Photo of Loom BandsParents and schools are being warned about the dangers of cheap, “unofficial” loom bands. The new craze amongst children is to use the bands to twist and create colourful jewellery. Small plastic “charms” can also be purchased and attached to the bands. It is these charms that have found to pose the risk. Tests by the Birmingham Assay Office (BAO), found that the cheaper, “unofficial” loom bands contained dangerous levels of phthalates. The chemical is used to make plastic more pliable but is also a known carcinogen and its use is highly regulated.

The legal limit for the use of phthalates in the UK is 0.1%. BAO tests revealed that of 16 separate boxes of the unofficial brands tested, 2 contained more than 50% phthalates with the rest being over the official limit.  The implications of exposure to this chemical can be quite severe. Other than the potential to cause cancer, Robert Chantry-Price, a lead product safety officer at the Trading Standards Institute, noted that exposure could cause other mutagenic and reproductive issues.

School leaders may want to keep this recent development in mind when considering how to tackle this new craze. If you have any queries, or need advice on how to handle this issue contact Handsam on 0844 335 1717.

A “Mud Open Day” at West Bolton Lodge nearly went horribly wrong when a toddler fell into a pond. The open day was an educational event providing opportunities for young children to learn about nature with their families. The child fell in to the pond whilst his parent’s back was turned. Fortunately, a passer by quickly spotted the child and went to his rescue, ensuring the child escaped unharmed.

There was a bar in place around the pool, but on examination it appeared to be too high and small children were able to pass underneath it. An additional bar at a lower height may well have prevented this incident occurring all together. Whilst in this case the child was lucky to avoid injury, it aptly demonstrates the need for appropriate safety precautions when undertaking activities around the water’s edge. Be sure to consider this when you risk assess an activity. In addition if you have a water feature on your site, be sure to take the relevant safety measures.

Please contact Handsam Ltd by calling 0844 335 1737 or via info@handsam.co.uk for advice and clarification on ensuring you meet all your Health and Safety obligations.

A recent case heard in court today highlighted the dangers associated with using ride on lawnmowers. 

A council employee suffered four fractured ribs and bruising which kept him off work for two months. He was then restricted to light duties for a further month. Aside from the moral obligations that the Council owed the employee, they also had statutory obligations which were breached. This lead to a fine of £29k after the HSE took the Council to Court for breaching Section 2(1) - Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by failing to ensure as reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.

Please contact Handsam Ltd by calling 0844 335 1737 or via info@handsam.co.uk for advice and clarification on ensuring the health, safety and welfare of staff within your school or academy.

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