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Autumn: Are We Ready? 

Sunday 28th October marks the official end of British Summertime, although we are already experiencing a drop in temperatures compared to July and August. The Forestry Commission recently announced that the result of dry soils left by the long, hot summer coupled with late summer rain, we are in an early autumn period.   This year’s APF event saw the Forestry Commission celebrating 100 years of the Forestry Act, providing advice and support to the sector and commenting on latest activity. With forestry workers 6 times more likely to be killed at work than a construction worker, knowledge sharing and education remains a critical part of the work required for future development. With the HSE citing growing concerns on the level of competence and high expectations of newly trained/qualified operators, this has never been more important.     In this industry, with the nature of the job including working at height and the risk of falling objects, working with chainsaws and other equipment, careless oversights could quickly turn into serious incidents. The role of technology has increased, as has the need for tree maintenance. Workers can feel instantly reassured by this, possibly too reassured. A reliance on technology could result in arborists and forestry workers becoming less alert to potential issues.    We all know that PPE serves as an essential part of helping to protect those in the forestry industry at work, however, a safety conscious attitude and frame of mind at work is equally as important. It is not enough for workers to rely on PPE, believing that they are 100% safe when they have their PPE is prepped and ready to go. Health and safety needs to be a forefront of the entire workforce’s mind, helping to reduce the amount of carelessness and distraction at work. Put simply, even with PPE and advanced technology employers and site operation managers need to reiterate to workers that this does not render them unexposed to potential incidents. Accidents can still happen and it is critical that workers have a good understanding of this.   1,2,3 – PPE  The purchase of PPE is only the first step in the equipment’s journey.  It must be regularly maintained and replaced, whilst continually ensuring it is most suitable for the job being completed at the time.     Successful management of health and safety and the role of PPE requires co-ordination of activities and communication of information, and must start from the top down. Leading by example will not only resonate and encourage workers on the ground to follow suit, it will go a long way in fundamentally improving health and safety performance across the industry for both newly trained and more casual users.     PPE is not a guarantee of safety, and the role of the individual remains crucial.  Stay aware and alert. Appreciate the equipment with the knowledge that you also play a significant role in ensuring you do not get hurt at work.    For more information on HAIX’s range of forestry boots visit www.haix.co.uk, or to find your nearest dealer contact Workware www.workware.co.uk 

Beating the Heat: Why Footwear Matters

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager, HAIX    Here in the UK we are in the midst of an unprecedented heatwave that in July resulted in the public being advised to take shelter from the sun. In a joint warning, the NHS, Public Health England and the Met Office has advised that conditions are here to stay, with there being a 90% probability that the heatwave will continue until 9am BST on Friday 27th July.   The current hot weather, coupled with incredibly dry ground, makes it easy for forest fires to start.  In Greece, huge wildfires erupted in July, killing 60 and leaving a further 100 injured, with the country declaring a state of emergency. The area of UK woodland is currently 3.17 million hectares. The statistics, produced by the Forestry Commission, showed that this represents 13% of the total land area in the UK, 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland. Evidently, such a heatwave can have fatal consequences.    Arborists need everything they can to get through working in heat that a lot of us have never experienced before. This should start from the ground up, and investing in highly breathable footwear is crucial.    HAIX Protector Light  HAIX’s Protector Light boot is the perfect summer boot offering the comfort, protection, and durability you need during this heatwave.     Even in scorching temperatures, the boot is highly breathable, with a high quality leather lining and a fast drying insole in the footbed absorbing sweat instantly. This can also be removed and washed if required. The sole cushioning and arch support system keeps your foot in the best position, ensuring you are comfortable even after a long day of strenuous physical activity.     In addition the Protector Light has fully waterproof leather upper, as well as a durable and comfortable leather lining, steel toe cap and a puncture resistant midsole. The boot provides level 1 cut protection against chainsaws, with a steel toe cap protecting you from any falling objects.   Don’t let this heatwave stop you performing at your best.    For additional information please visit https://www.haix.co.uk/haix-protector-lightwww.haix.co.uk/haix-protector-light 

