Safety at Work: Why First-Aiders Can Make A Difference

Work Health and Safety (WHS) is not just a set of strict regulations; everyone in your workplace really can benefit from them.

Having all of the necessary equipment and supplies available onsite, from burn ointment to a defibrillator, is proven to save lives. But perhaps the key to the whole setup is the designated First-Aider.

First-Aiders are nothing new to most workplaces, but with the development of the Model WHS Act, the role of the First-Aider has become more significant. There is no extra daily work involved, but readiness and knowledge have both become essential traits for those designated in the role.

Who Should Be On Duty?

Under new WHS regulations, every workplace needs to have at least one fully-trained and certified First-Aider on hand during operating hours. He or she must be capable of dealing with a variety of possible events, from operating a defibrillator to tending to burns, to dealing with broken limbs.

Statistics published by Safe Work Australia show these are necessary for a First-Aider to be effective. Some 638,000 workers in Australia experienced at least one work-related injury over 12 months until June 2010.

The vast majority of the injuries could be initially treated at work before the worker is taken to hospital, such as:

  • Sprains and strains (31% men, 29% women)
  • Cuts and open wounds (19%, 12%)
  • Fractures (8%, 7%)
  • Burns (6%, 4%)

Training is Important

The importance of having a fully-trained member of staff on duty at all times cannot be underestimated. But knowing what the duties of the First-Aider actually are is also important, as well as how they should liaise with the resident PCBU.

Relevant information, taken from the official First-Aiders Fact Sheet [348KB] produced by Safe Work Australia, is posted below.

To learn more, simply visit the Safe Work Australia website.

Some Fact Sheet Facts

What Are My Duties as a First-Aider Under Model WHS Act?

If you are a worker who is a trained first aider, you do not have any additional duties beyond those of other workers. All workers have a duty to:

  • Take reasonable care for their own health and safety;
  • Take reasonable care not to adversely affect the health and safety of others;
  • Comply with any reasonable instructions given by the PCBU to allow it to comply with its duties; and
  • Co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace.

This means that workers who are First-Aiders need to take ‘Reasonable Care’ for their own safety and that of others in performing their normal work and in their role as a First-Aider.

What is considered to be reasonable care will depend on what is reasonable in the circumstances taking into account your knowledge of first aid and the situation. In practical terms, the responsibility of First-Aiders is to provide care only to the level of their first aid training.

Will My Duties as a First-Aider Change Under the WHS Act?

The model WHS laws do not impose any new or additional duties on workers who are First-Aiders. If you are a trained first aider you will continue to have the same duties you have now.

Officers such as company directors have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that their PCBU complies with the model WHS Act. This duty extends to making sure that the PCBU has adequate arrangements in place for providing and accessing first aid equipment and resources.

First-Aiders who make decisions about first aid arrangements, procedures or how to administer first aid at the workplace, are not considered to be officers under the WHS Act.

Am I Entitled to be Paid For My Work as a First-Aider?

Under the model WHS Act, there is no requirement that a First-Aider be paid for performing that role. Some organisations and companies do pay their First-Aiders a nominal amount in recognition of the importance of the role they perform.

Further guidance is available in the Code of Practice: First Aid in the Workplace [1.3MB]

Alsco First Aid

Safety comes first! That’s what we need in our day to day activities. Understanding our customer’s needs identified a need not only for training courses but the ability to manage and maintain the total compliancy of certifications, and aspects of legislation over and above just training.

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.

It’s important that you respond promptly. Give Alsco a call for more details.


Image courtesy:  Robert Couse-Baker

Why Keeping the Washroom Eco-Clean is A Wise Policy

We know we don’t have to tell you, but having a clean washroom does wonders for staff morale. But what is more important is that it is kept eco-clean.

The difference?

Well, it comes down to the chances that bacteria, odours and other washroom nasties are given to take hold.

Dedication to being eco-clean has more benefits than simply the facilities looking good. It also means that workers’ health levels are also kept high, with the spread of illnesses and viruses drastically reduced.

Even when it looks clean, a washroom can be far from ideal from a health perspective. This is because the contaminators are minute, so far more intricate systems than a dustpan and broom is needed.

That is why the majority of offices use dedicated service providers (like our own Fresh & Clean service).

Ever Wonder How Bad Toilets Could Be?

