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This month we take a look at the human body and, in particular, the spine. The spine is an important part of the human body and has several functions which we will look at through this blog and, as such, is a vital part of the body to be looked after by its owner!


Location of the spine


It is possible that everyone knows the location of the spine. Just for the avoidance of doubt, the spine is located in the centre of the back and reaches from the base of the skull right down the bum.


Main functions of the spine


The human spine has 3 distinct functions:


1. Protect the spinal cord, nerve roots and several of the body’s vital organs.

2. Provide structural support and balance to maintain an upright posture.

3. Enable flexible movement.


Make-up of the spine


The spine is made of several sections as follows:

 Cervical

 Thoracic

 Lumber

 Sacral

 Caudal.


Cervical Vertebrae

Diagram of the spine

The cervical vertebrae are located in the neck area of the spine. There are 7 vertebrae in this area. They are abbreviated down to C1 through C7 from top to bottom. The role of the cervical vertebrae is to protect the brain stem, support the skull and allow for a wide range of head movements.


If we take a look at the individual vertebra we will see that they are all shaped slightly differently. Vertebra C1 is called the Atlas and is shaped like a ring, supporting the skull. Vertebra C2 is circular in shape, with a blunt tooth type structure which projects upwards to the Atlas, and is known as the Axis. Together the Atlas and Axis allow the skull the full range of movements. Vertebrae C3 through C7 are similar in design, box-shaped with small spinous processes extending from the back of the vertebrae. Spinous processes are finger-like projections; they provide the point of attachment for the ligaments and muscles of the spine.


Thoracic Vertebrae


Beneath vertebrae C7 there are 12 vertebrae collectively known as the thoracic vertebrae. When they are abbreviated by medical staff they are referred to as T1 through T12 from top of the section to the base. Vertebra T1 is the smallest of the thoracic vertebrae with the bottom vertebra T12 being the largest. The thoracic vertebrae are larger than the cervical vertebrae and have longer spinous processes protruding from the back of them.


The thoracic vertebrae are connected to the rib cage which provides strength and stability for the spine, also making this section of the spine one of the strongest and most protected. Not only that, but the rib cage joining on to the spine assists the spine in protecting many of the vital organs contained within this area. Movement in this section is limited due to its restrictions of the rib cage.


Lumber Vertebrae


The lumber vertebrae are the largest of the spinal bones. In this section of the spine you will find 5 vertebrae known collectively as the lumber spine. They are abbreviated by medical staff to L1 through L5 from the top to the bottom. The lumber vertebrae carry most of the body’s weight. They allow a lot of movement but much less than that of the cervical spine. Lumber facet joints enable the lumber area to have significant flexion and extension movement but limit rotation.


What is Flexion and Extension Movements?


Flexion is the bending of a particular joint so that the bones forming the joint are pulled closer together. A visual example of this would be when the elbow bends, it reduces the angle of the ulna and radius bones in the arm.


Extension is the opposite movement to flexion in that it is a straightening movement that increases the angle between body parts.


Sacral Vertebrae


This is the 4th section of the spine vertebrae which is located behind the pelvis. There are 5 bones in this section of the spine and are abbreviated to S1 through S5. The bones are fused together in a triangular shape forming the sacrum. The sacrum fits between the 2 hip bones, connecting the spine securely to the pelvis. The fifth lumber vertebra moves in line with the sacrum.


Caudal Vertebrae


This is the final section of the spine, consisting of 4 bones which are fused together to form the Coccyx.


The spine in its entirety contains 33 of the 206 bones in a human body, that equates to almost 13% of the body’s bones. The other important thing to remember about the spine is that it holds the spinal cord through the middle of it, helping to send your nervous system around your body. Some people want to include the skull and the pelvis into the spine; this is however an incorrect thing to do. However these extra body parts do interrelate with the spinal cord and help to impact balance.


Spine curves


The spine is considered by many people to be straight, this is in fact not the case. The spine, if you look at it from the front, will indeed appear straight, however from the side the spine has 4 distinct curves in it. One of the curves in the spine, around the lumber vertebrae is an important curve as it helps to maintain a person’s centre of gravity. A person’s centre of gravity moves with each load and lift a person takes on before returning to normal. If this particular bend didn’t exist, we as human beings would simply fall over!


The curves in the spine are described as either kyphotic or lordotic. What do these words mean and which section of the spine will we find them in?


