PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is a crucial consideration in many different industries. Doctors (who are frequently at risk of infection) and builders (who face any number of hazards over the course of a working day) are obvious examples, but PPE isn't just something for the medical and construction industries to worry about - protective equipment is used practically everywhere, from fire and police stations to warehouses and post offices.
Sadly, the requirement for PPE is one that's all too often forgotten by employers and their staff. It's easy to dismiss protective equipment as yet more 'red tape' that gets in the way of one's job, but the truth of the matter is that PPE saves lives - without it, your employees are at risk, and you and your business are liable for any damages.
Here are some sobering case studies from a variety of different industries:
Nurse sues hospital company after contracting Ebola
If Nina Pham's name sounds familiar to you, it's probably because her story was one of the biggest of last year's Ebola outbreak. Ms Pham was the first person to contract the disease on American soil, and though she fortunately recovered the illness, she has since filed a lawsuit against her employer, Texas Health Resources, on the grounds that they didn't to enough to protect her from infection. The lawsuit states that the company did not adequately train employees to avoid exposure; furthermore, they did not provide the correct protective equipment, which meant that Nina Pham's neck and hair were exposed whilst treating an infected patient.
Worker paralysed after three-metre fall
A 34-year-old man named Colin Shields was left paralysed from the neck down after suffering a fall at work. Mr Shields fell 3 metres from the top of a gritter; the Health & Safety Executive fined his employer, Inex Works Ltd, £13,500 for breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. A press release on the HSE website suggested that Mr Shields ought to have been "wearing a harness or restriant to protect him from falling".
Narrow escape for man hit by falling guttering
Valentin Taljanov (aged 61 at the time of the incident in question) was seriously injured after a piece of cast iron guttering fell onto him at Aberdeen Harbour, where he was working at the time. Mr Taljanov suffered a broken arm, a punctured lung, and multiple other injuries, although the damage could potentially have been even worse; an HSE press release stated that "it was probably only Mr Taljanov's hard hat that prevented him from being killed".
Hopefully, these three stories have more than convinced you of the importance of PPE. If you are an employer, be sure to train your workers properly, and put up the proper PPE signs to remind them of their responsibilities at all times!
We sell a range of RoHS labels here at Label Source. But what does it actually mean to be 'RoHS compliant'? Allow us to answer your questions...
What does 'RoHS' stand for?
Restriction of Hazardous Substances, which is itself shorthand for the directive's full title: Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
What is the RoHS directive?
A legal act of the European Union (EU) that first came into force in 2003. When it took effect, the RoHS directive placed severe restrictions on the use of six potentially hazardous materials in consumer electronics and electrical equipment.
What materials are prohibited by RoHS?
The following materials are prohibited (with some expections):
This means that, in most cases, goods containing any of the above substances cannot be sold to the general public.
How do I comply with the RoHS directive?
In a nutshell: you must not manufacture, import, or sell any products that contravene RoHS regulations. If any of your products contain lead, mercury, or any of the other substances listed above, you may well be in breach of the RoHS, which means that you could be vulnerable from a legal standpoint. Ignorance is not a valid defence; you must be able to prove that you have taken all reasonable measures to comply with the RoHS directive.
How can Label Source help with this?
As mentioned above, we sell a huge range of RoHS labels for manufacturers and retailers to use with their products. Some of the labels indicate that the labelled product is, for example, lead-free (and hence compliant); others are designed to indicate the presence of restricted materials for environmental and safety purposes. We also offer WEEE labels and China RoHS labels, both of which are closely related to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive and may indicate compliance by association.
Click here to browse our full range of RoHS/WEEE labels.
Earlier this month, the Health Service Journal published a report on the current state of patient safety in the NHS. Entitled The Case for Patient Safey: Financially, Professionall and Ethically, it is a wide-ranging report that covers a number of different concerns; however, one point in particular stands out:
"[T]here's a long list of clinical risks where, seen through the lens of patient safety, we have to act, and the NHS can be a world leader. There are still enormous improvements to be had from improvements in areas such as sepsis and acute kidney injury. And one of the biggest threats facing all healthcare systems, anti-microbial resistance, needs to be comprehensively tackled as an emerging patient safety threat."