You might wonder if it is really all that bad, what with the fact that you have probably used thousands of washrooms and public toilets in your time, and perhaps have never gotten ill.

Well, it is a bit of a lottery who will be affected, but research has confirmed time and time again the health issues that exist – not least flu, ecoli and gastroenteritis, and even hepatitis A .

Tips to Health

So, we’ve put together a short list of the type of issues that must be addressed if a washroom really can be considered eco-clean. From proper refuse disposal to guarding against cross contamination, these are essential key steps.

Proper Refuse Disposal

This is a basic expectation, putting tissues and other refuse in a bin. The problem, of course, is that bacteria is free to multiply, so if refuse is not disposed of properly they can spread onto other surfaces.

So, suitably sized bins to take the expected volume refuse should be covered. These bins should have biodegradable liners inside, allowing for easy and clean disposal of the filled bags, something that should be done every day.

Of course, the ladies washroom requires special facilities to accommodate the needs of users. For example, efficient sanitary napkin disposal units are essential allowing for easy and completely safe disposal.

The sophistication of these units is highly impressive, with leading brands providing a disposable biodegradable liner inside a discreetly designed cartridge, which also contains essential oil deodorisers. But the important factor is once the napkins are placed in, they cannot fall out.

The Odour Problem

The problem of odours in a washroom is something that we are conscious of. You know that dank, sickly-sweet smell that can greet us? Well, more often than not, the smell is caused by a build up of uric acid crystals on urinals and toilet bowels.

Bacteria thrive in these crystals, so that ‘urine smell’ is a sure sign of poor hygiene standards.

The logical answer to the problem is to install automated air freshener dispensers – CFC free, of course!

But these generally just over the problem Sanitisers are much more effective, which clean the surface of the urinals and the toilet bowels to prevent the build up of uric acid.

Risk of Cross Contamination

Of course, a key part of keeping your office washroom eco-clean is the prevention of cross contamination, something that is chiefly responsible for the spread of illness in the workplace.

There are a number of ways that cross contamination can happen:

  • Firstly, when we flush the toilet
  • Secondly, when we use hot air hand-dryers
  • Finally, when we touch taps, sinks that are contaminated – in fact, research suggests sinks are the least hygienic areas.

The best way to battle these are to have the washroom regularly cleaned.

Urinal and toilet sanitisers kills bacteria in the air, but also provide hand sanitisers for staff to wash their hands with. Finally, you could replace hot air hand dryers with cloth towel dispensers, with studies showing they isolate bacteria within the dispenser.

Clean Toilet

A fresh and hygienic washroom makes a long-lasting impression and shows your customers and staff you care about their comfort and well-being. To make sure that washrooms and other areas of your place always smell fresh, our Fresh & Clean automatic wall mounted air fresheners are programmed to dispense a measured dose of fragrance at selected intervals.

Since cleanliness is your top priority, we at Alsco would like to help. Our friendly representatives are waiting for you. Call us now.


  1. ‘What Can You Catch in Restrooms?’, WebMB –
  2. ‘A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, jet air dryer’ K Redway and S Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London
  3. ‘A comparative study of different hand-drying methods: continuous roller towel, paper towel, warm air dryer’ K Redway and S Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London.

Image courtesy: Michael Zimmer

How to Keep Your Feet in the Workplace

Alsco How To Keep Your Feet In the Workplace
Screenshot of the Reducing Trips and Slips Workplace Guide
Click on the image to download the Reducing Trips and Slips in the Workplace guide (PDF 496KB)

We’ve all seen those old Hollywood slapstick comedies where banana skins leave heroes flat on their backs, or spilled marbles turn a chasing gang of villains into something resembling a herd of moose on rollerskates. We can’t help but laugh.

At Alsco, we know that in reality, slipping or tripping is not really anything to laugh about. In fact, it is a major source of work-related injury, causing anything from simple cuts and bruises to muscular strains, to much more serious injuries, like bone fractures.

For employers, this can mean more instances of worker compensation, while for workers it can mean considerable pain and sometimes long-term injuries.

Figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last year, showed that 640,700 Australians suffered work-related injuries or illnesses in 12 months from 2009 to 2010, while the three occupational groups most at risk were Labourers, Machinery Operators and Drivers, and Community and Personal Services workers 1.

