Week Commencing 12/10/2020 – In The News

New Research Blog Posted!

Research Blog ReleasedWe have published a new research blog on our blog as part of our Hazard of the Month, Machinery Failure! This blog post focuses on the HSE’s stance on keeping your equipment maintenance and testing up-to-date during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the importance of this.

For this month only, you can also get 10% off our Abrasive Wheels and Lock Out, Tag Out with the code ‘Machine20’ at checkout! Don’t miss out this great offer, there are only a few weeks left to claim it!

Rapid Coronavirus Bedside Test Shows Promise in Hospitals

A stethoscope and pen on top of a piece of paper.A rapid “bedside” test for coronavirus could help cut the spread of the infection in hospitals, scientists say. In their study, the rapid test took under two hours to show results, while standard tests – which have to be sent to laboratories – took much longer. Researchers say this meant patients taking the rapid test could be isolated more quickly when positive, potentially reducing the spread of the virus. They are calling urgently for more rapid tests on the NHS.

Dr Tristan William Clark, who conducted the study, told the BBC: “With the rapid tests, the same team admitting the patient can often do the test and check the results, making sure the patient goes to the most appropriate ward. This can mean things are much quicker.” He acknowledges the tests can be expensive but says the costs are “highly likely to be offset by the benefits of moving patients to the right wards quickly”.

You can read more from the BBC or read the whole report in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.

European Week for Safety and Health at Work Focuses on Musculoskeletal Disorders

Illustration of a man injuring himself from carrying a cardboard box.EU-OSHA’s (European Agency for Safety & Health at Work) European Week for Safety and Health at Work, taking place from 19 to 23 October, marks the official launch of the Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load campaign, which focuses on musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common work-related health problems in Europe. They cause pain and discomfort in the back, neck, shoulders, upper limbs and lower limbs, and can affect a person’s ability to work.

According to the 2019 European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks, the most frequently identified risk factor in the EU-27 is repetitive hand or arm movements (reported by 65% of establishments). Other MSD-related risks include prolonged sitting (61%) — often considered a new or emerging MSD risk — lifting or moving people or heavy loads (52%), time pressure (45%), and tiring or painful positions (31%).

Although MSDs are preventable, they remain the most common work-related health problem in Europe. This is cause for concern not only because of their effects on the health of individual workers, but also because of their detrimental impact on businesses and national economies. MSDs affect individuals’ ability to work and are therefore a major cost burden for businesses and economies.

EU-OSHA recommends body mapping as a way to help prevent MSDs. Body mapping is a technique that employers and workers’ representatives can use to gather evidence from groups of workers about the effects of work on their bodies, such as musculoskeletal aches and pains.

Learn more from SHPOnline.

Trial to Test if Vitamin D Protects Against Covid

A virus under a microscope all in green.Scientists are looking for volunteers to take part in a trial to see if taking vitamin D can give the immune system a boost against Covid. People who join would be sent pills in the post to take daily for six months if a finger-prick test shows they are deficient in the “sunshine vitamin”. UK residents are already advised to consider taking supplements over winter when vitamin D levels can dip. That is to improve general health, not specifically to stop infections.

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older people, in people who are overweight, and in black and Asian people – all of the groups who are at increased risk of becoming very ill with Covid. The trial, led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and funded by Barts Charity, will use higher doses of vitamin D than regular supplements.

Principal investigator David Jolliffe said the trial “has the potential to give a definitive answer” to the question of whether vitamin D offers protection against Covid. “Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus,” he said.

Although vitamin D supplements are very safe, taking more than the recommended amount every day can be dangerous in the long run.

Read more from the BBC.