Logo Uniforms vs DIY Work Clothes: Why Corporate Uniforms Are Clear Favourites

Whether it is for a financial corporation, a service provider or a factory floor, deciding whether to introduce logo work clothes or to adopt a DIY policy, choice of workwear is important. Most business owners like the idea of a corporate uniform, but wonder if it is right for them?

Advantage of Uniforms

Admittedly, uniforms are associated with specific types of industry, like the food and health sectors (restaurants, food processing, hospitals), and public services (police, military). But research has confirmed the overwhelming advantages of adopting a corporate uniform in almost every sector.

The idea that image wear is an effective branding tool is a widely held belief in developed economies.

The Western Workwear Report, published by Frost & Sullivan in 2010, revealed that UK companies spend an estimated €640.9 million on uniforming their workers. It’s a major investment that places the UK high on the corporate uniform and logoed workwear table. In Western Europe, the industry is worth an estimated €3.2 billion, and projections suggest it will growth by 3.3% annually until 2016.

Appearance is Everything

Consumers expect high standards from professional services, but there is evidence to support the idea that even an expert dressed in casual work clothes is trusted less than a novice wearing official company attire.

For example, if a consumer has a problem with their plasma TV and calls ‘Bright Sparks Ltd’ to solve the problem, they are more likely to trust the electronics expert if he arrives in a neatly presented uniform with a ‘Bright Sparks Ltd’ logo emblazoned on the shirt front, than if he arrives in Levi’s jeans and an everyday t-shirt.

It is the first impression that generally lasts, and image wear is designed to make sure the first impression is a positive one.

Research has upheld the idea that employee uniforms signal a greater professionalism, as well as offering visual clues to what the company does and even how it sees itself. Uniformed, logoed work clothes build a ‘front-of-mind consciousness’ in the consumer, and consequently a higher degree of confidence in the company.

More Than Consumer Benefits

There are other benefits to using a corporate uniform. For example, uniforms have been shown to increase attention spans amongst workers, contributing to a greater productivity, better quality work and even higher levels of creativity and resourcefulness.

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology January 2012, concluded that worker performance can be influenced by their work clothes, even to the extent that their behaviour and attitude can change.

According to the research, wearing a lab coat can increase attention to detail, which is what laboratory scientists are required to have.

However, the research also revealed that workwear needs to fit the job – a painter who was given a lab coat to wear experienced no improvement in performance or quality of work. So, it is as important that a worker feels comfortable in their work clothes as it is to include a company logo in the design.

Practical Advantages

For large companies, with several different divisions and departments, there are other practical advantages to having uniformed work clothes for their staff.

True, it helps workers feel part of a team, and can help to motivate them in terms of performance, concentration and creativity. But by having minor variations to a corporate uniform, staff can feel part of their own particular team while also identifying with the corporation at large.

For example, a major garden centre might have their nursery staff wear green polo shirts, their furniture staff wear yellow polo shirts, and their warehouse and delivery staff wear blue polo shirts. The clothing design is the same, and all staff wear the same company logo, but the image wear distinguishes each department.

Forget About Going DIY?

But is a DIY work clothes policy really such a bad idea? Well, corporate uniforms are a huge benefit to companies reliant on both teamwork and interaction with the public, but when an employer is more reliant on individuals, going DIY is a viable option (though a dress code often exists).

For example, a magazine publisher is unlikely to ask their journalists to wear the company logo when interviewing and researching their pieces, while a law firm will expect its lawyers to wear a suit but not with the firm’s logo on the jacket.

Projecting a professional image to a consumer public that expects professionalism is crucial in highly competitive sectors. But building confidence in standards or work, hygiene and honesty is equally important. The right corporate uniform can accomplish that.

Much as a firm handshake reveals a lot about the person you are doing business with, the image wear their company adopts can indicate what they are all about too.

Alsco Uniforms to Improve Performance and Customer Service

Studies shows that a well-maintained and well-designed uniforms help an employee boost their self-image, improve their morale and performance at work. At Alsco, we offer a range of industrial workwear and work uniforms that combine style and comfort with durability and safety to ensure your staff look and feel their best.

For more information, why not give us a call to know all the details. Grab yours now!


Image courtesy: www.audio-luci-store.it

Model Code of Practice: Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work

Occupational noise-induced hearing loss is a hearing impairment resulting from exposure to excessive noise at work.

The degree of hearing loss is generally cumulative, increasing with both the length of time exposed and the level of noise. Once acquired, the damage to employees’ hearing is irreversible. Fortunately, however, workplace hearing loss is almost entirely preventable.

So how can employers prevent occupational noise-induced hearing loss in their workplaces?

The Model Code of Practice

Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work, published by Safe Work Australia in 2012, is the best place to start. It has been developed to provide practical guidance to persons conducting a business or undertaking on how noise affects hearing, how to identify and assess exposure to noise and how to control health and safety risks arising from hazardous noise.