Most interestingly, of the 640,000 workers in question, some 84,700 of them (13%) suffered their injury as a result of falling on the same level, a category that includes slipping and tripping 1.

So, what can be done to make such simple mishaps become a rarity, if not a thing of the past completely? Well, for both slipping and tripping there are a variety of measures that can be taken to achieve this aim.

We’ve put together a shortlist that can help you on your way, but there is more detailed information and recommended steps in our Reducing Trips and Slips in the Workplace guide [PDF 496KB].

5 Simple Measures to Reduce Slipping Risks

  1. Use water absorbent floor mats at all entrance areas to soak up any dripping rainwater from clothing and umbrellas. These are designed to handle large volumes of traffic and can be easily laundered and replaced by your supply company.
  2. Designate areas for wet umbrellas and overcoats to be kept, but ensure they’re away from busy traffic routes. Keeping them close to the entrance minimises the potential wet area created.
  3. Be sure to regularly service any machinery to reduce the chances of leakage. You could also add containers to capture any condensation and spills.
  4. Invest in special work area matting. These are designed to resist oils and water so workers standing on them won’t slip while working.
  5. Make sure there is easy access to cleaning-up equipment. These include mops, cloths, absorbent paper for oil substances, and portable ‘Caution’ signs.

5 Simple Measures to Reduce Tripping Risks

  1. Keep working areas, aisles and corridors clear of items so there is nothing to trip over. Provide separate storage areas for boxes, tools and equipment. Ensure cabling is neatly tucked way. Carry out clean-ups regularly.
  2. Keep the floor surface as consistent as possible, so cover floor power sockets, remove ridges and flatten inclines (if possible).
  3. Where flooring type changes suddenly (like concrete to carpeting), ensure the levels are evenly matched. With carpets or tiling, make sure the edges are secured to prevent dog-earing or warping.
  4. Reduce the need for cabling by installing extra power sockets and in more convenient places. Where cabling must cross traffic routes, place them overhead rather than across the floor.
  5. Keep your workers aware. Many people trip when they are not paying attention or are distracted. So, use visual aids in high risk areas (storeroom), on stairs and remind your staff to do their bit.

More To Do

Of course, completely countering the risks of slipping and tripping in the workplace require more than the 10 measures mentioned above.

Like health and safety regulations, it requires detailed planning and sometimes some significant changes to working procedures.That’s why appointing one or more staff members to keep on top of things is recommended.

After all, having specific individuals responsible for identifying risks in their own work sections (kitchens, lobby, factory floor etc) means that control measures can be applied thoroughly throughout the workplace. Organising staff training courses is a good idea.

But the bottom line is that keeping your workplace slip and trip free is not an impossibility. So, your own staff can be safer from the risk of those slapstick moments – and the sometimes serious injuries they can cause – as much as any other form of work-related accident.

Safety Mats from Alsco can help too. Not only do they help avoid slips and trips, these mats reduce the wear and tear of the flooring in heaving traffic areas, reducing costs too. Get a two-week free trial from Alsco to see how good these mats really are!


1. ‘Work-Related Injuries, 2009-2010’, Australian Bureau of Statistics –$File/63240_2009-10.pdf


Image Courtesy: Roland Tanglao

Workplace Related Injuries and Deaths – When Are You Required To Notify?

We all understand the importance of workplace safety, the tenets of which are enshrined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), making employee safety and wellbeing a legal requirement for all Australian employers.

The benefits to both employers and employees extend beyond compliance: access to appropriately and fully stocked first aid kits and automated defibrillators can mean the difference between life and death; the use of wet area rubber floor mats or anti-fatigue mats can prevent accidents occurring in the first place.

However, the employer’s responsibility doesn’t end there. The WHS Act also requires persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to notify the regulator immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred.

Significant penalties apply to PCBUs who fail to notify: up to $10,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.

But how do you determine what constitutes a ‘notifiable incident’?

Only the most serious safety incidents are intended to be notifiable, and they trigger requirements to preserve the incident site pending further direction from the regulator.

