The use of contractors is inevitable in most workplaces. The type of work being carried out at such times can be potentially dangerous for both contractors and employees working at the site. In the UK at least, health and safety law puts legal responsibility on both parties (the contractors and the clients) for the safety of each other.

Here are just 5 ways to ensure the safety of all involved. 

Carry out a health and safety check prior to work beginning 

Prior to carrying out work, make sure a full health and safety check has been made which both parties are satisfied with. Contractors need to be sure they won’t be at risk from aspects of the site – e.g. lead, asbestos, structural damage, whilst clients need to be happy that their employees won’t be put at risk by the contractors’ activities. 

Take care in selecting contractors 

The best way to be sure of your employees’ safety when hiring contractors is to be thorough in selecting contractors to carry out the work. Ask them for references, particularly for similar jobs. Ask how experienced they are at this particular type of work. Ask what their health and safety procedures are and what training their employees receive. Ask how they undertake risk assessments (and if you can view this before work proceeds). 

Pay attention to sub-contracting 

Just as important is to be sure that if your contractors do sub-contract, that you’re happy with their methods for doing so. It’s up to them how they select sub-contractors, but you are perfectly entitled to be made aware of their selection procedures to make sure you’re satisfied with them, and to ensure any sub-contractors will be subject to the same health and safety regulations and procedures the contractors are. 

Inform everyone who may be affected 

It is absolutely essential that all employees know there is work being carried out, where it is, and what they need to do to take account for it e.g. wear a ANSI hard hat if you must go through this area.  Also ensure there is a clear procedure for reporting potential safety risks and that all employees are made aware of it. 

Regularly monitor work 

Aside from relying on employees to report potential safety risks, appoint a specific health and safety monitor to regularly check up on the contractors to make sure all work is in compliance with regulations and pre-agreed processes.  Ideally this person should be a trained health and safety officer who knows what to look out for.

 Nick Lewis is writing for Universal Platforms, cherry pickers hire and training in London. Find out more at


June and July are slated as “National Fireworks Safety Month”; however, there are probably many “eager beavers” out there that are already stocking up on fireworks.  Because of drought conditions in many parts of the country, fireworks will be banned.   Please observe warnings from county/city officials. 

Judy Comoletti, National Fire Prevention Agency’s Division Manager of Public Education, states: “Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs.  The few seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth risking injury, permanent scarring, or even death.”  Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks.  (Haven’t we had enough wildfires already?)  Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year for recent years.  Bottle rockets or other types of rockets are some of the main causes of structure fire property loss. 

Dr. John Hall, NFPA’s Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research says, “when things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protective provisions can reliably respond.”  On the average, more than 8,000 Americans spend part of the July 4th in emergency rooms because of fireworks injuries.  Contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye, in addition to permanent loss of vision are just part of the injuries caused by fireworks.  However, 1,600 eye injuries tells us that the sight of shooting off fireworks for a few minutes’ thrill is not worth gambling on your vision, or hurting any other part of the body.

 Fireworks must be treated with respect, if you plan to shoot them off.  Read all the warning labels and then use common sense.  As we said earlier, if there is a burn ban, forget it.   If you should see someone misusing fireworks, stop them.  Do not let children under 12 handle sparklers.  Fireworks and alcohol don’t mix; have a “designated shooter.” 

Most people do not want to risk losing a home that they have worked their life for by playing around with fireworks.  Public fireworks displays are one of the safest alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July.  Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the safest and smartest fireworks alternative for anyone, because they are established under controlled settings and regulations.  After these displays or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, because they could discharge by still being active.  Children should always tell an adult if they find this type of fireworks. 

Facts worth repeating (in case they haven’t all been mentioned):

  •          More fires are reported in the U.S. on July 4th than any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fire.
  •          In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000  reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.  These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries, and $38 million in direct property damage.
  •          In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.
  •          The risk of fireworks injuries was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.
  •          Few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, permanent scarring, loss of vision, dismemberment, and  possibly death, that could result. 
  •          Amateur fireworks use endangers not only the users, but also bystanders and surrounding property and structures.
  •          If you are going to do fireworks at your home, have a water hose ready

We just recently learned that the decibel level of a typical fireworks display is 140.  It takes only 120 decibels to bring on noise-induced hearing loss, according to the Ntional institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.  Be sure this July 4th, make sure freedom is the only thing ringing by enjoying the patriotic pyrotechnics from at least 1,000 feet (about three football fields) away from the launch site.  If you have to be closer, how about investing in hearing protection earplugs?

