Basic Operating Skills Test for Pallet & Stacker Trucks

The Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA) has released its newly developed Basic Operating Skills Test for Rider & Pedestrian Operated Pallet/Stacker Trucks (‘A’ category trucks).

The new testing standards cover the following ABA truck categories: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6 and A7.

You can use the new test straight away if you wish, but is mandatory from 1st December 2019.

We strongly encourage you to read the new test in detail to ensure you are aware of the changes ahead of 1st December 2019.

As part of the new development, the ABA has removed category A8 and created a new category – D3. As a result, the ABA has released an update to the ABA Workplace Transport Groupings, which you can download here.

If you deliver training and testing on a D3 category truck, this will be covered by our LTG2 Reach Truck Trainers Guide.

In light of the above category change, we have also updated out RTITB Trainers Guides and ABA Equivalent Codes list.

How to avoid being a victim of road rage

Road rage is a common problem on UK roads. A recent poll of 3,000 people found that nearly one in five road users are threatened with physical violence each year.

In a separate study, 22 percent of motorists claimed to have got out of their car to argue with another driver in a road rage incident.

Dangerous overtaking is said to be the main trigger for road rage, prompting 28 percent of drivers to engage in an argument with a fellow motorist. Tailgating, using a mobile phone at the wheel and breaking the speed limit were the other sparks of anger named in the study.

Read more: M25 road rage killer released from prison (Sky News)

Ahead of the end of the summer holiday period, road safety and breakdown company GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to spot the signs of road rage. Tens of thousands of motorists will hit the road over the bank holiday weekend, with Highways England removing roadworks to relieve stress.

“Most of us will have some experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s aggression,” said Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM.

“Thankfully, violent and unprovoked attacks are rare, but it pays to be observant and if possible to recognise signs of trouble at their earliest stages.

GEM has identified a few steps that it says will reduce the risk of a driver being the target of someone else’s aggression. These are:

  • Keep calm and show restraint: every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict, so be patient and avoid using your horn. Hand gestures should be avoided, too.
  • Avoid the desire to ‘get even’: don’t attempt to educate or rebuke a driver who you believe is in the wrong.
  • Don’t push into traffic queues: wait for a signal from a fellow motorist.
  • Say thank you, say sorry: if you make a mistake, offer an apology to defuse any anger.
  • Move away from trouble: if you feel threatened, lock the doors and drive to the nearest police station. Alternatively, move to a busy area, such as a petrol station. Contact the police and/or press the horn repeatedly to deter an attacker.
  • Neil Worth added: “We encourage drivers to leave plenty of time for their journeys, which means they can feel calm and in control at the wheel. Stress can lead to risk taking, and this in turn increases the likelihood of aggressive incidents.

“We also urge drivers to avoid becoming involved in situations they recognise as dangerous or risky. If you’re worried about another driver who may be in danger, then stop and call the police.”

Olympic gold medal winning cyclist and jockey Victoria Pendleton has backed a campaign aimed at encouraging a constructive debate on ‘road equality.” She said everyone has “an equal right to be on the road”.

“So let’s be more compassionate and considerate to others and see what change we can drive.”

USA Road Rage Study May Help You Drive Safer

Road rage has become a way of life, both on and off the track. And more and more, in cities across America, people are acting out their frustrations on our roadways with dangerous results. It’s bad for professional and everyday drivers alike.In a new study sponsored by the Affinion Group and its AutoVantage automobile membership club, drivers from 20 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. were surveyed to learn more about consumer views on road rage.”This new study focuses on important attitudes and habits of drivers on the open road nationwide,” said Brad Eggleston, vice president of AutoVantage. “This groundbreaking research is an important tool to help educate and influence safer driving habits throughout the United States.”The study showed the cities with the worst road rage were Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Boston. Most courteous cities were Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle and Atlanta.When asked the major causes of road rage in the survey, the most frequent theme was people being in a hurry, running late, being impatient and/or speeding, with stress, frustration and bad moods also contributing.Behaviors by other drivers that cause stress for commuters, and that can lead to road rage, include driving too fast (57 percent observe this happening every day), tailgating (50 percent see this every day) and cutting over without notice (44 percent see this every day).Commuters reported that other drivers frequently talk on their cell phones (98 percent observe this at least once a week), run red lights (59 percent observe this at least once a week) and slam on the brakes (54 percent see this happening at least once a week).As a reaction to rude or bad driving by others, people surveyed reported that they honked their horn at the offending driver (40 percent), cursed at the other driver (32 percent), waved their fist or arms (9 percent), made an obscene gesture (8 percent) or called the police to report the driver (5 percent).Overall, 30 percent said they see drivers doing other things like putting on makeup, shaving or reading while driving. Los Angeles (43 percent) emerged as the city where this is most likely to be seen, while Seattle (18 percent) emerged as the place where this behavior is least likely.The most courteous cities within the USA are Minneapolis, Nashville and St. Louis. Least courteous: Miami, Phoenix and New York.

Roadway rage is getting worse, says RAC study

Roadside rage is getting worse, says RAC annual report discloses road rage is a loosing concern, with some motorists detailing it as their leading worry behind the wheel.