Kyphotic:


Found in: Thoracic and sacral sections of the spine.


Means: it is a convex curve in the spine. The convexity of the curve is towards the back of the spine.


Lordotic


Found in: Cervical and lumber sections of the spine.


Means: it is a concave curve in the spine, with the concavity towards the back of the spine.


In the diagram that we provided earlier the back of the spine is towards the labels of the spine sections. If you feel your own back, you are able to feel the spinous processes that are protruding from the back of the vertebrae.


Intervertebral Discs


Intervertebral discsBetween each of the vertebrae there is a cushion, also known as a disc, spinal disc or intervertebral disc. The purpose of the discs is to absorb the stresses the body endures through movement and also to prevent the vertebrae from grinding against each other, therefore preventing the sound of crepitus (2 bones make this sound when grinding against each other!). These objects are the largest structures in the human body without a vascular supply going to them. Each disc will absorb the nutrients  that it needs through the process of Osmosis. Each disc is

made of 2 key parts:



Illustration from Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site.                                                                                 Annulus Fibrosus and

http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013.                                                                                                  Nucleus Pulposus.


Annulus Fibrosus


The Annulus Fibrosis is a tough tyre-like structure that encases a gel-like centre, the Nucleus Pulposus. The Annulus Fibrosus enhances the spine’s ability to rotate and also helps to resist the compressive stress. It has a layered structure which consists of water and sturdy elastic collagen fibres. The fibres are orientated at different angles horizontally similar to that of a tyre. Collagen consists of fibrous bundles made of protein that are held together by proteoglycan gel.


Nucleus Pulposus


The Nucleus Pulposus is found in the centre of each of the Annulus Fibrosus, and is a gel-like elastic substance. Together with the Annulus Fibrosus, the Nucleus Pulposus distributes stress and weight from vertebra to vertebra. Structurally the Nucleus Pulposus is similar in make-up to that of the Annulus Fibrosus in that it contains, water, collagen and proteoglycans. However the concentration varies between the 2 things, especially as the Nucleus Pulposus has more water in it.


Why is it important to look after your spine?


Your spine, as we have looked at, already does an amazing job of looking after your organs, providing support and flexible movements as well as maintaining an upright posture. In life you are given just the one spine and that will see you through the entirety of your life, or at least that is the plan. The sad thing is however that poor manual handling and lifting practices can cause injury. In the workplace over 8.8 million working days are lost due to musculoskeletal disorders, over 40% of these account for back injury.


Safe moving and handling


Manual handling includes:


Pulling,

Pushing,

Lifting,

Carrying,

Moving,

Putting Down,

Using Mechanical aids e.g. trucks and trolleys.


In the workplace, there is legislation in place. This piece of legislation is called The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. Within this piece of legislation, it says that the employer should identify manual handling risks and, where practical, avoid manual handling risks. If avoidance is not possible the employer should take a risk assessment on the task needing to be done.


A good risk assessment that could be used is the TILE assessment, which we will look at now.


The TILE assessment stands for:


Task

Individual

Load

Environment.


Let’s explore these areas:


Task


You will need to look carefully at the task to be done, things that could be considered include:


 Does it involve handling away from the body?

 Are there movements such as bending, stretching, or twisting?

 Is the movement over a long distance or is it repetitive?


The employer will need to consider whether the task can:


 Be completed by using machinery, or handling aids,

 The task layout be improved,

 The movement of the body be modified,

 The work routine be improved,

 The task be completed in a team.


Individual


Once the task has been analysed the individual capability will need to be considered as follows:


 Is the person completing the lift fit and healthy?

 Have they been given training and information? Are they competent to do the task?

 Is suitable supervision provided?

 Are there any unusual circumstances that would cause a risk to certain employees e.g. is she pregnant?


The employer making the risk assessment could consider:


 Pre-employment medical,

 Provision for training and information,

 Ensuring the employee is competent in safe handling techniques,

 Providing supervision.


Load


The load is a really important aspect of the assessment to be carried out. The person who is going to lift it should consider:


 How heavy is the load?

 Is it equally balanced?

 Is it stable?

 Does it have sharp edges?

 Will the contents shift?


If the load really does have to be lifted and moved, then control measures that could be considered are:


 Make the load lighter by splitting it,

 Make the load smaller,

 Provide handles to make it easier to grasp,

 Make the load more stable.