We certainly aren’t trying to “dampen” your holiday spirit!  Countries all over the world have celebrations that include fireworks.  Congratulations to our friends in England, who will be hosting this year’s Olympics!  We feel sure we’ll see plenty of fireworks during their festivities.  Good luck to all participants!  Represent your country to the best of your ability, and if you are an American, start the month off right by celebrating wisely.  Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!



If you want to maximize the quality of your health now while potentially fighting off heart disease in the future, it is first important to look at the lifestyle you are living now. Once you have analyzed your life for places that need a healthier improvement, you will know the types of changes you must make in order to become a healthier person while reducing your risk of heart disease. If you need help figuring out what types of changes are necessary for you to maintain great body and heart health, the following information may help you out. 

1. Quit Smoking

This is probably an obvious bit of information, but smoking is really bad for your health. Not only can smoking cause lung problems, but it can cause a variety of other problems including heart trouble. It does not matter how many years you have smoked because once you stop the damage you have already done will begin to heal. If you truly want to stay healthy while protecting your heart from harm, quit smoking as soon as possible. 
2. Drink Moderately
Recent studies have shown that a once daily glass of beer or wine is actually beneficial to the heart. If you like to drink and you often drink way more than the beneficial amount of alcohol, alcohol can be extremely damaging to your body and the health of your heart. If you drink more than the beneficial amount of alcohol per day, it is wise to cut down on your alcohol intake if you want to protect your heart. 
3. Exercise
If you truly want to create a lifetime of health that will help you avoid heart disease, you must exercise. You don’t have to join a gym to get the exercise you need, simply taking a walk will do. Any type of energy you exert during the day, be it while housecleaning, or from a jog around the neighborhood, exercise is an important way to stay healthy while fighting off heart disease. 
4. Good Diet
What you eat is very important to the overall health of your body and your heart. If you have a diet that consists mainly of fast food or other unhealthy, vitamin lacking meals, you can do damage not only to your body, but also to your heart. Try to make sure that your diet is full of food rich in the important vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health. What you eat can have a drastic impact on the health of your heart so if you want to protect it, you need to eat healthier. 
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. While it may be a horrible disease to have which can seriously endanger your life, the good news is that you have the power save your heart health. By committing to a lifetime of health and fitness techniques that will keep both your body and heart healthy, you will be committing to a lifetime of good health.
Peter Larnick writes about health, finance & more at
If we could only teach our children to stay away from the junk food and exercise more, we’d see a healthier group of young people, too! pb  Thank you for this excellent article, teaching us the simple basics of a healthy life. pb

Guest Post U

The University of Great Content


Alarms are the first line of defence in the event of a fire. They act as an early warning sign giving you the chance to evacuate premises and escape any fire-related danger.  Everyone wants to protect their homes and by law, any facility used for a commercial purpose must protect those that work inside it, but there is often some confusion as to the difference between a fire alarm and a smoke alarm.

Well, the clue really is in the title. One detects smoke, and the other detects fire. But as the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire, so both are equally important. In fact, more people will suffer from inhalation of smoke than they will from fire burns. Here’s why the two are so different and where they are best suited:

Smoke alarms

What are they?

Smoke alarms are devices that are able to detect smoke or fire, giving an audible alarm as a result. They are fantastic at detecting a fire in its early stages, allowing you adequate warning to evacuate before inhaling any harmful gases.  Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of fatality when it comes to fire-related deaths. In fact, in the majority of cases, the victims are asleep when the smoke enters their lungs, cementing the absolute requirement for smoke alarms.

What are the benefits?

Because they are simple yet effective, they are ideal for domestic use. Ideally, one should be placed on each level of the home, and in particular where you can hear it from the bedroom. It is advisable not to place them in areas that may cause frequent activation such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Many of these can be combined with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon Monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and invisible gas, meaning you can be killed by it before you even know it existed. Combined smoke alarms can protect from this as well as smoke particles. 

Smoke detectors are the most basic device available on the market and are cheap additions to a building considering their vital role. They are best suited for homes, where people can exit the property quickly and easily. 

Fire alarms

What are they?

A fire alarm detects the presence of fire by monitoring the changes in environment associated with combustion. This can include the detection of smoke which is why they are commonly confused with smoke alarms.

In commercial environments, where fire alarms are best suited, if you employ more than five people, you need to have a written record of your fire assessment by law. This will affect how many fire alarms are required and what fire precautions should be made in order to protect the facility and its staff.

What are the benefits?

Fire alarms can be linked with other systems making for an efficient and safer system. For example, when a fire alarm is triggered, sprinkler systems can be activated, or the local fire station can be alerted.

