Green Procurement Guide

There is always a better, greener, more natural or lower-impact option. How do you navigate the crazy commercial market and make environmentally-friendly purchases for your company when you have so many action tasks piling up on your desk? Here are a few tips for green procurement.

We at Alsco are here to help. Not only do we offer tips on how to purchase, Alsco services are designed for a greener office. Find out more through the Greenroom blog. Continue reading “Green Procurement Guide”

Smart Urinals – Engaging Employees When They Say H2No

Let us Know the Risk of Dehydration

What if you knew 1 in 2 of the colleagues in your workplace routinely came to work daily with health impairments equivalent to a 0.08% blood alcohol level (BAC)? Concerning? Absolutely.

Recently, researchers from Loughborough University in the UK revealed that mild dehydration can result in serious physical and mental impairment equivalent up to a 0.08% BAC. In fact, during the study, participants made twice as many mistakes even while mildly dehydrated.

For workplaces, particularly in high-risk industries, this study is alarming!

Dehydrated workers experience:

  • Decreased cognitive abilities
  • Reduced concentration and alertness
  • Slower reaction times

Not to mention the potential risk of heat stress related symptoms such as:

  • Fainting on the job
  • Nausea
  • Extreme migraines

In simple terms, dehydrated employees are less productive and more prone to workplace injury.

A High Percent of Dehydration means Low Work Productivity

Workplaces globally are recognising that employee health risks are as important to effectively manage the physical, more obvious, safety risks in the workplace. Although often unseen, health risks have been proven to have a significant impact on the safety performance of an organisation, including employee dehydration.

In fact, a recent study revealed that just a single percentage drop in an employee’s hydration level (i.e.. a 1% decrease in a 90 kg make is equivalent to 900 ml. Note we typically sweat 1-2 litre per hour during moderate exercise) could lead to a 12% productivity decrease.

Importance of Proper Hydration

Understandably, workplaces are now recognising drugs and alcohol are no longer the only fitness for work risks present in the workplace. Employers now recognise dehydration as a major fitness for work concern and are looking closely as to what they can do to ensure they minimise the risk levels of their employees and ensure productivity is maintained.

Controlling dehydration and heat stress risks is not as simple as following the standard hierarchy of control we all use in the industry to manage risk. Managing employee dehydration is often more about worker education and monitoring than traditional engineering controls.

Who are at Risk?

Higher risk industries such as mining and oil and gas implement rigid employee monitoring and control programs to decrease the risk. These include:

  • Environmental monitoring of the basic temperature parameters
  • Training programs
  • Employee urine testing conducted by a site nurse

Employee urine testing involves workers providing a urine sample and then being individually monitored for their hydration range and if necessary being directed to take action by the test administrator, often a site nurse (i.e. severely dehydrated – attend the medical centre immediately for further evaluation).

Monitoring Dehydration

Employee engagement has typically been the main barrier to effective dehydration prevention monitoring and training. Employees are typically trained to self-monitor through the colour of their urine and to hydrate based on this.

This method had been shown to be ineffective due to the subjectivity of the nature of the colour of the urine and therefore employees continue to remain at risk.

In more recent times, technological advances have allowed employees to self-monitor their hydration levels with greater accuracy and receive real time hydration ‘tips’ on the amount to drink on varying parameters. These highly engaging tools also provide for greater accuracy in analysing dehydration risks in the workplace through newly developed software.

Why do we need Smart Urinals?

Enter smart urinals. One such tool, Hydralert, was conceived in 2013 by a team of occupational health professionals and Flinders University.

The two groups identified that if employees could be engaged through gamification principles via self-testing technology, then it would improve their individual drinking behaviours dramatically.

The Hydralert technology consists of a small disc the size of a hockey puck and an iPhone sized screen.

How Does Hydralert Work?

  1. The disc is placed in the bottom of the urinal and the screen mounted at approximately the user’s line of sight.
  2. As the user urinates onto the disc their individual hydration result, the amount to drink based on scientific calculation, and a safety message is displayed via Bluetooth on the smart screen.
  3. The employer can then download all results from the device and analyse the work groups hydration risk via the Hydralert software.
  4. Date, time of the sample, location and environmental parameters at the time of testing can all be extracted from the device.

The Hydralert technology engages  workers through real time, convenient testing as required. Although currently only available to the male market, Hydralert is currently engineering a unisex device that is placed in a toilet so that both sexes can benefit from this technology.

It is Best to Know your Hydration Status

Technology such as Hydralert can be used to engage employees far more effectively to empower workers to monitor their individual hydration risk levels whilst also giving employers the opportunity to manage and monitor large volumes of hydration data across the workforce in order to classify risk and implement controls.

Dehydration risks are becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace and being recognised as a fitness for work risk. In order to effectively assess and control dehydration amongst employees, new technology is available to engage employees.

The first step employers should take in order to prevent dehydration is to ensure employees are aware and self-monitoring in order to stem the tide before dehydration sets in and subsequently heat stress impacts the workforce.

The challenge is effectively engaging employees to do so!

Hydralert-Logo-Bright

 

Alsco would like to extend its gratitude to Ryan Wynch, Managing Director of Hydralert, for giving us the opportunity to share this very informative article. Hydralert provides a solution to assess and control your employee’s hydration risk based on data. For more information, visit their website at www.hydralert.com.

