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Occupational health and safety news and guidance

The curious culture of handwashing around the world

05-06-2017

Photo shows handwashing or bathing

In the western world, we take for granted access to soap and the hygiene education responsible for our daily handwashing regime. A combination of globalisation and healthcare are driving the interest in handwashing culture around the world, with encouragement to adopt the western approach, especially in food handling and healthcare.

Regular handwashing with soap is promoted as an effective approach to disease prevention. There’s even a day devoted to it! Global Handwashing Day was set up in 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) established Global Handwashing Day to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap. The campaign was initiated to help reduce child mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases.

Suitably equipped bathrooms and running water are things we in the Western World take for granted. With many of his youthful years spent travelling the continents, author Mike James is all too aware of the varying levels of sanitation and cultural solutions. Working with information available with the Bathroom Discount Centre, he was curious to know more ab…

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Infographic: How to treat and dispose of bed bug infested furniture safely

11-04-2017

There aren’t many things worse than having a bed bug infestation in your home or business premises, but if you do, you need to know how to deal with it in the safest way possible. Not just for your own household, but for the local community. One of the main points to consider when it comes to safely treating bed bugs, and to avoid spreading them in the community, is how to dispose of infected furniture. Disposal needs to be the last resort when it comes to infected mattresses and soft furnishings, and it is mainly not necessary.

There are a lot of treatment options and techniques you can use to eradicate these pests before you have to throw away your furniture. Put all removable fabrics in the laundry, and use the hottest heat setting to destroy bed bugs, which are extremely sensitive to heat. Vigilant vacuuming of the mattress is also a must, and always empty the cylinder into a sealed bag to prevent any of them from escaping.

Chemical treatments can be used, but apart from the obvious health and safety risks to people, animals and the environment, they are not so effective. Pests build up resistance to insecticides, and in any case, they do not kill their eggs.

Profess…

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On the lookout for occupational asthma

11-04-2017

Photo shows an inhaler

People who develop asthma because of the type of work they do have what's known as occupational asthma. It's actually referred to as adult-onset asthma and accounts for up to 15% of asthma cases in adults. What's more, it's believed that in certain industries, as many as 10% of workers develop occupational asthma.

That's a lot of people being struck down by a condition that can be distressing and debilitating for them, and costly for their employers. Already, the UK has one of the worst instances of worker absence in the world due to illness. A study by accountancy firm PwC found that employees in the UK take as much as four times more absence annually because of sickness, compared to other countries. That’s an average absence of 9.1 days and it costs companies £29 billion a year.

Clearly, employers are not only legally and duty bound to provide a safe working environment for their personnel, but they also want to reduce the possibility of any kind of illness that may lead to days off and loss of productivity. With occupational asthma, some sectors are inherently more hazardous than others, such as the chemical and paint industries, where workers are exposed to dangero…

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