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11 Jul

Is Your Job Killing You? Not all stress is the same

 By Admin    

Job stress can fray nerves, keep you up at night, and contribute to health problems such as heart disease and depression. Chronic job stress can put both your physical and emotional health at risk.

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Is Your Job Killing You?

Not all stress is the same

Job stress can fray nerves, keep you up at night, and contribute to health problems such as heart disease and depression. Chronic job stress can put both your physical and emotional health at risk.

Finding the source of your stress is the first step to fighting it, but that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, experts have identified specific work situations that are likely to make your blood boil. Which one of these stressed-out workers do you resemble?

Overworked underling

The profile: You're busy from the time you get to work until the time you leave, but you have little freedom while you're there. You don't have much say over how you do your job or the types of projects you work on, and you're always on someone else's schedule.

The solution: These types of jobs known as "high-demand, low-control" tend to cause a great deal of psychological strain. Even if you can't make your job less demanding, finding ways to get more involved in decision-making will help ease the stress, research suggests.

Frustrated go-getter

The profile: You work your tail off, but you feel you don’t receive enough credit or compensation. With lots of sweat (and maybe a few tears), you’ve made your bosses look good. Still, you haven’t received a raise, a promotion, or sufficient recognition.

The solution: These so-called "effort-reward imbalances" are a recipe for stress, especially among very driven people who are eager for approval. Try discussing your career goals with your boss. You may not get the rewards you want right away, but you could gain some insight about how to improve your situation and outlook.

Castaway

The profile: You feel like you’re all alone, and not in a good way. If you require help or guidance, your boss won’t give it to you, and when you need to vent, you don’t have a trusted ally to turn to.

The solution: A good support system at work includes both practical support from your bosses (the resources and help you need to do your job well) and emotional support from colleagues. Too little of either could make you feel stranded on irritation island. Work on communicating your needs, both practical and emotional. If you want your boss’s help, be as specific (and persuasive) as possible, and make connecting with co-workers a priority.

Doormat

The profile: You deal with demanding and verbally abusive customers, but through it all you’re expected ..no, required to swallow your resentment and maintain a facade of professionalism, calm, and courtesy.

The solution: "When there’s a discrepancy between your internal state and the roles you’re expected to play at work, you experience what researchers call ‘emotional labor,’ Ask your boss for advice or additional training on how to handle difficult customers without feeling demoralized. Doing your job without taking abuse personally will leave you feeling better about yourself.

Tech prisoner

The profile: Thanks to the mobile phone, and laptop your company so generously provided, your boss can now reach you 24/7. You're constantly (if virtually) connected to the office, and your work and personal life are indistinguishable.

The solution: “Technostress is an important and growing issue. To protect yourself from mental and physical strain, learn how to unplug (literally). Set aside blocks of time say between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., when you turn your electronics off and focus on clearing your head and spending time with family or friends. Or even doing a yoga class!

Burnout

The profile: You’re terminally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to the point where it becomes difficult to function. You feel as if you’re on the verge of a breakdown.

The solution: Although the word "burnout" is used loosely, the technical definition is severe exhaustion stemming from prolonged work-related stress. Burnout occurs most often in very charged, high-stakes work environments. But it can occur in just about any stressful job. If you’re experiencing burnout, discuss it with a supervisor and explore whether you can take time off or even a leave of absence.

Bully target

The profile: Your boss insults you, gives you impossible deadlines, assigns you busywork just because they can, and dresses you down in front of your colleagues. Or you’ve seen her do those things to others and you’re worried that you’re next.

The solution: Bullying isn't restricted to the playground; it appears to be on the rise in offices too. If you feel you're the victim of a bullying boss, you can try to mollify them . And if your co-workers share in your frustration, you can try confronting your tyrannical boss as a group. (There’s safety in numbers.) If that doesn’t work, document the bullying and raise your concerns with a superior or with human resources (HR).

Wronged victim

The profile: Work just isn’t fair. Your boss plays favourites, management decisions are mystifying and arbitrary, and employees are treated like children.