Health and safety in the workplace are also Alsco’s top priorities. It is never too late to learn First Aid and know the possible risk your employees might face in the workplace. Learn what Alsco’s First Aid Training will offer you – Call us now for more details – 1300 659 892!

 

Understanding Fatigue in the Workplace and How to Manage It

What do some of the industrial mishaps have in common? The causes of these accidents are often linked to sleep deficit and worker fatigue.

A fatigued worker can adversely impact not just his own health, safety and efficiency, but the safety and efficiency of operation of the organisation as well. In order to combat fatigue, it is important to understand the causes of fatigue.

A research conducted by The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, together with the Sleep Health Foundation

“About 16 percent of Australia’s workforce are employed as shift workers, which puts them at risk of safety and performance issues. Studies show a third of shift workers fall asleep on the job once a week or more, and night shift workers have a 60 percent higher on-the-job accident risk. There’s danger on the road too, with 20 percent of Australian road fatalities attributable to fatigue.”

A fatigue risk management system (FRMS) is an important tool in combating worker fatigue throughout an organisation and requires active participation from all members.

Understanding Fatigue

In order to combat fatigue, we must first understand what it is. So what really is fatigue and how does it impact the workplace?

According to the Safe Work Australia, fatigue is not just being sleepy and slow. In a work context:

“Fatigue is mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces your ability to perform your work safely and effectively.”

Boring or repetitive tasks can intensify feelings of fatigue. They can cause the employees to feel like their job has no true meaning and they are not engaged enough. Fatigue can be classified as either acute or chronic.

Acute fatigue results from short-term sleep loss or from short periods of heavy physical or mental work. The effects of acute fatigue are of short duration and usually can be reversed by sleep and relaxation.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is the constant, severe state of tiredness that is not relieved by rest. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are similar to the flu, last longer than six months and interfere with certain activities.

What Are the Symptoms of Fatigue?

Fatigue manifests itself in various ways. Different people can have different signs of fatigue. Why is that? Sometimes, it is simply a matter of character and/or cultural differences.

Some people consider fatigue as a sign of weakness and they are often unwilling to even recognise the symptoms themselves.

There are also cases when the employee’s chronic fatigue is denied by the surroundings. These people face discrimination and often get misunderstood by their employers and even medical experts. That makes it hard to

Other people may take the individual symptoms and consider them to be the signs of other illnesses and conditions. It is hard to figure out if a person is irritable and tired because they suffer from fatigue or if they simply work too much.

Some of it’s obvious signs and symptoms include:

  • tiredness,
  • irritability,
  • sleepiness, including falling asleep against your will (“micro” sleeps),
  • depression,
  • loss of appetite,
  • giddiness,
  • digestive problems, and
  • increased susceptibility to illness.

These are the general symptoms of the fatigue. However, if these symptoms are recognised and they are long lasting, it is time to consider looking for the symptoms of the chronic fatigue syndrome. Here is how you can recognise it.

Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue and decreased alertness can result from various factors. Some of the more common work-related factors include

  • long work hours
  • long hours of physical or mental activity
  • inadequate breaks between activities
  • insufficient rest
  • excessive stress
  • inadequate working conditions

and a combination of these.

Understanding the causes of fatigue will help workplaces find ways to combat it and to improve performance and reduce accidents.

Workload and Schedule

With the progress of the day, workers begin to feel tired. Their natural energy gets consumed and they find themselves putting in more effort and concentration into getting things done.

Working in long shifts, without adequate rest or breaks or tackling tasks that require plenty of mental or physical exertion also put a strain on the mind or body leading to fatigue.

A human body has its own internal body clock and circadian rhythm. These allow the body to make a distinction between night and day, with the night-time being designated for sleep, during which activity the body rests and recuperates for the following day.

Any disturbance to body’s natural sleeping pattern and internal body clock, because of long hours, night shifts, intercontinental travel etc. can cause fatigue.

The imbalance between workload and staffing levels can lead to problems with shift work. Both scheduled or sudden absences of employees can cause the problems with shift work to worsen.

Changes in workload (increased demand, a merging of facilities, etc.) can enhance the problems too. Staffing levels, play the largest role in determining the following:

  • Average amount of overtime per employee;
  • Average time off between consecutive blocks of shifts;
  • Average time off between shifts;
  • Average work hours per week;
  • Average number of consecutive days worked;
  • Average length of shifts;
  • The discrepancy between the published shift schedule and the actual shift schedule worked.

This is because, in most 24/7 operations, the number of positions to fill on each shift is fixed. At the same time if the staffing level is below the optimal, then the employees in that operation have to put in additional hours or extra shifts to keep the number of positions filled.

Health Considerations

The state of the health of the worker can have a direct impact on the fatigue levels of a worker. Vitamin deficiencies, arthritis, thyroid, heart problems, diabetes, cancer and other such conditions can enhance the feeling of fatigue in the human body.

Regular sleep is important for the body. Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, which prevent the human body from getting adequate or proper sleep can cause fatigue. Certain health treatments or medicines can cause disturbance to sleep as a side effect.

Environmental Exposures

Certain factors such as exposure to rapid changes in temperature, working in extreme environments, sitting near hot or cold air vents or ducts will enhance the fatigue levels of the body.