Environment


In everyday living we have to consider the environment, and in a moving safely lift this is no exception, you will have to consider the following:


 Is there enough space to carry out the task?

 Is the floor even or slippery?

 Is there good lighting?


In order to maintain safety, you could consider the following things:


 Can the workplace layout be improved?

 Can you improve the floor condition?

 Can we keep the lift to one level?

 Can you improve the environmental conditions?

 Do we have a good housekeeping process in place?


Of course, there are other things that should be taken into account as well the TILE assessment and these things include:


 Is movement hindered by work equipment?

 Is movement being hindered by any Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)?

 Issues that arise from employees identifying a lack of training or communication.


How to lift and move safely


There is a very easy, simple 6-step process to move safely this is:


Step 1: Stop and think.

Step 2: Position your feet.

Step 3: Bend your knees.

Step 4: Get a firm grip and keep the back slightly flexed.

Step 5: Raise with the legs.

Step 6: Keep the load close to your body.


Below image has been used with thanks to https://www.theimagen.eu


How to lift safely diagram


Want to know more about looking after your spine and how to safely move and handle objects? Why not attend one of our courses? For more information visit the Moving and Handling section of our website by clicking here.



The Spine and Safe Moving and Handling

Posted by Steve at 12:45 on Tuesday 15th January 2019.

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Emergency Services’ Telephone Numbers

Posted by Steve at 12:45 on Friday 15th February 2019.


This month we thought we would have a look at the emergency telephone numbers that are used in the United Kingdom and abroad.


Do you know what telephone number to call when you need emergency assistance around the world?


The number used will vary depending on the country; below is a list of numbers that may be useful:


The UK   - 999


Australia  - 000

Barbados  - 911

The Bahamas  - 911 or 919

Brazil (Police)   - 190

Brazil (Ambulance) - 192

Brazil (Fire)  - 193

China (Police)   - 110

China (Ambulance) - 120

China (Fire)  - 119

European Union  - 112

Hong Kong  - 999

India   - 112

Japan (Police)  - 110

Japan (other services)  -  119

New Zealand   - 111

USA and Canada - 911


So that’s made it much more clearer, hasn’t it? Well technically no it hasn’t as there are so many different emergency numbers for the same purpose, and not only that but the list also shows that there are countries who even have different numbers for each of the different services!


So why 999?


999 was the world’s first automated telephone to contact the emergency services. The first call originated in 1936. The idea of the emergency service contact number goes back even further than this, as in 1935 5 women died during a fire in Wimpole Street, London. Neighbours of the women had dialled ‘0’ to get in touch with the emergency services, which connected them to the switchboard, sadly, what these callers found was that the switchboard was jammed full of other calls that were not an emergency. This method of contacting the emergency services had been recommended since 1927.


During the 1920s and 30s police stations were being overrun with visitors alerting them of emergencies as well as having to field calls from the telephone which was a new invention at the time. The other way, during these decades, to contact the emergency services was to ask the operator for Whitehall 1-2-1-2, which was the Information Room set up at the Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Victoria Embankment.


Following on, from the 5 women’s deaths in Wimpole Street the General Post Office, that ran the telephone network, suggested a 3-digit telephone number that could be dialled to trigger a special signal and flashing light at the exchange. This would then signal to the operators to give their attention into this call. In order to find the new emergency number in the dark or smoke it was suggested to use an end number so that it could be easily found by touch.


Many combinations were suggested, ‘111’, was ruled out immediately as it could be triggered by faulty equipment or lines getting crossed. ‘222’ was also ruled out as it would have connected to the Abbey Local Exchange as in those days the number represented the first three letters ‘ABB’. They also looked at using ‘1’ and decided against this as it could be accidentally triggered, and ‘000’ wasn’t used as the first ‘0’ would have connected to the switchboard.


999 was then deemed to be the most reasonable choice of number. The service came into effect on July 1st 1937 and covered a 12-mile radius from London’s Oxford Circus. Several people claimed to have made the first 999 call, however one newspaper claims the first 999 call was made by Mrs Beard of Hampstead, on July 8th 1937. She was reporting a burglar that her husband was chasing, and he was promptly caught.


It is believed that during the first full week of 999, a total of 1,336 calls were made. In the November the Information Room was able to take over the control of the calls, and the system started to get rolled out around the UK, in particular Glasgow, in 1938.


By 1967, 400,000 calls were made to the Police in London, with over a million for all services across the UK.


What happens when you call 999?