With the incidence of compensated noise-induced hearing loss on the rise – the rate increased from 491 claims per million employees to 523 over the nine-year period 2000–01 to 2008–09 after a 5 year period of stabilisation – it is certainly a timely issue to address.

Indeed, along with a number of other work-related disorders, noise-induced hearing loss has been identified as a national priority in the new Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-22.

The prioritised disorders have been chosen based on the:

  • Severity of consequences for workers
  • The number of workers estimated to be affected
  • The existence of known prevention options

The benefits of managing the risks related to noise are clear:

  • Workers will be protected from hearing loss
  • The conditions for effective communication will be improved
  • Less stressful and more productive work environment will be created

Find out how to manage the risks in the following excerpt from the Model Code of Practice: Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work or download the full code in PDF format:

Model Code of Practice: Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work [1.7MB]

2. Noise and Its Effect on Health and Safety

2.1 How Does Hearing Loss Occur?

Hazardous noise affects the functioning of the inner ear, which may cause temporary hearing loss. After a period of time away from noise, hearing may be restored. With further exposure to hazardous noise, the ear will gradually lose its ability to recover and the hearing loss will become permanent.

Permanent hearing loss can also occur suddenly if a person is exposed to very loud impact or explosive sounds. This type of damage is known as Acoustic Trauma.

Permanent hearing loss results from the destruction of hair cells in the inner ear. These cells cannot be replaced or repaired by any presently known medical treatments or technology.

Usually, hazardous noise first affects the ability to hear high-frequency (high-pitched) sounds. This means that even though a person can still hear some sounds, conversation will start to sound ‘muffled’ and a person may find it difficult to understand what is being said.

Communication difficulties occur especially when there are competing background noises. Modern hearing aids may improve the ability to hear speech but they are unable to completely restore the clarity of the full hearing function.

Workers exposed to hazardous noise may also experience tinnitus, which could become permanent. When severe:

  • It may disrupt sleep
  • Reduce concentration
  • Make people extremely irritable and lead to depression

The degree of hearing loss that occurs is dependent on:

  • How loud the noise is
  • How long someone is exposed to it
  • And, to some extent, individual susceptibility

The frequency or pitch can also have some effect on hearing loss, since high-pitched sounds are more damaging than low-pitched ones.

Exposure to a number of common industrial chemicals and some medications can also cause hearing loss or exacerbate the effects of noise on hearing. These substances are called Ototoxic substances.

Ototoxic substances absorbed into the bloodstream may damage the Cochlea in the inner ear and/or the Auditory pathways to the brain, leading to hearing loss and tinnitus.

Hearing loss is more likely if exposure is to a combination of substances or a combination of the substance and noise.

There is also some evidence that exposure to hand transmitted vibrations can exacerbate the effects of noise on hearing.

Further information on these other causes of hearing loss is provided in Appendix A.

2.2 How Much Noise is Too Much?

Whether the exposure standard of 85 dB(A) averaged over eight hours is exceeded depends on the level of noise involved and how long workers are exposed to it.

Peak noise levels greater than 140 dB(C) usually occur with impact or explosive noise such as sledge-hammering or a gun shot. Any exposure above this peak can create almost instant damage to hearing.

Decibels are not like normal numbers. They can’t be added or subtracted in the normal way. The decibel scale is logarithmic.

On this scale, an increase of 3 dB therefore represents a doubling or twice as much sound energy. This means that the length of time a worker could be exposed to the noise is reduced by half for every 3 dB increase in noise level if the same noise energy is to be received.

Table 1 below demonstrates the length of time a person without hearing protectors can be exposed before the standard is exceeded.

Table 1: Equivalent Noise ExposuresLAeq,8h = 85 dB(A)
Noise Level dB(A) Exposure Time
80 16 hours1
82 12hours1
85 8 hours
88 4 hours
91 2 hours
94 1 hour
97 30 minutes
100 15 minutes
103 7.5 minutes
106 3.8 minutes
109 1.9 minutes
112 57 seconds
115 28.8 seconds
118 14.4 seconds
121 7.2 seconds
124 3.6 seconds
127 1.8 seconds
130 0.9 seconds

1 The adjustment factor for extended workshifts shown in Table 3 of this Code is taken into account.

Essentially, a worker who is exposed to 85 dB(A) for 8 hours receives the same noise energy as someone exposed to 88 dB(A) for 4 hours, with the balance of the day in a very quiet environment.

In both cases the exposure standard is not being exceeded. However, being exposed to 88 dB(A) for more than 4 hours would mean that the standard is exceeded. Similarly, if a worker is using a machine that generates 121 dB(A) then the exposure standard would be exceeded after only 7.2 seconds.

There is a big range in different people’s susceptibility to hearing loss from noise.

Research shows that 8-hour average daily noise exposure levels below 75 dB(A) or instantaneous peak noise levels below 130 dB(C) are unlikely to cause hearing loss. With progressively increasing levels, the risk becomes greater.