Low lighting, glares resulting in eye strain, the presence of loud or constant noise results in people needing to concentrate harder in order to achieve the same output, causing fatigue to set in faster.

How Can Workplaces Minimise Worker Fatigue?

One of the ways employers need to take care of their employees is to try and eliminate the causes of fatigue. For this to happen, it is important to observe the workplace fatigue as both psychological and physical issue and try to solve the both sides of this problem.

Therefore, it is important to have a long term and elaborate plan. Namely, what every company needs is a Fatigue Risk Management System. It needs to involve both improvements of the workplace, shift work, workload and even to include some “work-life” programs.

Companies could offer “work-life programs” to help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities and take steps to improve assessment and treatment for the large subgroup of workers who have fatigue co-occurring with other health conditions.

The Basics of Fatigue Risk Management System

The most effective method to minimise worker fatigue is through a comprehensive Fatigue Risk Management System.

Key Components of an FRMS

According to the task force, key components of an FRMS include:

  • A fatigue management policy;
  • Fatigue risk management, including collecting information on fatigue as a hazard, analysing its risk, and instigating controls to mitigate that risk;
  • Fatigue reporting system for employees;
  • Fatigue incident investigation;
  • Fatigue management training and education for employees, management (and families);
  • Sleep disorder management; and
  • A process for the internal and external auditing of the FRMS that delivers corrective actions through a continuous improvement process.

An FRMS requires a senior manager to be ultimately accountable for managing fatigue risk. However, all key stakeholders need to be actively engaged.

A positive organisational culture where employees and management trust one another and where information about fatigue is openly reported is important to the successful implementation of an FRMS’ is key for a successful FRMS.

As with the management of all risks, however, there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution and the FRMS must be developed in response to the needs of the industry, the regulatory environment and the organization in which it applies.

Here are some ideas by Gouldson Legal about the actions an employer should take in order to reduce the fatigue in the workplace:

  • Limiting overtime to 4 hours for 8 hour shifts and 2 hours for 10 hour shifts;
  • Limiting total hours per week to 55;
  • Limiting the number of consecutive night shifts to 4;
  • Ending night shifts by 8am;
  • Ensuring there is a minimum of 12 hours between consecutive shifts;
  • Ensuring the roster allows for at least two full nights of sleep after the last night shift;
  • Having a room for workers to sleep before commuting home;
  • Minimising early morning starts before 6am;
  • Avoiding more than 5 consecutive early morning starts;
  • Avoiding safety critical tasks during the early hours of the morning (3am-5am)

Besides these, it is important to make workers as comfortable as possible. Some of the ideas are to ensure ergonomic tools, furniture and equipment which reduces tiredness and awkward body postures.

Cleanliness and hygiene of the workplace are also important for the employee comfort and satisfaction. Some companies even go for scenting their offices since some soothing scents can reduce stress and fatigue.

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Anti-Fatigue Mats
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How Does Fatigue Impact the Workplace?

It is difficult to quantify and measure fatigue. Because fatigue cannot be “measured”, it is difficult to separate the effects of long working hours or lack of sleep to any changes in accident or injury rates.

However, studies report the detrimental effects of fatigue on the workplace are:

  • reduced decision-making ability,
  • reduced ability to communicate properly,
  • reduced complex planning skills,
  • reduced productivity and performance,
  • reduced levels of attention and vigilance,
  • reduced stress handling abilities,
  • reduced reaction time – both in speed and thought,
  • loss of memory or the ability to recall details,
  • unable to stay awake (e.g., falling asleep while operating machinery or driving a vehicle),
  • failure to respond to changes in surroundings or information provided,
  • increased tendency for risk-taking,
  • increased medical costs,
  • increased errors in judgement,
  • increased forgetfulness, and
  • increased sick time, the rate of employee turnover, absenteeism,
  • increased accident rates.

Researchers led by Judith Ricci, Sc.D., MS, of Caremark Rx Inc., conducted a study of the relationship between health and productivity at work. The study examined the effects of fatigue on health-related absenteeism and “presenteeism,” or days the employee was at work but performing at less than full capacity because of health reasons.

Nearly 29,000 employees were interviewed for this study. 38 percent of them said they had experienced “low levels of energy, poor sleep or a feeling of fatigue” during the previous 2 weeks. Total lost productive time averaged 5.6 hours per week for workers with fatigue whereas it was 3.3 hours for their co-workers who had not experienced fatigue.

The study said that the main ways by which fatigue reduced performance was through reduced concentration and by increasing the time needed to accomplish tasks.

With adjustment for other factors, fatigue was more common in women than men. Workers with “high-control” jobs – relatively well-paid jobs with decision-making responsibility – also reported higher rates of fatigue.

Consequently, fatigue causes people to get hurt more easily. As an employer, you need to make sure that all the precautions are taken to help those that are hurt. This means enough First Aid Kits, as well as enough employees trained in First Aid.

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Employers Pay a Steep Price for Worker Fatigue

For U.S. employers, fatigue carried overall estimated costs of more than $136 billion per year in health-related lost productivity – $101 billion more than for workers without fatigue. What is even more noteworthy is that 84% of those costs were due to reduced performance while at work, rather than absenteeism.