When you call 999, the operator will ask which service you require. Here we take a look at the ambulance. Your call will be connected to an Emergency Operations Centre. The person on the other end of the line, known as a call handler, will then ask you a series of questions. It is important to note that these questions will not slow down the ambulance to reach you but will allow the call handler to fully assess the needs of the casualty.


You will need to ensure that you have the following information available for the call handler:


The address of the emergency including postcode:

This is possibly the most important information you can provide to the call handler, as it will help the ambulance to reach the emergency as quickly as possible. Should you be in a rural, countryside location, if you can provide the grid reference that will be a big help. If you are totally unsure you should look for telephone boxes, members of the public who you could ask for your location, motorway marker boards if these are safe for you to view or street signs. All of these things can assist you in providing location information to the call handler.


The telephone number you are calling from:

This is helpful for the call handler should the call get disconnected and they need to call you back to continue getting information from you to help them assess the casualty.


What has happened:

If you are able to, you should provide the call handler with as much information as you can as to the circumstances around the emergency, the state of the casualty’s health and what you are doing in order to support the casualty.


Once you have handed this information to the call handler, they are able to release an ambulance, the call handler will then ask you further questions. These questions will help the call handler to provide you with first aid advice that can help you to look after the casualty until the ambulance staff arrive to take over.


The questions they may ask include:


The casualty’s age, gender and medical history,

Whether the casualty is conscious and breathing or otherwise,

Is the casualty bleeding?

Does the casualty have any chest pain?

Details of the casualty’s injury and how it has happened,

What part of the body is injured?

Is there any serious bleeding?


Depending on the cause of the injury, you may be asked if the attacker is still on scene, so that the crew can be advised, and if necessary held back until the Police are able to attend and assist. Another relevant question may be is there anyone trapped inside a vehicle, this will then help the call handler to arrange other assistance that their crew may need, e.g. the Fire Service.

While you are at the scene of the emergency it is important that you remain as calm as you possibly can and listen carefully to the questions being asked of you, so that you are then able to provide the call handler with the information they require. While you are waiting for the ambulance the call handler will provide you with information you need to be able to assist the casualty, if you are in the street it is important that you stay with the casualty. Should you have put the telephone down and ended the call, you should call the emergency Operations Centre back should the casualty change, or you change location. If you are calling from home or work, it is advisable that you open windows or doors so that you can signal to the ambulance crew, or you could send someone to wait in a visible place for them to guide them into where you and the casualty are waiting. It is always a good idea to lock away animals and pets for the safety of the crew.


Other things you can do to assist the medical staff are to have written down the casualty’s doctor’s details and any information on medication they take, even better collect their medication up and show this to the paramedics on their arrival. Be aware of any allergies the casualty has and ensure that you have told the call handler so they can pass this on to the ambulance crew, you can also reinforce this with the crew when they arrive.


Always try to stay calm, this is harder to achieve than it is to say but it is important so that you are able to take heed of the advice the call handler has given you and then carry it out.


Do NOT hang up the telephone, stay on the line, unless you are told otherwise by the call handler. The ambulance will be sent as soon as you have passed on the location to the call handler.


999 or 112 in the UK?


Where does this question come from, I hear you ask, and the answer to that is simple. In the UK confusion reigns as to the right number to use for the emergency services. The main reason for the confusion is, as far as I can tell, the advent of social media, although I have been made aware of a video on YouTube which backs up the myth that 112 is better than 999.


Firstly, I would ask how the telephone number that is universally known in the UK as the emergency number became inferior to a number of which not everyone is aware. 112 as discussed earlier is the European Union telephone that is live in all current 28-member states of the EU, (Brexit is not discussed further in this article!).


Secondly, we look at social media, sadly in today’s world, if it’s on social media it must be true and vice versa. This is not the case. You can write anything on social media whether there is evidence behind it or not. The myth on social media is that the telephone call will send more information to the call handler and handles the call in a different way if you use 112 over 999. This is in fact incorrect. Another myth is that a mobile phone’s SIM card is specially preprogrammed to dial 112 in an emergency; this is in fact true however it is important to note that the SIM card is also preprogrammed for 999 and some 911 as well.


The video on YouTube, which could be where some of the myth and incorrect detail of 112 comes from, is entitled, ‘Help me’ The secrets of using 112 on a mobile phone in an emergency or accident. I have taken the decision not to link to this video as it contains incorrect and therefore confusing information, but as of Monday the video has received 236,087 views!


