Businesses not doing enough to alleviate workplace stress


New research recently conducted by Perkbox has revealed that almost half (45%) of businesses in the UK make no attempt to alleviate the stress of their workers, risking the wellbeing of their workforce. This is despite work being acknowledged as the most common cause of all stress (59%) and 1 in 4 workers not being able to be productive at work when stressed. Furthermore, 10 percent of people have admitted to calling in sick due to work related stress and 7 percent claimed to have looked for a new job.

This research also showed the industries in which overlooked stress causes the most problems. Perkbox highlighted that businesses in the hospitality industry are the most likely to not offer any kind of help or guidance to employees in terms of dealing with stress, as 64 percent of workers in this industry claimed this was the case. The leisure sector was close behind in its poor response to this problem, with 63 percent of businesses shown to not be doing enough. In transport, more than half (55%) of employers don’t give assistance to employees to deal with stress – and this is in an industry where stress is relatively high and burn out of the workforce can be particularly dangerous.

Other industries, such as the plumbing and construction industries (54%) and the healthcare and education industries (45%) complete the list of the top five industries most highly recorded as failing to address work-related stress.

How you can save money on your upcoming copy of The 18th Edition

Electrical contractors looking to purchase the new 18th Edition early will now be rewarded for pre-ordering their copy. Any electrical contractors who order their copy before its early July release will make a saving on their purchase. The new electrical installation guidelines are predicted to retailed at £95 , however those that pre-order their copy of the book early will get a 10% discount, this costing £85.50. If contractors were to purchase the book as part of a larger package then further discounts could be received.

The NICEIC and ELECSA’s Technical Development Manager Darren Staniforth mentioned how “once it launches contractors will have a six month period to get up to speed with the changes,”

“From January 1 2019, it will then be a requirement that all electrical installations designed after this date comply with BS 7671:2018, 18th Edition (2018). Everyone involved in the electrical industry will need to be able to demonstrate a level of understanding and awareness of the changes. Therefore, many contractors will be keen to get a copy of the blue book as soon as it becomes available. By pre-ordering a copy now, they can ensure they get a copy as soon it comes out and have the maximum amount of time to make any necessary changes to the way they work. They can also make some great savings in the process.”

Electrical experts to look at problem of indoor air quality


The World Health Organisation has stated that air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to human health. The government subsequently committed to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2050. However, this commitment overlooks the danger of air pollution within our homes and buildings, and supplier ElectricalDirect says electrical professionals can help to tackle this problem.

The quality of indoor environments has been a concern for some time, and it is thought that the air in some buildings may be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. In February, the journal Science published a study which showed a number of substances commonly found inside buildings which emit volatile organic compound (VOCs) which are potentially dangerous. They are found in paints, printing inks, cleaning products and other building materials. Another study by BEAMA has shown previously that only 9% of British homes contained a ‘normal’ level of these compounds inside. Other former studies have shown have shown that indoor air can contain over 900 chemicals and bacteria that can impact our health.

To reduce the risk to the British public, who spend around 90% of the time inside, ElectricalDirect recommend that electrical professionals advise customers on ventilation products that can be used in the home and workplace. They have highlighted products such as the Xpelair Axial Extractor Fan as a good way of combatting poor inside air quality in all types of buildings.

Mental health symptoms that should not be ignored

We previously touched on mental health in the office a while ago, referencing the work that London mayor, Sadiq Khan had done specifically focusing on London and trying to provoke conversation, promoting the topic of depression within the office with an aim of making it a much less taboo subject. What we didn’t discuss was the mental health in detail, notably the symptoms and how they shouldn’t be ignored.

The fact is there are plenty of symptoms that come with mental health and a lot of those symptoms will be noticeable at the beginning stage that a mental health issue is developing. The problem we then face as humans is how we identify these symptoms. There is however, a method and definitive signs to look out for.