Summer Cool

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager, HAIX    The forestry industry is worth almost £2 billion annually to the UK, employing over 43,000 people. Conversations about the future of the industry in a post Brexit world are rife. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor has previously outlined what the sector needs for continued success – including greatly enhanced tree planting and restocking and an appreciation by all as to how this industry is good for the country- “not just for the countryside.”   Before the position of our industry post- Brexit becomes clear, it must be business as normal in the ever changing British climate.  British Summertime officially begins on the 23rd June, 2018, although some of us have already enjoyed some warmer weather. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Met Office recorded the hottest ever early May Bank Holiday, with temperatures hitting over 25°C.   To cope with often overbearing heat in such months, you might do things slightly differently – drink more water, wear a different uniform, and take longer breaks. Have you considered how different features in footwear could further protect you from the sweltering sunshine?      GORE-TEX®   As soon as your feet get too hot, too cold, or even wet, it’s likely you start to feel uncomfortable. The soles of your feet sweat more than anywhere else on your body. This can be harmful to health, resulting in blisters, but also lowering concentration levels.    Feet feel most comfortable when the skin temperature is between 28-32 °C. In the summer, where increased temperatures are expected but high rainfall is also possible, your footwear must be waterproof and highly breathable.  The GORE-TEX® membrane has a microporous structure, containing 1.4 billion pores per cm2. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water, so no water can penetrate – far exceeding the current standards. Crucially, the membrane also allows perspiration to escape.    Since the early 1990s, HAIX has been incorporating GORE-TEX® in footwear for that very reason.  GORE-TEX® only approves boots by companies producing quality products that can withstand its stringent testing process. This includes a waterproofing test in which boots are placed in 5cm of water and 300,000 steps are stimulated to ensure no water is left in the boot. Through this process, boots can be rejected, and must be reassessed.      The build-up of heat is then further reduced by the shoe construction itself, as it is only bonded at specific points to ensure breathability. The  GORE-TEX ® membrane is six times more breathable than the values outlined in EN ISO standards 20345/20347. This will further help ensure products allow the half a pint of sweat feet release to be transported away from the feet and out of the boot.   HAIX’s forestry boots  incorporate the GORE-TEX ® Performance Comfort Laminate membrane, ensuring they are waterproof and breathable, as well as being moderately insulated for a broad range of temperatures and different activities.  It is the must-have summer feature for your footwear.    To view HAIX’s full range of forestry footwear visit https://www.haix.co.uk/forest/        

How to avoid slips, trips and falls

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX    Between 2016-17, 13,000 workers in Britain’s agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors suffered non-fatal injuries, with slips, trips and falls causing the most incidents. It is estimated that slip, trip and fall accidents cost Britain £800 million annually, with the direct cost to employers costing around £300 million. Do you understand the importance of footwear in protecting you from slipping when facing uneven floor surfaces, wet environments and poor lighting?    Slippery substances such as oils, grease or rain, mud left on the rungs of a ladder and general debris are all risks you are familiar with. Falling victim to such accidents could increase the likelihood of you developing serious injuries or debilitating longer term health conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders. This will not just affect your health but also the productivity of the business in general, as you might be unable to work due to the pain.    The right safety footwear offers protection against many industry hazards. With so many safety shoes on the market, we are inundated with options and it’s difficult to know which to choose and what safety features are important.      Wearing footwear compliant to safety standards and with the right protective features is critical for preventing injuries. It is crucial to choose the right footwear for the right job – looking out for these features will set you up for the best protection:    Waterproof If you are suffering from wet feet, you may find it harder to concentrate as you are  more concerned about comfort, rather than the job in hand. This could lead to an accident.  To be labelled as waterproof, boots should adhere to the EN ISO standard: 20345/20347. This is the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve. HAIX work only with the Gore-Tex laminate system which is highly breathable, as well as creating a durable barrier against outside water penetration which far exceeds the standards required.   Breathable, ventilation and insulation  Quality materials are additional key footwear features to consider, particularly in the winter months. Breathable and insulating materials will keep feet comfortable and insulated, safe from freezing temperatures. HAIX forest boots utilise breathable GORE-TEX® inner lining provide maximum climate comfort and total protection against moisture in any weather conditions.   Chainsaw protection  Forestry professionals must ensure their boots  offer chainsaw protection. The EN ISO 17249:2013 standard relates to safety footwear with resistance to chainsaw cutting.  Category levels range depending on the level of protection required for the chainsaw speeds: Class 1 (20 m/s), Class 2 (24 m/s), Class 3 (28 m/s).    Investing in quality footwear is priority. For more information on HAIX’s range of forestry boots visit, https://www.haix.co.uk or to find your nearest dealer contact WorkWare  http://www.workware.co.uk/