Generally, road rage was up from 28 percent a year ago. But the number who called it their biggest concern has actually soared from 4 percent to 8 percent. That puts it 4th in the leading 20 for 2019.

One in three said they would certainly observed physical run-ins in between vehicle drivers over the past year. As well as the majority stated they have  seen road  side abuse.Just as, 60 percent of chauffeurs stated they were seeing more road rage these days than a year earlier. and three-quarters believe that the public  have actually come to be much less patient.Why are British drivers getting angrier?The RAC reckons stressful modern-day lives as well as raising road traffic are fueling this enhanced stress.”All the anxieties associated with the behavior of various other drivers on the road have never featured as highly in our research study as leading motoring worries as they have this year,” stated Simon Williams, RAC roadway safety, and security agent.

“One of the most likely description must definitely be a mix of variables, including the stress of modern-day life, dependence on the car for many trips and increase traffic, and congestion was leading to never before seen frustration at the wheel.

“Perhaps it is also the case that our tolerance of other people who make mistakes while driving is falling. A quick ‘sorry’ in the form of an apologetic wave could go a long way to taking the heat out of a situation, but unfortunately all too often it is a hand gesture of another sort that leads to an unpleasant car confrontation.”

Other motoring concerns

So, road rage came 4th overall.

What was judged even worse?Drivers using cell phones, the expense of petroleum and the problem and maintenance of regional roads all scored more than 30 percent on respondents’ lists of problems. 

Fret about the expense of fuel have likewise increased over the previous 12 months

Learner drivers are also harassed on the roads

Up and down the country, learner drivers are having to deal with road rage aimed at them when they’re on the roads. 

Whether it’s in driving lessons or private practice, as soon as those L-plates hit the car, many fully qualified road users take this as a sign to hurl abuse at the learners. 

From tailgating to dangerously overtaking, we recently conducted a survey of 610 Driving Instructors*, to see how bad the issue really is.

Abuse learners are experiencing

  • 77% of UK driving instructors have said they regularly experience abuse and intimidation from other road users when teaching students
  • 31% experience it on a daily basis!
  • 91% of learners have been subjected to overtaking
  • 90% witness tailgating
  • Two thirds (66%) of learners have been subject to abusive hand gestures
  • Half (49%) have experienced verbal abuse on the roads

These shocking and worrying statistics are leading to learner drivers to lose their confidence and make mistakes out on the road, which can lead to potentially fatal consequences.

How’s it affecting learners

Driving Instructors have reported that:

  • 85% of learners who are trying to deal with this abuse become more nervous and start making more mistakes.
  • Almost a quarter (22%) of UK learners have cried as a result
  • A third have had to pull over to compose themselves
  • 8% have become too scared to carry on learning to drive entirely.
  • 1.5% have been involved in an accident as a result

It’s easy to forget that at one point, everyone was a learner driver. No one jumps behind the wheel and is instantly Lewis Hamilton, so why are drivers not giving learners the time and space they need to become confident drivers to pass their test? Here at Marmalade, we want to encourage learner drivers to become confident and skilled behind the wheel, so we’re taking a stance against this abuse that you all too often face.

Is it because of how they drive?

Some of you may be thinking that learner drivers are treated this way because of their driving ability. We can all get a little frustrated from time to time – so perhaps that’s where the abuse is coming from?

Wrong. Almost all of the driving instructors we surveyed (93%) claimed they were treated differently when they had L-Plates on the car, despite them being fully qualified drivers, and there being no change in their driving ability to when they drive without an L-Plate, where they don’t get abused.

It seems that drivers are seeing L-Plates, assuming the person behind the wheel is incapable of driving and reacting in dangerous ways around them – which needs to stop! Learner drivers need more time, space and patience from other road users when they’re learning.

They’re more likely to make mistakes, but we need to give them the opportunity to learn from these, not add additional pressures. We’ve all in the situation when you stall one too many times at a junction – it’s all a part of learning! We need to give them time and let them try again, not hurl abuse their way.

So what are we going to do about it?

We want there to be consequences for this kind of behaviour, so we’ve launched a petition to call on the government to impose penalties on road users who act dangerously towards learners. If you would like to sign this petition, you can do so here:

Using hands-free mobile phones while driving could be banned under new plans

Drivers could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones under plans outlined by MPs today.

Stiffer penalties, more enforcement by police and better education are needed to tackle motorists using devices behind the wheel, according to the Commons Transport Committee.

The Government should act to prevent the “entirely avoidable” tragedy of deaths and serious injuries from crashes caused by irresponsible drivers on the phone, it says in a 25-page report published today.

The study calls on ministers to launch a public consultation on banning hands-free calls in cars.  “The law currently only proscribes using a hand-held mobile phone or other device while driving,” says the report.

“A hands-free device can be used lawfully, creating the misleading impression that hands-free use is safe.

“The evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of a collision as using a hand-held device, and it is therefore inappropriate for the law to condone it by omission.”

The committee recommends the “Government explore options for extending the ban on driving while using a hand-held mobile phone or other device to hands-free devices”.

