With many UK universities already suffering Covid outbreaks requiring a lockdown or cessation of face-to-face teaching, it seems inevitable that more will be forced to follow suit as the rate of infection grows.

Now that seasonal viruses are upon us, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish the differences between Covid and other illnesses with similar symptoms – and for universities, this problem is compounded with the addition of “Freshers Flu”.

Freshers’ Flu is the term given to the ailments common among students within the first few weeks after arrival at university.  These illnesses are largely attributed to poor diet and heavy consumption of alcohol during Freshers’ Week. Stress, which may be induced by tiredness, combined with a lack of good nutrition, late nights and too much alcohol can weaken the immune system and be a recipe for ill-health.

What guidance are universities giving to students surrounding what to do if they suspect they are suffering from Freshers’ Flu?

The University of Warwick released the following statement on the topic:

 “A note on Freshers’ flu. Every year, we expect a number of students to become unwell with what is known as Freshers’ flu. Because some of the symptoms are the same as Covid-19, it’s really important…. that both you and those you live with should self-isolate until a (Covid) test comes back as negative”

More information at https://warwick.ac.uk/coronavirus/testandtrace/coronavirus/

How can technology help universities manage Covid transmission and support students and staff who have Covid-related vulnerabilities – or is the NHS Test and Trace system sufficient?

NHS Test and Trace deals with Covid transmission management only once a person tests positive for the virus – and importantly, it does not assist organisations in prioritise tracing activities according to individual vulnerabilities.  In order to stop transmission at source, tech solutions have to be able to provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as be able to highlight potential Covid cases at the point of first symptoms or a positive test result – whichever comes first.

To find out how Riskex’s Safe2Day Covid monitoring and tracing system can work hand-in-hand with the NHS Test and Trace application for your University, book a 1-1 consultation here.

The HSE calculated that stress, anxiety and depression led to the following results in 2019:

  • 6 million workers suffering from work-related stress anxiety and depression (new and long-standing cases) in 2018/2019
  • 21 working days lost per case on average
  • 8 million working days lost
  • 54% of all working days lost due to ill health
  • 44% of all work-related ill health cases
  • £5.2B annual cost of work-related stress, anxiety, and depression in Great Britain

Due to the impact of Covid-19, it’s safe to say these numbers are set to increase.

 

To download and use the HSE’s Talking Toolkit to help monitor your employees click here

 

To learn more about AssessNET, view our portfolio here

Riskex Ltd welcomed Iain Stewart, the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, to discuss how their Covid Monitoring and Tracing System, Safe2Day, is having a positive impact on client’s ability to manage coronavirus transmission in the workplace.

 

The Milton Keynes-based health and safety technology firm has serviced organisations across private, public, and not-for-profit sectors for over 20 years, helping them to manage enterprise level health and safety risk.

Many of Riskex’s clients provide frontline and essential services, and at the start of the pandemic, they needed a solution to allow them to monitor the health status of their employee and contractor base, as part of their duty of care obligations in managing the risk of coronavirus transmission in the workplace.

The solution has now expanded to address client demand across all sectors and additionally, can now be used to support businesses with their contact tracing requirements.

  

Commenting on the MP’s visit, Riskex Founder and CEO, Mark Delo said:

“This was a welcome opportunity for us to highlight the changing risk landscape when it comes to managing employee safety during the pandemic, as well as discuss the impact Safe2Day is having on an organisation’s ability to manage effective Covid health surveillance amongst their workforce, both in the workplace and when working from home”

At the end of his visit, Iain Stewart MP said “It was very interesting to learn how this local company is making a difference to businesses during the pandemic. I can see how this Covid Monitoring tool can provide confidence to employees returning to the workplace”

About Riskex

Riskex was founded 20 years ago, to pursue a disruptive new vision: make good health & safety practices accessible, usable, and valuable to everyone.

Today, AssessNET, Riskex’s flagship software brand is a leading software platform for Health & Safety management, that enables customers to reduce risk, improve performance and with the recent introduction of its Safe2Day Covid-19 solutions, assists organisations to operate safely in these unprecedented times.

To learn more about AssessNET and Safe2Day, visit www.riskex.co.uk/

 

 

Riskex Press Contact: 

Nikki Samme, Marketing Director

Riskex Ltd

Phone: 01908 915 272

email: n.samme@Riskex.co.uk

Address: 1 Radian Court, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK5 8PJ

 

To download a copy of this Press Release as a PDF, click here

 

To book a demonstration of AssessNET, our online health and safety software, register here: https://www.riskex.co.uk/request-a-demo/ 

 

Facilities management company fined after an employee was crushed

Following an HSE investigation, facilities management company, Totally Local Company Ltd, has been fined after an employee was crushed between a construction vehicle and shipping container during footpath improvement works in 2018. The accident resulted in serious injuries including a collapsed lung and various broken bones, requiring multiple surgeries. Totally Local Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2 & 3 of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,367.36.