The Truth:


In truth, 999 and 112 are the SAME in the United Kingdom! Yes, you read that correctly, the 2 numbers are exactly the same in the United Kingdom. You can use either one and you will get the same service, with the same location information sent to the call handler as each other. Most people will dial 999 as this is the number that we have been brought up with in the UK since we were knee high to a grasshopper and it will continue to be for many years to come having celebrated its 80th birthday in 2017.


REMEMBER: Should your mobile telephone not have a signal BUT has battery, you will be able to contact the emergency services by calling either 999 or 112 as your mobile will recognise both of these as an emergency.


What has changed to 999


During this article we want to look at 2 major evolutions of the emergency number 999 over its 80 years.


The first of these is the opportunity to be able to text 999 and get an emergency response.


The EmergencySMS service was introduced in September 2009, and was developed by:


Action on Hearing Loss,

British Telecom (BT),

Cable and Wireless,

The Department of Communities and Local Government,

OFCOM,

The UK Emergency Services, and

All the UK mobile network operators.


The idea behind this service is that if you are unable to make voice calls, you can contact the EmergencySMS from your mobile phone. This is a service which is part of the usual 999 service but designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.


The service should ONLY be used to send notification of an emergency, test texts should not be sent. An emergency is described as:


 Someone’s life is at risk,

 A crime is happening now,

 Someone is injured or threatened,

 There is a fire, or someone is trapped,

 You need an ambulance urgently,

 Someone is troubled on the cliffs, on the shoreline or is missing at sea.


In order to use the service, the person who may need to use it has to register by sending ‘register’ to 999, and then follow the instructions that are sent back to them. Once registered the user can then text 999 in an emergency but will need to ensure that they have included in their message, which service they require, where the problem is and what the emergency is. The emergency services’ operator will then ask for further information if required or will confirm that help is on the way. The assumption of help being on its way should not be made, and if a reply has not been received, usually after 2 minutes, the user should try to send another message usually after 3 minutes or find another way to summon help.


Another change to the emergency services, is the advent of Silent Solutions; this service has been available on the Emergency Operator line since 2001, although even today is relatively unknown. The idea is that if you are unable to speak or make a sound on an emergency call, due to a terrorist attack or domestic abuse for instance, you will be asked to dial 55 and then be put through to the Police. Although, you are being put through to the Police this can also result in a life being saved. You should remember that the Police are unable to attend to all silent calls and therefore this service seems the obvious answer as they now know you are genuinely trying to contact the 999 operator.


The usual protocol in the UK, is for the operator to ask you a series of questions when you dial 999 in doing so trying to identify if you meant to dial the number in the first place. If they have not had a reply to their first question, which is, Which service do you require? The operator will then ask you to either tap the handset, cough or make a noise, should you not do this the operator will divert your call to a message that encourages you then to dial 55.


One of the myths that goes along with this service is that the Police are able to track your location. The emergency services have an array of methods to track your location, but not because you use the 55 process.


Finally, please remember that you DO NOT NEED a mobile phone signal to contact 999, the mobile phone SIM card will recognise this as an emergency number, and when trying to find a signal, will look for your network first, should this be unsuccessful then it will look for the next available network signal to allow the mobile to connect to the emergency services’ operator!



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Knife Crime in the UK

Posted by Steve at 13:00 on Monday 18th March 2019.


This month we dedicate our monthly blog post to

all the victims of knife crime across the UK.


Over recent weeks and months, we have seen on our TV screens, newspapers, social media feeds and the like, a rise in the number of knife attacks in our capital. More recently the attention has turned to other such attacks in other cities up and down the UK.


We are saddened by the stories that we see on our screens mostly such young lives taken, from what we see in the media, for absolutely no reason at all. If we take the story of Jodie Chesney, who was sitting with her group of friends in a park, listening to music and ‘enjoying life’ when a male came up behind her and stabbed her in the back.


Only on Monday, did we see a news interview for ITV in Liverpool, 2 brothers openly told a reporter that they carry a knife and feel safer for doing so, 1 even took his knife from his jacket and showed it to the camera. Yes, these boys’ faces were hidden, but this is an all too familiar story the media are giving us. The same reporter spoke to the boys’ mother, who in simple terms said that she was ok with her boys carrying knives as it made her feel safe that they felt safe. When asked if she considered that she was encouraging her boys to break the law, she said she didn’t feel that, and that it’s better for her boys to come home of an evening than not.


