call centre health and safety

Call centre health and safety

call center health and safety

call centre health and safety

Most call centres these days are located abroad... Apart from those of a company presented by very cute, clever and very British dog. "Oooh, yes!"

The truth is that there are more contact centres currently in the UK than ever before. In a way, they are the equivalent of the factory mills from a century ago. Even the locations of a big percentage of them are in the traditional old industrial areas of Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire and the North West, with only 5% in London.

The UK economy during the last few decades has created a big demand of cheap customer care services and the logical solution for many private companies and public organizations have been found in the contact centres. Currently over one million people are employed in call centres, representing 3.5% of the entire UK workforce so call centre health and safety should be a priority.

For most of us, call-centres are a nightmare, a nuisance, an unnecessary commodity which we would try to avoid at any cost. Many people are considering dealing with them more stressful than getting married and more uncomfortable than going to the dentist. There is some reason for such extreme thinking, for sure.

On the other hand we have to recognise the fact that this is highly stressful work, involving many risks for the employees. Work-related stress and depression are common between workers involved in jobs dealing with the public.  They are usually exposed to verbal abuse and this is the main reason of not having the customer face to face and is highly stressful plus reduces the quality of communication itself. The level of autonomy and decision making is much lower than in any other front desk or even a factory job where norms of conduct are available and widely accepted. Another stress generating factor is the uncertainty of what the next call would be about and the impossibility in the majority of cases to see trough the solution of the problem. According to a recent IOSH-commissioned study, conducted between 600 employees from 14 call centres across UK and Ireland found that call handlers had suffered one or more of a range of ill effects, mainly because of the lack of appropriate training.

This alone should highlight to businesses that call centre health and safety and welfare are major factors for more productivity.

Around one in ten were recognized to have a voice problem, with women being more likely to develop such conditions. Singers and actors are usually trained how to use, protect and not overload their voices, but this is not the case with call handlers. These people are professional voice users and overtime could suffer serious work related injuries of the vocal strength and quality, which would impact on their work and personnel lives as well. Absenteeism due to voice failure is common in the industry. It is well known that when overloaded with work and stress, many people can loose their voices temporarily until the body recovers.

Most of the training which employees of call-centres are receiving is sales and customer care service related, but it fails to provide information about voice care and effectiveness.

In recent years call handlers professionals are offered a career path and opportunities to develop in the company. It is becoming more common that people working in call centres are university graduates and not just temporary workforce.
Some universities are even offering MSc courses in contact centre management.

Fingers crossed, in the future we would have healthier call handlers and we may get served more professionally and efficiently...

" Oooh yes!..."

Call centre health and safety

cscs test revision information

Just a quick one about the CSCS test

CSCS test


Here at safe2use we have had a mountain of emails pleading that we help out with the CSCS test answers.

We have also noticed that a lot of people have got themselves quite worked up about the CSCS test.

First of all don’t worry to much as the test is quiet simple and straight forward and if you do a bit of revision the day before we are sure the average person who has had some experience on site will be able to breeze through the CSCS test with out any problems.

The other thing to remember is that if you do fail the CSCS test you can always take it again so just relax you will be fine trust us.

OK if you are ready for some revision use the contact form here and one of our advisors will email you our latest revision points sheet complete with some CSCS test answers completely free of charge.

Please allow up to 24 working hours.

There are many CSCS test centres scattered all over the UK so just type “CSCS test Nottingham” (substitute Nottingham with your local area) into any well-known search engine and you will be well on your way.

Prices can vary and may rise in the future so please contact your local CSCS test centre for more details and you can also book yourself in at the same time.

Don't forget you can buy a more comprehensive guide to the CSCS test on CD or in paper format from all leading bookstores in store or online.

So good luck and remember don’t panic

What to expect from a Health and Safety Shop

Health and Safety Shop

Health and safety shop

What to expect from your one stop health and safety shop

“ Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” Albert Einstein

It is a wide-spread opinion, that health and safety is a boring obligation and an additional cost for businesses.

