Asthma Alert!

More and more people seem to be suffering with asthma these days.

1 in 10 adults or children are known to be affected by it.

According to Asthma UK one person is hospitalised every seven minutes and 3 people a day in the UK die from asthma attacks. Many of these attacks could be preventable, according to Asthma UK, up to 75% of admissions could be avoidable- that’s a lot of time spent in hospital.

To try to prevent these admissions and to try to raise awareness of the need to keep asthma under control the charity Asthma UK have launched a new online test today. It is designed to help asthma sufferers gauge whether or not they are at risk of having an attack.

The online test is called Triple A: Avoid Asthma Attacks.

It doesn’t take very long to do and does give an indication of what the risks for having an attack are. The website also has useful tips for you to monitor your asthma and more importantly when to seek help when it gets out of control.

For more information see:

Online Asthma Test announced by Asthma UK

1st Feb 2012: Asthma UK have launched a new online test designed to help asthma sufferers gauge whether or not they are at risk of having an attack.  The online test is called Triple A: Avoid Asthma Attacks.

The Asthma UK website also has useful tips for to help sufferers monitor their asthma and to help them determine when they should seek medical help.

According to Asthma UK one person is hospitalised every seven minutes and 3 people a day in the UK die from asthma attacks, may of which could be preventable.  According to Asthma UK, up to 75% of asthma-related hospital admissions are avoidable.

For more information see:

RIDDOR Changes April 2012

New Regulations on Over Seven Day Reporting Introduced from April 6th

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released details of the upcoming changes to their RIDDOR regulations, due to come into effect from April 6th 2012.

The main changes are as follows:

The reporting requirement for over-three-day injuries changes to become over-seven-day injuries.  From April 6th, work-related injuries must be reported where they have resulted in a worker becoming incapacitated for more than seven consecutive days, not including the day of the accident (but including rest days and weekends).  They must be reported within 15 days of the date of the accident.  Over-3-day injuries must still be formally recorded (but not reported) if a worker has been incapacitated for more than 3 consecutive days.

The HSE’s “A guide to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995” has also been updated to reflect the changes to online and telephone reporting.  The telephone reporting service remains for fatal and major injuries only (via the Incident Contact Centre, on 0845 300 9923).  All types of incident can be reported online at, using the appropriate form, which is automatically then submitted to the RIDDOR database.  Reporting also remains available by post.

Updated RIDDOR ebook

To reflect the latest changes, we have also updated our RIDDOR faq page which provides you with a summary of the latest regulations.

Fright-free Festive Fun

Are you ready for Christmas yet?  Now that the Christmas tree is up and lights are twinkling I’m beginning to feel more festive and the childrens’ excitement levels are rising daily.

Christmas is obviously a time when families get together to play, eat, drink and generally be merry. Unfortunately it is also a time when bizarre accidents are more likely to happen, (perhaps fuelled by alcohol or just by having too many people in a crowded space).

Each accident and emergency department across the land will, no doubt, have their fair share of people coming through the departments with injuries caused by cooking the Christmas dinner ranging from oven burns to more serious cuts.

Common Accidents

Various websites, hospitals and others  have listed a range of accidents from Christmas past.  Some are more daft than others.  Here’s a range of them…

Electrocution from…

  • faulty tree lights
  • watering the Christmas tree while the lights are still on!
  • testing a 9V battery on your tongue!

Broken bones after…

  • falling off ladders whilst decorating the tree
  • pulling Xmas crackers too violently!
  • tripping over new toys

Fires caused by:

  • faulty Christmas lights (again)
  • carelessness while using candles

Choking on…

  • the turkey
  • non-chocolate tree decorations

Cuts & bleeding from…

  • slicing your hand whilst wrestling with the plastic packaging on new toys
  • treading on toys, or on discarded toy packaging

Miscellaneous others

  • various alcohol-related injuries, too numerous to mention
  • being poked in the eye with a Christmas tree branch whilst trying to retrieve presents at the back of the tree

And our particular favourite…

  • injuries sustained while colliding with out-of-control Scalextric cars!