Calling for a public consultation before the end of the year, it adds: “This should consider the evidence of the risks involved, the consequences of a ban, and the practicalities of enforcing it.”

Some critics of a fresh crackdown say hands-free calls or no different from talking with passengers.

But road safety campaigners backed demands for ministers to consider banning such calls behind the wheel.

Brake’s director of campaigns Joshua Harris said: “The Government must clarify the law on using hand-held mobile devices while driving and close loopholes which treat sending or receiving data differently.

“The current law also provides a dangerous false impression that it is safe to use a mobile phone with a hands-free kit – it is not.

“All phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and we need the law to reflect this by banning the use of hands-free devices.

“We echo MPs’ call for the Government to work with the police to boost enforcement and ensure there is a true deterrent to the menace of mobile phone use behind the wheel.”

But motoring organisations were sceptical banning hands-free calls would boost safety.

AA President Edmund King said: “Drivers should avoid making or receiving calls where possible.

“However a short, sharp, voice activated call can be beneficial to road safety.

“For example, a very short call saying that you are going to be late will stop people from speeding or driving in a dangerous manner.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Before outlawing hands-free phone use at the wheel we believe the Government should focus all its attention on enforcing the current law which has been in place since 2003 yet is still flouted on a daily basis by thousands of drivers.

“The falling number of roads police officers has clearly not helped the enforcement situation.

“This is why we feel the time has come to look at new technology capable of photographing offenders using their handheld phones while driving.

“If hands-free use were to be banned then it could arguably be even harder to catch drivers in the act than it is now.”

In 2017, there were 773 casualties, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, in crashes where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

The number of people killed or seriously injured has risen steadily since 2011. 

At the same time, the rate of enforcement has plunged by more than two thirds over the past eight years.

The fixed penalties for driving while using a hand-held mobile phone were hiked from three penalty points and a £100 fine to six penalty points and a £200 fine in March 2017.

Committee chairwoman and Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said: “Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones. 

“If mobile phone use while driving is to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving much more effort needs to go into educating drivers about the risks and consequences of using a phone behind the wheel.

“Offenders also need to know there is a credible risk of being caught, and that there are serious consequences for being caught. 

“There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “While mobile phones are a vital part of modern life and business, drivers must always use them safely and responsibly.

“Being distracted by a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk. The law is clear that anyone driving dangerously is committing a criminal offence.”


Healthy Nutrition

Most experts agree that weight loss, maintenance or gain is a matter of caloric balance: that is, your energy needs versus your energy intake.

Your energy needs are calculated from a combination of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and any exercise you do. 

It’s impossible to get exact numbers for your individual calorie burn, which will be different every single day depending on your activity levels, movement, stress levels, metabolic stress, how well you sleep, your waking hours, and even tiny details like how much you fidget, sit or stand. But you can get a decent idea by using a trusted formula like the Mifflin – St Jeor formula.

On the flipside is your caloric intake, which comes from the food and drinks you consume. This is relatively easy to calculate, by using a spreadsheet or app, or keeping a rough tally using a calorie guide or the caloric information on food labels.

Just bear in mind that no numbers are completely accurate, with some food labelling information believed to be over 10% out. The take-home point is that it is impossible to know exactly how many calories your body needs, or how many calories you have ingested.

That’s why it is a good idea to get in tune with your body’s hunger and satiety signals rather than eating by the clock or from a rigid plan.

What Are Macronutrients

Food is made up of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. All foods contain one or more of these. For instance, chicken breast is mostly protein with a small amount of fat. Potatoes are mainly carbohydrate with a minuscule amount of fats and protein.

Oats are mostly carbs, with some fat and a small amount of protein. Each macronutrient carries a caloric load: 1gram of protein is 4 calories, 1gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories, 1gram of fat is 9 calories.

Unless you are designing a specific meal plan to get super-shredded for the bodybuilding stage, or to put on as much weight as possible in a short amount of time, don’t sweat the minutiae.

What’s more important is getting a good balance of macronutrients at every meal, eating enough protein (most people don’t, and protein is essential for almost every function in the body), paying attention to healthy fats (from oily fish in particular), and neither overshooting not failing to meet your caloric needs by too much on a consistent basis.

5 Golden Rules Of A Healthy Day’s Eating

If you only do these 5 things, you’ll be well on your way to eating a healthy diet which will nourish your body and protect your health.

  1. Eat 3-4 times per day, waiting to feel slightly hungry before you eat, and stopping when you’re satisfied but not stuffed.
  2. Get enough protein (at least 25g per meal) and fats (around 15g per meal as a minimum).
  3. If you want to lose weight, eat a little less. If you want to gain weight, eat a little more.
  4. Eat as many vegetables as you can, ideally with a range of different colours represented. Try a new vegetable every week or so.
  5. Plan your meals in advance and cook as many of your own meals as you can, keeping healthy snack options in the house.


Milk and nutrition

Milk and dairy foods are some of the most nutrient-packed foods available to us in our diets today and are as ancient as civilisation itself. In fact, historical evidence suggests that dairy products from animals have been consumed by humans from as early as 4000 BC.