Health and safety consultancy is routinely criticized and mocked by the media, government and society in general. To be fair, there is a certain degree of truthfulness and some of the criticism is justified.

It is a boring obligation for businesses and public authorities, but don't forget was created to save and improve the quality of people’s lives.

Currently the government are undertaking a serious revision of the rules and regulations of health and safety in order to make it easier and more cost-effective for businesses. On the other hand, we, the safety advisors/ consultants/ managers should re-think our attitude and approach towards our clients and adapt to current economic times.

During the many years of gathered experience here at, we have benefitted in many situations where an open, sincere and direct communication approach have been the key quality most valued by our customers.

In essence, when you look to health and safety shop for an advisor you should be looking for somebody who you would trust to assess you on safety issues and who would make the regulations simple and easy to understand. Communication and trust are basic factors for the successful completion of  any job and the ultimate goal for everybody including advisors, consultants and clients so make sure you ask about simplicity when contacting any health and safety shop.

When dealing with SMEs a simplified and cost-effective way of work is the norm and this ideal must be dealt with by a good health and safety shop.

In our still not so globalized world, SMEs are among the main pillars of our economy and everybody should be conscious of that.

Being a health and safety shop, advisor/consultant for a small or medium size company involves making it very clear who is doing what. Which tasks the advisor can carry out: organizing and/or providing the training courses, writing the health and safety policy and the general risk assessments, conducting regular visits on sites, keeping up to date with the relevant paperwork according to any law changes, monitor and review and/or help to safely manage the workforce sometimes on a daily basis, etc.

What does the client have to do? Comply with the health and safety shop and any changes, finance and alow time for the employees to attend the advised training sessions, operate and use the company’s resources to implement the advised standards, manage work conditions and procedures in order to improve safety, monitor and supervise, etc.

This practice has demonstrated that the health and safety shop's advice and regular audits and risk assessments have a real positive impact on the day-to-day organization and work routine and in many cases is responsible for improved productivity.

Working hand-in-hand with your health and safety shop's advisors and consultants could be beneficial to develop and better the team atmosphere and the general mood of people in the workplace.

Health and safety is a combination of many disciplines - law, medicine, management, but also psychology, sociology and engineering, all held together by good old common sense. So, try to make the most of your health and safety shop's advisor/consultant while complying with the law at the same time.

Have fun…..

Health and safety act

Health and safety act

Health and safety act

Health and safety act

We keep receiving a particular question over and over again “The Health and safety act what is it and why should we care?”

OK so we decided to give a very brief summary on the site to answer this question however a more comprehensive description can be emailed if you contact us.

The health and safety at work act 1974 (health and safety act, HASAW or HSW) is an enabling act that enables pieces of legislation to be written under specific Acts of Parliament to give a clear understanding of what is expected by employers and employees by law.

The legislation covers a huge range of topics, some common examples you may be affected by include:

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations

Confined Spaces Regulations

Construction (Head Protection) Regulations

Control of Asbestos Regulations

Control of Lead at Work Regulations

Control of Noise at Work Regulations

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

Control of Vibration at Work Regulations

Diving at Work Regulations

Electricity at Work Regulations

Health and Safety Information for Employees

Manual Handling Operations Regulations

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

Work at Height Regulations

(Please note the dates have been removed as amendments will certainly be made to regulations as this post ages) Health and safety act

A full list can be viewed at

As you can see there will be at least a few regulations above that will no doubt affect you in your line of work.

Under these regulations there will be duties placed on the employer and the employee in any particular company that must be adhered to to comply with legislation.

So the Health and safety act, this has been is a very (very) quick summary for all those who have asked what it is and why you should care.

health and safety rules relaxed

health and safety rules relaxed

health and safety rules relaxed

health and safety rules relaxed

Luckily for everybody, we are all beginning to see some direct results from the 2011 Lofsted Review and the health and safety rules relaxed… So far few of the announced changes sound quite promising. The negative attitude which this Government have had for the so called “Red tape” in Health and Safety Law is proving to simplify and clarify the rules, aiming to improve companies’ performance and let them concentrate in “ creating jobs”, according to recent statement of Vince Cable.