With all these hazards in mind, while you are out getting new batteries for the kids toys, why not pick up a few extra supplies of plasters and hangover cures. Take a quick peek at your first aid book, just to remind yourself of common treatments for those unfortunate accidents that may just happen.

Above all, I wish you a safe and very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Achy Breaky doesn’t help your heart!

A new study released today has suggested that performing CPR to music does not help achieve the correct depth for chest compressions to be effective.

Not on your Nellie!

For years many of us in the UK have been taught to perform CPR in time to the tune of Nellie the Elephant as that had approximately 100 beats per minute.  In more recent years the Bee Gees track “Stayin ‘Alive” was also used as a training tool to help candidates practise compressions correctly.

However when the new Resuscitation Guidelines were launched in 2010 the rate and depth of compressions was increased to make CPR more effective. This rendered “Nellie the Elephant” and “Staying Alive” too slow!

New CPR Study

study published today in The Emergency Medicine Journal has investigated whether performing CPR to music improves compression rate and depth. This study used two tracks in particular; “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus and “Disco Science” from Mirwais.

The study concluded that whilst students typically maintained a satisfactory rate of compression, the depth of compression achieved was generally found to be too shallow to be effective. They commented that while using music to regulate CPR may be useful in encouraging people to commence CPR, there are in fact better ways to achieve these ends.  In particular, it may be preferable to provide feedback to those learning to perform CPR, in the form of a metronome or other audible feedback mechanisms.

Current (UK) guidelines recommend that effective CPR should be performed by compressing the chest to a depth of 5-6 cm at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

CPR – What to do

The key thing to remember is that if someone is  unconscious and unresponsive and not breathing normally, to call 999 or 112 and  to commence CPR immediately by compressing the middle of the chest hard at about two  compressions per second.

The correct procedure is to give 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths (if you have been trained to give breaths) then a further 30 compressions. Keep going until help arrives.

If you’d like to learn more, you’re very welcome to come along to one of our range of regulated workplace first aid courses – CPR training is a key part of all of those courses.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The clocks have now gone back and winter is around the corner. Whilst the weather to date has been fairly mild we do not know how harsh winter will be. So before the weather turns really cold and you start using the heating and fires, service the boiler and check that chimneys and flues are clear.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is not just gas appliances that can produce carbon monoxide, coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce it too. Many may think that if you have a “living flame” gas fire you don’t need to sweep the chimney, this is not true. Those chimneys still need to be swept regularly to clear any blockages in order to prevent levels of carbon monoxide building up and causing low level poisoning.


Over 50 people die and more than 200 are admitted to hospital each year in the UK as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. A further 4000 a year suffer from low level effects of the gas. The All Party Gas Safety Parliamentary Group stated earlier this week, (as reported by the Daily Telegraph newspaper), that this is costing the NHS approximately £178 million a year, not including the human cost of loss of life.

Spotting Danger

Take a moment to look at your gas appliances:

  • The gas flame should be blue. If the flame is lazy yellow or orange your appliance may be faulty.
  • Does the pilot light keep blowing out?
  • Is there any dark staining around appliances?
  • Is there an increase in condensation inside windows?

Some deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning may be preventable if people take a little time to service their gas appliances.

Prevention Measures

Ensure your boilers and appliances are serviced yearly by Gas Safe registered engineers – the have a useful Gas Safe engineer finder on their website. Also, ensure that you have fitted an audible carbon monoxide detector and have checked that it is working. You are particularly vulnerable to poisoning whilst asleep.

Carbon Monoxide alarms are relatively inexpensive. Check that it conforms to the British Standard EN 50291 mark or BSEN 50291 mark. The alarm should also have a British or European Kitemark or other European testing approval mark. Most of us now have smoke alarms and consider them to be essential to our home safety, should we not also consider carbon monoxide alarms to be just as vital?

If you want to learn more about dealing with first aid emergencies, including CPR and other treatments, take a look at the first aid courses we have on offer.

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