Dairy foods and nutrient richness

Foods that, per calorie, provide plenty of the right nutrients to keep the body fit and functioning properly are said to be nutrient rich.

Many dairy products fall into this category because they contain protein, carbohydrates and fats – the energy providers – as well as essential vitamins and minerals. 

That impressive combination has an important role to play when consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet Calcium, for instance, with which milk is primarily associated, is vital for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, and phosphorus is needed to maintain a normal energy metabolism.

The protein found in dairy foods contains amino acids that help to build and repair body tissues, and vitamin B12 helps to form red blood cells.

How much?

The Food Standards Agency suggests (via its diagram of the ‘Eatwell plate’) that a balanced diet should consist of about a third starchy foods, such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice, and a third fruit and vegetables with the remaining third made up from milk and dairy foods, meat, fish or alternatives and as little as possible fatty and sugary foods.

Even if you don’t keep to these proportions every day but balance them out over a week, you won’t be going far wrong.

Just how much of any nutrient should be taken each day depends mainly on age, gender, general health and lifestyle, so it’s impossible to list a definitive amount of each one that will be right for everybody all the time.

However, Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) referred to on many labels provide a good guide, and the Department of Health’s Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) figures give further general guidance, setting down an amount for each of the main nutrients that covers the needs of most people. 

For a complete list of the RNIs for calcium, please visit the Dairy Council’s website (

The RNI for calcium is 700mg per day for an adult and, following The Dairy Council’s recommended three portions a day regime, this can be made up from a 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk (247mg), I50g pot of low-fat yogurt (243mg) and a 30g piece (matchbox size) of hard cheese (222mg). 

Milk, yogurt and cheese are the most popular dairy foods in the UK, and usually available in whole, low-fat and fat-free varieties.

Milk is suitable for all age groups, from the very young to the very old. Its diverse variety of nutrients and their importance within the body are indicated by the glass-of-milk illustration above. As well as the vitamins and minerals shown, milk contains thiamine, niacin, folate and iodine, plus smaller amounts of several other essential nutrients. 

When substances are described as ‘essential’, it means that the body is unable to manufacture those nutrients for itself, so it’s important to eat food that contains them. One quick and easy way is to drink milk!

Sterilisation is the removal of living micro-organisms, and can be achieved by moist heat, dry heat, filtration, irradiation, or by chemical methods.

Compared to pasteurisation, a heat treatment of over 100°C is applied for a period long enough to lead to a stable product shelf-life.

Varieties of milk

Pasteurised milks

Whole milk: milk with a minimum fat content of 3.5 grams of fat per 100 g of product

Semi-skimmed milk: milk with a fat content between 1.5 and 1.8 grams per 100 g of product

Skimmed milk: milk with a fat content which does not exceed 0.3 grams per 100 g of product

1% milk: milk with a fat content of 1g per 100 g of product

UHT milk: milk which has been heated at such high temperatures that all potentially harmful bacteria are killed. This particular heat-treatment produces longer shelf-life milk compared to conventional milk

Filtered milk: milk which undergoes a filtration process (in addition to the usual steps of milk processing) to remove further souring bacteria, therefore the shelf-life is increased

Flavoured milk: milk which has been sweetened and flavoured (e.g. chocolate and strawberry milk). Many flavoured milks are made from low-fat varieties (semiskimmed or 1%).

As a result of being sweetened they have a higher sugar content but still provide a vast array of beneficial nutrients and are a source of calcium, potassium, vitamin B2 and phosphorus

Raw milk

Raw milk is milk that has not been heat-treated. The nutritional value of raw milk is not significantly different to pasteurised or heat-treated milk but it may contain pathogens which could be harmful to health. 

Sales of raw milk are banned in Scotland and limited in England, Wales and Northern Ireland due to their links with food poisoning.

Lactose Intolerance 

Lactose intolerance is a condition where someone has a reduced ability to digest the sugar found in milk and dairy foods (lactose) due to a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme which breaks down lactose.

Most people who have this condition can tolerate small amounts of lactose so there is no need to avoid dairy completely. Some dairy foods, such as cheese and yogurt, contain only small amounts of lactose.

Cow’s milk protein allergy 

Cow’s milk protein allergy is very different to lactose intolerance. It is a response of the immune system to the protein contained in cow’s milk. This type of allergy is not common but is more prevalent in young children.

However, children usually grow out of the condition and can enjoy dairy foods as adults. Consult a registered dietitian for advice.

Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy are two completely different conditions that require different management

Are hormones or antibiotics added to cow’s milk? 

In the UK hormones are not added to milk or to the diet of dairy cows to enhance their milk production. Natural hormones can be found in a wide range of foods and are present in both plant and animal based foods that we consume.

Milk is rigorously tested for traces of antibiotics under European law to ensure that food is safe for consumption. Cows receiving antibiotics are milked separately from the rest of the herd to ensure that the milk is discarded and does not enter the food supply.

What are the nutritional differences between organic and conventional milk? 

There are no significant differences between organic milk and conventional milk in terms of quality, safety and nutrition. Consumers, however, may choose to purchase organic milk for reasons of personal preference.