So, this month we thought we would take a look at the rise of knife crime in the UK and see if the statistics support the media view that the UK is indeed in the middle of a rise in crimes involving knives, as well as what a member of the public can do to help someone who has been stabbed by a sharp object.


Is knife crime on the rise?


To help us explore this very question we have looked at the statistics released by the Office for National Statistics.


The statistics in the year up to September 2018, show a total of 42,957 offences involving a knife or a sharp object in England and Wales, equating to 6% of all offences. If we compare this with the previous year, we see 38,171 offences that involved a knife or a sharp object, in that year this also equates to 6% of all offences in England and Wales.


From these statistics we can see that the overall percentage of knife crime across the UK is staying constant at 6%, however individual cases have risen by 4,786 in one year.


What we thought we would do at this point is to take a look at the area of the country that keeps hitting the news, London, as well as coming closer to home and look at the 2 counties we primarily cover with our courses, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.


London:


October 2016 – September 2017: 13,741

October 2017 – September 2018: 14,847


Gloucestershire:


October 2016 – September 2017: 280

October 2017 – September 2018: 308


Wiltshire:


October 2016 – September 2017: 295

October 2017 – September 2018: 243


What we can see from the local authority areas is that the national rise is certainly occurring in London and Gloucestershire, but actually decreasing in Wiltshire, with a decrease of 18% from the previous year. Gloucestershire’s knife crime has increased by more than that of London in one year up 10% compared to London’s 8%. It will be very interesting to see the 2018/19 statistics when they are released later this year to see how the statistics have changed.


If we look take a look through the years in the statistics, we do see a rise in knife crime statistics since the low point of 2014, of 23,945.


So far in this blog we have used the word offences to explore what’s happening across the country. It may be worth having a look into the word offences and find out which offences knives are being used for. Here we look at the statistics across the UK, then London, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire ending September 2018.


England and Wales:


Attempted Murder:   356,

Threats to Kill:   3,351,

Assault with injury:  19,761,

Robbery:   18,556,

Rape and Sexual assault: 657,

Homicide:   276.


London:


Attempted Murder:   68,

Threats to Kill:   747,

Assault with injury:  5.360,

Robbery:   8,428,

Rape and Sexual assault: 161,

Homicide:   83.


Gloucestershire:


Attempted Murder:   3,

Threats to Kill:   39,

Assault with injury:  173,

Robbery:   84,

Rape and Sexual assault: 6,

Homicide:   3.


Wiltshire:


Attempted Murder:   0,

Threats to Kill:   19,

Assault with injury:  164,

Robbery:   57,

Rape and Sexual assault: 3,

Homicide:   0.


As expected, we can see that London has far more incidents of knife crime across all of the areas that the statistics look at, however it would appear that Wiltshire is safer in these areas than London and Gloucestershire.


Why do people carry knives?


There are understandable reasons why some people carry knives; these people do so for their profession, e.g. carpet fitters, plastic cutters etc, but of course these people are not likely to be the ones who are contributing to the statistics above.


The more important question to be asked should be why more and more young people are coming to think that carrying a knife is a good idea. Some suggestions for this include:


 For protection, self-defence, in case they are attacked and need to protect themselves.

 To make them feel like the ‘top-dog’ on their estate.

 To make people respect them.

 Feel that they can push themselves up the social ladder.

 Being brought up in a house/environment where carrying a knife is acceptable.

 They are cheap and easy to get hold of.

 They are not able to have a fist fight and therefore need a weapon to back them up.

 Their own mental safety, if I carry a knife, I feel safe.

 Instil fear in others.

 Peer pressure.

 Being forced to carry a knife by older gang members, as the police won’t suspect a 7-year-old.


What does the law say about carrying a knife?


Legislation in England and Wales says that carrying a knife can earn an adult 4 years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine; should that knife be used to commit a crime the sentences are likely to be a lot higher than this.


What can you do if you know someone carries a knife?


If you know that someone carries a knife, whether this be a friend, brother, father, uncle, son or daughter etc, you should remember that it is a criminal offence. Just because someone else carries a knife does not make it right or okay for another person to do so, even if it is a trusted person, it is still a criminal offence.


If you know someone who carries a knife, we have provided a few tips that you can use to know what you can do:


 Never think that you can talk to the person and persuade them to stop carrying.