Under the WHS Act the following type of incidents that arise out of the conduct of a business must be notified to the relevant regulator:

  • The death of a person
  • A serious injury or illness of a person
  • A dangerous incident

A “serious injury or illness” requires a person to have:

  1. Immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient in a hospita
  2.  Immediate treatment for:
    • An amputation of any part of his or her body
    • A serious head injury
    • A serious eye injury
    • A serious burn
    • The separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping)
    • A spinal injury
    • The loss of a bodily function
  3. Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

“Dangerous incident” means an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  1. An uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  2. An uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  3. An uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  4. An uncontrolled escape of pressurised substance
  5. An electric shock
  6. A fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  7.  A collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations
  8. A collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  9. A collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  10. An inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, into an underground excavation or tunnel
  11. An interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel.

To learn more about Incident Notification, download the fact sheet from the Safe Work Australia website.

Alsco’s Managed Training Service

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. Understanding our customer’s needs identified a need not only for training courses but the ability to manage and maintain the total compliancy of certifications, and aspects of legislation over and above just training.

It’s important that you respond promptly! Give us a call to find out all the details.


Image courtesy: durrah03

Hand Dryers vs Cloth Towels

Since the mid-19th century good hand hygiene has been recognised as an effective means of controlling the spread of infectious diseases and bacteria. More recent years have seen a growing awareness of the important role hand drying plays in good hand hygiene. This is largely because the transmission of bacteria is more likely to occur from wet skin than dry.

So we know hand drying is important but is there a ‘better’ way to dry them? Warm air hand dryers and cloth towel dispensers are both familiar fixtures in public and workplace bathrooms, but is one better than the other?

Fortunately some bright sparks out there have put in the hard work needed to provide us with some answers.

After undertaking a number of studies, researchers at the University of Westminster have shown that warm air hand dryers actually increase the amount of bacteria on users’ hands, while cloth towels decreases the number of bacteria on users’ hands after use.1

Continuous cloth towel dispensers act to isolate bacteria, with the used section of towel encased in a dispenser, where it remains undisturbed until it is time to remove the towel roll for cleaning. Warm air hand dryers, on the other hand, not only increase bacterial contamination of hands but also spread contamination by blowing bacteria up to a 2-metre radius from the dryer.

Then there’s the environmental aspect: continuous cloth towel doesn’t require electricity so it definitely beats the air hand dryer there. Furthermore, given that cloth towel is cleaned and reused around 100 times, production costs are lower overall, while the fact that they are recycled as wash cloths lessens the environmental impact.2

Clean hands are important and it seems that using cloth towels is a better way of ensuring that cleanliness. I’m not so sure, however, that continuous cloth towels are as useful for drying your hair.

So if you are thinking about this soft, absorbent, hygienic, eco-friendly way of drying hands for your workplace, think no more! We mean, all you need to do is give a call, and Alsco’s friendly representatives will be happy to help you!


  1. ‘A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, jet air dryer’ by Keith Redway and Shameem Fawdar of the School of Biosciences, University of Westminster London.
  2. ‘Life Cycle Analysis’ study undertaken in 2006 by The Öko-Institut, Germany on behalf of the European Textile Service Association (E.T.S.A)

Why Knowing How to Perform CPR Is so Important

So, you’ve gotten the most suitable Alsco First Aid Kit for your place of work, have it fully stocked, and agreed on a managed first aid kit schedule to keep it that way.

You’ve even ensured that an automated external defibrillator is part of the deal. That’s it, right? Well, not exactly.

While having a first aid kit and an AED on hand are important, both to meet health and safety regulations and increase the life-saving potential at your office, garage or retail outlet, they only go so far. Your staff also need to know how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

CPR is still vital, even with the new technology that is around today, principally because it can take a minute or two to get an automated external defibrillator ready to use. But studies have shown that every second counts, so keeping the heart pumping and oxygenated blood heading to the brain is essential.

Facts You Need to Know

CPR is not the cure to a cardiac arrest. In other words, it’s not going to restart the heart. The whole idea is to keep blood moving around the body so that the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain is not cut off.

Basically, CPR is designed to keep an individual alive until an automated external defibrillator can be found and utilised, or an ambulance arrives and proper emergency medical care can be provided.

There are actually 2 kinds of CPR:

  • Conventional
  • Compression-only CPR

The only difference between the two is that the conventional kind involves breathing into the person’s mouth – popularly known as ‘the kiss of life’.

A five-year study to 2010, by the University of Arizona, revealed that 5.2% of people suffering a out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survived without receiving CPR from a bystander, 7.8% survived with a bystander performing conventional CPR, and 13.3% when compression-only CPR was performed.