For this reason, and for their ability to be more complex, fire alarms are generally not used in domestic environments.   

When you consider how much damage could be prevented, and how many lives are saved a year from their simple installation, their cost is minimal in comparison. 

Author Bio: 

Karen Asbury is Firemart’s Fire Safety Expert. Firemart are an online fire safety equipment retailer in the UK.

 We appreciate this informative article regarding the importance of  fire alarms  in large buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, schools, theaters, and places of work where many lives are involved.  Let this also be a reminder to keep your smoke detectors working, by checking the batteries every so often. pb





When people think of “workplace accidents,” images of construction sites or nuclear power plants usually come to mind. But the truth is, most office jobs don’t involve hazardous chemicals or dangerous heights. The less-than-thrilling reality is that some of the most common workplace injuries come from standard office environments, and even though 4.1 million individuals sustain work injuries or illnesses, most workplace injuries are preventable. In this post, you’ll find eight ways ergonomics can help your office, and ideas to improve your workplace environment. 

1. Improve your employee’s physical health…

Ergonomics studies how the equipment and environment of a workplace interact with the human body for optimal performance. The obvious benefit of a sound ergonomic office is that employees are less susceptible to workplace injuries or illnesses. I particularly like this course about common office safety tips; it gives easy ways to avoid workplace injuries. If your employees are kept safe and healthy, you’ve already got an essential part of a successful business. 

2. And improve your employee’s mental health

Physical injuries are not the only type of harm that afflict workers in an office environment. There is a whole field of ergonomics, called “engineering psychology” that studies the relationships between humans and machines. Engineering psychology tries to improve how users interact with the technology around them. For example, in the 1920s, Lillian Gilbreth invented the pedal bin, which allowed individuals to more easily throw away their trash. This type of ergonomic improvement, making people feel more comfortable using their equipment, is essential in the modern, technology-filled workplace.  

3. Minimize costs in your workplace

If an employee sustains a workplace injury, they are often entitled to “worker’s compensation,” which can cost your company thousands of dollars. By keeping all of your employees safe, you avoid this expensive cost.  

4. Increase your employee’s productivity

Happy and safe employees are productive employees. Workplace injuries prevent not only the injured from working, but take time away from their coworkers, your personnel department, and anyone else involved in the accident. Minimizing the number of injuries in your office allows your employees to devote more time to their job. 

5. Make you in compliance with OSHA standards

Keeping your employees safe isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. OSHA has a set of regulations that businesses must follow to keep their workers safe. These online OSHA training courses can show you how your company can comply with OSHA regulations to keep your workplace safe. 

6. Prevent nasty lawsuits

If an employee feels their company has neglected to provide them a safe workplace environment, they might feel the need to sue their company for endangerment. And even if they lose the suit, the legal proceedings can cost your company thousands of dollars in legal fees. Keeping a safe workplace avoids these costly suits. 

7. Improve your company’s reputation

Workplace injuries don’t just harm your employees, they hurt your business’s reputation. If you can’t keep your workers safe, it will be hard to find other companies who want to do business with you. Having safe and healthy employees expands your business opportunities.  

8. Brighten your workplace atmosphere

Knowing that they are working in a safe and healthy environment will have an immediate improvement on your employee’s attitude and well-being. Every person in your company will feel the effect of having a safe workplace.


Micaela Deitch is a Business Development intern working at Open Sesame. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University and interested in learning about online education. You can connect her at

Micaela, we really appreciate this your sending us the informative article.  Those who work in offices are subject to injury, as well as those out in the field or warehouses.  Their comfort and safety is very important to successful business.  pb



Assessing risks in any workplace should be a key part of an organisations strategy in helping them to make sure they protect both staff and the business. The process itself can often be made overly complicated but it really does not need to be. At its most basic all that is involved is working out what can go wrong and then putting control measures in place to try to prevent that happening and lowering risks to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

Involving the right people from the very start of the process is vital to making sure risks are assessed thoroughly. This should include not only those in charge of health and safety and its implementation but also those directly involved in the work which is being assessed – after all these are the people that need to be protected. However, risk assessments should be carried out by competent persons.

Adequate risk assessments are fundamental to ensuring the effective management of health and safety risks at work. They should take into account:
•       people;
•       premises;
•       plant; and
•       procedures.

One approach to risk assessments is to follow these five simple steps:

•       Identify the hazards.
•       Decide who might be harmed and how.
•       Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.
•       Record your findings and implement them.
•       Review your assessment and update if necessary.

Hazards are anything that could cause harm; e.g. working at heights, chemicals, electricity, etc., whilst the risk is the chance, whether low or high, that someone could be harmed by those hazards and an indication of how serious the harm could be.