Health conditions for which fatigue is a major symptom – such as depression or anxiety – accounted for only a small part of the productivity losses. Far more of the costs were thought to result from a wide range of other physical and mental health problems that may occur when fatigue also is present.

How to Act Today and Reduce Worker Fatigue

Despite all the best efforts of your management and the organisation, accidents due to worker fatigue may still happen. Emergency response procedures are required. Every organisation is required to have people trained in first aid and superior quality, hospital- grades supplies that are clearly organised in a wall mounted first aid kit in order to supplement their efforts.

Does your workplace have these? Not sure what to do? You can get these by simply visiting the Alsco First Aid Kit webpage and subscribing to our service online.

Create a safer and fatigue-free workplace for your employees. do not hesitate to call us on 1300 077 391 and ask us how we can help.


Photo courtesy of Freepik Images by ijeab.

Is Mental Welfare as Important as Physical Health?

The importance of First Aid in promoting positive outcomes for those injured or suddenly taken ill is well known.

Many of us have completed First Aid training and feel more or less confident in our ability to carry out first aid procedures. Government legislation has ensured that our workplaces have the right type and number of first aid kits as well as certified First-Aiders on the premises.

Mental Health First Aid

But what about Mental Health First Aid?

It’s no secret that there’s a stigma associated with mental health problems but with these types of illness occurring frequently in our community – one in five Australians aged 16-85 suffer from some form of common mental illness in any year – it seems clear more of us should be learning a thing or two about mental health first aid as well.

Just as people can learn some basic ways to help people suffering a physical problem, so too can they learn some simple ways to help those suffering from a mental illness. Similar to physical first aid, knowing mental health first aid may just save a life.

Never Heard of Mental Health First Aid?

Well it’s far from being as ubiquitous as physical First Aid. It was, in fact, developed in Canberra, Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm. There are now over 1000 accredited instructors covering every state and territory of Australia.

The program has gone international, having gradually spread to a range of countries, including Scotland, Canada, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, USA and Wales, where the course is adapted to suit both the culture and health system of the country in question.

So What Exactly is Mental Health First Aid?

It is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

A range of studies, including randomised controlled trials, have shown that Mental Health First Aid training improves:

  • Knowledge
  • Reduces stigmatising attitudes
  • Increases first aid actions towards people with mental health problems

Spreading the skills required to assist those mental health problems beyond the realm of mental health professionals will not only help sufferers but also aid in decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness.

The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan looks like this:

  1. Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
  2. Listen non-judgmentally
  3. Give support and information
  4. Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
  5. Encourage other supports

There are many courses available throughout Australia. Visit http://www.mhfa.com.au to find one near you or for more information.


Training Services

Alsco’s Managed Training Service is a complete solution that will compel action within your business. Our Training Guarantee ensures you manage your training costs irrespective of staff turnover.

For even faster service, talk to Alsco now! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Image courtesy: Jorgejesus4

The Evolution of Takeaway in Australia

Meet the Meat Pie

A lot has changed in Australia in the past 200+ years, and the world of takeaway has not escaped the transformation that comes with a rapidly expanding young country.

From humble beginnings to today’s assortment of well, pretty much any dish from any cuisine in the world, much of modern Australia’s culinary landscape can be traced through the decades of immigration and the more recent technological advances.

But when did take away first appear in Australia?

The meat pie is usually given the crown for being our original take away treat, and it remains an iconic part of our food history.

The English had been dining on pies centuries before their arrival in Australia, so it didn’t take long for meat pies to grace our shores. Travelling pie men (Sydney’s William Francis King is particularly famous as “The Flying Pieman”) were the main distributors until pie carts and coffee stalls began to appear throughout capital cities in the second half of the 19th century.

Fun Fact: Sargent’s Pies catered Canberra’s official opening of Parliament House in 1927, but they completely overestimated the number of attending guests, and two truckloads of meat pies ended up at the tip!

Fish and Chips as the First Shop

A serve of fish and chips is a similarly steady figure, with the first shop allegedly having opened in Melbourne by Greek man Athanasias Comino in 1879.

Chinese takeaway is even more ubiquitous it could be argued.

Found in nearly every town and city across the country, Chinese food in Australia dates back to the Victorian gold rushes where cookshops were established to feed the growing Chinese mining communities. Chinese restaurants and tea rooms would eventually be frequented by non-Chinese patrons.

However, until post-WWII, Australia’s takeaway landscape was fairly barren.

All of a sudden, European migrants began arriving and introducing the Australians to their varied cuisines, then the Asian and Middle Eastern flavours in the 1970’s and beyond.

Famous Fast Food Shops

Fast food came hard and fast to Australia:

  • KFC opened in 1968
  • Pizza Hut in 1970
  • Hungry Jack’s and McDonald’s in 1971
  • Red Rooster in 1972

But enough about the evolution of takeaway food! Onto the evolution of takeaway as a concept.

The very definition of takeaway itself has gradually changed. It has come to include home delivery of food, not just picking up a burger and chips on your way home.

With casual or fine dining, vegan and vegetarian choices, gluten-free options, and everything under the sun, takeaway now caters to people of all needs and preferences.

More importantly, it’s no longer associated with greasy food and guilt.

Menulog and its Healthy+ Campaign

Indeed, Menulog just launched a Healthy+ campaign in partnership with leading nutrition expert Dr. Joanna McMillan to identify the healthy options on takeaway menus.

