This Week's News 06.07.18

The heat is on - scorchio!

Our core temperature is continuously finding balance with the ambient temperatures around us, but when the ambient temperatures are extremely warm this can have a negative impact on our brain's ability to perform. So, how can employees regulate their temperatures in hot conditions? In a working environment it is always better to be subjected to cooler surroundings so that the body can expend its energy on cognitive processes instead of correcting the temperature state of the body.

To defeat the heat and keep your team 'brain fit', it helps to ensure they have the right resources on hand to keep cool, such as:

  • Keeping water dispensers topped up. Drinking at least four to six glasses a day keeps our brains hydrated which affects overall brain health
  • Ensuring blinds are on the windows. Avoid working in hot areas or full sun, if possible
  • Checking people are working in air-conditioned or well-ventilated areas
  • Encouraging staff to take regular breaks
  • Arranging high physical energy activities in the early mornings or at cooler times of the day
  • Wearing protective but breathable or loose clothing to help skin cool down through perspiration.

Temperature in the workplace

The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort. A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that: 'During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.' However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse etc. These Regulations only apply to employees - they do not apply to members of the public, for example, with regard temperature complaints from customers in a shopping centre or cinema.

Leaflets for potential apprentices

The Essential Guide to Apprenticeship Support has been recently updated and now includes more information on the support available to individuals who are considering applying for an apprenticeship and current apprentices. The information may also be useful for parents, carers and other groups that offer advice and guidance.

Risk at Work - personal protective equipment (PPE)

Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Why is PPE important?

Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly. Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain, so PPE is needed to reduce the risk.

What do I have to do?

Only use PPE as a last resort. If PPE is still needed after implementing other controls (and there will be circumstances when it is, e.g. head protection on most construction sites), you must provide this for your employees free of charge. You must choose the equipment carefully (see selection details below) and ensure employees are trained to use it properly, and know how to detect and report any faults.

Selection and use

You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is exposed and to what?
  • How long are they exposed for?
  • How much are they exposed to?

When selecting and using PPE:

  • Choose products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 - suppliers can advise you
  • Choose equipment that suits the user - consider the size, fit and weight of the PPE. If the users help choose it, they will be more likely to use it
  • Instruct and train people how to use it, e.g. train people to remove gloves without contaminating their skin. Tell them why it is needed, when to use it and what its limitations are

Other advice on PPE

  • Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that 'only take a few minutes'
  • Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate - explain the job to them
  • If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist adviser


  • PPE must be properly looked after and stored when not in use, e.g. in a dry, clean cupboard. If it is reusable it must be cleaned and kept in good condition.
  • Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.

Monitor and review

  • Check regularly that PPE is used. If it isn't, find out why not
  • Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn
  • Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods - you may need to update what you provide

COSHH and hairdressers - key messages

  • Frequent contact with water and shampoo can irritate the skin leading to dermatitis.
  • Some hairdressing and cleaning products can cause dermatitis and skin allergies.
  • Some dusty products like persulphates and henna can cause asthma.
  • Some hair sprays can make asthma worse.

There are simple things you can do to prevent dermatitis and asthma:

  • Keep the workplace well ventilated.
  • Wear disposable non-latex gloves for shampooing, colouring and bleaching.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly after washing with a soft towel.
  • Moisturise your hands as often as possible.
  • Change your gloves between clients.
  • Check your skin regularly for early signs of skin problems.

Dermatitis: messages for senior salon staff

What you should know

You can help prevent it - encourage apprentices to look after their hands by wearing non-latex gloves, drying hands thoroughly and using moisturiser regularly.

Overall, dermatitis is bad for business - cost of sickness absence, staff turnover and loss of clients, and the risk of legal action. If you don't wear gloves when you ought to, your apprentices will think it's OK not to wear them too. Failure to wear gloves sets a very poor example and means your apprentices could fail an assessment if they get into the bad habit of not wearing them.

What you should do

Further information

Skills and learning

The government's flagship Industrial Strategy policy, unveiled last November, claimed to have skills and training at its heart. It promised to publish a comprehensive careers strategy that would improve access and quality of careers advice to people of all ages.

This careers strategy was published last December, including benchmarks for secondary schools to improve their careers provision. However, in May, the Careers and Enterprise Company, which is tasked by the government to deliver aspects of this strategy, appeared before a Commons select committee, where it was accused of wasting millions of pounds on research and being a "woeful waste of money" by MPs. Furthermore, firm plans on the proposed National Retraining Scheme - which will help people re-skill as jobs evolve in coming years - are still to emerge. An advisory group of government officials, union leaders and industry bodies such as the CBI met in March to discuss plans for the scheme. Meanwhile, the first schools and colleges to teach T-levels - a new technical qualification framework at the centre of the government's skills strategy - were announced last month. Some courses are due to start from September 2020, but the full roll-out has now been delayed until 2023, according to the Department for Education.

Surrey National Autistic Society (NAS) conference

A conference for parents and other family members, people with autism, and the professionals who work with them is taking place on Saturday 29 September from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at the University of Surrey, Guildford. For more information please click here.

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