Removing a hazard is naturally the best way to avoid risk but that is not always an available option. In the first instance then we should try to ‘avoid the risk’ completely, for instance by changing the process involved. If this is not an option then we should find a ‘substitute’; i.e. use less hazardous materials. If this is unachievable then we should ‘minimise’ the risk by possibly limiting exposure to individuals or implement ‘general control measures’ such as barriers or warning systems. As a very last resort ‘personal protective equipment (PPE)’ should be used to protect individuals.

Any controls implemented should focus on protecting collective groups rather than individuals whilst the more human behaviour is involved the more likely something is to go wrong. PPE is the last resort for this very reason – its successful application relies on its user adopting it correctly.

Generic risk assessments may well suffice for most repetitive activities in low risk workplaces such as offices and few if any control measures may therefore be required. However, if you are adopting this kind of approach for your organisation then you should be cautious as incorrect assumptions could be made and could result in forgetting that other risks exist.

To cover against all eventualities then site specific risk assessments should be undertaken to account for differing hazards such as different work conditions, locations, access or time constraints.

Risk assessments should not be used alone as a basis for assuming that employees with always apply common sense. It is also necessary to maintain an appropriate level of monitoring in the workplace to ensure continued effectiveness.

Risk assessments can include reports where hazards are described and control measures recommended or numerical rating systems (e.g. low / medium / high or 1–5 scales for likelihood and severity of an accident occurring) used to identify the level of risk. A numerical approach, however, can sometimes create a drive to achieve certain scores rather than to effectively identify and control risks.

The key to successful risk assessment therefore lies largely in the competence of those involved. Whatever choice is made regarding type or method of risk assessment, the results should always be consistent as well as being simple to understand and action.

Article by Gavin Bates from the Workplace Law Network


People who work out or exercise on a regular basis will often feel sore after an intense workout, but if the soreness stays for some time, you may want to seek medical attention. Muscle pain could be happening for several reasons, most of which are harmless. However, when the pain is chronic and it impacts your daily life, something more serious could be wrong. Never ignore muscle aches and pains, as the time that you are wasting to find out the source could make matters worse. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may be suffering.

Pinched Nerve

If you have a pinched nerve, the feeling can be a constant pain that throbs from the nerve to the muscles without stopping. When there is too much pressure being put on the tissues that are around the nerves, this will cause a pinched nerve. If you have a pinched nerve, several things can make it worse. Obesity, bad posture, intense exercise routines, and repetitive movements can all make you feel worse. To recover from this, much rest is needed and often times if the case is extreme, physical therapy or surgery may be needed. 

If you have muscle aches throughout your entire body and the muscles are almost too painful touch, this could be fibromyalgia. Not only does the muscular pain feel horrible, but it makes you feel sleepy and exhausted. More women than men tend to have fibromyalgia and the risks of getting it increase with age. Not only should fibromyalgia be treated physically with exercise, a good diet and plenty of rest, there are times when an antidepressant will be prescribed. The positive benefit of an antidepressant is that it elevates the serotonin levels which help to lower the painful feeling in the body. 
Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome 
Known as CECS, this syndrome happens when you have been doing some high impact exercises or activity that will cause lots of swelling and pain in the muscles. The symptoms of CECS get worse while you are engaged in the activity or exercise and when you rest they subside. With CECS, your muscles may feel stiff.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
With myofascial pain syndrome pain in the muscles and being sensitive to touch the muscles are the major signs. The muscles may have some temporary aching as well. This condition is the cause of chronic muscle pains. A new injury to the muscle or not using the muscle enough may increase the risks of pain. The pain you feel with chronic muscle problems can be managed with some self care, but there also could be a need to have some medical attention as well. Often times for conditions that are not relieved with therapy or at home treatments, acupuncture, yoga, and other homeopathic treatments may be advised. Never let your chronic pain go on without treating it. 
Beth Roberts writes about health, finance & finding the best travel insurance.
Guest Post U
The University of Great Content
We’ve all heard the saying, “No Pain, No Gain,” but in most cases, this simply isn’t true.  One of the most important things a person who suffers chronic muscle disease can do is rest.  It’s hard to convince people, but rest can help overcome much of the pain. pb 


With the official beginning of Summer being tomorrow, June 20th, this post sent to us by Carrie Dotson, of  is most appropriate.  There are many little ones splashing in pools everywhere, so it’s very important that they are properly supervised.  Here is some advice from Carrie: 

With the summer months here, many nannies and children will spend time in and around water.  For this reason, it’s important that parents take precautions when choosing who their children swim with.