The general principles of organic food production involve avoiding pesticides and fertilizers, using crop rotation to maintain soil fertility and using only a limited number of approved products and substances where necessary in the processing of organic food.

Does consuming milk cause heart disease? 

Saturated fats have been associated with increased risk of developing heart disease. Milk and dairy foods make a contribution to saturated fat intake in the UK diet.

Recent health research has suggested that the issues concerning saturated fat are more complex than the simple message of ‘saturated fats are bad’. In fact, the evidence actually suggests a protective effect of milk consumption on risk of developing heart disease.

This may also be due to other beneficial nutrients contained in milk (e.g. calcium).

How milk is made and transported

The first key players in milk production are, of course, the cows. They are milked twice a day and the average UK dairy farm produces 2,000 litres of milk daily!

The milk is then stored in tanks at 4ºC and is transported to the dairy for processing.

Here, the milk is:

1. Pasteurised: the milk is heated up very quickly and cooled down again. This process ensures that harmful bacteria are reduced in number so that 1. they do not constitute a health risk.

2. Separated: the milk is separated into its cream component (rich in fat) and liquid component.

3. Standardised: the cream and liquid component are re-blended so that the milk contains the exact amount of fat required depending on whether it is to be consumed as whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Lower-fat options tend to have less vitamin A and vitamin E than whole milk, but have more minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

4. Homogenised: milk contains fat globules of different sizes. This means that, if left to set, the larger globules would make their way to the top and form a cream layer.

Homogenisation is a process where the milk is pushed through a hole with such pressure that the larger fat globules are broken down and dispersed within the milk.

This gives milk an even, more palatable consistency.

Alternative methods of sterilisation

UHT (Ultra-high temperature sterilisation) has a heat treatment of over 100°C during very short times; it is especially applicable to low viscous liquid products.

Direct UHT treatment means a very short heat treatment at temperature of approximately 140°C (135 -150˚C) for only a few seconds. Generally in a plate or tubular heat-exchanger. This results in a sterilised product with minimal heat damage to the product properties.

UHT treatment is only possible in flow-through equipment. The product is thus sterilised before it is transferred to pre-sterilised containers in a sterile atmosphere. This requires aseptic processing. This is why UHT processing is also called aseptic processing.

For UHT treatment, indirect heating in plate and frame or tubular heat exchangers is applied. However, direct steam injection or steam infusion may also be applied.

Indirect UHT method

In many cases, products must not only be attractive and healthy to eat and drink, but also economical to manufacture, store and distribute.

The most cost-effective method of UHT processing is indirect heating – a heating method in which the processed product never comes into direct contact with the heating medium. There is always a wall in between. This technique applies to all types of heat exchangers.

In the indirect systems the heat is transferred from the heating media to the product through a partition (plate or tubular wall). The indirect systems can be based on:

• Plate heat exchangers

• Tubular heat exchangers

• Scraped surface heat exchangers

Indirect UHT plants are a suitable choice for processing of milk, flavoured milk products, cream, dairy desserts, yogurt drinks and other non-dairy applications, such as juices, nectars and tea.

Indirect UHT plant method is based on plate heat exchangers

This process solution is appropriate for products such as coffee cream and evaporated concentrated milk.

Pulsating electric field – Principle

Pulsed electric field in order to kill micro-organisms has long been known. For some time the application has been expensive compared to other techniques, but the application may be interesting for some products. 

Advantages are that the food product to be treated does not change in chemical and physical properties, hardly increases in temperature, little water and energy is required and far less cleaning (compared to UHT).

How exactly does alcohol affect your health

Previous studies are somewhat confusing, is alcohol safe, because current research states that there are many benefits to drinking alcohol, and others say we should avoid at all costs.

Is it possible to drink alcohol and avoid unnecessary health risks?

The answer is simple: drink in moderation.

Moderate alcohol consumption, otherwise known as low-risk drinking, is defined as having up to one standard drink, 0.6 fluid ounces of 14 grams of pure alcohol per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men, according to Dietary Guidelines.

A standard drink is equivalent to a 12-ounce serving of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Consuming more than three drinks per day for women and more than four drinks per day for men is considered heavy drinking.

A study published by JAMA Psychiatry in 2017 indicated that “high-risk drinking and alcohol abuse disorder among women has increased by almost 60%.

Moderate drinking can play a role in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy heart as it can reduce weight gain and the risk of heart disease.

Choosing wine instead of beer or other high-calorie alcoholic beverages can help with weight loss.

As for your heart health, some studies also show alcohol consumption can increase the production of good cholesterol.

Drinking beyond moderation, even sporadically, is unhealthy.

“There are downsides to alcohol that can do damage that far outweighs any benefit”.

While some benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may exist, you can’t ignore the dark side of drinking alcohol and the risks are mostly related to heavier alcohol consumption.

However, frequent alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic disorders and their many consequences, including physical dependence, mental health issues like depression, sleep problems as well as work, family and social dysfunction

According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol consumption is a risk factor for a variety of cancers including mouth, throat, colon, breast and liver. Even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a 20% increased risk of mouth and throat cancer.