She set strict guidelines that restaurant dishes had to meet, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult as people would think. Plenty of pizzerias use spelt bases and wholemeal pasta these days, there are scores of Indian dishes that aren’t laden with cream, and salads don’t need to be bland to be nutritious.

The Internet obviously plays a substantial role in this, dramatically influencing the way we buy, cook and consume meals.

Above all, the Internet has given us the joy of convenience.

  • Don’t really feel like cooking when you get home after a long day at work? Order something online.
  • Need to feed the kids but don’t have time to cook something? Order something online.

The evolution of takeaway has given us the opportunity to cut back on the cooking time and have a local chef do it instead.

Thanks to our long history of migration and cultural fusion, Australia’s takeaway landscape is world-class. We’ve never been further from our meat pie beginnings.

Restaurants to Keep Up with Demand for Online Services

Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese, Indian, Chinese, French, Ethiopian – whatever you’re craving, you can order it online and have it for dinner within the hour.

As for restaurants, keeping up with demand for online services is vital to future success.

There is a burgeoning demand for quick, easy dinners that aren’t just from the frozen section of the supermarket. Busy lives are just getting busier, and this means exciting times for restaurants.

Your services have never been more necessary! People no longer use restaurants as a treat, or simply for birthdays and special events. Rather, they use restaurants for daily sustenance.

By moving your venue online, you’re reaching out to an entirely new audience. Listing with a major online aggregator like Menulog increases awareness of your restaurant, but it also increases orders.

The evolution of takeaway has brought us to online ordering, so don’t fall behind.

Menulog

 

Alsco would like to thank Menulog for sharing this informative article on how takeaway has evolved and how they come up with Healthy + Campaign. Menulog  is an online takeaway website where restaurateurs can go and list their restaurants to cater to customers online. To learn more, visit their website.

Rush and rush, nowadays most of the consumers don’t have enough time to cook and tend to order food online, drive-thru and/or restaurants. Maybe the big question is WHY? Simply because they are easy to get to, perhaps inexpensive than buying raw foods and cook it themselves.

The first impression is indeed the last, that is why it is very important to use good to high-quality linen in every restaurant in order for it to look more inviting to all customers. Learn more of Alsco’s Table Linen now – call us 1300 659 892! Our friendly representatives are waiting.

Fresh & Clean WhiffAway: A Fresh Approach to Eco-Friendly Washroom Management

Having a workplace washroom that is fresh, clean and very much Green, is the ideal for modern businesses. Meeting the required OH&S standards has always been a must and there is no denying the value of eco-awareness to commercial image.

The problem is ensuring that the dual expectations can be achieved in a cost-effective way. The WhiffAway waterless urinal system has managed to successfully address that issue.

Available as a dedicated managed washroom service from Fresh & Clean, the WhiffAway system has already proved itself worldwide as more than just a highly effective hygienic option for cleaning urinals, offering a fresher washroom experience and more positive environmental impact. Continue reading “Fresh & Clean WhiffAway: A Fresh Approach to Eco-Friendly Washroom Management”

Working in the Kitchen – How Safe Is It?

The Danger of being a Chef

Given the fast paced environment, long hours, heavy lifting, open flames, slippery floors and sharp objects is it not any wonder that the kitchen is a far more dangerous workplace than your average office cubicle.

Most chefs can recall gruesome stories involving missing fingertips or disfiguring burns.

As an industry professional, it is important to understand the cost and consequences of these incidents but more importantly we should all learn how they can be prevented.

At Kitchen Coster, we’re working hard to create the best kitchen management software we can. As we’ve traveled across Australia meeting chefs, food delivery managers and owners it’s become as clear as day that reducing accidents and injuries is a top priority.

In Australia, compensation for injuries exceeds $553 million dollars annually and the average time an employee takes off work due to an injury is four weeks.

A good manager will do whatever it takes to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

Safework Australia Compensation Claim

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year Safework Australia reported that 8.9 out of every 1000 hotel and restaurant employees filed a workers compensation claim, totaling 117,815 cases (men were 9.6% more likely to file a claim than women).

Despite these alarming figures, it does seem that Australia’s regulatory oversight and industry culture is doing something right.

In the United States, a restaurant or hotel employee is 4.3 times more likely to file a claim than an equivalent worker in Australia. In New Zealand, they are 10 times more likely. Even though Australia is doing well there is still room for improvement.

The Longer the Time at Work the Higher Risk of Injuries

Since 2000, workers compensation claims in Australia have dropped 24% across the board, but restaurant accidents have only dropped 17%, less than almost any other industry. If you compare the incidence of injury to other industries per 1000 employees, the prevalence is a little below average.

If these numbers are analysed from the perspective of injuries per million hours worked, suddenly the number of injuries is 7% higher than average. When employees work longer hours, their likelihood of injury increases.

Perhaps the most critical aspect in preventing accidents is to ensure employees are reasonably scheduled to prevent fatigue from overwork.

Long hours and infrequent breaks have always been the norm for the restaurant industry.

Chefs often take pride in their ability to work long shifts with little more than a quick breather during which they all but inhale a hastily made sandwich over a garbage can by the dish station.

As an industry, we respect and encourage this type of work ethic.

