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Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

6 Easy Ways to Reduce VOC Exposure in the Workplace

11-10-2017

What are VOCs?

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are a family of chemicals that readily evaporate and turn into gases and vapour. Put simply, this means they give off odorous fumes and increase the concentration of potentially harmful chemicals in the air.

And in the modern age, they can be found everywhere. From the pungent smell of fresh paint to household air fresheners, perfumes and nail polishes, thousands of these chemicals are encountered on a daily basis. Even new furniture and carpets can release VOCs over time, which is why it’s recommended to leave them to air out before bringing them into your home.

Photo shows chemical spray bottles

VOCs are incredibly prolific, but levels tend to be much higher indoors. When you paint a room for instance, the volume of VOCs in the air can rise to 5000 times the level measured outside. And what’s worse is VOCs can cause unpleasant health problems in those exposed to them. Formaldehyde, one of the most well-known VOCs, is a carcinogen that’s still widely used in construction and the production of household products like glues, adhesives, paints and coatings, and even dishwashing liquids and fabric softeners. This and similar chemicals have been linked t…

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Using Virtual Reality To Simulate Real Risks

26-09-2017

Photo shows an example augmented realityThere will always be a place for PowerPoint presentations, especially if business boardrooms have anything to say about it. But as an effective learning tool, there is room for improvement.

Even the most attentive student isn’t going to absorb everything they need from bullet points and anecdotes. Yet in many training scenarios, this is the only realistic option. On-site training can be either too dangerous or simply ineffective, as genuine hazards cannot be replicated in a convincing or safe manner.

Until now, that is. The advent of convincing and accessible virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) platforms allows for training to take place that is more practical, realistic and engaging than existing training solutions. The ability to replicate real locations and introduce convincing, danger-free hazards could herald a revolution in health and safety training, reducing deaths and injuries in high-risk professions.

Constructing worlds

One of the industries where health and safety training is most paramount is construction. 2016 statistics for the UK show that 18% of workplace deaths occurred in this industry, with construction machinery being a particular dang…

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Derbyshire company fined after death of worker using fork lift truck

06-09-2017

stock photo shows a forklift truckA Derbyshire-based company has been fined after the death of a 19-year-old worker, when a fork lift truck (FLT) overturned at the company’s site in Chinley.

Manchester Crown Court (Minshull Street) heard how, on 10 February 2015, Ben Pallier-Singleton was driving a FLT during night time hours down a sloping roadway, when it overturned and the employee suffered fatal crush injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation (with initial involvement from Derbyshire Constabulary) found the employee was not adequately trained; he wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the FLT overturning; the company did not inform their employees of the speed limit on-site; the company had not put measures in place to control the speed of vehicles and; the company failed to have adequate lighting and edge protection in place to avoid FLTs overturning.

Vinyl Compound Ltd. of Stephanie Works, High Park, Derbyshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £450,000 plus costs of £71,778.

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