 If possible, you should report this to the police, do not think of this as grassing up a friend or loved one, potentially you are saving theirs or someone else’s life!

 If you live with someone who carries a knife, try not to irritate or annoy them as you won’t know what they are capable of.

 Do not try to take the knife off a child or young person, as it is likely to anger the person and may escalate the situation out of control.


Should you be in a situation where you feel threatened or at-risk from somebody who is carrying a knife, you should try to walk away, do not run as you may fall over, and try to get to the nearest safest possible place, around other people. Do not think that you will be able to negotiate with the person holding the knife, the best thing to do is to walk away and report the incident as soon as you possibly can. The best piece of advice would be to try to avoid situations and people who scare or bully you and make sure that you report it.


What should I do to help someone who has been stabbed by a sharp object?


The most important thing that a member of the public can do for someone who has been injured by a sharp object is to ensure that they themselves stay safe. If you are unable to approach the casualty as the attacker is still on the scene or likely to be, the best thing that can be done is to call the emergency services and report the incident, not forgetting to mention you believe that there is a sharp object involved.


If you are able to approach the casualty, remember that you may only see a small entry wound, which could have deep internal damage hiding under the skin. This is what you should do for the casualty:


1. Call 999/112 for emergency help and make sure it is safe to approach.

2. Control life-threatening bleeding as a priority:

i. Apply direct pressure to the exact point of bleeding, if needed inside the deep wound,

ii. For life-threatening bleeding to the limbs – consider a tourniquet (see tourniquet section of this blog!).

3. Treat the casualty for hypovolaemic shock – lie them down, elevate their legs.


Tourniquets


What is a tourniquet?


A tourniquet is a device that is tightened around a limb to temporarily reduce blood flow. In recent military conflicts tourniquets have saved many lives and have been reintroduced into the European Resuscitation Council First Aid Guidelines as of the 15th October 2015.


Complications can occur should a tourniquet not be applied correctly, therefore training is essential to make sure application is safe and effective. If a tourniquet is not tightened enough, which is usually the case with improvised tourniquets, they can squash the veins not the arteries that feed blood into the limbs, therefore continuing to bleed out, or make it even worse.


A tourniquet should be reserved for life-threatening

bleeding from an arm and leg that cannot be controlled by direct pressure.


How to apply a tourniquet:


1. Apply the tourniquet around the thigh or the upper arm, at least 5cm above the wound, If the injury is below the knee/elbow, apply it just above the knee/elbow joint.

2. Tighten the tourniquet until the bleeding is no longer life-threatening. This is painful for the casualty. Explain that the pain will subside, but it is necessary to save their life!

3. If the bleeding is not fully controlled, consider direct pressure to the point of bleeding or a haemostatic dressing. Sometimes you may even need to apply a second tourniquet.

4. Make sure that 999/112 have been contacted.

5. Note the exact time of application and make sure that you pass this vital information to medical staff. Write the time on the tourniquet if possible.


What if the object is still in the wound?


An embedded object should not be removed, unless it is a splinter, as it may be stemming bleeding or further damage may result.


As a first-aider you should use sterile dressings and bandages to pack around the object. This will apply pressure around the wound and support the object.


Send the casualty to hospital to have the object removed safely.


In summary, yes, the statistics have shown that knife crime has risen since the low in 2014, but the more important message from us in this blog is to remember that the carrying of an offensive weapon is against the law.


For more information on First Aid techniques to help a casualty

who has been injured by a sharp object,

why not join one of our First aid courses?


But most of all stay safe.



Dedicated to all the victims of knife crime across the UK.


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Working at Height

Posted by Steve at 14:55 on Tuesday 16th April 2019.


Working at height can be one of the most dangerous activities that can be carried out at work, due to the variations in height involved, accounting for the highest percentage of injuries caused by falls from height.


Prior to 1974, there were no regulations or legislation for activities at work involving height. This changed with the Health and Safety at Work 1974. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states very clearly that:


‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his/her employees.’


The legislation placed the responsibility on the employer to carry out risk assessments as well as to ensure that they provide the tools for their employee to do the required job in the safest possible way. This is a long way from the historical evidence we have of people working at height.


Historic Working at Height


Just taking a look through the history books will show you the sort of work that has been carried out at heights over the years. Even walking around some of the most interesting and beautiful cities and areas of the world you can see evidence of people working at height.