The WHS Regulations set the exposure standard for noise at an LAeq,8h of 85 dB(A) and a peak noise level at 140 dB(C), which protects most but not all people. Therefore, workplace noise should be kept lower than the exposure standard for noise if reasonably practicable.

2.3 Other Effects of Noise

Noise at levels that do not damage hearing can have other adverse health effects. This can arise when noise chronically interferes with concentration and communication.

Persistent noise stress can increase the risk of fatigue and cardiovascular disorders including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Although safe levels to guard against these effects have not yet been fully determined, as a guide, the risk of adverse health effects can be minimised by keeping noise levels below:

  • 50 dB(A) where work is being carried out that requires high concentration or effortless conversation
  • 70 dB(A) where more routine work is being carried out that requires speed or attentiveness or where it is important to carry on conversations.

These levels include the noise from other work being carried out within the workplace.

To work safely, workers must be able to hear warning signals above any other noise (ambient noise) at the workplace.

For reversing alarms on mobile plant, the guidance in ISO:9533: 2010 Earth-moving machinery – Machine-mounted audible travel alarms and forward horns – Test methods and performance criteria should be followed. This requires the noise level of the alarm at potential reception points to be at least as high as the noise from the engine under high idle.

For other situations, the levels needed are higher – at least 65 dB(A) and more than 15 dB(A) greater than the ambient noise level at any position in the signal reception area. More detailed guidance on assessing the audibility of warning signals can be found in ISO 7731:2003 Ergonomics – Danger signals for public and work areas – Auditory danger signals

Alsco First Aid & Safety

Alsco offer a fully managed First Aid Supply and Service Kit designed to ensure ongoing WH&S compliance for your business. Its a highly visible wall mounted First Aid Cabinet (featuring only hospital grade supplies) with regular servicing. This ensures the cabinet is always maintained to the code of practice standard.

Your health is important to us. Why not give Alsco a call to find out all the details. Act quickly!



Image courtesy: Lunchbox LP


Go Green Posters – Walk, Cycle or Even Car-pool to Work!

As we all know by now, it’s the little things that we do that can make a big difference in the long run – both to the environment and our own health. So we’ve created some great looking posters to remind you of those little things.

Download and print the A4 poster below and enjoy an attractive green reminder!

Download A4 Poster [PDF 1.8 MB]

Download A3 Poster [PDF 1.6 MB]

For Greener Environment and Healthier You

The Alsco Ecosafe Washer eliminates the need for harmful solvents while providing an economical, safe and effective car part cleaning solution. Ideal for engine cleaning and industrial parts washing, the Ecosafe Washer provides an environmentally friendly alternative: no harmful chemicals, no fumes, non toxic, non flammable, no waste disposal and no health concerns.

Available through a fully managed rental program, you can enjoy a free 2 week trial of the Alsco Ecosafe Parts Washer and discover the benefits for yourself.

Watch the video demonstration of the Alsco car parts cleaner here.


Image courtesy: Elvert Barnes

Hand Dryers Vs Paper Towels: So Which Is The Best Hand Drying Option?

Alsco Hand dryers vs paper towels

Technology can sometimes dazzle us into believing it’s the superior option, but gadgetry is not always a guarantee of efficiency or quality. Sometimes, the original really is the best. When it comes to hand drying techniques promoted in workplace bathrooms, the evidence has consistently proven it.

Research has shown that the old and reliable paper hand towels are not only more efficient at getting hands dry, but are also more hygienic. The more sophisticated methods, like warm air hand dryers to the jet air dryers, that have caught the imagination do not come up trumps in either of these categories. Continue reading “Hand Dryers Vs Paper Towels: So Which Is The Best Hand Drying Option?”

Model Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces

Falls are a major cause of death and injury in Australian workplaces. Indeed, in 2009-10 falls accounted for 20% of all serious workers compensation claims. More specifically, Falls from a height were a major cause of fatalities in 2009-10 with 13 deaths.

Who are at Risk?

Of course, the risk of a fall occuring varies depending on the type of work that is carried out in a particular workplace.

Construction industry workers, for example, run a higher risk of a workplace falls than workers in some other industries. In 2009-10, 12% of compensation claims within the construction industry were due to Falls from a height and 11% due to Falls on same level.

Regardless of industry, however, preventing workplace falls is an important goal for all employers. But exactly how can employers go about preventing falls in their workplaces?

The Model Code of Practice

Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces, published by Safe Work Australia in 2011, is the best place to start. It provides practical guidance to persons conducting a business or undertaking, including those persons who design, construct, import, supply or install plant or structures, on how to manage health and safety risks arising from falls. It includes information on a range of control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks.

