Monthly Archives: April 2022

Health & Safety in the Workplace: Construction

The number of accidents at work within the construction industry is often higher than in other industries. Frankly, it is not hard to see why the threat to your safety is clear between the hazardous environment and risks. That being said, there are a few things that you can do, especially if you are in a management position, to ensure your own health and safety and that of those around you. Keep reading to find out more.

Become a Role Model

First things first, you should always lead by example if you want to encourage others to take their health and safety seriously when working on a building site. Always use the best tool in order to reduce your risk of injury and encourage others to do the same. As a worker, you might be asking yourself, ‘Do I need a construction phase plan?’ and the answer is every job site needs one, but unless you are in a management position, it is not your responsibility to create it. However, they are a great resource when it comes to keeping yourself and others safe.

Increase Awareness

One of the best things that you can do for your health and safety and others is to increase awareness of the risks. Everyone needs to be aware of the potential dangers they face on-site to avoid them. Risk assessments can come in handy here, as can regular training refreshers too. Practising good spatial awareness can also help to ensure that you are aware of what is going on around you and, therefore, less likely to stumble into any hazards.

Wear the Right Safety Gear

The next thing that you need to consider when trying to protect your own health and safety on a building site is whether or not you are wearing the right protective gear. A number of hazards on a building site can be mitigated with the right safety wear. For example, falling debris could be fatal, hence the use of hard hats. Dropping heavy things could lead to broken bones in your feet which is where steel toe capped boots come in. If the other workers can’t see you, then there are more likely to be accidents, which is why you should always wear a hi-vis. Consider your job on the site and what pieces of gear you should be wearing.

Follow Procedures

The management team on your site will have put together health and safety procedures for your well-being and the well-being of everyone on the site. Make sure that you have been trained on these procedures and that you understand the importance of them and when they apply. Then, take them on board because they can affect not only you but everybody else on site too.


All businesses are legally obliged to protect the health and safety of their employees. However, the nature of the construction industry does mean that there are perhaps more hazards to look out for. This is why educating yourself on the hazards and risks on the worksite is important. Be sure to take steps to protect yourself.

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  • April 25, 2022

When is a Tee not a tee?

In a world where you can be cancelled for your views, where we seem to be more polarised than ever before, the slogan Tee seems to be a way of speaking up without speaking out. Or is it?

I will never forget watching the Tuscan Grand prix in 2020 and questioning “What does it say on Lewis’s Tee?”

One of the greatest racing drivers of all time, Lewis Hamilton wore a T shirt that clearly read “ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR” and on the back it showed her face and said, “Say her name”. Instantly millions like me, searched out who was Breonna Taylor?

Formula 1 react to Lewis Hamilton's Breonna Taylor T-shirt message with new  set of rules - Eurosport
Lewis Hamilton, 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix.

Now her, like others have become a name synonymous with wanting justice in a developed country that still makes these awful mistakes that cost lives and leave millions in fear for their own safety.

Would a middle-class white woman like myself know about Breonna without Lewis speaking up for her?

I doubt it, and I aim to be worldly and get my knowledge from many sources, but I think this may have passed me by since it had already been 6 months and nothing had happened to the 3 police officers in question in this case.

Lewis Hamilton instantly received a back lash and the official body for Formula one racing said at the time that while they wouldn’t punish his behaviour (You know, wearing a t shirt), they would have stricter guidelines.

In the workplace wearing a tee that shows your views can be a great way of reminding people about our changing mindsets and attitudes – and ever increasing need to appreciate, honour and learn about other people, but it could just as easily get you into trouble if it is deemed offensive or not in keeping with the companies culture and brand.

But what if you want to speak up but aren’t sure how?

I am someone who will speak up for those that are fearful to do so. I wrote a book about the 12 biggest fears that impact on success and to this day the biggest is still our fear of what other people will think of us and how that will reflect on us and our results in life. (This then impacts on our actions and thus our results in our personal and professional life, thus deal with what you think, and you change the quality of your actions and thus your results – cool right?)

Ask yourself how you feel about wearing a tee like the awesome creations from The Spark Company?

  • Do they inspire you and connect you to an idealism?
  • Or do you love them but think “I couldn’t wear that!”
Check out the range here

If people are fearful of posting their own views on social media, it can take a lot of strength to speak up and say “Hey this is me” even if it’s just in a Tee.

Your view on the humble tee could tell you a lot about yourself and how you see yourself in the world.

I’ve helped lots of people over the years accept and fall in love with who they are. Coming out to family (if they want to) and honouring what matters to them. I asked some of these wonderful people how they felt about the slogan tee and heard “Now I’d wear that with bells on (not sure the bells come with the tee!) but ask me to speak up in my clothing choices before I came out and I’m not sure I’d have had the confidence.”