The solution: Workplaces that aren’t fair, transparent, and respectful lack what’s known as “organizational justice,” and they’re likely to have stressed-out employees. Pretty much anytime an individual feels they are being dealt with differently or unfairly, it places potentially harmful stress on them, You only have so much control over the atmosphere at work. However, raising your concerns with a trusted superior or HR rep may leave you feeling less burned out and less stressed.

 
12 Jan

Can your Ears Give You a Heads Up on Heart Disease?

 By Admin    

There are few that will argue, that ears are an important body part, more often not they are not thought of as the most glamourous.

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There are few that will argue, that ears are an important body part, more often not they are not thought of as the most glamourous. While this may not be set to change, there is new evidence that the way your ear lobes are formed may prove to be useful in predicting your health.

In the image above, the lobe features a diagonal crease, this may tell-tale sign that you might be at increased risk of suffering from heart disease.

The first reference to this phenomenon was back in 1973, when a physician named S.T Frank wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, detailing his observation that a number of his patients with ear lobe creases suffered from angina and heart problems. However, this initial observation cannot distinguish between causation and correlation due to the sample size and measurement practices. This initial observation may however, prove true after a number of follow up studies (including data from Post Mortems) provided evidence. With Swedish and UK based studies presenting a finding of those with a crease in the ear lobe being twice as likely to have coronary disease. There are however, studies that show no correlation or hypothesis that earlobe creases tend to develop as people mature (they are very rarely seen in children). It could therefore, be proposed that old age is the real factor associated with the higher rate of coronary disease.

The theories behind why a crease may be a sign of possible heart disease, also tend to support the aging theory. As the body ages the body begins to slow down, with effects such as intercellular aging, general tissue degeneration and damage to micro vessels. This leads to the skin being less elastic and causing wrinkles, including the ears. Another effect is that the blood vessels in the body also become less robust, increasing the potential of heart disease. It has also been noted that the heart and earlobes are both supplied by a single set of arteries, which means that if they fail there is no way to get blood to the area. Which then ties into the theory that earlobes can act as early warning system for coronary problems.
While the evidence for the earlobe creases being a legitimate predictor of coronary disease, it can act as a great way to raise the conversation on heart health. Regardless if you have a diagonal crease in your lobe or not, its never to early to start taking steps to look after your heart. Visit the British Heart Foundation, for more information.

 
12 Jan

The Twit’s Guide To Health and Safety (Or How They Ignore It)

 By Admin    

The 13th of September marks the life and works of the children’s author Roald Dahl, for more about the day click here. To celebrate his work, we thought we’d revisit one our favourite children’s books “The Twits” but with Health and Safety in mind.

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The 13th of September marks the life and works of the children’s author Roald Dahl, for more about the day click here.

To celebrate his work, we thought we’d revisit one our favourite children’s books “The Twits” but with Health and Safety in mind.

First up is the state of Mr Twit’s beard, which may provide him with snacks such as scraps of cornflakes and stilton cheese throughout the day but to the rest of us is just disgusting. The first step would naturally be start by giving it a wash but using a beard cover would help contamination of any food he is preparing.

Mr Twits approach to catching food also leaves room for improvement, not just in terms of taste and ethics but in the potential safety hazards. First up is his use of ladders, has he taken the necessary precautions, such as getting the right type and checking its condition? Then there’s the use of “hug-tight sticky” glue which is strong enough to keep birds from flying away. For those of you that know the story, one of the vital errors he makes in relation to safety of potentially dangerous subcutaneous is that he fails to store it in a safe place, away from little hands (or paws in this instance).

Wormy spaghetti may raise issues in relation to food hygiene regulations but “the shrinks” revenge prank suggests that Mr Twit really would benefit from a risk assessment training. With his prank backfiring and leaving him being squashed by his wife!

To find out how we keep the topic of health and safety fun, while providing real qualifications, visit the SOA Safety website.

 
12 Jan

Health & Safety in The Garden

 By Admin    

As Spring rolls into Summer the number of jobs in the garden always seems to grow. So, before you head out and tackle those hedges and plant beds, why not read our top 5 gardening health & safety tips:

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As Spring rolls into Summer the number of jobs in the garden always seems to grow. So, before you head out and tackle those hedges and plant beds, why not read our top 5 gardening health & safety tips:

1. Tools

Always make sure that you take the proper precautions, such as wearing gloves and appropriate clothing. Shoes should be sturdy, with laces tied and out of the way. If you’re using power tools, then eye protection is a must, to make sure that no flying pieces get into your eyes. You may want to consider ear plugs, if you are going to be using power tools for any extended period. On a final note, make sure that you take care of your tool (making sure that they are unplugged before going near moving parts).

