know-how, to label your facilities into shape – with some extras, all from a single source.

Quality solutions, expert guidance

Brady offers a wide range of reliable identification solutions to increase the efficiency and safety of any industrial facility. Along with these solutions, we bring worldwide facility identification insights, best practices, standards and regulatory compliance to your doorstep, so you can apply the best identification solutions in the best way, with a single supplier.

Check out our tips >>

Optimise safety

Use reliable floor marking, pipe markers, safety signs, tags, spill control and Lockout/Tagout to visually and effectively optimise safety in the workplace. Guide, inform, caution and protect coworkers, counter risks and avoid accidents to send people back home safely, all while considerably contributing to facility efficiency and effectiveness.

Maximise efficiency

Fully support professionals on the workfloor with clear instructions printed on your signs and labels. Enable them to easily find the tools they require, and know these are in working condition. You could even include passive RFID antennas in any label to fully optimise tool tracking, inventory audits and item picking.

Print at your premises

No need to wait on deliveries or to store large amounts of printed solutions, when a set of blank label rolls and a versatile safety printer have got you covered. Our accompanying Brady Workstation software keeps your solution future-proof with regular updates to stay safe, efficient, and compliant with the latest standards and regulations.

Download the free guide: ”Work faster with clear maintenance visuals” >>

Brady Corporation

Tel: +44 (0) 1295 228 288

csuk@bradycorp.com

www.brady.co.uk

Don’t neglect electrical testing for home workers

Businesses are being reminded of their legal obligation to ensure electrical equipment is safe to use at all times, even when being used by workers at home.

It comes as Dan Lee, Managing Director of phs Compliance, one of the UK’s leading providers of facilities management and compliance services, warns that many businesses are potentially not ensuring full compliance as staff continue to work from home.

He said: “The pandemic brought with it many challenges, including the concept of working from home for the first time for many businesses. Unfortunately, in the rush to get employees set up at home, many may have neglected to consider how they would continue to fulfil their legal health and safety obligations as staff worked remotely and clearly continue to do so.

“Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are responsible for the health, safety and well-being of all employees, whether they work on site or remotely. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 also states that all electrical equipment in the workplace must be suitable for use and maintained to ensure it is safe, including any equipment used at home to carry out their job.

“It’s a difficult situation for businesses. They are still liable if employees injure themselves at home, but mitigating the risks remotely is more challenging. Employees may not understand the risks that electrical equipment like laptops, printers and extension leads can pose, and dangerous practices like overloading sockets or leaving laptops charging on sofas can be commonplace.

“All users of electrical equipment should have some basic training in how to use the equipment safely, as well as what danger signs to be aware of. Users should feel confident in visually checking the equipment regularly for obvious signs of damage, as well as potential risks, such as cables trapped under desks or water hazards.

“However, the best way to protect your employees, and demonstrate your compliance with legislation, is to carry out regular PAT testing on all electrical equipment, whether on site or used remotely.

“PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) involves an examination of portable electrical equipment and appliances to ensure they are safe to use.  This should only be carried out by a competent person with the correct training and equipment. It is strongly recommended to employ an experienced and qualified PAT tester to test equipment every year.

“PAT engineers can be dispatched to employee’s homes to carry out the tests there, or employees can bring their equipment back into the office for testing. This may be a good option if there was a staff meeting, for example, as several pieces of equipment can be tested in one session.

“If you are unsure how to meet your health and safety obligations for electrical testing, phs Compliance can help with advice, guidance and over 400 experienced and trained engineers across the UK ready to start testing wherever you are.”

Click to view phs Compliance’s free PAT Testing Guide

With over 50 years’ experience, phs Compliance is one of the UK’s leading providers of facilities management and compliance services. As well as electrical, mechanical and fire safety testing and maintenance services, phsCompliance also provides specialist electrical and mechanical project services, including design, supply and installation for everything from power to lighting.

Consultation on competence framework for Building Safety Managers begins

The BSI is consulting on the draft Publicly Available Specification (PAS) which lays out the competence framework for individual Building Safety Managers (BSMs) and nominated individuals working within an organisation Building Safety Manager carrying out the BSM duties.

We strongly encourage those who are responsible for building management to engage with this PAS as it will set the requirements for the BSM against which they will need to be certified.

This specification – PAS 8673 – is based on the recommendations regarding competence (i.e. skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours) and assessment given in Working Group 8’s (WG8) report Safer people, safer homes: building safety management.

IWFM was a key member of WG8 and is also part of the steering group involved in the development of this PAS, which is sponsored by MHCLG.

PAS 8673 specifies requirements for building safety competence relevant to the role, functions, activities and tasks of BSMs, the new statutory role outlined in the Building Safety Bill. The IWFM has compiled this briefing note on the Building Safety Bill to provide members with greater context to the PAS and the BSM role.

The PAS was also mapped against the recommendations and core competence criteria set out in BSI Flex 8670 Built environment – Core criteria for building safety in competence frameworks – Code of practice. ‘Building safety’ is used in the sense defined in BSI Flex 8670 and encompasses fire safety, structural safety, public safety and public health.

The draft PAS 8673 covers the competence and commitment of BSMs in regard to:

  • building structures and building systems
  • interaction of systems and components
  • operational practices necessary to maintain buildings safe for occupants
  • risk management
  • managing change, including the consequences of human behaviour
  • leadership, communication and planning skills
  • personal commitment to ethical behaviour and professional standards.

The specification describes different levels of competence for classifying BSMs and indicates the pathways between the levels. It shows how these levels relate to the competence requirements for managing buildings of different complexity and safety risks. The PAS also gives guidance on assessment of individuals.

IWFM’s Life Safety Working Group will review the proposed specification and will consult with other relevant stakeholders before submitting a response to the consultation (closing date is 15 September 2021).