International Nanny Association recently released the following recommendation:

INA recommends that children are only to be taken swimming by a nanny if she is a lifeguard, if she has successfully completed a credible water safety and rescue course, or if there is a lifeguard present.

INA recommends that any child care provider who works in a home where there is a large body of water present be properly trained in water safety and rescue.  

While to some the recommendation may seem overboard, the 2010 drowning death of a Long Island toddler and nanny in a swimming pool  and the death of a nanny who did not know how to swim but jumped in the water to rescue her charge serve as reminders that when in and around water, it is essential that the caregiver be a strong  swimmer who is comfortable around water.

If a nanny is required or encouraged to take the children in and around water, it is important that the caregiver have the skills and confidence necessary to safely supervise the children in her care.

As an INA member, we support INA’s recommendations. In addition, we recommend that when looking for a nanny, parents:

  • Disclose if water play or swimming will be encouraged or required.
  • Ask if the nanny has lifeguard or water safety and rescue training.
  • Ask for proof of current CPR and first aid certification.
  • Ask if the nanny is comfortable around water.
  • Inquire as to the nanny’s swimming ability.
  • Require the nanny to obtain life guard certification or to take a water safety and rescue course if supervising the children in and around water will be part of her duties and responsibilities. Parents may wish to contribute to or cover the cost of this training should they require it.

The warm, summer months are ideal for playing in and around water. Before allowing your child to enjoy water activities with her caregiver, be sure she is qualified to supervise her properly and save her from drowning, should the need arise.

Parents who don’t employ nannys should always be vigilant about times that their little ones are in the pool.  Public pools are very loud and active, so it’s difficult for lifeguards to see every movement.  Private pools should be fenced in order to keep children from being tempted to dive in unannounced.  Have a safe and fun summer! pb



Essential Safety Equipment for Motocross 

Needless to say, Motocross is an exciting but very risky sport. As they usually take place in the outdoors, chances of accidents and subsequent injuries are higher. Flying particles like rock, dust, mud and other debris can compromise your vision and cause accidents. Alternatively, it is also possible that your motorbike may face mechanical difficulties during the race. To keep possible injuries to a minimum, it is important to invest heavily in safety.  

Most common Motocross injuries 

Being an extreme sport, injuries are very common in Motocross races. A medical research shows that at least 95% of Motocross racers sustain injuries after a race. These researchersafety s also pointed out that engaging in Motocross causes extreme stress to all parts of the body with most injuries commonly occurring during falls or crashes. Owing to the high speed and the force of crashes, injuries in Motocross events can be serious, including fatal spinal cord injuries. 

These injuries occur at bends of the track and during landing, making protective gear even more important. Some of the most common injuries include broken wrists, collar bones, ankles, joint sprains and the rupturing of the knee joint. Most physiotherapists recommend the use of knee braces, shoulder supports, wrist supports, ankle braces and wrist casts for motocross injuries. For muscle strains caused by the sport, you should opt for regular ice packs and cold therapy. Keeping a first aid kit handy is also a good option. 

Safety gear for Motocross events 

Considering the past record of Motocross events, injuries are a part and parcel of the game. However, there are many steps you can take to keep your injuries to a minimum. Every rider taking part in Motocross is required to have safety gear without which they are not allowed to participate. 

Motocross helmets are undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the safety gear as they are responsible for safeguarding your head and neck. You should also invest in high quality goggles made from tough and scratch resistant polycarbonate. This ensures that the goggles do not crack on impact and continue to shield your eyes. You should also invest in strong boots to protect your ankle, shin and foot from the stress of riding. Invest in quality gloves to protect your hands from impact. Boots and gloves also help you maintain a grip on your bike without being bound to it. 

Motocross clothing generally includes protective jackets, shirts and pants. It is important to protect your legs from injuries. To avoid small rocks and other particles hitting your legs and affecting your race, you should opt for padded motocross pants with additional internal lining for cushion. Riders also opt for Motocross jackets with chest guards as it is the largest area of impact during a crash. The chest is also most often exposed to strain from handle bars and protecting it with a multilayered shirt or jacket is a wise idea. 

Penny is an expert associated with POA Racing. a UK based online seller of quality Motocross equipment. The store stocks branded Motocross safety gear for racers including Motocross helmets, clothing and other essentials.

Thank you, Penny, for this interesting post on Motocross safety.  It is a very exciting sport for those who love taking risks; however, some folks may prefer a simple little bicycle for their mode of transportation!  We appreciate your participation on our Blog4Safety. pb