There are a few general aspects of life that if you notice negative changes in, will indicate a problem, these are:





These aspects of life can be heavily affected by a number of issues, from fluctuations in stress, hormones, physical health, illness and trauma. Even genes can play a part with genetic predispositions influencing mental health. These problems will often affect an individual’s behaviour and ability to function in their usual healthy manner.

Look for extremes in a person’s behaviour, this could be extremely high energy or extremely low energy, eating lots or eating very little, over-sleeping or staying up all night. Look for the quick shifts in behaviour, if someone is going from lots of sleep to very little in a very short space of time this could indicate issues are there. If you feel yourself or another person is acting completely different to usual behaviour, this is a sign. If you are not able to function as you would normally, if aspects of your social life are affected whether it be school, work, or relationships, this is potential sign. If your close friends or family members reach out to you expressing concern for your wellbeing this is arguably the biggest tell-tale sign that a noticeable change in mental health is occurring.

Continued fire safety warnings for home electrical items


A fire safety warning has been issued in the North-East of England, after a survey revealed that three in ten people continue to use electrical appliances in their homes even after they have been recalled and are known to be potentially dangerous. Residents have been urged to register their appliances online to monitor their safety, after figures released by Electrical Safety First showed that 13 fires a day were caused by faulty electric devices in the home. In the region last year, there were over 200 fires caused by electrical items.

Craig Farrage, community safety manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We would always advise safe and sensible use of all appliances. We recommend everyone to register their appliances to stay up to date with safety issues and recalls.”

When an appliance is registered, it means that manufacturers can easily contact consumers if the product is found to be faulty or dangerous in some way. Saying this, 50 per cent of residents in the North-East admitted to not registering their electrical devices online.

Mr Farrage added: “Electricity is a major cause of fire in the home accountable for 216 operational incidents in the last 12 months alone. Never overload sockets, always unplug appliances when not in use, never use appliances which have damaged leads or plugs and ensure electrical heaters are kept in a safe place when in use.”

Government launches fund to help tackle gender pay gap


Last Monday, the Minister for Women and Equalities Amber Rudd announced that the government would launch a £1.5 million fund to support people returning to work in the private sector after time out caring. The fund will offer grants to projects, which could help those returning to work to update their skills, provide other training, or increase employment opportunities for returners. The fund will mainly focus on projects that support small and medium-sized companies, usually outside of London, and that help returners at all skill levels. This fund comes under the governments wider plans to tackle the gender pay gap, especially considering that far more workers who will take time out for caring purposes are women.

Rudd commented; “It is truly striking that nearly 90 per cent of people out of paid work because they are caring for the home or family are women.

“Too often people struggle to get back into paid work after taking time out to care for others. That is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and to businesses all over the country.”

A toolkit and guidance have been set up to support these companies hoping to employ returners. These give the necessary advice and practices, along with an explanation of the business benefits of employing returners. All this is part of a commitment made in the 2017 Spring Budget, when the prime minister pledged £5 million to help workers returning to employment after a career break. These efforts mirror such schemes already in use in many public sector professions, hoping to help all workers, but especially women in the ability to return to the labour market after a time out.

Canadian firm pull out of deal to acquire large portfolio of Carillion contracts

A large Canadian facility management company, BGIS (Brookes Global Integrated Solutions), announced earlier in the week that they would be pulling out of an agreement they had entered with Carillion in which they would be taking over a significant amount of UK contracts in which Carillion previously had. BGIS announced that the firm would no longer be proceeding with the deal that was originally in place, explaining how “certain closing conditions had not been met”.

The chief executive of the company, Gordon Hicks, explained how: “While we are disappointed at this outcome, we are continuing to pursue opportunities to grow our global business in the UK and welcome continued dialogue with prospective customers as we build out our platform for future growth opportunities.”

A spokesperson for the Official Receiver, described the agreement with BGIS as “conditional on ongoing support from customers for continued provision, but this could not be secured”.

The failed deal now means a further 2,500 jobs are at risk.