Currently few consultations are taking place until the end of October, pretending to get the opinion of the public and the professionals about the particular changes proposed. One of the consultations is regarding self- employed workers, whose business activity doesn’t represent a potential risk to others to be exempt of health and safety regulations.

The second consultation of the HSE is focusing on procedures. There is a proposal to remove or replace the 15 Approved Codes of Practice, which are the rules, applicable to most workplaces that regulate specific subjects ranging from ventilation and lightening to escalators and traffic routes. Up for re- examination is RIDDOR 1995(Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences) procedure, as well. Following the recent April’ changes when the incapacitation period was increased to seven days as well as the reporting time put up to fifteen days. The consultations are open until 28th of October and the expected result is that the regulations would be changed in a way, more comfortable, clear and quick so it is easier for businesses to comply with health and safety requirements.

health and safety rules relaxed

The Government has announced also that is intending to help health and safety rules relaxed and regulations for all low risk businesses. The ones who will most  benefit from the changes will be shops, offices, pubs and clubs, the reduction consisting in exempting those businesses from proactive routine inspections from the Health and Safety Executive’ inspectors.

On the other hand, the regulator body would be concentrating its attention and efforts on all high risk industries such as nuclear, food, manufacturing and construction, while also paying a visit to those low risk industries which have a history of accidents. As part of the enforcement of the rules for all high risk businesses, the HSE has confirmed its Fee for Intervention Scheme (FFI). It is still pending Parliamentary approval, and it is part of the effort of the regulator’ body to try to recover some of the money spend on investigations and legal actions against organizations breaking health and safety rules.

Certain changes are expected to happen in the employment legislation and in its quest to eradicate the suing culture, the Government also announced some changes in the public liability regulations. From next month, businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases, if they can be proved to have acted negligently.

So great news, this measure clearly put common sense back on track, as current legislation stipulates that businesses automatically are liable even if they haven’t acted in a negligent way.

health and safety rules relaxed

We would love to hear your thoughts


Risk assessment template

Risk assessment template

risk assessment template

risk assessment template


What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is simply the detection and consideration of what could go wrong when performing certain work activity, what and if, is the possible harm to employees or the public and what should be done so those risks and hazards are avoided. Essentially it is a written plan of the correct way to do a job and a basic tool to protect the health and safety the workforce.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 stipulates that “ a suitable and sufficient risk assessment should be carried out of every risk to employees”. Apart from the day-to-day tasks which need to be assessed, occasionally there are some jobs for which the possible risks involved in them need to be considered as well.


If you would like a risk assessment template sending click the link and put the subject "risk assessment template" into the body of your text on the contact form and we will happily email you a template you can use! You can also state what type of business you are in for a more specific risk assessment template.

There are different types of risk assessments in accordance with the various industries and types of tasks . The oil, rail and military industries have a large history of performing risk assessments. Also medical, food and construction industries are dealing with such tasks on a daily basis. Every year hundreds of thousands of people around the UK are suffering from more serious injuries which happened at the workplace, that’s why a risk assessment is an important measure to reduce and avoid accidents, by evaluating the risks, eliminating or reducing them and giving guidance to the employee for which is the best possible way to do the particular job.

When conducting an assessment from a risk assessment template the person who is performing it, either should be a health and safety advisor, manager or experienced employee who should take into consideration the person completing the job, what is the age, experience, training and qualification, and ideally, the operative should be involved in creating the assessment.

It is true, that in many occasions, work organization and quality have benefited from assessments, because apart from identifying the risks and hazards and by finding the correct way to avoid and reduce them, the actual performance is made more efficient, productive and of course more secure.

So it does save money as well as ensuring people's safety.


Most small and medium-sized companies have enough knowledge of the hazards involved in their activities and most of the time could perform their own assessments using a simple risk assessment template, following few simple steps.