I love the idea that fashion can display our confidence levels. When you have internal confidence, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or think because you are strong and true to who you are and accept not everyone will like that.

I’ve spent over 18 years teaching people how to honour who they really are, boost their confidence and speak up for what matters to them.*

With over 7 billion people on this planet, to assume every social media user will agree with you is ridiculous, but it doesn’t stop people from curtailing their views.

This is not about disrespecting others’ views, but it is about learning to see and respect who others are. So, I say “Bring on the Tee!” because learning to love honour and respect yourself is one thing. Learning to see others the way they want to be seen even if it doesn’t match what you believe, is a truly beautiful thing.

Now that Tee really is something amazing!

And if you struggle to honour other people, get in touch and I can share some amazing ideas from psychology, philosophy and coaching that can mean people with very different opinions on anything can work together beautifully.

A difference of opinion is an opportunity to learn…. can I get that on a Tee?

*My books, courses and coaching are powerful fast ways to gain real confidence that is not damaged by a bad day or a rude comment. Learn more here – Courses here and books here

Author: Mandie Holgate, Founder of The Business Womans Network is a global speaker, author and coach winning awards around the world supporting small business, women in business, resilience and happiness in the work place. Her books are highly acclaimed and featured as Top 10 Books for business and success. To learn more, connect and chat on social media (as Mandie likes to do with everyone she meets – yes she is that social!) click here.

  • April 21, 2022

Going viral – and getting a book deal

Savvy business owners don’t just look after themselves, they donate to charity, ask third sector organisations how they can help, think of the business owners around them and want to genuinely make our communities and society better. I know that may seem a bit of a tall Super human hero attitude, but whenever I speak to business owners, they genuinely want to make a difference.

Alas many overthink sales and marketing and end up doing way too much because they’ve not sussed what really matters. Here in 2022 we need to bring the good stuff to people who are really struggling with this big weird world we find ourselves in – so sparkly, life is perfect marketing is not what we want. We want people that are transparent and honest. Fun and bold. Real and ready to listen.

Imagine my surprise when I end up on eBay and spend over 30 minutes reading one description of an ancient old caravan! Back in those days (last Saturday) the bids for that caravan were up to £830. This is a 1980’s caravan that to be polite has seen better days. How is it worth £830…..well actually as of 5am on the 12th of April it has bids to the tune of £2100!


Image 3 - 1980 Ci Europa 4 Berth caravan

I’m not a slow reader (well Mrs Grimstone didn’t think I’d get anywhere with my English – ha 2 best selling books so what did my 80’s English teacher know!) but I’ve been spell bound by @CaravanMan80 writings and updates. (Yes the poor man “who doesn’t do social media” has caved and got a Twitter handle.

  • I’ve worried about his knees after his escapades in freeing a fancy beer glass from his local drinking establishment.
  • I’ve worried if his Mum did actually manage to get the right pictures off of her iPad.
  • I’d really like his hero James Acaster to see his amazing viral story, will it happen I’ve questioned?

I’ve laughed until I may cry at some of the updates because his family sounds as normal as mine – I too have a sister that will get rid of anything that doesn’t fit this seasons style only to be wanting it back in 5 years because “Oh that looks far nice than I’d imagined!”

He also has been honest about his own mental health fun and games and handles trolls and unkindness with brilliance and wit, the man is a born writing comedic genius – but what do I know, I write non fiction about the mind!

But what’s the point of this mans updates that can be a few words long or answering the most pointless question? (And as business owners, we’ve all at some stage thought “Er, didn’t you just read my website to get my telephone number and next to that said telephone number is the answer to the question you are now asking me?” )

The point is that after sadly losing his Dad, he has been a dutiful son (well to be fair, I think he just wants a quiet life with his tortoise but his siblings aren’t likely to let that happen until his has got rid of the caravan) and agreed to help his Mum get the caravan off of the drive. All those memories. The holidays. Sat there.

He had aimed to “raise a few quid” for British Heart Foundation. That’s when I was really hooked!

People struggle to think innovatively in business and often the most innovative answers are when you are honest, transparent and just your true self. CaravanMan80 may just want to raise a few quid, but at £2100, he has not only done that, he has got a lot of people popping over to BHF to leave a little donation too! And that is monumental!

BHF aim is to “Fund around £100 million of research each year into all heart and circulatory diseases and the things that cause them. Heart diseases. Stroke. Vascular dementia. Diabetes. They’re all connected, and they’re all under our microscope” and their vision “Is a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. A world without heartbreak.”