Make Sure Your Staff Is Trained

Modern OH&S legislation points out that every workplace should have at least one first aider who is trained to use a first aid kit effectively and perform first aid treatment, including CPR – so it’s a matter of law that staff members are trained.

The problem is that without training, the chances of a member of staff actually carrying out CPR on a colleague suffering cardiac arrest is drastically less.

A study by the Emergency Medicine Journal (Australia) in 2003 revealed that only 52% participants in the state of Victoria were trained in CPR, and that there were specific situations that affected the participants’ willingness to provide CPR to someone in need, and which kind.

For example, where there was a fear of not having sufficient skills, 19.8% stated they would be unwilling to perform compression-only CPR, while 19.4% said they would not perform conventional ‘mouth-to-mouth’ CPR.

Receiving proper training boosts confidence in staff members to save a life. It can also ensure that the technique applied when compressing is the correct one.

So, What to Do?

The steps are straightforward, with just 7 required to save a life.

  • D – Check for Danger
  • R – Check for a Response
  • S – Send for Help
  • A – Open the Airway
  • B – Check Breathing
  • C – Give 30 Chest Compressions
  • D – Attach Automated External Defibrillator

But in the Alsco Greenroom, we would stress again the importance of gaining proper training from an accredited instructor.

You can contact your local health authority for detailed information on courses in your area, or contact your local St John Ambulance.

And to increase awareness around your workplace, you can hang up the attached poster, which was issued by the St John Ambulance. Click on the link to download for free.


Useful Links:

Alsco Resuscitation Chart:


First Aid

Time is very previous when saving lives. With Alsco First Aid we can provide the best practice solutions for your business to get you first aid ready and compliant.

Visit to discover the services we can provide or call us on 1300 077 391.

Further Reading and Information:


Image courtesy: Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet

Evolution Mat vs Standard Mat

Alsco Evolution Mat vs Standard Mat

It’s no secret that floor mats are a great way to protect floors from wear and tear, and also to protect staff and customers from the risks of trips and slips. They can also be used to communicate a variety of messages to customers or employees, or simply to grow your brand.

The right mat can prevent fatigue in employees who are on their feet for long periods. However, not all mats are created equal.

Know The Right Mat

The wrong mat can actually create a trip hazard instead of preventing trips. The corners can curl, or the mat can wear unevenly creating holes and loose threads for feet to become caught in.

Alsco’s Evolution Mat enjoys a number of advantages

  • Ripple free
  • Thicker pile
  • Premium quality and holds colour better
  • Made from recycled materials so also good for the environment

The most difficult thing can be knowing which type of mat best suits your purposes – the range features non slip mats, anti fatigue mats, welcome mats, logo mats and more.

Talking to the experts is probably your best bet to ensure your needs are met.

Alsco’s Evolution Mat

Alsco’s Evolution Mat is available through a fully serviced program so you can count on always having clean, immaculately presented floor mats that are ideal for your workplace. Our revolutionary Evolution Mats are made from recycled eco-friendly materials.

Talk to an Expert!  Give us a call to find out all the details. Our representatives are waiting for your call.


Restroom Facilities Dictate Your Workplace Hygiene Levels

Hygiene is as important to the workplace as the equipment needed to get work done. And why not, when working in a hygienic environment means less work days lost to illness and an all round happier atmosphere?

We at Alsco have noted that many companies have made a major effort to increase their hygiene levels, especially in the restroom.

But, more than just toilet paper and loo bleach is needed to accomplish this.

In fact, it comes down to providing the right facilities, and two principal types of facilities in particular: practical and design. Practical facilities relate to the hygiene items that are provided, while design relates to how the restroom is set up.

We’ve put together a brief guide to the kinds of things that your workplace restroom will need in order to maximise hygiene levels.