Of course it is always important to look for professional help if you are unsure.

Usually larger companies have consultants on site for such tasks or qualified and trained employees who can advise and perform assessments however there are some occasions when this simple guide and questions could be enough to complete it yourself.

1. Identifying the hazards. A hazard is anything that can cause harm, such as electricity, chemicals, trailing cables, etc. Be careful not to overlook certain hazards, because of being used to the environment and the task in hand. Consider long-term hazards such as continuous exposure to chemicals and so on.

2. Who could get harmed and how.- Identify the people who possibly can suffer an injury, considering contractors, workers not present at the moment, members of the public. Describe what the type of possible injury or ill-health could be.

3. Evaluate the risks (the risk is the chance , high or low that somebody, employee or member of the public, could suffer a harm) and the possible consequences (slightly harmful, harmful or extremely harmful)

* Trivial risk- No action is required and no documentary records need to be kept.

* Tolerable risk- No additional controls are required, although consideration may be given to a more cost-effective solution to the problem. Monitoring is necessary to ensure controls are maintained.

* Moderate risk- Risk reduction measures should be implemented with a defined dead line for their implementation. If the moderate risk is associated with extremely harmful consequences, there is need of improved control measures, monitoring and further assessment.

* Substantial risk- Work should not be started until the risk has been reduced.

* Intolerable risk- Work should not be started or continued, until the risk has been reduced. If not possible to reduce the risk work should remain prohibited.

4. Record all the finding and solutions and implement them.

5. Review of the assessment and update if necessary.

Try to involve the staff at all stages, keep a simple and clear language when writing it, easy to understand by everybody. And remember that improvements and possible costs originated from reducing the risks at your office or factory, doesn’t need to be high.

Try to improve and reduce risks at the same time little by little, even if you have a HSE inspection meanwhile, if genuine effort for improvements has been made, you will be rewarded.


And remember

If you would like a risk assessment template sending click the link and put the subject "risk assessment template" into the body of your text on the contact form and we will happily email you a template you can use! You can also state what type of business you are in for a more specific risk assessment template.

If you would like any help or advice on this or any other health and safety matter please feel free to contact us using the form below.



Completing COSHH Assessments in the workplace

Completing COSHH Assessments.

Completing COSHH Assessments

Completing COSHH Assessments

Chemical protection is a work hazard affecting hundreds of thousands of workers from hairdressers and cleaning contractors to food and construction companies. Still to date there are many accidents reported, because employers and employees are not fully aware of the possible risks of misusing or the lack of use of appropriate precautions and PPE.

When working with chemicals, there are many situations when risks are not considered (completing COSHH assessments) and accidents at the workplace could occur.

(Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice on completing COSHH assessments or any other health and safety query)

Sometimes a potent chemical could penetrate the skin causing permanent damage even through small insignificant paper cuts. occasionally, it could lead to highly damaging substances entering the body and creating a tumour, cancer or even amputation.

The correct procedure when working with chemicals sometimes have to include the use of aprons, protective shoes, goggles and hats, as well as gloves which are usually a basic essential piece of PPE. Proper selection of PPE should take into consideration the wearer, the workplace conditions and the type of work to be done.

Hand and arm injuries are still the most common safety cases at the workplace. Most of the accidents involving unappropriated use of gloves or other type of PPE occur in industries, where the so-called weak acids are used such in hairdressing or cleaning. A degree of naivety is involved in thinking that, just because a chemical doesn't create and immediate problem, it isn't dangerous. The annual spend on personnel protective gloves in UK is about thirty million pounds. They are widely used among different industries, with prices ranging between 25p ut to  £60. Chemical agents are considered to be all liquids, solids, gases, vapours aerosols, fumes, dusts and fibres, and the correct PPE is essential when working with any of these.