The benefits of managing the risk of falls in the workplace are clear:

  • The creation of safer
  • Healthier workplaces which will in turn create happier
  • More productive work environments

Find out how to manage the risks in the following excerpt from the Model Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces or download the full code in PDF format:

Model Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces [4.8MB]

2. Managing the Risk of Falls

2.1 How to Identify Fall Hazards

You must identify all locations and tasks that could cause injury due to a fall. This includes access to the areas where work is to be carried out. Tasks that need particular attention are those carried out:

  • On any structure or plant being constructed or installed, demolished or dismantled, inspected, tested, repaired or cleaned
  • On a fragile surface (for example, cement sheeting roofs, rusty metal roofs, fibreglass sheeting roofs and skylights)
  • On a potentially unstable surface (for example, areas where there is potential for ground collapse)
  • Using equipment to work at the elevated level (for example, when using elevating work platforms or portable ladders)
  • On a sloping or slippery surface where it is difficult for people to maintain their balance (for example, on glazed tiles)
  • Near an unprotected open edge (for example, near incomplete stairwells)
  • Near a hole, shaft or pit into which a worker could fall (for example, trenches, lift shafts or service pits).

Inspect the Workplace

Walk around the workplace and talk to your workers to find out where work is carried out that could result in falls. A checklist may be useful in this process. Key things to look for include:

  • Surfaces:
    • The stability, fragility or brittleness
    • The potential to slip, for example where surfaces are wet, polished or glazed
    • The safe movement of workers where surfaces change
    • The strength or capability to support loads
    • The slope of work surfaces, for example, where they exceed 7 degrees.
  • Levels—where levels change and workers may be exposed to a fall from one level to another
  • Structures—the stability of temporary or permanent structures
  • The ground—the evenness and stability of the ground for safe support of scaffolding or a work platform
  • The working area—whether it is crowded or cluttered
  • Entry and exit from the working area
  • Edges—protection for open edges of floors, working platforms, walkways, walls or roofs
  • Holes, openings or excavations—which will require guarding
  • Hand grip—places where hand grip may be lost.

In some situations, advice may be needed from technical specialists, such as structural engineers, to check the stability of structures or load bearing capacity.

Review Available Information, Including Incident Records

You should check your records of previous injuries and ‘near miss’ incidents related to falls.

Information and advice about fall hazards and risks relevant to particular industries and work activities is also available from regulators, industry associations, unions, technical specialists and safety consultants.

2.2 How to Assess the Risk

A risk assessment will help you determine:

  • What could happen if a fall did occur and how likely it is to happen
  • How severe a risk is
  • Whether any existing control measures are effective
  • What action you should take to control the risk
  • How urgently the action needs to be taken.

A risk assessment is unnecessary if you already know the risk and how to control it.

When assessing the risks arising from each fall hazard, the following matters should be considered:

  • The design and layout of elevated work areas, including the distance of a potential fall
  • The number and movement of all people at the workplace
  • The proximity of workers to unsafe areas where loads are placed on elevated working areas (for example, loading docks) and where work is to be carried out above people and there is a risk of falling objects
  • The adequacy of inspection and maintenance of plant and equipment (for example, scaffolding)
  • The adequacy of lighting for clear vision
  • Weather conditions—the presence of rain, wind, extreme heat or cold can cause slippery or unstable conditions
  • The suitability of footwear and clothing for the conditions
  • The suitability and condition of ladders, including where and how they are being used
  • The adequacy of current knowledge and training to perform the task safely (for example, young, new or inexperienced workers may be unfamiliar with a task)
  • The adequacy of procedures for all potential emergency situations.

Generic Risk Assessment

If you are responsible for a number of different work areas or workplaces and the fall hazards are the same, you may perform a single (or generic) risk assessment.

However, you should carry out a risk assessment on individual fall hazards if there is any likelihood that a person may be exposed to greater, additional or different risks.

2.3 How to Control the Risk

There are a number of ways to control the risks of falls.

Some control measures are more effective than others. Control measures can be ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of control.

The WHS Regulations require duty holders to work through this hierarchy to choose the control that most effectively eliminates or minimises the risk in the circumstances. This may involve a single control measure or a combination of two or more different controls.

In managing the risks of falls, the WHS Regulations require the following specific control measures to be implemented, where it is reasonably practicable to do so:

1. Can the need to work at height be avoided to eliminate the risk of a fall?

  • Carry out any work that involves the risk of a fall on the ground

2. Can the fall be prevented by working on solid construction?

  • A building or structure that is used as an existing place of work and includes safe access and egress from which there is no risk of a fall from one level to another, for example properly constructed stairs with fixed handrails, flat roofs with a parapet or permanently installed guard rails around the edges.

It is usually not necessary to implement additional control measures to manage the risk of falls for workplaces in buildings that already comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code of Australia, for example in relation to stairs, mezzanines and balconies.

3. Can the risk of a fall be minimised by providing and maintaining a safe system of work, including:

  • Providing a fall prevention device (for example, installing guard rails) if it is reasonably practicable to do so, or
  • Providing a work positioning system (for example, an industrial rope access system) if it is not reasonably practicable to provide a fall prevention device, or
  • Providing a fall-arrest system, so far as is reasonably practicable, if it is not reasonably practicable to provide a fall prevention device or a work positioning system.