Practical Restroom Facilities

  1. Hand Soap Dispensers
    Soap is the essential cleaning agent on hands, but the old-style bar of soap is not the best option. These tend to gather dirt on their surface, and while this does not mean cross-contamination takes place (bacteria is washed away with the lather), it doesn’t look hygienic so workers tend not to like it .Far better is soap in either liquid, foam or spray forms, made available in hand soap dispensers. These dispensers keep the actual soap away from any chance of contamination, while the push-button release mechanism means minimal contamination.
  2. Hand Dryers
    There are a three methods of drying hands in the workplace restroom: cloth roller towels, electric hand dryers, and disposable paper towels. But not all of them are hygienic. Electric hand dryers are certainly effective in getting hands dry, but studies have shown bacteria levels actually increase by up to 194% on finger pads and 254% on palms. Modern jet air dryers, meanwhile, can spread contamination a distance of up to 2 metres . Disposable paper towels are a much more hygienic option, with bacteria reduced by 76% on finger pads and 77% on palms . But perhaps most crucially, being disposable makes the risk of contamination negligible – as long as the bins are covered properly. The cloth roller towel is highly effective too. Since cloth towel dispensers are closed, the used section of a roller towel is out of reach, reducing contamination dramatically. A study in 2007 found that with cotton roller towels, bacterial levels fell by 85% on the hands.
  3. Hand Sanitisers
    The hand sanitiser is a valuable addition to efforts to keep hygiene levels up, but it is important to note that they should be used in addition to soap and hand drying systThe reason is that sanitising sprays only kill the transient bacteria that sit on the surface of the skin. More threatening bacteria lie just under the surface and can be got at more effectively by soap.

Design of Facilities

The design of the restroom can cover a wide area, from the type of doors used to provide access to the actual design of the practical facilities provided.

For example, while a soap dispenser is ideal as an effective way for workers to clean their hands, having a hands-free soap dispenser drastically reduces the risk of contamination from the dispenser button.

Similarly, an automatic flush on a toilet means there is no handle from which to be contaminated.

But hygiene starts at the restroom threshold, which is why swing doors are ideal. The design is a walk-in entrance that uses dividers that block the view into the restroom, but needs no doors.

Of course, cubicle doors need to be locked, but slide latches or push button locks are more hygienic than twist mechanism latches that need to be gripped.

Facility Maintenance

While getting the facilities right is important, restroom maintenance is crucial too. After all, anything that is not in 100% condition is not going to be as effective as it should be.

Appointing a facility manager from your staff can help to keep everything shipshape. But, if your workplace is large enough, then it might be worth considering renting rather than buying practical facilities.

Clean and Hygienic Restroom

Alsco provides restroom stock and maintenance management services as part of a rental program, meaning your staff can focus on their core role instead of worrying about washroom maintenance and hygiene.

For more inquiries contact Alsco now, our friendly representatives are here to help you!


  1. ‘Washing with Contaminated Bar Soap is Unlikely to Transfer Bacteria’, JE Heinze and F Yackovich (1988), US National Library of Medicine –
  2. ‘A Comparative Study of Three Different Hand Drying Metods: Paper Towel, Warm Air Dryer, Jet Air Dryer’, K Redway and S Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London (2008) –,%20nov2008.pdf


Image courtesy: Lory Lindner

10 Ways to Eliminate Colds and Flu in the Workplace

Every year, around this time, businesses across the country face an issue that can cost thousands in lost productivity: cold and flu season.

Follow the simple steps

The simple steps below will keep your workplace happy and healthy … and enjoy a healthy bottom line.

#1 Hygiene hygiene hygiene
Encourage frequent hand washing amongst staff, perhaps even using reminder posters. Hands should be washed using antibacterial soap for at least 15-20 seconds before and after eating, before and after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing. Effective hand drying is equally important: consider cloth towel dispensers for maximum hygiene.

#2 Sick employees belong at home
Encourage staff to stay home when they are sick (and for at least 24 hours after any fever is gone) – a cold or flu is not the sort of thing you should be sharing. If an employee MUST be at work, keeping a distance from others can help.

#3 More hygiene
Make tissues and gel hand sanitisers freely available throughout your workplace for when a full hand wash isn’t possible. Make sure there are plenty of bins available for used tissues too!

#4 Stop the spread of germs
Encourage employees to cough or sneeze either in to a tissue (which should then be thrown away) or in to their sleeve. If hands are used they should be throughly washed and dried … every single time.

#5 Flu shot
Encouraging flu vaccination (possibly even arranging for this to take place in the workplace) will also help to reduce the incidence of more serious sickness (influenza). Be sure to check with your medical practitioner if you are a candidate for vaccination.

#6 Look after yourself
Eating and sleeping well is essential for a healthy immune system
… and a healthy immune system has a much better chance of fighting off infections.