Employers have to raise awareness among the employees when chemicals are involved in day-to-day work tasks, is absolutely necessary to use the right protection, ensure employees are completing COSHH assessments and not be confident and think that because the same tasks were performed for ages and ages there is no need for use of protection. Regular training sessions and continually looking for the best possible protection materials, when working with chemicals are obligations of the employer in order to reduce the exposure and risks.

When chemicals are involved in the work process, always have to remember to ensure any staff involved are completing a COSHH assessment to determine what PPE may be required.

How often should you replace PPE?

There are three ways on which protective gloves would fail permeation, which is the process by a chemical agent migrates through the glove at a molecular level, penetration occurs when chemicals pass through imperfections in the glove and degradation, which is a damaging change in the quality of the glove as a result of a long exposure to the chemical agent. So choosing the correct type of protecting glove and an early detection of deterioration are essential for the health and safety of the employee. When working with strong acids there is normally one choice of specific protection gloves, usually recommended by the chemicals' maker and this also depends on the exposure of the employee. When weak acids are involved in the work process, there tend to be several suitable choices for protection, however they don't have to be less careful about these chemicals, because many practical cases show that more accidents happened when using weak acids, because completing COSHH assessments is deemed not appropriate.

It is a employer's legal duty to provide the employees with the most appropriate PPE for the tasks in hand, according to the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (1999).

Guidance and health and safety advice could always be provided by health and safety consultants or managers, (Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice) and correct training should be given to employees of how to use, detect deterioration and dispose of the PPE once work has finished.

As usual when talking about health and safety in the workplace, people should comply with the regulations, but also use their common sense.

If in doubt ASK (Call Safe 2 Use Ltd 0845 519 9059 for help and advice on Completing COSHH assessments)

First aid at work

First aid at work

First aid at work

First aid at work

An important part of health and safety responsibilities of any employer is first aid care for the employees and the public.

Most business activities such as office or retail environments are considered to be low risk and do not need to have a specifically trained first aider. However, there is a requirement to have an appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements: looking after the first aid equipment and calling the emergency services when needed. If the appointed person is not trained they do not have to attempt to perform any type of first aid such as CPR.

Workplaces with more significant health and safety risks are highly recommended to have one or several trained first aider's on site. Some businesses would need more than one, depending on the risks involved at the particular workplace. First aid at work. It is highly unlikely that a legal action would be taken against a first aider based on training, but it is recommended that you check with your insurer if your business is covered for first aiders’ liability. To qualify as a first aider the appointed employee should take a three-day course First Aid at Work (FAW), or the recently introduced one day new course Emergency First Aider at the Workplace (EFAW). It is strongly recommended that all students take an annual three-hour refresher course to help keep their skills up to date. Until their certificate expires the first- aider doesn’t need to retrain again. Usually the FAW first-aiders would be able to work and deal with a larger workforce and higher risk sites, while EFAW students are able to perform only in lower risk workplaces. First aid at work.

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Driving at work health and safety

Driving at work

Driving at work

Driving at work health and safety

Most of us can’t imagine our world without a car. Driving has become an essential part of modern life and everybody assumes that once you have passed the appropriate test and obtained a driving license that’s enough to drive and not to worry ever again about the re-training and the risks that driving at work health and safety involves. Re-training what???- would be the instant reaction of almost all of us. The truth is that driving is the most dangerous activity while at work it represents 35% of the annual deaths on UK roads. If we think about for a moment, if health and safety regulations as we know them now had existed when engines were invented, nobody would be even thinking about using a car. Because is too risky.

The cost for businesses when accidents occur is high, so there are some steps which companies could take in order to reduce the risks and costs and manage their driver’s behaviour while at work. collision related costs could be considerable. Although a possible vehicle repair is on average £750, the real cost is up to 30 times that amount if you add the increased insurance costs, administrative time dealing with the accident, loss of productivity due to the employee absence, etc..