In other occupations, such as medicine and truck driving, legislation has been enacted to limit the number of hours one can work in order to prevent mistakes. Just as in these fields, mistakes can be dangerous to restaurant employees and expensive for business owners.

Pay Attention to What you are DOING

In a professional kitchen, attentiveness is the key to avoiding disaster. Just a momentary lapse in concentration while dicing an onion can mean a deep cut in a finger that requires stitches.

A distracted cook might spill hot grease all over his foot while cleaning the fryer, causing a deep burn and infection that will leave him on his couch for weeks and cost the restaurant owner thousands.

Boxes of produce often exceed 25 kilograms, and a tired employee is much less likely to lift properly and take care while handling it. Back injuries are among the most costly and difficult to cure, requiring the most time off to heal.

Safety First

Reasonable scheduling and the allowance of sufficient breaks increases your staff’s ability to concentrate on their environment and prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

Proper equipment and work attire are also absolute necessities when it comes to preventing workplace injury in the kitchen. A loose pot handle can come off at the wrong moment and cause a disastrous burn.

Appliances that are not properly maintained can cause explosions and fires.

Proper Work Attire is a MUST

Chefs’ clothing is designed to cover exposed skin and to be resistant to heat and flames. Often these days you see chefs on television and in magazines wearing blue jeans and short-sleeved shirts and cooks in restaurants around the world are beginning to mimic this trend.

Sure, it is great for showing off their tattoos but in the real world, it is important that business owners enforce a proper dress code in order to protect their employees from injury and themselves from liability.

A professional kitchen is a place full of hazards. Momentary lapses in attention, poor equipment and improper attire can mean disaster!

Accidents cost Australian business owners more than a half billion dollars each year in workers compensation claims. Many of these injuries can, however, be prevented.

Rested workers are more aware and careful and in a fast paced kitchen awareness and care go a long way in preventing:

Owners are also prudent to ensure that all equipment is frequently inspected and that proper maintenance is performed when needed. This time and money are well spent as it is much less expensive than dealing with it after the fact and goes a long way in creating a safe environment in the food service industry in Australia.

KitchenCoster

 

Alsco would like to thank Sam Howley of Canberra Australia, Co-Founder, Lead Developer of Kitchen Coster for sharing this important and very informative article. This will educate and remind all business owners and staff how important safety is.

Working hard means earn more than usual – but we need to keep in mind everyone’s safety! Understanding the importance of safety is very important, this will keep our job and business at the same time.

Alsco provides the best services to keep your organisation, company, small business or club safe. Know more of our Alsco Catering Workwear – where a chef or kitchen employee can still look and feel professional. Call now 1300 659 892!

Photo Courtesy: Rich Roberts

The Sustainable Way To Promote Your Brand

Promotional products are generally printed with your logo or message and given away to customers or the general public. They range from very inexpensive mass produced items such as pens, bags, caps etc to short-run, expensive high-quality items for valued customers or staff.

Giving promotional products away to your customers or potential clients is a great way to market your business, brand or event – everyone loves getting something for free for a start.

What’s even better is that you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are giving your customers or clients a useful, long-lasting branded product that will constantly and positively remind them of your company or organization.

Sounds good, but what happens in practice?

Unfortunately over 90% of the promotional products available in Australia these days are cheap, disposable and ultimately polluting or wasteful.  Most of it is:

– plastic (fossil fuel based) which takes hundreds of years to break down in the landfill,
– made from materials that are non-renewable and energy intensive such as aluminium or stainless steel, or
– made from materials produced from unsustainable fibres sourced from native forests and rainforests, cotton plantations, and can involve production methods based on unfair labour practices.

Common Important Questions

– Are such products truly valued?
– Are they useful and long-lasting?
– Do they really reflect your brand in a positive way?
– How long do you think customers keep their plastic keyrings, stress balls, flapper hands, flags, caps, banners, power banks, wristbands, and more?

You guessed it – all too often this disposable giveaway is NOT valued as you would like and quickly ends up in the bin destined to spend centuries in Australia’s over-filled landfill sites.

All that pollution (and sometimes exploitation of workers in overseas producer countries) to make the things, and the end result is a short, unvalued life before disposal in the waste stream. That can’t be satisfying for you or effective for your business, and it’s certainly less than your customers expect. Today’s market expects more.

Solution for Healthier Environment

As more and more people become aware and concerned about climate change, food safety, and the need to live their lives more sustainably, they are increasingly ready to respond to businesses and organizations who share their concerns, offer genuine solutions and use appropriate green or sustainable means to communicate with them.

If you want to be taken seriously by this ever increasing group, and to act sustainably in your promotional efforts, then the medium must fit the message: the promotional product you give your customer or client has to be green.

Thankfully there’s now a wider range of eco promotional products which allow you to promote your business or message or to educate/inform your market while letting your customers know that you share their sustainability concerns and values.