Apprentice Gemma Scarlett defying the odds in the electrical industry


Yesterday’s article highlighted the extent to which women are underrepresented in the electrical industry, and the importance of helping to increase the proportion of female workers in this sector. It therefore seems suitable today to focus on an individual who is setting an example for young women as to how this issue can be resolved. Gemma Scarlett from Dagenham is unfazed by the fact that only one in every thousand electrical contractors in the UK is female, and is hoping to make her mark in the electrical industry.

The 22-year-old apprentice electrician studies one day a week at Barking and Dagenham College and spends the other four days on the job, working as an integral part of the mechanical and electrical team for The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. She is keen to spread her message and encourage other young women considering a similar career to not be deterred from the industry.

Gemma had this to say about her place in the industry; “Being an electrician for me was an excellent career choice; I am naturally very practical and no two days are the same. Being an electrician is a very useful trade to have and there is a variety of work that I do daily which makes the job interesting. I am currently working in domestic properties on door entry systems as well as re-wiring vacant and occupied properties for the council.

“I am very optimistic about the future, as long as I keep putting in the hard work. I am currently three years into a four-year Apprenticeship with my final exam being late next year. I want to be really good at my job as an electrician and in the future, I hope to be a manager running my own business. I would like to say thank you to Barking and Dagenham College and my current employer London Borough of Barking and Dagenham do all their support throughout my Apprenticeship.”

NICEIC launch women’s bursary scheme to celebrate IWD 2018


In celebration of International Women’s Day, NICEIC has announced that it will set up an industry scheme to help female workers in the electrical industry. NICEIC has long been a supporter of women in the electrical sector, and this is not the first scheme they have introduced attempting to increase the female workforce within the industry. They are now progressing through this initiative, offering grants to women already working in the electrical industry or those that are looking to start a career. The scheme is open to women of all ages, offering financial help to cover training or other associated costs up to a maximum of £500.

Emma Clancy, the CEO of NICEIC, commented: “Through our Jobs for the Girls campaign NICEIC has been at the forefront of promoting opportunities for women. We have helped bring the issue to national attention and are now seeing more women look to take up a career as an electrician.

“However, getting started in the industry is still proving difficult for many women. Through this bursary scheme we want to take the next step and help those directly involved.”

The Jobs for the Girls campaign was launched by NICEIC in 2011, and since then there has been a noticeable shift in general attitudes towards women in the industry. Sexist and misogynistic behaviour which used to be rife throughout the electrical sector has weakened, and many firms now strongly encourage the progress of female workers. As it stands however, women still make up a mere 2 per cent of the entire electrical industry in this country, highlighting the need for further initiatives.

Emma added: “Over the last seven years we have seen a marked increase in the number of women come to us looking for help and assistance. Colleges and employers have also been in touch to see how they can attract more female candidates.

“Where possible we have provided access to training, technical information and opportunities with our registered contractors. But, it has not always been possible to assist those who just need a helping hand along the way.

“Through this bursary we will be able to offer practical and financial support and hopefully create a smoother route into the industry.”

UK’s biggest electricity distributor launches Be Bright Stay Safe campaign


UK Power Networks, the country’s largest electricity distributor, has recently launched its Be Bright Stay Safe campaign, hoping to improve electrical safety throughout industries across the board. The company has huge scope, being responsible for providing electricity to eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England. This campaign sets out safety advice for trade industries across the country to take notice of, aiming to reduce the number of electrical network incidents that take place every year in the UK.

The main objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Raise awareness of the risks of the distribution network
  • Increase understanding of how to work more safely around the network
  • Motivate people who have or will come into contact with the distribution board to get used to safety measures

The main audience that UK Power Networks hopes to reach are those who are most at risk from coming into contact with service cables entering properties, from overhead or underground and buried mains cables; so mainly professional trades and construction workers. The group are urging industry workers to join the campaign, and send their own safety moments #bebrightstaysafe.