In some cases a combination of control measures may be necessary, for example using a safety harness while working from an elevating work platform.

Control measures are needed where there is a risk of injury irrespective of fall height.

For low falls, you should assess the risk and provide reasonably practicable measures that reflect the risk.

For example, there may be a risk of injury to workers standing on a narrow 1.7 metre high platform next to a production line where they have to work with their back to the open edge or where there is a risk of falling onto an uneven surface with sharp edges or protrusions. In this situation it may be reasonably practicable to install a guard rail along the edge of the platform.

Sometimes it may not be reasonably practicable to provide guard rails, for example at the edges of railway platforms or vehicle inspection pits. Other safe systems of work to provide adequate protection should be implemented, for example brightly painted lines to designate edges.

Work of long duration and higher frequency will usually require control measures higher up the hierarchy to provide adequate protection, for example using a mobile scaffold instead of a ladder.

You should also ensure that the control measures you select do not create new hazards, for example electrical risks from contact with overhead power lines or crushing and entanglement from plant such as elevating work platforms.

Implementing and Maintaining Control Measures

Regulation 37
You must ensure that the control measures you implement remain effective. This includes checking that the control measures are fit for purpose; suitable for the nature and duration of the work; are installed and used correctly.

To allow the chosen control measures to operate effectively, you should:

  • Develop work procedures on how to correctly install, use and maintain the control measure.The procedures should include a planned program of inspections and maintenance for the control measures. The inspection regime should include details of:
    • The equipment to be inspected (including its unique identification)
    • The frequency and type of inspection (pre-use checks, detailed inspections)
    • Action to be taken on finding defective equipment
    • Means of recording the inspections
    • Training of users
    • The system of monitoring the inspection regime to verify that inspections are carried out appropriately.
  • The manufacturer and/or supplier of the equipment should be consulted for any product specific requirements. If any signs of wear or weakness are found during the inspection, the components or means of attachment must be withdrawn from use until they are replaced with properly functioning components.
  • Provide information, training and instruction to workers, including procedures for emergency and rescue. You should also cover:
    • The type of control measures used to prevent falls.
    • Procedures for reporting fall hazards and incidents.
    • The correct selection, fitting, use, care, inspection, maintenance and storage of fall-arrest and restraint equipment.
    • The correct use of tools and equipment used in the work (for example, using a tool belt instead of carrying tools).
    • Control measures for other potential hazards (for example, electrical hazards).
  • Provide supervision by ensuring that workers exposed to a risk of a fall are adequately supervised by a competent person, especially if they are undergoing training or are unfamiliar with the working environment. Check that:
    • Only workers who have received training and instruction in relation to the system of work are authorised to carry out the work
    • Workers use the fall control measure in the correct manner.

2.4 How to Review Control Measures

The control measures that are put in place to prevent falls must be reviewed, and if necessary revised, to make sure they work as planned and to maintain an environment that is without risks to health and safety.

Regulation 38
A person conducting a business or undertaking must review and as necessary revise fall control measures:

  • When the control measure does not control the risk so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Before a change at the workplace that is likely to give rise to a new or different health and safety risk that the control measure may not effectively control
  • If a new hazard or risk is identified
  • If the results of consultation indicate that a review is necessary
  • If a health and safety representative requests a review.

Control measures may be reviewed using the same methods as the initial hazard identification step.

Consult your workers and their health and safety representatives and consider the following:

  • Are the control measures working effectively in both their design and operation?
  • Are all fall hazards being identified?
  • Are workers using the control measures in accordance with the instruction and training that has been provided?

Safety Training in Alsco

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

Alsco values safety and health of each worker. Do not delay! Grab your phone and call Alsco now.


Image courtesy: Elvert Barnes

Green Office Reminder Poster: Recycle Paper, Plastic, Glass and Toner Cartridges

Alsco GreenOffice Reminder Poster: Recycle Paper Plastic Glass and Toner Cartridges

Going green demands that everyone get on board with changing office procedures and habits.

We know your team is working hard enough already, so we created these handy posters to remind you of simple green ideas. You can download them here and then print them.

All you need is blu-tack, pushpins or glue.

Download PDF file (1.1 MB)

Other simple ways to ‘green your office’ include using green products such as floor mats made from recycled materials and continuous cloth towel for hand drying.

Alsco Evolution Mats

Alsco’s range of commercial mats and industrial mats now includes the Evolution Mat. In addition to a great range of features including thicker pile and premium quality, these mats are made from recycled materials, eliminating the need for raw production materials.

For your convenience, Alsco provides a fully managed rental service, supplying clean, undamaged mats every time. Alsco is committed to improvements that promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Contact Alsco to enjoy a Free Evolution Mat Trial.


Image Courtesy: “NEA recycling bins, Orchard Road” by Terence Ong – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons.