So having your employees driving at work health and safety is a serious issue for your business. Either you have your own company cars fleet and/ or “grey fleet”- (employees are using their own vehicles for business) you need to make sure everybody have appropriate and legal driving license. Bear in mind that during these high-tech times we live in, there are more fake licenses in circulation than ever before. The usual forgetfulness to renew the address, the photograph or upgrade the surname will cost you money if accident happens, because such small looking things actually invalidate the document. Vehicle registration, marks and dates, insurance validity, road taxes, MOT records, who is the usual driver and where the car is based in all those are records you have to keep up to date to avoid problems with the authorities.

The minimum legal requirement which the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 contemplates is to carry out a “suitable and sufficient risk assessment of every risk to employees”, obviously this includes driving for work purposes. There are different types of risk assessment in accordance with the industry and the activity, but there is no a standard one, so the advice of a health and safety advisor might be required. A well thought out assessment would categorize drivers into risk bands and the higher-risk group could be given the appropriate support and training in some cases. A lot of a good quality and cost-effective way of training would be through online modules. In vehicle practical training is expensive and may be many employees may be reluctant to do it. Groups work shops and seminars are another solution when training is needed. Another good way to reduce corporate culpability in case of accident and in the same time minimize the protests of the workforce ( many would think that company is labeling them as a “bad drivers”), is to outsource the problem to companies which will provide all your employees with “Permit to Drive”. Essentially, such businesses take care of checking the everybody’s driving licenses, vehicles, ensure you that every driver has taken a risk assessment and completed the necessary training to reduce risks, has had a regular eye check ups and has no other health issues that might compromise the safety.

If you have a road accident the authorities would look for a care related policies. Such policies would have to show the guidance given to the employee on what is expected while driving at work, including instruction whether it is acceptable to use mobile phones, a clear message explaining who is responsible for the day-to-day safety vehicle check ups, best practice on fatigue management, parking and speeding, procedures to follow in case of collision or breakdown, etc. Obviously you should be able to demonstrate (best if written and signed) that all drivers have been given access to the policies, have understood them and have agreed/accepted to follow those rules of behaviour. This is a comfortable way to limit the responsibility of the company in case of accident. The official bodies which could provide you with such policies are the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association or the Association of Car Fleet Operators.

Drive safe and enjoy. ….

Well being activities in the workplace

A huge business benefit?

well Being

Well Being

A well known mantra among many companies we encounter is "people are our greatest asset", but how many of them, are really backing it up? In such a hard economic downturn like the present one, it is quite challenging and expensive for businesses to implement activities and benefits for the employees which would make them feel motivated and engaged with their work.

Actually it has been estimated that there are only 12% of UK workers who are highly engaged in their jobs. Probably those companies taking an alternative approach to the well being and health of their workers are the few surviving and benefiting from the "Crisis"

There are serious short and long-term impacts for businesses when the employees are neglected. Rapidly increasing absenteeism are costing companies around £600 per year per employee, which is about 44 billion in lost productivity every year. Workers are reporting reduced job satisfaction, lower confidence in senior managements and decrease in their living standards. Well being activities in the workplace.

Such a situation can't be ignored and there are certain management mechanisms which could improve it. When combined the forces of health and safety advisors, senior management and HR professionals the results and benefits for the business are impressive. In some cases the usual tactics like health benefits - gym membership,
fruit and vitamin supplements, private health care etc, are not enough, and don't really add any value for the employee or the employer.

The main problem, as always when dealing with people, is the lack of and/ or poor communication. Competition within and outside companies are becoming more demanding and stressful for the employee and the uncertainties of the hard economic times put additional pressure on people and changes their behavior at the workplace. A change of the traditional ways of communication between the management and the workforce adopting a proactive partnership approach could make a huge difference. By thus becoming a day to-day norm to a business
attitude, and not merely a new initiative, it could relate to huge benefits for the company. this is part of becoming more professional in your type of business activity and gains you advantage against your competitors. it is not true, that being a good business person is being a good communicator and good employer? Luckily,"for more
and more businesses this is becoming a practice. The direct impacts on sickness absence and on individual and organizational performance, and consequently on productivity are really positive as well.

So should we do more to promote well being activities in the workplace?

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