The Benefits of using Eco-Promotional Products

By switching to eco-friendly promotional products your business can:

  • Save resources and lessen your impact on the environment
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Promote your business as environmentally responsible and aware
  • Increase awareness of, and respect for your brand
  • Educate and inform your market of new products or services
  • Reach new customers who are looking for genuine green solutions or sustainable businesses to deal with

As a marketing strategy, eco promotional products can be used alone, or integrated with other media, such as advertising, public relations and events. Popular uses include:

  • Generating new customers or new accounts
  • Non-profit fundraising
  • Public awareness campaigns by public authorities
  • Recruitment
  • For promotion of brand awareness and brand loyalty
  • As business gifts
  • As staff gifts or incentives
  • Orientation and education programs
  • Marketing research
  • Corporate communications
  • At trade shows, events and conferences

Eco Promotional product strategies are:

  • Cost Effective – they fit into almost any marketing budget  as there are products available at almost every price point.
  • Easy to Integrate – they complement other marketing/advertising media.
  • Easy to Target – they can be directed to targeted/selected audiences such as customers, prospective customers, clients, staff, or the general public.
  • Cost-Free Repetition of your message – the eco product continues to repeat the advertising message every time it is used, without extra cost per exposure.
  • Valued – People like to receive them and research shows that they are valued
  • Effective as Incentives and Motivators – since the items are useful, functional, green and appealing
  • Flexible – With so many cost-effective eco promotional products now available, there is a lot of flexibility possible in planning a successful promotion or campaign

What are Eco Promotional Products?

Eco promotional products are produced from materials and use processes that are a significant environmental improvement on traditional materials or manufacturing.

For example, they minimise or avoid the use of non-renewable resources, they foster or involve reuse and recycling, and they greatly decrease the negative effects of product disposal, by eg being biodegradable.

The eco promotional products that we at ecopromotions.com.au source, supply and print, need to satisfy at least 2 of the following criteria:

  • Be recycled, and/or
  • Be biodegradable, and/or
  • Be sustainable, and/or
  • Be organic, and/or
  • Be reusable, and/or
  • Have an identifiable reduced impact on the environment

You can read more in our website information pages at ecopromotions.com.au for more detailed information on our products and the materials used to make them.

The Development of Eco Products

While eco products available today are not yet all perfect and some involve initial compromises that need to be addressed over time, the trend is clear: there is a strong move to making the manufacture, use and eventual recycling or disposal of eco promotional products sustainable in the long run so that renewable, non-polluting resources are used and so that future generations can enjoy using the same type of resources and getting the same type of benefits into the future.

In the same way, we will see a trend to ever-increasing certification of the environmental benefits or features of eco products.

Today there are relatively few certified products in the promotional market, apart from FSC certification for some wooden and paper products, and Fairtrade, Organic Cotton and a few other certifications for some clothing, bags and toys.

About EcoPromotions

After decades in paper recycling and in the green business world, the directors of Ecopaper Pty Ltd formed 2 business divisions to supply both business and end customers:

  • EcoPromotions for the supply of printed eco promotional products to businesses and organisations
  • BuyEcoGreen for the supply of eco office, school and craft products through the online shop at www.buyecogreen.com.au

At  EcoPromotions, we understand the products, the issues, the promotional industry and the changing pattern of eco-consumer behaviour.

We are also eco product specialists: the only promotional products we supply are eco products. Not like many other promotional companies that supply 95% traditional plastic etc based products and have added a token 5% of ‘green products’ to satisfy the ‘eco buyer’.

Our eco promotional products are made from:

  • Recycled
  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainable
  • Certified
  • Organic
  • Other environmentally friendly materials.

Our products are also significantly carbon offset: we have chosen to voluntarily offset operational emissions and make a contribution towards offsetting product emissions with verified carbon offsets from C3 Climate Chest.

Walking the walk” – at EcoPromotions.com.au we follow principles of sustainable living and ethical business practices including:

  • The purchase of 100% Green Power
  • Greenhouse abatement of transport
  • Product and operational emissions through carbon offsetting via C3
  • Maintenance of ethical business relationships
  • Support of charitable and aid organisations
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Greywater recycling
  • Solar energy production for our office
  • And more

Eco Promotions Logo

 

Alsco would like to thank Con Goik, Director of EcoPromotions for sharing this awesome and informative article to help us keep our environment healthy and green.

Alsco’s number one priority is to keep our environment clean and green not just for us today but for the future as ell. Know more of our Personalised Mats, a perfect way to convey safety message to employees and customers. For more information about Alsco’s different services, you may visit our official website or call us on 1300 659 892!

 

Alsco Exhibits at Leading Trade Shows

Alsco has had a busy year at major trade shows this year with a strong presence at the Foodservice Australia Show in Melbourne in May and more recently at two of Australia’s leading trade shows in September; Fine Food in Melbourne and Safety in Action in Sydney.

Safety in Action

Safety in Action is a dedicated trade show that highlights workplace health and safety. Designed to the meet the needs of Australia’s health and safety industry the show features workshopping, networking and product sourcing opportunities.

With over 150 exhibitors under one roof the event attracted over 5,500 visitors over three days from major industries such as Manufacturing, Building & Construction, Engineering, Transport, Distribution & Logistics, Cleaning, Government/Council and more.

Fine Food Australia Celebrates 30 Years

Australia’s largest annual food industry trade expo celebrated 30 years of operation this year and Alsco once again was part of this major event. Held in Melbourne, the trade show brought together 1,000 exhibitors including world-class producers and leading suppliers. It attracted record numbers of visitors and exhibitors this year with over 27,000 people participating over four days. The 30th Birthday celebration of Fine Food Australia presented a great platform for Alsco to feature the new brand image and sales and promotional collateral.