Carbon Accounting for Businesses

Carbon accounting image
Click on the image to see a larger version (PDF 475KB)

Epicor recently carried out a global carbon accounting survey to offer some insight into businesses’ ability and willingness towards energy management. The survey collected responses from nearly 1,000 companies worldwide. The main result showed that carbon accounting is definitely not a priority with the majority of businesses not even aware of the what Carbon Accounting is. More worryingly, of those that were aware, less than 25% were actively doing anything about it.

In some countries new legislation and regulations are soon to be, or are already being implemented which aims to get corporations to take account of their energy management. Australia is in the midst of implementing such strategies.

It’s quite worrying to think that a third of all companies don’t know whether they are under legal obligation to report emissions and we want to take this opportunity to urge the industry as a whole to take responsibility and help educate businesses about energy management,” said Chris Purcell, product marketing manager for Epicor. “Businesses should prepare now for carbon accounting.”

Global businesses now need to account for their carbon emissions, by voluntary initiatives or via mandatory processes that are starting to be put in place. Without these processes, companies are getting away with excessive usage and waste. It is important that businesses don’t see the green agenda as an alternative to operational savings because it is not. We need to get businesses to push being green to the top of their priorities.

Alsco Ecosafe Washer

As businesses become more mindful of the environment and the need for safer workplaces, best practices are changing towards new products like the water based parts washers. Our Alsco Ecosafe Washers are water based and exists in its own environment where oil and grease are transformed into water and carbon dioxide.

It’s important that you respond promptly. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Source: Epicor

Photo Courtesy: Todd Huffman

Model Code of Practice: First Aid in the Workplace

Screenshot of the PDFWork Health and Safety regulations can be confusing. Many employers are unsure of their responsibilities under the various aspects of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act. To combat the confusion, codes of practice have been created to offer practical guidance for achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS Act.

Generally, following the approved code of practice for a particular subject is the easiest way to ensure compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act. Of course a code of practice can not cover all potential hazards or risks – it is the reponsibility of employers to consider all risks and hazards associated with their particular type of work.

There’s no denying the importance of first aid – the application of immediate and effective first aid to workers or others who have been injured or become ill at the workplace may reduce the severity of the injury or illness and encourage a speedy recovery. In some cases it may mean the difference between life and death.

While first aid requirements will vary from workplace to workplace, the code of practice provides valuable information about using a risk management approach so that the first aid provisions put in place are tailored to the individual circumstances of a specific workplace. The code also provides guidance on the number and type of first aid kits different workplaces require, and how many trained first aiders are appropriate for particular workplaces.

Find out more in the following excerpt from the code or download the full code in PDF format:

Model Code of Practice: First Aid in the Workplace [1.3MB]

3. First Aid Equipment, Facilities and Training

The information provided in this chapter may be used as a guide to determine the appropriate first aid equipment, facilities, first aiders and procedures needed in various workplaces.

First aid equipment, facilities and first aiders must be accessible to workers whenever they work, including those working night shifts or overtime.

3.1 First aid kits

All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. This will require at least one first aid kit to be provided at their workplace.

The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries including:

  • cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
  • muscular sprains and strains
  • minor burns
  • amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
  • broken bones
  • eye injuries
  • shock.

The contents of first aid kits should be based on a risk assessment. For example, there may be higher risk of eye injuries and a need for additional eye pads in a workplace where:

  • chemical liquids or powders are handled in open containers
  • spraying, hosing or abrasive blasting operations are carried out
  • there is any possibility of flying particles causing eye injuries
  • there is a risk of splashing or spraying of infectious materials
  • welding, cutting or machining operations are carried out.

Additional equipment may be needed for serious burns and remote workplaces. The recommended content of a typical first aid kit and information on additional equipment is provided in Appendix C.

Design of Kits
First aid kits can be any size, shape or type to suit your workplace, but each kit should:

  • be large enough to contain all the necessary items
  • be immediately identifiable with a white cross on green background that is prominently displayed on the outside
  • contain a list of the contents for that kit
  • be made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and contamination.

In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick access to the kit is vital. First aid kits should be kept in a prominent, accessible location and able to be retrieved promptly. Access should also be ensured in security-controlled workplaces. First aid kits should be located close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness. For example, a school with a science laboratory or carpentry workshop should have first aid kits located in these areas.

If the workplace occupies several floors in a multi-storey building, at least one kit should be located on every second floor. Emergency floor plans displayed in the workplace should include the location of first aid kits.

A portable first aid kit should be provided in the vehicles of mobile workers if that is their workplace (for example, couriers, taxi drivers, sales representatives, bus drivers and inspectors). These kits should be safely located so as not to become a projectile in the event of an accident.

Restocking and Maintaining Kits
A person in the workplace should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit (usually a first aider) and should:

  • monitor access to the first aid kit and ensure any items used are replaced as soon as practicable after use
  • undertake regular checks (after each use or, if the kit is not used, at least once every 12 months) to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items (an inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check)
  • ensure that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within their expiry dates and that sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with.