Examples of these structures include:


 The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt,

 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, France,

 Gloucester Cathedral, England,

 Salisbury Cathedral, England,

 Canterbury Cathedral, England,

 The Houses of Parliament, England,

 La Sagrada Familia, Spain.


These are possibly all structures that you will be aware of, if not visited and seen. These major structures would have been built by people who were using the most basic of tools and working in environments that modern Health and Safety rules would frown upon and punish. Not only this, but the people building these structures would have been unskilled and not necessary fully suitable to the task they were being asked to complete. But we must not forget that aside of all the issues with their practice, they managed to build structures which have lasted the test of time and are admired by many people every day.


As we move through the years, the industrial revolution made room for steam-powered machinery to assist in the building sector. In the 20th Century the use of elevators and cranes have made it easier for skyscrapers to be built however, working at height, safety equipment was haphazard and lacking in regulations.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974


In 1974, The Health and Safety at Work Act came into force to encourage, regulate and enforce workplace Health and Safety. The Act introduced an additional Code of Practice to improve working conditions for employees and provide guidance for employers and employees working at height.


The Act also applied to the self-employed sector as well as those who are working in the employed sector. The legislation also extended to the provision of the maintenance of plant and systems of work, arrangements for the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances, information of safe systems, instruction, training and supervision, and maintenance of any work carried out under the employer’s control.


Want to find out more about Health and Safety at Work?

Why not visit our dedicated Health and Safety at Work page here

 alternatively why not book one of our courses?


According to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) reports of fatal injuries to employees have reduced by 86% as of 2015. This is clearly an indicator of how well the legislation has worked, although in that time additional legislation has come into force which has further affected the Working at Height regulations, as well the invention of new and upgraded technology to aid the workers who are working at height.


In 2005, the Work at Height Regulations came into force. These regulations built on and added rules and regulations to that of the Health and Safety at Work 1974. One of the most important things that the regulations did, was to remove the minimum height for a fall from height to be counted. According to the Work at Height Regulations 2005 there is no definition of a fall from height which means that a fall from height could actually take place below sea level. It is important to remember that a fall from standing can be a fall from height.


The regulations make it clear that they apply to any work at height where there is a risk of fall likely to cause injury regardless of the height, type of work and duration of the task taking place.


Why do injuries and accidents from height take place?


Most injuries caused from a fall from height at work include:


 People taking shortcuts,

 Equipment is not available or in poor condition,

 Wrong choice of equipment for the work being carried out,

 Equipment not being used accordingly,

 Complacency,

 Lack of awareness of the risks of working at height,

• Inadequate or a lack of training and supervision.


The regulations provide duties for employers and employees, they state that anyone who contracts others to work at height should ensure that the task:


 Should be effectively planned and organised,

 Takes into account weather conditions,

 Utilises trained and competent persons,

 Ensures the venue is safe,

 Uses safe and inspected equipment,

 Ensures risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled, and

 Ensures risks from falling objects are well managed.


It also adds that employers must also:


 Only allow the work at height to be carried out if it could not be reasonably carried out at ground level,

 Ensure the work is as safe as practical,

 Plan for emergencies, and

 Take into account risk assessments.


It is important that the person who is carrying out the task at height is a competent person and that they have ensured, as well as the person asking them for the task to be done, that the equipment being used to complete it is safe and in full working order prior to the task taking place.


So, what happens should it all go wrong?


Should an injury or an accident occur in the workplace, the employer or the person who contracted out the work may:


 Receive an unlimited fine,

 Be imprisoned for up to 2 years,

 Face prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act (2007) which could include:

 Fines,

These can be unlimited, on top of the unlimited fine mentioned above.

 Remedial orders,

This will require a company or organisation to take steps to remedy any management failure that led to a death.

 Publicity orders.

This is an order that a court can impose which would require the company or organisation to publicise that it has been convicted of the offence.

The order will require the publication of:

 The full details of the incident,

 The amount of any fine imposed, and

 The terms of any remedial order that was made.


The publicity order provisions will not come into force until the Sentencing Guidelines Council has completed its work on the relevant guidance.


The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 cannot be applied retrospectively, any deaths that occurred before the 6th April 2008 would have been covered and dealt with under the previous corporate manslaughter legislation.


Do you want to learn more about Working at Height?

Why not book onto our new course which we are launching today?

Alternatively, visit the Working at Height dedicated page on our website.

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