Bear in mind, the cancer risk increases the more you consume.

There’s little harm in enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, but you can protect your health and avoid unnecessary consequences by limiting your consumption.

Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol dependence or addiction; therefore, drinking in moderation is key if you choose to drink at all.

Excessive alcohol drinking can have long-term physical health risks such as:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Birth defects if drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Ensure you leave adequate time for the alcohol to leave your system, you may still find your are over the safe driving limit during the following morning or day.

On average, it takes about 1 hour for your body to break down 1 unit of alcohol. However, this can vary, depending on:

  • your weight
  • whether you’re male or female
  • your age
  • how quickly or slowly your body turns food into energy (your metabolism)
  • how much food you have eaten
  • the type and strength of the alcohol
  • whether you’re taking medication and, if so, what type

It can also take longer if your liver isn’t working normally.

How much is 1 unit of alcohol

1 unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. There are roughly:

  • 2.1 units in a standard glass (175ml) of average-strength wine (12%)
  • 3 units in a large glass (250ml) of average-strength wine (12%)
  • 2 units in a pint of low-strength lager, beer or cider (3.6%)
  • 3 units in a pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5.2%)
  • 1 unit in a single measure of spirits (25ml)

Adding up your units

If you drink a large (250ml) glass of wine, your body takes about 3 hours to break down the alcohol.

If you drink 1 pint of beer, your body takes about 2 hours to break it down, 1 pint of strong lager is equivalent to 3 units, so this will take longer.

However, this time can vary, depending on the factors mentioned above.

If you have a few drinks during a night out, it can take many hours for the alcohol to leave your body.

The alcohol could still be in your blood the next day.

This means that if you drive the day after an evening of drinking, you could be over the legal alcohol limit.

For more information, see How much alcohol can I drink before driving?

Driving distractions is a leading cause of road accidents

The dangers of texting while driving is well-known, but a new study found that it’s not the only dangerous distraction. 

Researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that two-thirds of drivers are distracted in the seconds before a driving accident occurs. 

Celluphones were the most common cause, but drivers were also distracted by reading or writing, reaching for something or using a touchscreen on their dashboard.

They estimate that engaging in distracting activities while behind the wheel more than doubles the risk of a crash. Still, more than half of the drivers in the study did so.

In 2016 out of 1445 fatal crashes in Britain that resulted in one-or more deaths, the police recorded 397 incidences of contributory factors of “failure to look” and a further 140 incidences of driver in-vehicle distractions, distractions outside the vehicle, and phone usage.

“We tend to underestimate the hazards of driving because we do it so often and it’s a critical part of daily life, but we shouldn’t take our safety for granted,” says Dr. Sandhya Nagubadi, an internal medicine physician on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.

To accurately track people’s driving habits, researchers installed interior video cameras and other tracking devices in more than 3,500 cars and followed volunteer drivers ages 16 to 98 over a three-year period.

Previous studies have relied on experiments with test drivers and reports from crash investigations. In those instances, it was difficult to determine what exactly happens in those critical seconds before an accident occurs.

“Traffic accidents are so common that they are the leading cause of death for American teens,” says Dr. Nagubadi. “States across the country have enacted laws banning cell phone mobile use while driving, but clearly the problem persists.”

When using roads driver thoughts  can easily wander to things other than the safety of the task at hand. 

Driving, particularly on a familiar route, can be perceived as something we can all do on semi-automatic or a place where we consciously decide to “think about other things , such as work or relationships, or reflect on a memory.

This can be particularly the case in a busy world “where there is little down time” to be on our own and sit with our own thoughts. 

In one study, more than half of driving thoughts (“what are you thinking about”) were on subjects unrelated to the driving task or road safety.

In 2014, there were more than 6 million automobile accidents reported to police, in which more than 30,000 Americans died and another 2.3 million were injured, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA recently reported a steep 9.3 percent increase in traffic-related deaths for the first nine months of 2015, as compared to 2014. Previous research estimates that human factors contribute to 94 percent of crashes.

If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over for a moment and do it safely. You have to ask yourself, is this one thing so urgent that it’s worth more than our lives?

If you want to drive safely:

Plan your route ahead of time and cue up your playlist before you hit the road. Electronic devices can make a drive easier or more pleasurable, but not if you’re programming them while behind the wheel.

Don’t eat or do any personal grooming while driving.

Doing so may be convenient and save you time, but it puts you at risk. Try to wake up earlier or plan extra time between commitments so you don’t feel as rushed.

Don’t drive when tired. Some studies have found drowsiness to be equally as dangerous as driving drunk.

Invite a friend along for the ride. Research from the National Safety Council found that adult passengers can help drivers by monitoring traffic and the environment around them.

They may offer clues about looming dangers by stopping a conversation mid-sentence, for instance.


How many of professional drivers know they’d face a four-week suspension for using a mobile phone while driving a commercial vehicle?

Or that they’d be suspended for six weeks for a second speeding offence?

Some possibly don’t even know the Traffic Commissioner can act against their professional driving licences.

That’s why our vocational driver guidance has 26 different examples of how traffic commissioners deal with driver conduct.