Today, we'd like to tell you how you can personally help to prevent the spread of anti-microbial resistance with the UK and its National Health Service. But first...
What IS anti-microbial resistance?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines anti-microbial resistance as the "resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by it". In layman's terms: once scientists have found the cure for a particular disease, that disease may - over time - build up a resistance to the cure. This is called 'anti-microbial resistance'.
Why is this a problem?
Because infections will pose a far more serious threat to human life if they become resistant to antimicrobial treatments. Illnesses that are currently treatable may eventually become life-threatening if their anti-microbial resistance builds up.
What can I do about it?
We're glad you asked! The following actions are recommended by the WHO itself - here's what you personally can do to tackle anti-microbial resistance:
- Wash your hands. This simple act is the single best way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases - you should always wash after using the toilet, preparing food, sneezing/coughing into your hands, or otherwise coming into contact with something that could carry infection (e.g. animals, refuse, wounds).
- Avoid contact with sick people if possible. This one is just common sense: the less time you spend around an infection, the less likely you are to be infected.
- Practise safe sex. Condoms are the most effective way to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted infections; while other contraceptives (such as the pill or an IUD coil) will minimise the risk of pregnancy, these methods do nothing to prevent infection.
- Ensure that you are properly vaccinated. This also goes for any children in your care, as well as for vulnerable elderly relatives who may need your assistance to get their vaccinations.
- Do not use anti-microbial drugs unless prescribed. Just as vaccinations help you to build up a resistance to certain diseases, unprescribed use of anti-microbial drugs may help infections to build up a resistance to these treatments.
- If your doctor prescribes anti-microbial drugs, be sure to finish the full treatment course. Even if you feel better after a few doses, it is important to take the full recommended treatment.
Of course, if you work in a hospital, clinic, or any other healthcare environment, you may be able to prevent anti-microbial resistance in other ways. For example, you can ensure that your building has plenty of signs that remind people to wash their hands, dispose of clinical waste properly, and so forth. Education is an important of any safety programme, and now that you know how to prevent anti-microbial resistance, you can educate others, both via safety signs and by word of mouth.
Thermal transfer labels are used in all sorts of industries. Thermal printers are fast, reliable, and don't need any ink or toner, making them a superb label printing solution for everyone from parcel couriers to food manufacturers and medical professionals.
While thermal printing isn't capable of matching the print quality of some other methods (e.g. laser/inkjet printing), it is still possible to achieve an eye-catching finish through the use of coloured thermal transfer labels. We offer a range of different colours here at Label Source; our paper thermal transfer labels are available in 7 different colours, while our vinyl labels offer 12 colour choices.
Furthermore, no matter which colour you need, you'll have a huge range of sizes to choose from, as well as several different shapes. All of our thermal transfer labels are manufactured to industrial standards, ensuring that you won't be disappointed with their appearance or performance when you use them.
To see Label Source's full range of industrial thermal transfer labels and related products, visit our Printers & Consumables page.
Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported that funeral directors may be at increased risk of developing motor neurone disease (MND) if they work with formaldehyde. This news was based on a recent American study, which found that "men* in jobs with high probability of exposure versus no formaldehyde exposure had an almost three times greater rate of mortality from motor neurone disease".
Funeral directors sometimes use formaldehyde to embalm dead bodies (an increasingly popular option amongst grieving families who wish to view the deceased in a chapel of rest), but use of this chemical is carefully regulated - this report isn't the first to link formaldehyde to nerve damage. The aforementiond Mail article features a quote from Alan Slater, CEO of the National Association of Funeral Directors, who made it clear that health and safety guidelines are crucial for the protection of funeral directors who use formaldehyde; Slater specifically cited "the use of appropriate protective clothing and equipment" as an important factor, along with "a strict adherence to manufacturers' instructions".
Here at Label Source, we sell a wide range of products that can be used to minimise risk when using such hazardous chemicals as formaldehyde. Our COSHH signs remind employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and observe the relevant precautions, while our UN labels should be used to identify hazardous substances when in transit.
1198 is the UN number for formaldehyde solutions.
Visit our Hazardous Substances & Chemicals department to browse Label Source's full range of chemical hazard products.
*The same results were not observed in women, but according to the Mail article, "this could be because the amount of women in the study with exposure to high levels of formaldehyde was too small".