 

HSE issues MoD with Crown Censure following the death of a military diver

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after a military diver died during training back in 2018. 27-year-old Lance Corporal George Partridge was brought back to surface after he stopped responding to lifeline signals while he was underwater in 2017 during a training exercise with a dive buddy. His cylinders were found to be empty.

 

Company fined after fatal incident using high-pressure water jetting equipment

A specialist industrial services company, Leadec Limited, has been fined after a worker suffered a fatal injury, whilst cleaning waste-water pipes in 2017. Leadec employee, Joseph McDonald, was struck by the end of a flexi-lance whilst he was using high-pressure water jetting equipment to clean paint residue from pipes. This resulted in a fatal injury. Leadec Limited of Leadec House pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.

 

Scaffolding company and director fined following fall from height fatality

Wembley Scaffolding Services Limited has been fined following an incident where a worker suffered a fatal head injury after a fall from height. During the dismantling of scaffolding, the frame collapsed resulting in the employee falling five meters, suffering a head injury from the fall. He died 16 days later from his injuries. Wembley Scaffolding Services Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3)(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and 8(b)ii; Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £7,860 and ordered to pay costs of £8,940. Director of the company, Sean Chapple pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(2)(ii) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; sections 33(1)(a) and 37(1) of the Act; Section 33(2) and Schedule 3A to the Act (as amended by section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008. He was fined £1,000, received a 12-week prison sentence suspended for one year and was ordered to pay costs of £11,000.

 

To book a demonstration of AssessNET or our Safe2Day Covid solution, register on our website at https://www.riskex.co.uk/request-a-demo/ and a member of our team will be in contact to arrange a time and date.

Covid transmission is a concern for any industry, but for construction, the risks are higher than most – why is this?

There are several challenges in play here, including track and trace effectiveness, the nature of work activities making social distancing harder, sharing of living accommodation and use of public transport/vehicle sharing to commute to site.  Moreover, when we consider the sheer size of this industry (10% of UK employment is in this sector), construction workers have the potential to become a key source of Covid transmission.

A specific challenge in this sector is the difficulty in deploying effective track and trace processes to help stop transmission at source.  This is driven by the complexities in contacting the high volume of workers who are on zero-hour contracts, employed via agencies or are self-employed contractors.

So, what can employers do to help control transmission amongst this vulnerable group?  Not surprisingly, there is a raft of Government and HSE guidance for the construction sector, as well as support and advice available from various trade and industry bodies regarding how to properly plan works that allow for social distancing, and enable workers to follow PHE guidance.

In addition, employers should ensure that they have robust health surveillance processes in place, including regular Covid health assessments that ideally, extends to assessing the workers household situations.  This will enable managers to properly assess the risk of transmission at an individual worker level.

What types of solution should employers be looking for to help them have a real-time view of the health status of their workforce?

  • Processes and technology need to support managers with understanding and acting upon Covid transmission risks from many perspectives – company, regional location, site, team, and individual worker levels.
  • Processes that are easy and quick for workers to engage with.
  • Powerful analytics to quickly spot trends in transmission risks and assist in resource planning.
  • Health surveillance technology that provides management information based on real-time data for rapid decision making.
  • Strong controls for GDPR and high levels of security to protect sensitive information.

Utilising a simple and effective daily health status check could prove vital in identifying potential coronavirus carriers and help safeguard vulnerable employees.

Find out how Safe2Day from Riskex supports businesses in helping to control Covid transmission at source and restore employee confidence in returning to the workplace.   Register to attend  a webinar or  book a demonstration at:  https://www.riskex.co.uk/covid-19-health-assessment-using-assessnet/

More bad news for Crossrail as the controversial project, which has already experienced several delays, is facing another obstacle. Coronavirus has affected almost every industry across the UK, creating a diverse set of challenges for all businesses to overcome and Crossrail is no exception –  social distancing rules mean that resource capacities have shrunk by more than 50% when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

 

Crossrail’s CEO Mark Wild said the project is in its “complex final stages”.

He continues:  “It is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks.  We are working tirelessly to complete the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway and successfully transition the project as an operational railway to Transport for London.”

 

The project, which was initially due to complete in December 2018, is now forecast to open in the first half of 2022, needing an extra £450m to complete – bringing the total overspend to nearly £4bn.