2017 roundup: Productivity vs Injury Rates

Between 2016/17, 802,000 trees were planted across England, an increase from the 642,000 trees planted in 2015/16. This follows the Conservative government pledge in 2015 to plant 11 million trees by 2020.   To work safely and efficiently, coping with strenuous workloads in such busy times, you must be protected.  Wearing the appropriate safety footwear is critical and can reduce the likelihood of you suffering an injury or developing a health condition whilst at work.    Injuries and Illness in 2017   The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2016/17 statistics show in the forestry, agriculture and fishing sector, 15,000 workers suffered from work-related illnesses with 12,000 non-fatal injuries and 27 fatal injuries. The figures reveal safety gaps in this industry, highlighting where more could be done to improve protection.    There are also pressing health issues that must be considered. The HSE statistics also show musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders were the most common work-related ill health condition to workers across the three sectors, accounting for 46% of all ill health problem, significantly higher than all other industries. Many of these cases could be linked to unsupportive footwear, lacking appropriate protection and safety features, ultimately making your working life a lot more difficult.    MSK- where are we now?   MSK disorders can develop through wearing safety footwear that is not fit for purpose and can damage joints, causing swelling of the legs. This could result in a range of problems for the feet including bunions and corns, steel spurs and even flat feet.  General pain and discomfort around feet, legs, hips and lower back is also likely. If these problems develop all areas of your life could be affected. This might prevent you from working, possibly leading to a lack of earnings   Focus on footwear   Protective, durable and comfortable footwear is essential for your safety, helping to prevent injuries whilst also ensuring you don’t suffer from long term health problems because of work. HAIX is committed to developing functional footwear features for forestry professionals, meeting end user demand, continually setting new trends and exceeding standards to reduce health issues.    Every pair of boots incorporates the latest materials and footwear technology to offer comfort and protection, with cutting-edge design. Key features in our boots that will help prevent MSK injuries and improve safety generally include:   higher quality materials for better support to the foot and lower leg arch support to ensure correct posture sturdy soles to give a strong platform for a range of surfaces Gore-Tex membrane keeping feet warm and dry.  chainsaw cut protection    2018    Busy times are ahead for the forestry industry and HAIX boots could be the key, helping to reduce incident rates and improve health statistics, ensuring continued growth in the forestry industry.   Invest in HAIX boots and protect your health as well as the success of your industry. For more information visit, https://www.haix.co.uk    

HAIX Footwear UK

HAIX Footwear UK


Are your boots really waterproof?

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX   With the colder weather upon us, and heavy rainfall likely, your working conditions will become even more challenging. To cope with unpredictable climates, the protection your boots offer will become more important than ever.  However, your ‘waterproof’ boots might not actually be as waterproof as you think, with the current minimum standard still allowing some water penetration. Do you know   how harmful wet feet could be to your health?      A picture of health     If boots fail to provide the right level of waterproof protection and your feet become wet and cold, this could lead to serious health problems for the whole body. Wet feet are known to aggravate symptoms, weakening the immune system and reducing the blood flow to the nose and throat, allowing the body to be more susceptible to infections.   Keeping your feet warm at 28-30 degrees and the body at a healthy temperature of 37-37.5 degrees is crucial in maintaining performance and wellbeing, also ensuring working time is not lost.    Waterproof    Learning the features that make a boot waterproof and understanding the consequences of not wearing the right protection could be the key to going home healthy and comfortable with dry feet.    The EN ISO standard: 20345/20347 is the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve for boots to be labelled as waterproof. The standard stipulates up to 3cm2 of water can still enter the boot. Whilst you may think your boots are completely waterproof, this is the basic standard, and water can still get in.    A series of tests are conducted ensuring boots comply with the EN ISO standard. The first is a trough test where boots are subject to 1000 steps in a trough of water, for the equivalent of standing or walking in water for 10-15 minutes. The second test is the Dynamic Water Resistant Test involving a minimum of 4800 steps for the equivalent of walking or standing in water for 90-80 minutes. The trough test allows a maximum of 3cm2 water into the boot but the Dynamic test doesn’t allow any water ingress into the boot, anything above this limit, the boot fails to achieve the standard and is not considered waterproof.   Preventing water penetration   To combat water penetration, many of the boots designed by HAIX, also incorporate a GORE-TEX® Laminate that is durably waterproof, breathable and moderately insulated. The protection this offers is essential for providing the best protection for those working in unpredictable conditions. Each pore in the GORE-TEX® membrane is 20,000 times smaller than a droplet of water, ensuring the boot is completely and durably waterproof.     The GORE-TEX® Laminate combined with the outer materials and manufacturing techniques stipulated by Gore also ensures water does not become trapped between the upper and the membrane, something that could stop the boot from performing as it should.  Water intake not only causes wet fit but will also, reduce protection, and thermal efficiency within the boot. Internal components could rot, lessening material strength and encouraging bacterial growth as well as bad odours.   Footwear incorporating the GORE-TEX® Laminate must undergo rigorous testing in a walking simulator ensuring absolutely no water penetration. The test involves 300,000 flexes for which is the equivalent of standing or walking for 80 hours in ankle high water, 300 times higher than the minimum EN ISO standard requirement.    Check your features   When working in the forest, you should ensure boots labelled as waterproof perform as you need them to. The GORE-TEX® Laminate provides you with assurance that your boots are completely waterproof. This will enhance your working life and also possibly benefit you financially, as boots will not have to be regularly replaced.   As the sky is set to get gloomier, ensure your boots are waterproof or pay the price physically and financially.    For more information visit, https://www.haix.co.uk/workwear/ or visit your local stockist, https://www.haix.co.uk/  

HAIX Footwear UK

HAIX Footwear UK

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