The case studies cover a range of circumstances, including:

  1. mobile phone offending
  2. drink driving bans
  3. using a magnet to interfere with the tachograph
  4. using another driver’s Digi card
  5. failing to respond to the directions of a DVSA stopping officer 

The guidance also lists the starting points which traffic commissioners consider for different offences.

Drink: water safety

Drinking water – tap, filtered, or bottled – is important for healthy hydration and plays a vital role in people’s lives. Consumers choose bottled water for several reasons, including taste, quality, and convenience.

Bottled water is also an alternative to less-healthy sugary packaged beverages when consumers want to eliminate or moderate calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial flavors or colors, alcohol, and other ingredients from their diets.


chemical compound H20, is fundamental to all human life. Ancient cities were planned around it and it has been the cause of territorial wars. Yet it is only recently that we have come to take water for granted: a simple substance which flows out of the tap.

But our faith in this most basic human resource is now being shaken. The quality of Britain’s tap water has, in fact, been causing concern since the early ’80s.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Justice upheld a complaint that 5.3 million people in East Anglia and the Midlands were being supplied with drinking water containing excess nitrate. This chemical can cause ‘blue baby syndrome’ in infants, and its long-term effects are yet not fully appreciated.

And to make matters more complicated, those findings came only weeks after a television investigation of bottled water appeared to show that both mineral and spring waters contain higher levels of potentially harmful contaminants than tap water.

So, how do you choose between the two?

Just how far can we rely on bottled water?

Is it a safe substitute for common or garden tap water?


UK sales of bottled water are now worth £300 million a year; 10 years ago, it was almost unknown. There’s no doubt that the ‘designer’ drinks image of Perrier and other mineral waters boosted the sales.

But there is another side to this coin: a bottle of water costs about a thousand times as much as an equivalent quantity of tap water. Thus, the bottle boom suggests that there is little public faith in the reliability of tap water.


Most tap water comes from reservoirs and is pumped to filter beds where particles and microbes are removed, then it’s chlorinated to kill any remaining bacteria. Legislation requires that the water is tested at all stages by local water authorities before it is supplied to homes.

But there have been enough incidents of contamination – by metals such as lead and aluminium, bacteria including salmonella and Cryptosporidium and chemicals such as nitrates – to suggest that these measures are not always effective.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) estimates that 10 million UK consumers are supplied with water that is contaminated beyond legal limits. The 1990 report of the Drinking Water Inspectorate found that 90 per cent of the UK’s meets EC water purity standards.

But several water authorities are known to be unable to meet those standards and have sought exemption from them for 10 years. FoE wants an independent national drinking water authority established to monitor the water industry and get the issue cleaned up before 2002.


Most bottled waters are ‘groundwaters’ that set out as rain which then seeps through rocks to form underground pools. They bubble up to the surface through cracks in rocks and form springs, or they can be pumped artificially by drilling a borehole in the ground. Both still and sparkling forms are available.


Many sparkling waters are still initially and are made effervescent with carbon dioxide gas (CO,). A few waters emerge from the ground naturally carbonated, but they are very difficult to bottle. So, the gas is usually removed and then put back once the water is in the bottle. Some varieties are already lightly carbonated, but these generally have extra gas added before they are bottled.


When doubts about tap water were first raised, bottled water was considered the safer option because the slow process of rain moving through rocks helped purify it. filtering out the organic material on which most bacteria need to live.

Mineral and spring waters, it was claimed, were therefore purer and much less prone to environmental pollution and pesticide residues.

Some sources of mineral water, such as the Buxton Spring in west  Derbyshire, contain water that fell in the form of  rain hundreds of years ago. Others come from shallow underground springs and are only a few weeks weeks old when bottled.


Mineral waters have always been regarded as having curative and health giving properties, but contemporary science takes a different view. In order to function properly, the human body needs a good balance of minerals -such as sodium, calcium and potassium – but many scientists believe these should be kept at low levels in water.

Sodium, for example, is thought to raise blood pressure, which in turn may increase the risk of heart disease.

Mineral waters are the water that contains minerals. The minerals can be added artificially or can naturally be in the water.

Water that has collected in underground pools naturally erodes rock, dissolving the constituent minerals and salts. Each groundwater source therefore differs, depending on the character of the rock that it passes through.

However, just because it comes from below the ground, we cannot assume that spring water is a much safer bet than surface water which ends up in the tap.


A recent Equinox programme on Channel 4 asked scientists in Wales to test a variety of bottled mineral waters. The experiment found that 17 of them exceeded the limit that is set for certain minerals in British tap water.

The same researchersalso discovered that 39 out of 51 bottled waters contained bacterial levels in excess of EC rulings for tap water. It is unlikely that those bacteria were naturally the groundwater, so the results suggest that water is being contaminated  when it is bottled.

While the main  problem with tap water may be that  the UK finds it hard to comply with the EC’s standards and bottled waters are barely regulated in comparison.

Those labelled ‘spring’ can contain any water that has come up through the ground. But a ‘mineral water’ does have legal criteria to fulfil: it must be safe to drink, free of pollution and harmful bacteria, and bottled straight from the ground.