 

The impact of Covid on Crossrail is one example of how the pandemic is affecting productivity across UK PLC.  There is little more we can do to control the impact of social distancing on business operations in physical terms  – however business leaders who have access to accurate and real-time data regarding the health status of employees and their households are better equipped to manage resources effectively to optimise productivity.

 

To see how our Safe2Day Covid solutions can provide valuable insights into the fit to work status of your employees and contractors, register for one of our weekly webinars: https://www.riskex.co.uk/covid-19-health-assessment-using-assessnet/

MARK DELO – CEO Riskex Ltd.   “During lockdown I have walked most evenings and have not seen many people out and about.   Traffic levels reduced and streets empty, it has been a quiet and refreshing experience because I live in the noisy and cramped confines of Gibraltar.

Now we are coming out of lockdown, one of my main concerns is the exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   The 2-metre rule that is being bandied around the world as a way of controlling exposure is going to be difficult to adhere to.  Our Rock is two and a half miles long, has over 35,000 people living on it, and is basically a network of narrow streets packed with people, scooters, bicycles and cars.

Add to this the fact we have our fair share of smokers, and probably the cheapest fags in Europe, and as a non-smoker I start to worry.

Exhaling smoke and vapour

According to medical experts, a smoker infected with COVID-19 can exhale the virus in the smoke they breathe out.   This makes breathing second-hand smoke an even bigger infection risk for all.   Add to that the huge vapour clouds from those that swapped smoking for vaping, and I am worried Gibraltar might need to seriously consider what this could mean for its population.

Smokers more at risk

All governments have advised smokers and those vaping to try and give up the habit, but even as a non-smoker I realise how difficult that is for those hooked.   It seems COVID-19 attaches more of its club-shaped projections to smokers’ lungs, making them likely to be more easily infected and sicker.  Smokers who are infected are likely to be sicker for longer by virtue of the fact their lungs are damaged.  If a smoker or e-cigarette user is asymptomatic and does not know they are infected, the reality that the nightmare could come true is very worrying.

I read one warning from doctors recommending that if a neighbour smokes, make sure to close windows to block the smoke from coming into your home.   With a warning like that, it does make me fear coming into close contact with friends that smoke and vape.

Close encounter

Whilst on a walk up the Rock at the weekend, we passed close to a number of walkers, as it is virtually impossible to keep even a metre away on a walking track (see pic).   One such individual passed by and was holding an e-cigarette.   He was about 30 metres distant when I saw a big cloud of vapour rise above him.   Within seconds I could smell the scent of the vapour, which basically meant I had inhaled a small fraction of the vapour.   The scent and vapour are chemical based, although we are talking parts per million levels.  I do wonder where the research is regarding COVID-19 exposure from smoke and vapour.

Second-hand inhalation

When you see someone exhale vapour and smell the scent, you are effectively inhaling some of that person’s second-hand vapour aerosol, and that could ultimately infect you with COVID-19.  The same goes for smelling second-hand smoke – if a smoker is infected with COVID-19, it is possible the smoke the individual breathes out can carry the virus and infect others nearby.

COVID-19 is a vicious virus and we know so little about how to control it.   However, one thing we have learned over the past few months is that we need to become proactive when it comes to control, not reactive when we realise we have a problem.

Call to ban smoking and vaping in public places

With the information above, I believe there is a strong case for banning smoking and vaping in public places, where there is a risk to others inhaling second-hand smoke and vapour.”

MARK DELO – CEO Riskex Ltd

 

 

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Riskex Fit2Work

The tool to help your people back to work safely – Fit2Work by Riskex

What is Fit2Work?

Using Fit2Work, employees complete a 30 second questionnaire, which can be done daily, answering simple questions to declare their health status.  These results display in a dashboard, giving managers real-time stats, showing percentages of their workforce in different categories.

Identify who is “Fit to Work”

With Government guidelines constantly being updated, there is a pressing need to safely emerge from lockdown and get people back to the workplace.

Fit2Work helps restore confidence – both for employees, who know their employer is taking action, and for customers who can be confident about the health status of anyone visiting.

There’s no time to lose

Steve Blaydon, Business Process Manager at Miniclipper Logistics said,

“Riskex has provided MiniClipper Logistics with their free AssessNET Covid-19 Health Assessment module.  It is proving to be a very useful tool indeed.  So easy to use, great status dashboard, user friendly with a quick and simple process to follow.”

 

Use Fit2Work yourself

Don’t delay!  For more information, and to sign up for full access:

<< Click to use Fit2Work yourself – it’s free! >>