A Great Success

Both trade shows generated several leads for our Sales Executives.

Annie Hepburn, Elizabeth Turner, Lyle Consul, Ray Lipscombe and Julie Smith represented Alsco at the Melbourne Fine Food Australia stand while Joey La-kiss, Eddie Lakiss, Gabriele Calvete Luke Carroll, David Liddle and Nigel Stafford ran the Sydney Safety in Action stand.

Next year Fine Food Australia returns to Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.

 

On A Holiday? Here’s How to Manage Your Business While You’re Away

Monitoring the Business

Small business owners constantly face the difficult challenge of reaching an appropriate work/life balance. The opportunity of being able to fit travel in to their schedules or be away from their business for an extended amount of time often seems like an impossible dream especially if you belong to industries such as hospitality, or if you’re a small business owner and your business relies on you being there physically to run properly.

Today so much new technology aimed at eliminating the boundaries of timing and location is becoming available. Teleworking is a luxury that allows more and more people to have the opportunity to have greater freedom to work from wherever and whenever they choose to.

We often hear from small business owners who have successfully implemented digital work or telework as part of their business and they claim that one of the major wins of the online revolution is that you now have the capability to coordinate complicated tasks and manage your business from anywhere in the world.

Let’s know the Benefits of Teleworking

The benefits of teleworking are clear and range from:

  • The reduced costs of running and maintaining an office.
  • The opportunity to monitor all aspects of your business whilst juggling other commitments or being away.
  • Mental health benefits of reducing stress and anxiety which can be associated with working long hours and not having enough time to spend with family and friends.

Whilst teleworking offers a wide range of benefits, it is important to make sure that teleworking suits your business model.

Some questions you should ask yourself before jumping into telework include:

  • Is my role suited for telework? Not all roles are suitable for telework and it is important to ensure that the quality of your work and service to your customers is not compromised due to you not being physically present.
  • Will telework provide enough return on investment? Whilst the benefits of having a flexible schedule as well as having the comfort and convenience of working from any location are hard to look past, it is definitely worthwhile measuring the financial outcomes of telework.
  • Have I taken the correct measures to protect my and my client’s data security and privacy? All business owners must constantly and actively take the appropriate actions to protect their own and their client’s data security and privacy. For a comprehensive list of safety precautions you need to undertake, be sure to check out our Telework Privacy and Security check list.

Once you’ve measured all the risks and benefits associated with Telework and have found that it suits your business, your next step is to make the transition in to telework.

We’ve put together a list of tools that will make your transition smoother and easier:

1. Digital Phone Apps

Apps like Skype and Viber are your best friend when travelling overseas or in other states of Australia. Assuming you have access to WiFi, with a little preparation you will be able to chat with anyone from anywhere in the world via sms, voice chat or even video chat.

You can even connect with multiple users at the same time to have real-time, video-conferences that are almost as good as being there in person. Just make sure you have a solid WiFi connection and you are good to go.

Both Skype and Viber are 100% free assuming you are communicating to another person using the same software. If you would like to call/SMS a landline or mobile phone these can be achieved at a reasonable cost.

2. Email

This one might seem obvious but it definitely should be noted. If you are overseas you might not always have access to WiFi; this is where emails, which need only low speed connections such as provided by mobile broadband, become invaluable.

You can communicate a large amount of information and keep on top of a lot of things simply through using your email. There are many benefits of using email as part of your teleworking strategy which you should consider when putting together a strategy for email use.

However, this resource is limited and can get confusing if you are balancing a lot of different tasks. This is where online project management software can become useful.

3. Project Management Software

If there is a lot going on within your business/organization and you need to coordinate and keep track of many different people then perhaps you need a service such as:

These kinds of software allow you to invite multiple people to communicate and coordinate tasks using an online platform. Users are able to post questions, list tasks and register their progress in an online space so that you and everyone in your organization knows the status of various tasks and processes.

These kinds of software are generally free for a limited number of people and are charged once this threshold is reached.

If you need to be a little bit more hands on and access the computers at your place of business, remote desktop products are readily available.

4. Remote Desktop

If you really need to get technical and hands-on with the computers back home, products like TeamViewer and Ammyy will be perfect for you.Using these amazingly simple pieces of software, you can access and use computers anywhere in the world as if you were there. Simply install the program on both computers and with a little bit of tweaking you should be ready to go in no time.

This comes with obvious security concerns, so be careful whenever you use remote software!

We hope that your transition into telework is seamless and painless and you find good use in the information we’ve provided. If you have any questions or need any further guidance, we at digital Ready have put together a comprehensive and detailed course on all you need to consider when thinking about telework as an option for your business.

digital-ready

 

Alsco would like to thank Paula Corvalan of Digital Ready for this article. Digital Ready provides small business owners, organisations and clubs the knowledge to take advantage of latest technology on growing business anywhere and anytime.

The peace of mind you get when running a business is simply one of the best thing. Using latest technology gadgets and applications is a big help on monitoring your employee’s work so as your business.

We at Alsco want to provide nothing but the best services to make workplaces safe. Learn more about Alsco’s Managed Training Service to secure the safety of your business’s work environment. Contact us now 1300 659 892!

Photo Courtesy: Matthew Hurst