Fear and heart failure is something I know all too well. I can not tell you and hope you never experience the moment when a cardiac doctor tells you that your 47 year old husband is “Not a candidate for surgery and the situation is rather hopeless.” I refused to believe that and found Harefield Hospital and Mr Bhudia, as his secretary Chrissie (Yes we became on first name pet name terms!) said “Mrs Holgate, when everyone else says there is nothing that can be done, that’s when Mr Bhuddhia is there”. That wasn’t some Super hero tag line, Chrissie was spot on and after some very complicated open heart surgery and some state of the art “can only be done by 5 doctors in the world” scary AF days where he wasn’t bothering to breathe or restart his own heart, he has a normal functioning heart! That’s the miracle of BHF work right there!

That is what Caravanman 80 is really doing. Raising awareness that Dad’s die in arm chairs because people don’t know the signs of heart failure (Yes Caravanman80, that was 1 of the moments I cried, because I was checking to see if my husband was breathing for over a year.) That when you are open and real, you can make a difference in the world. Not some tagline from a super hero movie, real life.

Caravanman80 has to write a book. Has to have his own blog – I’d be his Number one fan – can we get T-shirts printed?

He’s likely to be dragged out of his quiet life with his tortoise into writing amazing works that make us feel connected, make us laugh and raise some money for British Heart Foundation who save lives like my husband. He may want to keep some of those royalties, he has plans for a holiday or a super yacht.

The bidding closes in less than 4 hours. I’m supposed to be up early off to celebrate my sons 21st birthday. It can wait until after 9.03:52 BST right?

If you’ve got £5 laying around, we know how hard things are for millions right now, so don’t feel any guilt if you can’t, just share Caravanman80’s tweets or this blog and enjoy your day.

Thanks for reading and Caravanman80 when the book comes out can we promote that for you too?

Here’s a pic of Caravanman80’s Dad (just because)…(I’m not sharing GILF of his Mum, just no. Go to the orignal eBay post for that here.)

Image 8 - 1980 Ci Europa 4 Berth caravan

And here is what it is all about. When my husband was out of ICU his surgeon took the time to tell me everything they’d done to save his life. To take his heart from 15% to 55% (which is classed as healthy – few have a 100% heart function.) That’s the work of BHF so give them a shout out using this link – and if you do something big or small for charity, thank you.

  • April 12, 2022

The true cost of cheap supermarkets

Insider and BWN Business owner Paul Boorman, is a top masterchef of Great Britain, a highly successful award winning Executive Chef with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry and an interactive member of our matermind group. We all have expertise over on the INsiders and as business owners we are all happy to support one another.

Here Paul outlines some very unsavoury facts about your local cost saving super market. If you are eating, you may wish to stop!

If you are a business owner, you may wish to share this post and shout about what Paul has to say.

Supermarkets, not very super… 

So let me be very clear about this. I do not think that the pandemic of Covid 19 was an intentional act to bring about some kind of new world order but I do know that Tesco made £1k million more in 2020 and £4k million more in 2021 than in 2019.   

Let me pose a few situations that I can’t quite get my head round.  

During Covid lockdown times a pub was not allowed to sell alcohol either on premises or to takeaway. Millions of pints of beer and other drinks were poured away with no recompense from the Covid Support packages. With all Covid precautions in place it was perfectly feasible for a pub to sell cans, bottles, and containers of the nation’s favourite tipples outside with social distancing and contactless payment all observed, but this was not allowed.

The bastions of social gathering and lubrication with a history older than the USA were held out to dry, whilst supermarkets whose often used tactic of selling beer cheaper than its cost price was allowed to have several hundred people inside at the same time all clamouring for toilet rolls and bottles of wine.

Pubs were allowed to sell food, but not alcohol… To suggest that there might have been some closed-door discussion about the Big Business guys taking advantage of their connections to ensure that they had a monopoly on supplying the dramatic increase in consumption of the countries favourite legal drug would be pure speculation.  

Pubs weren’t even allowed to deliver alcohol but one of my strongest memories of driving on the eerily deserted roads during Lockdown 1 was the number of supermarket delivery vans out and about. As I said, I don’t believe that the pandemic was intentional but Big Business certainly took advantage of training the population to have everything delivered to their door, to the exclusion of small independent traders who just couldn’t compete. ‘But they can always use Deliveroo, Just Eat and the like’ I hear you cry (not really but I’ve always wanted to write that line).

Which brings up another concerning fact. When you watch the adverts for Just Eat they only mention the Big Business brands such as GREGGS, MacDonalds etc, never that you can get your local Joe’s Burgers, or Blackcurrant Bakery sausage rolls. Unremarkable you may think in and of itself, but it falls in a different shade when you compare the fee percentages that Big Business pay to use the platform compared to small independents.