2. Ladders

Some garden jobs may lead you to head up a ladder to get them done, make sure that you set up correctly and ideally have someone else in the vicinity. Always make sure that the ladder is set up on even ground and that the ladder isn’t damaged in any way. Take care not to overstretch yourself, as this can lead to a lack of balance. It’s worth looking at the type of step ladder you have as well, ensuring they are strong enough for the job. Domestic ladders tend to be flimsy where ‘light industrial’ ladders are much safer to use. If you use an extending ladder, then keep to the 1 in 4 rule. 4 feet up, 1 foot out to get the correct angle.

3. Hand Washing

Make sure to wash your hands after coming in from gardening (even if you have been wearing gloves). There are load of different sources of irritant such as pollens, chemicals and plant toxins that are best left outside. Further to this, cat, dog and foxes feces’ carry an extremely harmful micro-organism, Toxocara canis, which can cause blindness.

4. The Weather

While the temptation is to head into the garden at the slightest bit of sun, take care when gardening. If you get busy with a job, it is easy to lose track of time and get a touch too much sun. By wearing a hat and long sleeve clothing, you can reduce the risk of burning this summer. Sun cream (min SPF15) is also a simple way to increase the amount of time that you can safely spend in the sun. Further to this, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. This is particularly important if you are working hard.

5. Water Features

The biggest risk associated with ponds and other water features is that children can fall in and potentially drown. Ideally, you shouldn’t have a water feature in your garden until your children are over five years old. However, if you do or your worried about visiting children, there are still steps that you can take. Such as making sure that ponds are visible from the house, has sloping edges (which are easier to get out of) and if you have a deeper end to your pond, make sure that you grow plants around the edge as a barrier. You could also invest in a pond cover, for when little ones are visiting your home.

As usual with health & safety the key is not to stop doing what you want to get done, but taking a common-sense approach to doing it. To find out more about our courses, including first aid, why not visit the SOA Safety website?

 
12 Jan

Why Consider a Career in Health & Safety?

 By Admin    

Health & Safety Officers are responsible for creating a positive health and safety culture within a workplace.

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Health & Safety Officers are responsible for creating a positive health and safety culture within a workplace. They are also responsible for ensuring that your colleagues and employers comply with the current safety policies and legislation.
Along with setting policies for the company, the role also covers creating risk assessments, completing regular inspections, creating detailed reports and engaging your colleagues to keep them up to date on health and safety matters.

Salaries

While salaries can vary significantly depending on sector, the benchmark for a starting position is currently in the region of £24,000 – £32,000. This can increase to £40,000 – £55,000 in some senior positions.

How to get started in a career in health & safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is an industry recognised qualification and in many instances, is seen as the minimum qualification for anyone looking to move into a health and safety role. Following this, there are the specialist NEBOSH courses and diplomas, these can be used in conjunction with IOSH membership. For more information about the structure of these courses/memberships visit our previous blog.

Career Prospects

While the legislation may vary, a career in health and safety offers a good long term option. You may wish to specialise in a particular industrial sector, once you have gained enough experience, for example, in an area such as terrorism, nuclear safety, or offshore oil and gas.
Visit the SOA Safety website or contact a member of our team on  01229 808 320, for a full range of health and safety courses to kick start your health and safety career, including NEBOSH.

 
12 Jan

“Real Life” Confined Space Training by SOA Safety

 By Admin    

Confined spaces can be deadly – A number of people are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year in the UK. This happens in a wide range of industries, from those involving complex plant to simple storage vessels.

