New dental health resource created for care homes

A new resource aimed at improving dental health amongst care home residents has been made available for care home managers.

Entitled ‘Caring for Smiles – A Guide for Care Homes’, the guidance has been put together and published by the National Oral Health Improvement Group (NOPOHIG) in Scotland. The organisation has been working alongside NHS Scotland in order to provide care training and support for care homes with older residents who want to improve mouth care.

The resource champions person-centred care, which is at the heart of most care training courses and practices as it is, as well as the importance of regular risk assessments. The guide also highlights the risks and impacts of neglecting oral health and explains ways care homes can react to resistance from residents to dental care, which does happen occasionally.

Commenting on the guide and its aims, NOPOHIG’s chair and a consultant in Dental Public Health, Maura Edwards, said:

“Older people living in care homes are at a significantly higher risk of oral health problems and related conditions than the rest of the population because of higher levels of dependency and dementia-related conditions.”

Nearly 20pc of construction sites fail latest HSE checks

According to the results of a month-long inspection drive by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around one fifth (20 per cent) of construction sites are not adhering to health and safety regulations, potentially putting workers in danger.

As part of the checks, HSE officers visited a total of 2,363 construction sites around the UK on which repairs or refurbishments were being carried out. The results of the spot checks were surprising and not a little worrying, as the officers had to hand out 631 enforcement notices to 433 sites for urgent improvements to poor practices to be made. Furthermore, 451 notices stipulated that work should stop immediately until standards could be improved.

Commenting on the findings of the inspections, which clearly demonstrate the need for better practices, more regular risk assessments and more in-depth health and safety training, the HSE’s chief inspector of construction Philip White said:

“This initiative has once again shown us that the majority of construction employers do take their responsibilities to their workers seriously.

“However, our inspectors also encountered numerous examples of poor practice, from lack of edge protection on stairwells and scaffolding to unsafe storage of flammable materials and inadequate personal protective equipment. None of these are acceptable on a modern construction site.

“HSE will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers against reckless employers. It is they who continue to make construction one of the most dangerous industries in which to work.”

First aid tips – treating hyperventilation

To ensure that you are fully prepared for any medical emergency, whether it happens at home, at work or out in public, it is a good idea to take a first aid training course. However, there are some first aid basics it can be useful to know even if you haven’t had first aid training, such as how to recognise and treat hyperventilation, for example.

Spotting the signs of hyperventilation

Hyperventilation basically means excessive breathing, usually following acute anxiety or emotional/psychological shock. It may also be accompanied, or develop into a panic attack. You can spot hyperventilation by looking for the following symptoms:

• Unusually fast breathing
• Trembling
• Tingling in the hands and cramps in hands and feet
• Faintness and dizziness

Treating hyperventilation

Your main aim when treating a person who is hyperventilating is to calm them down and provide reassurance. Speak firmly but reassuringly to the person and escort them somewhere quiet and calm, away from other people. If you have no success calming the person down, or symptoms seem to be worsening, you will need to call the emergency services. After the incident, you may also want to recommend to the person that they see their GP about preventing panic attacks in the future.

Could technology be the key to food safety compliance in food businesses?

Food businesses have a lot of responsibilities in relation to food hygiene. By law, they must have a food safety management system in place, which covers everything from temperature control and safe food storage to hand-washing practices and food hygiene training for staff.

All of the different parts of a food safety management system can be tricky to track, as well as generating a lot of paperwork. This is why some food businesses, such as restaurants for example, as switching to more advanced, modern solutions.

There are now food safety monitoring systems available, such as the wireless Checkit system from Elektron Technology, which allow managers to keep track of temperatures in food preparation and storage areas wirelessly from smartphone and tablet devices. If normal food safety policies are breached, the system will sound an alert. These systems also generate compliance reports in addition to round-the-clock monitoring.

Of course, advanced technology can only do so much to ensure that food safety laws are being followed. Food businesses still need to ensure that they make thorough food hygiene training a priority, along with regular revisions and reassessments of practices and procedures.

HSE launches new health and safety guidance for large businesses

In an effort to help large UK businesses and organisations understand their responsibilities in relation to health and safety, and to abide by the law, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched brand new, user-friendly guidance.

The ‘Managing for Health and Safety’ guidance, or HSG65, is designed to help business owners, company directors, trustees and line managers understand how to manage health and safety in their workplace.

The guidance, which is available online at the HSE website free of charge, has four main sections, which are:

1. The core elements of managing health and safety
2. Are you doing what you need to?
3. How to deliver effective arrangements
4. Resources

Workers and their union representatives can also benefit from the improved information from the HSE, whether they have undergone health and safety training or not.

Commenting on the HSG65 guidance, lead author Andrew Cottam said:

“Each level of guidance on our website offers appropriately targeted information, focussed on making compliance as straightforward as possible.

“Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and businesses are free to take other action, but if they do follow the guidance they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance.”

Improvements needed at Hemel Hempstead care home

A care home in Hemel Hempstead has been told that it must make urgent improvements to its care training, standards and practices after a damning report following a recent inspection.

Officers from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the Mountbatten Lodge in June 2013 on an unannounced inspection. They found a number of worrying problems with standards of care at the home, including:

• A person who had been without food or drink for over 17 hours
• Two residents displaying signs of dehydration
• One resident who had not had medication for three days, after supplies had run out
• Dirty bathrooms and bedrooms
• Bad odours in different parts of the home
• Some bins, including those containing clinical waste, left overflowing

Following the inspection, a report concluded that the Mountbatten Lodge care home was failing on seven national standards, including infection control, cleanliness, care and welfare, medication management and meeting nutritional needs.

The home has now been ordered to make urgent improvements. The management team have agreed to draw up a step-by-step plan showing how they will make the required improvements to standards at the home, which may include more advanced care training for staff.

Somerton businesses get fire safety training

Businesses in the Somerset town of Somerton have been taking important steps to improve workplace safety standards, by sending their staff members on crucial fire safety training courses.

Many employees and managers from local businesses attended training sessions, which were held in the form of an open evening by Somerton Fire Station. Attendees were taught all the things usually included on a basic fire safety in the workplace training course, such as:

• How to spot fire hazards and take steps to remove or reduce them
• How to use a fire extinguisher and other fire-fighting equipment
• What fire procedures businesses should be following
• How to evacuate a premises if a fire should break out or the fire alarm should sound
• General ways to make the workplace safer and reduce fire safety risks.

Following the event, the Fire Service received very positive feedback from the local businesses whose employees attended the training. Any businesses which didn’t send staff members may now want to consider fire safety training courses for their workforces, which can help to make the workplace safer as well as enabling companies to better adhere to fire safety rules.

Quarter of Scottish takeaways fail food hygiene tests

According to the findings of a recent investigation by the Sunday Express, around one in four Scottish takeaways are failing to meet legal food hygiene standards.

The investigation was launched at the same time as concerns were raised about the increase in food poisoning in the country, with a 40 per cent rise reported in the first few months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.

It was not only takeaways which were flagged up for their poor food hygiene training and practices, however. The Sunday Express team also found that plush venues such as St Andrews Golf Club, the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and the BAA Skylounge at Glasgow Airport underperformed in a recent round of inspections by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Even a cookery school managed to fail a recent FSA inspection.

Encouraging customers to check food hygiene scores before they dine out, the FSA in Scotland’s Elspeth MacDonald said:

“The Food Hygiene Information Scheme gives consumers easy access to useful information so they can make an informed choice about where to eat out. The FSA in Scotland is working in partnership with local authorities across the country to roll out and enforce the scheme.

“We recommend that everyone check the ratings on our website before eating out you know which eateries have achieved a pass.”

Quarter of Scottish takeaways fail food hygiene tests

According to the findings of a recent investigation by the Sunday Express, around one in four Scottish takeaways are failing to meet legal food hygiene standards.

The investigation was launched at the same time as concerns were raised about the increase in food poisoning in the country, with a 40 per cent rise reported in the first few months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.

It was not only takeaways which were flagged up for their poor food hygiene training and practices, however. The Sunday Express team also found that plush venues such as St Andrews Golf Club, the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and the BAA Skylounge at Glasgow Airport underperformed in a recent round of inspections by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Even a cookery school managed to fail a recent FSA inspection.

Encouraging customers to check food hygiene scores before they dine out, the FSA in Scotland’s Elspeth MacDonald said:

“The Food Hygiene Information Scheme gives consumers easy access to useful information so they can make an informed choice about where to eat out. The FSA in Scotland is working in partnership with local authorities across the country to roll out and enforce the scheme.

“We recommend that everyone check the ratings on our website before eating out you know which eateries have achieved a pass.”

First aid kit advice pt.3 – knowing how to use a first aid kit

At the start of this guide (part 1 and part 2), we looked at what should be included in a first aid kit and where businesses should be looking to keep their first aid kits. Now we come to one of the most important pieces of advice – how to use a first aid kit.

Many first aid kits, such as those marked with a British Standard label, are designed to be as easy to use as possible. So, in an emergency, anyone can use the kit to give aid to an ill or injured person. However, it is recommended that only trained first aiders use first aid kits in the workplace, to ensure that injuries are dealt with properly and the business is not liable if something goes wrong.

It is a legal requirement for workplaces to have trained first aiders, meaning employees who have been on a first aid training course and who have been named as the designated first aiders for the business. A first aid in the workplace training course does not take very long to complete, but it can give you invaluable skills and knowledge that could save lives. You may even want to undergo first aid training even if you aren’t the designated first aider in your workplace.