3.2 First Aid Signs

Displaying well-recognised, standardised first aid signs will assist in easily locating first aid equipment and facilities. Further information on the design and use of signs is available in AS 1319 – Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment.

3.3 Other First Aid Equipment

In addition to first aid kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat the injuries or illnesses that could occur as a result of a hazard at your workplace.

Automatic Defibrillator
Providing an automatic defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest and is a useful addition for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution or where there are large numbers of members of the public.

Automatic defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons. They should be located in an area that is clearly visible, accessible and not exposed to extreme temperatures. They should be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Eye Wash and Shower Equipment
Eye wash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace. Eye wash equipment should be provided where there is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances causing eye injuries.

Immediate access should be provided to shower equipment in workplaces where there is a risk of:

  • exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in skin absorption or contamination from infectious substances
  • serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical or electrical burns or burns that are deep, in sensitive areas or greater than a 20 cent piece).

Shower facilities can consist of:

  • an appropriate deluge facility
  • a permanently rigged hand-held shower hose
  • a portable plastic or rubber shower hose that is designed to be easily attached to a tap spout – for small, relatively low risk workplaces where a fixed deluge facility would not be reasonably practicable but the risk of serious burns is still foreseeable (for example, a fish and chip shop).

Portable, self-contained eye wash or shower units have their own flushing fluid which needs to be refilled or replaced after use. Further guidance is available in AS 4775 – Emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

3.4 First aid facilities

A risk assessment will help determine the type of first aid facilities needed. For example, a clean, quiet area within the workplace that affords privacy to an injured or ill person may be suitable and practicable for some workplaces.

Access to a telephone for contacting emergency services or an emergency call system should be provided as part of all first aid facilities.

First Aid Rooms
A first aid room should be established at the workplace if a risk assessment indicates that it would be difficult to administer appropriate first aid unless a first aid room is provided.

For example, workers who carry out work at workplaces where there is a higher risk of serious injury or illness occurring that would not only require immediate first aid, but also further treatment by an emergency service, may benefit from having access to a dedicated first aid room.

A first aid room is recommended for:

  • low risk workplaces with 200 workers or more
  • high risk workplaces with 100 workers or more.

The contents of a first aid room should suit the hazards that are specific to the workplace. The location and size of the room should allow easy access and movement of injured people who may need to be supported or moved by stretcher or wheelchair.

The following items should be provided in the room:

  • a first aid kit appropriate for the workplace
  • hygienic hand cleanser and disposable paper towels
  • an examination couch with waterproof surface and disposable sheets
  • a cupboard for storage
  • a container with disposable lining for soiled waste
  • a container for the safe disposal of sharps
  • a bowl or bucket (minimum two litres capacity)
  • electric power points
  • a chair and a table or desk
  • the names and contact details of first aiders and emergency organisations.

A first aid room should:

  • offer privacy via screening or a door
  • be easily accessible to emergency services (minimum door width of 1 metre for stretcher access)
  • be well lit and ventilated
  • have an appropriate floor area (14 square metres as a guide)
  • have an entrance that is clearly marked with first aid signage.

Maintaining a first aid room should be allocated to a trained occupational first aider, except where this room is part of a health centre or hospital.

Health Centres
Health centres staffed by a registered health practitioner (a doctor or nurse) or paramedic can provide emergency medical treatment and cater to the types of hazards in high risk workplaces. A health centre may be established in the workplace (e.g. at a large mine site) or, if readily available, external emergency services may be used.

If a health centre is located at the workplace, the facility should:

  • be self-contained
  • be located at ground level where possible in a quiet, clean area that is a safe distance from hazardous operations and clear of any general thoroughfare
  • be convenient and accessible to workers at the times that they work and have an entrance clearly marked with health centre signage
  • have walls, floors and ceilings that are made of impervious materials and are easy to clean
  • have enough space to accommodate first aid equipment

If you are not sure whether your workplace complies with WHS requirements,  remember you can always get free advice from Alsco. If you are unsure of what to do, Alsco can make it simple for you.

Delay no more. Call 1300 077 391 from anywhere in Australia now.


Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

Good Energy Saving Habits – Unplug, Turn Off Poster

We all get a little forgetful from time to time … which is why we’ve created a range of posters to remind you of the simple things you can do to save energy and contribute to a greener workplace.

Download and print one of our Good Energy Saving Habits posters in whichever size bests suits you – A4 or A3 – and never forget to switch off again!

Download A4 Poster [PDF 246 KB]

Download A3 Poster [PDF 279 KB]

View Previous Good Energy Saving Habits Posters

Cloth Towel Dispensers

Research shows that most people prefer to dry their hands using cloth towels. Continuous cloth towel also offers significant environmental benefits: it has the lowest environmental impact of available hand drying systems. Hygienic hand drying is an important step to clean hands.