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“Confined spaces can be deadly – A number of people are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year in the UK. This happens in a wide range of industries, from those involving complex plant to simple storage vessels. Those killed include people working in the confined space and those who try to rescue them without proper training and equipment.” – HSE

The quote above is from the Health & Safety Executive and really highlights the reasons behind the Confined Spaces Regulations introduced in 1998. Here at SOA Safety, we over a range of course that allow the attendees to return to work with the knowledge to create safer working environments. We aim to do this by not just presenting high quality information and proven methods of delivery but by making the courses as interactive and enjoyable as possible. Learning is best undertaken, when the learner is fully engaged in the subject. Our Confined Space Training courses are a great example of this, as we employ a “real life” working conditions approach. This means that the learners are fully immersed in the scenarios and we have found this leads to better retain of the course content.

Within our confined space facility, our trainers introduce hazards (such as smoke) for the learners to manage. These hazards are fully controlled and all scenarios are monitored and recorded via infra-red cameras. By recording the scenarios, the instructors can latterly lead the group into discussing what had been done well and how the performance could be improved.
We run several confined space training courses including refresher courses. For more information on the dates and placement availability, click here.

 
12 Jan

The History of the Heimlich Manoeuvre

 By Admin    

With the Heimlich manoeuvre being a vital lifesaving technique that is taught on most first aid courses, you would probably think that it had been around for centuries.

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How one Man and his Dog Helped Save Thousands!

With the Heimlich manoeuvre being a vital lifesaving technique that is taught on most first aid courses, you would probably think that it had been around for centuries. However, did you know that research into this manoeuvre only started in the early 1970s? With us sadly losing the inventor of this lifesaving technique, Dr. Heimlich, last December, we thought you might like to know a bit more about the fascinating story behind the development of the Heimlich manoeuvre and how this technique has helped save countless lives. In June 1972, Dr. Henry Heimlich was reading the New York Times Magazine when he stumbled across an article stating that choking caused nearly 4,000 deaths in the US each year. Startled by this figure, the Cincinnati surgeon decided that there must be a better solution than giving back blows to a casualty, which medical journals at the time suggested (though this has since been disproved) drove the obstruction down and lodged it more tightly in the airway. With this in mind, Heimlich set out to discover a method to try and push the obstruction upwards rather than downwards. He began by experimenting on an anaesthetised beagle, placing a tube down its throat with an inflated balloon on the end to act as an obstruction. Initially, he tried pushing down on the dog’s chest, however, he soon realised that the pressure to the lungs was significantly reduced by the ribcage, leaving the obstruction in place. This got him thinking ‘what about the diaphragm, if I push the diaphragm upward into the chest that would create a ‘bellows’ effect and force the air from the lungs upward’. He instantly turned back to his canine patient, placed his fists on the dog’s belly and pushed the diaphragm upward into the chest, and much to his amazement the tube shot out from the dog’s mouth! Dr Heimlich’s next challenge was to create a simple manoeuvre that could be easily practised by the general public instead of just healthcare professionals. Initial tests included holding a casualty against the wall and pushing against their upper abdomen before laying them on the floor to do the same. However, it was the familiar movement of putting the arms around the casualty from behind to administer the abdominal thrust that was decided as the best option.

Ready to publish his ground-breaking findings to a much wider audience, Heimlich approached the Emergency Medicine magazine and his first ever article ‘Pop Goes the Café Coronary’ was published in 1974 along with a follow up column from a Chicago Daily News medical reporter. The results were immediate, as just one short week later, a Seattle newspaper reported on how a holidaymaker started to choke on her food, but her life was saved by successful administration of the first ever Heimlich Manoeuvre! After several similar lifesaving reports, in October 1975, Dr Heimlich was asked to write an article for the Journal American Medical Association detailing his discovery, and by 1976 the Heimlich manoeuvre began to be included in First Aid booklets and training courses. Jumping forward to May 2016, the man who gave his name to this simple but dramatic procedure, used it himself to save someone’s life for the very first time aged 96. After noticing his neighbour choking on her food, without any hesitation, he spun her around and immediately placed his clenched fist below the ribcage and administered several upwards thrusts until the lodged object flew out of her throat.

So there you have it. In the 43 years since the Heimlich manoeuvre was first invented it has helped save countless lives all over the world, including President Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor and Carrie Fisher to name a few. Whilst the terminology for this manoeuvre now has a more instructive name, the main aim of helping to save lives still remains the same. So, if you are fortunate enough to save a choking casualty’s life, remember to spare a thought for Dr. Henry Heimlich and his services to the first aid industry.