The like of KFC, MaccyD’s etc will pay somewhere in the region of 8-10% perhaps a little more, maybe a little less whilst Joe’s Burgers will pay between 30-35% for the same service.

But is it even the same service? 

Take a look on these apps and see which business are consistently promoted front and centre. Big Business with the highest profit margins paying the least fees whilst the small business are paying crippling fees just to compete. But that’s a level playing field and therefore nothing to complain about, isn’t it?

So Big Business bring more business must surely be the answer to the discrepancy in fees, although I doubt that the amount that small places get charged makes up the difference.  

But supermarkets give us convenience don’t they, and with their ‘price wars’ we get great value for money don’t we. Far cheaper than the little shops who charge far more aren’t they!

Sadly, many people believe this, and we have certainly seen plenty of fish and veg mongers, butchers, hardware stores and corner shops disappear from our declining high streets.  

So what is the true cost of this ‘convenience’?

Well, the easiest answer is quality of the goods we buy, especially fresh food goods.  I recall having a very strange discussion with a very smug supermarket manager last year. I had bought 3 packets of chicken wings late one night on the way home from work. The following evening, I decided to marinate them ready for the BBQ and whilst they were all in date, the packet with the longest date on them had ‘blown’ overnight. This is caused by hydrogen sulphide that is produced by the decaying meat. I foolishly pierced the packing and immediately regretted it. The stench was retch inducing. 

So, I decided to return to branch of this supermarket which is actually one of their flagship stores. Eventually the manager agreed to meet me as I refused to leave and told everyone why I was there. To cut a long story short I spent 10 minutes listening to the most incredible claims by the very smug manager. According to him not only was he not going to inform anyone (Environmental Health Officers was my suggestion) about this issue, but he also informed me that supermarkets are allowed by agreement with the government to sell an ‘acceptable’ amount of food not fit for human consumption!

I will say that again. Supermarkets are allowed to sell food unfit for human consumption.

Paul Boorman

When I commented that people could get ill, he told me that people overcook food anyway so it would be fine. All he had to do was offer to buy the food back. He then pointed to the fish section saying that none of the fish was fresher than 3 months old and he certainly wouldn’t buy any of his own fruit and veg! The fruit and veg is stored in massive warehouses kept at the exact sub-zero temperature that preserves the product without actually freezing it.

Ever wondered why the fruit and veg goes off so quickly when you get it home? That is 3 months of decay catching up literally overnight.  

What is the true price of your weekly shop at the supermarket then?

Is it as cheap as the till receipt says? Well, factor in the amount of fruit and veg you throw away and the true cost starts to increase. Check the added ingredients in your pork shoulder roasting joint, ‘added water’? That’s going to change the price per kilo price isn’t it. You only want 2 chicken breasts, but they come in packs of 4?  

It is useful to remember that a large corporation has a different time scale perspective as well. Small businesses are normally owned by one or two people and so have a time view of a few years at a time. Certainly not beyond retirement age of those concerned. Big corporations are run by a board or similar and have timescales of decades. They can be patient, slowly squeezing the little businesses out with their pricing and ‘convenience’.

However, truly the saddest part of all this is the unseen cost to the local area. Profits and taxes from Big Business go out of the area. The profits go to head office and get spent by those in control on yet another holiday in the Maldives, maybe not entirely accurate but you get the idea.

The ratio of taxes they pay is miniscule per pound taken compared to the taxes paid by small business per pound. The local rates are often heavily subsidised by the council just to have the privilege of yet another chain coffee shop, whilst small business gets clobbered to make up the shortfall.

But think of all those local jobs! Not really..If the small coffee shop was busier they would need more staff, as would that local butcher or veg shop. When was the last time you saw an independent Off License? The jobs are created where ever you shop. Let that sink in.

The very saddest part is that the owner of that small shop that you choose not to shop in lives in your neighbourhood, their kids go to the same school as yours do, they pay council tax, local rates, shop locally keeping their hard earned money in the very local economy. They even raise money for local charities! But only for so long as they can keep their business open, and for that they need customers….”

A powerful article on the true cost of cheap and it’s damage to our towns and cities. Every consumer can make a difference. As we see more high profile people get away without paying fairly their taxes, remember SMEs account for three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. Total employment in SMEs was 16.3 million (61% of the total), whilst turnover was estimated at £2.3 trillion (52%).

Time to rethink your shopping habits?
If you buy local and talk about it on Instagram great tags to use are #supportlocaluk #smallbusinessuk #supportsmallbusinessuk and don’t forget to tag us – @

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  • April 11, 2022