#7 Exercise
Regular exercise
, particularly cardiovascular exercise, provides your immune system with a boost. While you may not manage to avoid every bug going around, you will recover faster and probably suffer less severe symptoms.

#8 Avoid stress
While it is easier said than done, avoiding stress is also good for the immune system. If stress is something you struggle with, try some relaxation techniques. Many people find that regular exercise helps to alleviate stress (see above).

#9 Keep the workplace clean
Thorough and regular cleaning and disinfecting
will prevent the spread of germs. Services such as Fresh & Clean can assist with regular and professional cleaning and hygiene treatment.

#10 Air quality
Improving indoor air quality
will help to support staff immune systems. Fresh, clean air can be achieved In a variety of ways such as ensuring ventilation systems are clean and through the use of indoor plants.

Keeping Your Self Fit and Healthy

Maintaining a healthy and clean workplace is a must. Employees and customers will not just be the one to benefit but so are you. Fresh & Clean managed health and hygiene services provide a variety of useful, essential and stylish products and services. This includes first aid supplies, hand sanitisers and cleansers, and a wide range of washroom supplies including soap dispensers, hand drying systems and sanitary bins.

For any of the above, all you need to do is ask Alsco. If that heathy office is one of your priorities, then why delay?


Image courtesy: Jmarchn


AEDs: Essential to Locate Quickly at Work and Elsewhere

What is it that we love about work? The sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, the satisfaction on clients’ faces, or perhaps your pay cheque. But whatever it is, it is only one side of the coin. There are stresses and health issues associated with workplaces, so having automated defibrillators has become an essential part of healthy and safety regulations.

Why is an AED so important? Well, the fact is that cardiovascular problems, whether caused by work or by a poor lifestyle, are very real. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, 15% of deaths suffered in Australia in 2010 were due to heart disease, with ischaemic heart disease the leading cause of death.

And since we typically spend so many hours in our workplace, the chances of a cardiac arrest occurring at work is high. In fact, statistics show that 80% of cases occur either at home, at work or in public places – not in a medical facility.

Why in the Workplace?

While statistics relating to general heart-related deaths across Australia are high, the risk of cardiac arrests and related illnesses occurring in the workplace is hard to ignore.

In a 2006 report from Safe Work Australia, the range of high risk occupations susceptible to cardiovascular disease included air traffic controllers, lorry drivers, cannery workers, warehouseman and rubber and plastics workers.

The report also highlighted the degree to which the working environment and stresses levels contributed to the condition. But other factors contribute too, not least personal health (not work related), lifestyle, age and hereditary influence.

And with such a high number of occupations connected with high rates of heart problems, the need to have an AED close at hand, whether in an office, on the manufacturing floor or in company vehicles is consequently higher.

It is also important to ensure that all health and safety standards are met and that staff are trained to provide CPR when necessary and in the use of a defibrillator.

Easy to Use, Easy to Maintain

Managed automated defibrillator services ensure that you don’t have to worry about keeping the machine in working order. That is done for you by trained professionals who know precisely what they are doing.

This means that your workers have the best chance possible of receiving the treatment they need in a cardiac emergency. After all, the risk of neglecting the maintenance of an AED while everyday work-related obligations are met is high.

What is more, using the expertise of professional services providers means that you get the most up-to-date AED technology at your disposal, thereby increasing the likelihood of a staff member, or even a client or visitor, being saved.

Find the Nearest Defibrillator to You

While having an automated defibrillator installed in the workplace is the fastest way to save your and your workers’ lives, the second best is knowing where the nearest defibrillator is to you.

After all, we might not be at work when an attack occurs, so knowing the nearest location could prove to be life-saving knowledge. The good news is that finding a location is now easier than ever, thanks to the first aid information provided through, a site provided by Alsco.

The site provides a map of Australia, with every location providing defibrillator facilities clearly marked. Just click on a green cross to see which hospital, clinic or health centre has AEDs, or click on the red hearts to see non-medical facilities (leisureplex, theme parks, public transport depots, shopping centres etc) that offer life-saving CPR facilities.

Be sure to check the site out, as accessing it could prove to be the difference between life and death.

Or better still, get a defibrillator installed at your workplace and save lives!


  1. ‘Causes of Death, Australia, 2010’, Australian Bureau of Statisitcs –
  2. ‘Work-Related Cardiovascular Disease in Australia’, Safe Work Australia (2006) –