This post was taken from Qualsafe Awards, SOA Safety is a registered Qualsafe Awards Centre . Visit our site to find out more about our courses.

 
12 Jan

More about the NEBOSH Fire Safety & Risk Management Certificate

 By Admin    

If you have read our earlier blog post on how NEBOSH qualifications fit within the larger scheme of obtaining IOSH membership, then you will know that the fire safety & risk management certificate fits into the TechIOSH tier of the IOSH structure.

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If you have read our earlier blog post on how NEBOSH qualifications fit within the larger scheme of obtaining IOSH membership, then you will know that the fire safety & risk management certificate fits into the TechIOSH tier of the IOSH structure. Which, in short means that if you are looking to build your career in safety, this could be a great course for you. The NEBOSH certificates, are attainable in sectors specific to industries such as construction, environmental and fire allowing for a tailored learning path.

Here at SOA Safety, we offer the NEBOSH fire safety & risk management, without the Management of Health & Safety module (NGC1), as most people will have attained that module by completing the NEBOSH Health & Safety at work qualification.
The course itself covers the legal requirements surrounding fire safety but also covers actionable insight on the causes and prevention of fires, fire protection within buildings, the principles of fire and explosions and how to ensure the safety of people in the event of fire. By completing this course attendees should be able to carry our fire risk assessments, have knowledge of the basic fire extinguishing methods, understand the key elements of a fire management system and more. To see the full list of the course objectives, visit our course page.

SOA Safety are proud to provide this NEBOSH course, which is an internationally recognised qualification. While fulfilling all the elements of the outlined curriculum, we also add our usual level of additional interactivity and fun that we build into all our courses. We believe that Health and Safety training needn’t be dull.

 
12 Jan

What to Expect from a Risk Assessment Course

 By Admin    

If you have any role in the health and safety of your company, you will no doubt have heard of a risk assessment. Perhaps, it’s maybe a task that you do annually, using a template of the HSE website without much additional thought.

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If you have any role in the health and safety of your company, you will no doubt have heard of a risk assessment. Perhaps, it’s maybe a task that you do annually, using a template of the HSE website without much additional thought. However, by doing this, you are running the risk of falling short of the legislation on the topic but of allowing an accident to happen. By taking part in a Risk Assessment course, such as the ones provided by SOA Safety, you are ensuring that your company is adhering to the legislation and that your health and safety work is really adding value to the business.

On our courses, we ensure that participants leave with an understanding not just about the legal requirements of risk assessments but how to complete them in a meaningful manner. A key objective of the course is attendees being able to identify and assess potential hazards and then selecting the most appropriate method of risk control. This means that the attendees are no longer just completing checklists just to comply, but potentially driving safety and efficiency within the work environment.
SOA Safety have a team of trainers who are dedicated to breaking the mould by providing training courses that aren’t just a dreary necessity to obtain a certificate, but rather engaging sessions that leave attendees with the skills to apply the knowledge to their own work environments. We offer our Risk Assessment course at both of our training centres in Cumbria (Dalton and Workington) but we can also travel nationally to present the course on site. For more information, why not get in touchwith our team?

 
12 Jan

More About the IOSH Working Safely Course

 By Admin    

This is a short and general course, that has been designed by the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) to provide the attendees with a solid grounding on safety for the workplace.

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This is a short and general course, that has been designed by the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) to provide the attendees with a solid grounding on safety for the workplace. The course covers all the key points required for understanding why people need to be actively aware of potential safety issues within the workplace.

This course is accessible to everyone, as its designed to focus on key actionable elements of safety, rather than the theory and legal background of the measures. The training is broken down to be presented in an easy to digest manner; with multiple choice quizzes, discussions of case studies and supported by handouts to be used back in the workplace.
This is a one day course, that SOA Safety can provide at either our training centres or at your work place. Due to the shorter nature of this course, it is the perfect choice for businesses looking to build awareness of safety across your team. Conversely, it would be a good step for anyone looking to personally diversify their CV.