Fresh & Clean can provide your premises with a fully managed cloth towel dispenser rental program, tailored to your individual requirements.

Image courtesy: Chris Phan

Turning to Recycling Copy Paper: The Ultimate ‘Green’ Choice

Admit it. You’d struggle without paper. Whether it is printing, copying, note-taking or even scribbling a reminder on a Post-It, you need the most taken-for-granted material around.

In fact, there is so much around the typical office, that recycling copy paper has become a key practice for any self-respecting ‘Green’ Office.

Recycling waste paper is admirable, but the sad truth is that any demand for paper creates a drain on forests.

Use of Paper vs Numbers Left

In Australia alone, statistics show that the demand for virgin pulp (non-recycled material for paper, straight from the trees) has been rising, from just over 12 million metres cubed in 1999 to around 19 million in 2008 .

The consumption of paper products, whether for writing or packaging or printing purposes, has also increased steadily.

In 1999, some 2.5 million tonnes of paper and paper products were consumed, with that figure rising to about 3.25 million tonnes a decade later .

So, What is the Answer?

Well, as The Wilderness Society, one of Australia’s best-known environmental groups, has advised, “buying 100% recycled post-consumer waste paper is the best way to minimise the impacts of your paper consumption”. Makes perfect sense to us!

Setting up a recycling point in your office is a good step to take, but opting for recycled copy paper, printing paper and writing paper is a sterling place to start from. Thankfully, you have no shortage of options when to comes to in this regard. The only real question is which brands are best, and where to get them.

We’ve put together a comparison chart for you to peruse, so you can find the supplier closest to you, and the paper that you need (our thanks to ‘The Wilderness Society’ for the info!).

Recycled Paper Brands and Sources

Brand Sizes White Coloured PCF* 100%RecycledPost-Consumer Printing Suppliers

A4, A3


ecocern, SCRAP, CPI, Going Solar


A4, A3


OfficeMax, Special Equipment

Fuji Xerox Recycled +

A4, A3


Fuji Xerox


A5, A4, A3,




A4, A3, A1



* PCF – Process Chlorine Free-Bleaching
**OfficeMax is accredited by Greenpeace (Germany), Blue-Angel, Nordic Swan.

The good news is that Australians are already pretty good at recycling our household and office waste. Estimates have claimed that 1.6 million tonnes of waste paper is collected each year, with most of this going into making recycled paper products. In fact, it is estimated that less than 10% of the rubbish in Australian landfills are paper products.

But, in 2005, it was estimated that just a meagre 11% of waste office paper was being recycled. So, every little extra effort helps, and by keeping 100% recycled post-consumer copy paper in office cabinets, the drain on our forests is lessened considerably.

Australian paper consumption graph


  1. Recycled Copy Paper’, The Wilderness Society – http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/paper
  2. Ten Years of Recycling: The Good the Bad and the Ugly’, Plant Ark (2005) – http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/documents/05nrw_gbugly_report-1.pdf


Leading Brands & Suppliers

100% recycled post-consumer waste. Photocopy white & coloured A4, A3. Contact Evolve Office for high volume printing and copying, and Evolve Business for use in colour copiers. PCF (process chlorine free bleaching). Made in France.


  • SCRAP (Australia wide) 02 9825 1062
  • ecocern (02 9337 2737)
  • Going Solar (03 9348 1000)
  • CPI (03 9239 3600)

Vision – Pure White
100% recycled post-consumer waste. White A4 and A3, recommended for black and white double or single sided photocopiers and printers. Also Vision Magic Colours, 10 tints available. PCF. Made in Germany.


  • OfficeMax Australia (03 9518 5600)
  • Special Equipment (02 9609 2300 [NSW]; 07 3348 2266 [QLD])

Fuji Xerox Recycled Pure+
100% recycled post-consumer waste. Photocopy white, A4, A3. Other colours available. PCF.


  • Fuji Xerox 13 14 11

100% Recycled Copy Paper. 100% recycled post-consumer waste. Photocopy white, A4, A3, A5. Accredited by: Greenpeace (Germany), Blue-Angel, Nordic Swan.


  • OfficeMax 1300 MYDESK (1300 693 375)

100% post-consumer recycled paper scrap. Available in A1, A3 and A4. Envelopes and paper bags also. Made in Australia.


  • Ecocern (02 9337 2737)

Continuous Towel from Alsco

Alsco Continuous Towels dry the hands quicker than alternatives which means a better clean and less chance of cross contamination of bacteria. At Alsco, we understand that when it comes to drying your hands, nothing surpasses the comfort and absorbency of cloth toweling. In fact international research has shown that a majority of people prefer to dry their hands using cloth towels in preference to paper alternatives.

This small but significant part of Alsco’s fully managed Continuous Towel is the key to protecting our Trees. Grab yours now! Call Alsco.


Image courtesy: John Lambert Pearson