However, the regulations set limits for just 13 chemicals and bacteria, as opposed to the 57 applied to tap water.

There is also no legal obligation for bottlers to test on a daily basis. And the regulations only apply for the first 12 hours that elapse after bottling, even though it can be months before the water is consumed.

EC rulings on mineral waters are currently under review. Interested parties such as the Consumers’ Association are calling for new rules to be applied to bottled waters – mineral and spring.

They want stricter controls on contamination and the compulsory labelling of all minerals present in significant amounts.

Many argue that the simplest course of action would be to make all bottled waters conform to the same standards as tap.

Spring Water

Spring water is often mistaken for being equal or interchangeable with purified water. However, spring water often contains many of the same impurities found in well or tap water.

In fact, since springs feed our rivers, there is a lot of spring water in our tap water! Spring water generally has the same TDS range as tap water.

Many spring water companies advertise their water as “100% pure—” but if it’s not purified, what does that mean?

The “pure” part actually refers to the source, not the water itself—in that 100% of that bottle’s contents came from an underground source (rather than surface water).

This clever wording leads many people to believe that spring water is just as clean as purified water.

Thanks to this crafty marketing, spring water often conjures up natural, pleasant imagery. In reality, most spring water is not actually bottled at the source, but rather, is pumped into large tanker trucks from the source to be transported to the bottling facility.

The water in those trucks must be chlorinated or ozonated at all times to protect against contamination. In this sense, spring water is hardly different from tap water, since it is largely treated the same way.

Once the water is at the bottling facility, it goes through a carbon filtration process to remove the chlorine. This process may separate spring from tap water, but nitrates, metals, and more are likely to remain.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is processed by boiling H2O out of its contaminants. Many of said contaminants include inorganic minerals or metals. Those impurities have a much higher boiling point than water’s boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So, the steam that results from the boiling is captured and cooled—and the water that results from the steam is what is classified as distilled water. Because many of the volatile compounds in water have a lower boiling point than water, they boil off first.

As a result, it is important to employ additional purification methods beyond distillation in order to have truly clean, pure water.

Filtered Water

Filtered water is what you are most likely to find in a grocery store. It is typically sourced from municipal tap water, which is then run through carbon filters to remove the chlorine (which improves the taste) and sometimes a micron filter as well.

After the filtering, it is ozonated and bottled. In essence, filtered water is quite similar to spring water. It comes from a “natural” source, goes through minimal filtration, and is then bottled and shipped to market.

Purified Water

The source of purified water isn’t what makes it the best choice on the market—it’s the purification methods that separate purified water from the rest of the pack.

Purified water goes through a process similar to what filtered water goes through, but with a few added steps like reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization. The end result is far purer than filtered, spring, or tap water.

Alkaline water

The pH of water is neutral, around pH 7. Chemicals and gases can change this to make it more acidic or more alkaline.

pH of waterThe pH of water is around 7, but some people say it may be more healthful to drink water that is alkaline.

Rainwater’s pH is slightly below neutral, because there is carbon dioxide from the air, and this increases acidity.

  • Acidic substances have a pH of below 7.0, down to zero. The pH of vinegar is around pH 3, lemon juice around pH 2, and battery acid around pH 1.
  • Alkaline substances have a pH up to 14. Baking soda’s pH is between pH 8 and 9, and milk of magnesia is between pH 10 and 11.

Water can be high or low in pH, but if it is too high or too low, it can have adverse effects.

Alkaline water is somewhat controversial. Many health professionals say there isn’t enough research to support the many health claims made by users and sellers.

However, there are a few studies that suggest alkaline water might be helpful for certain conditions.

For example, a 2012 studyTrusted Source found that drinking naturally carbonated artesian-well alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 may help deactivate pepsin, the main enzyme that causes acid reflux.

Another study suggested that drinking alkaline ionized water may have benefits for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

A more recent study IN 2019; included 100 people found a significant difference in whole blood viscosity after consuming high-pH water compared to regular water after a strenuous workout. Viscosity is the direct measurement of how efficiently blood flows through the vessels.

Water that is too alkaline has a bitter taste. It can cause deposits that encrust pipes and appliances. Highly acidic water may corrode metals or even dissolve them.


The issue of quality is something of a minefield, in which all the decisive factors are outside the control of individual consumers.

There are, however, some rules that we can observe.

  1. Buy bottled water in glass rather than plastic bottles -some scientists think that bacteria multiply faster in plastic: besides, glass is easier to recycle.
  2. Refrigerate bottled water after opening and finish it as soon as possible, preferably within one day.
  3. If you use bottled water regularly, consider buying a filter – it will almost certainly be better value in the long term.

If you already use a filter, make sure you change the filter cartridges frequently and according to manufacturers’ instructions.

Always store filtered water in the fridge.

If you still have lead plumbing in your home, apply for a grant from the local council to have it replaced.

When using water to make up babies’ feed, boil it first -whether it’s tap or bottled. Check that any mineral water given to a baby is low in sodium. (Compare labelling information with the maximum limits laid down in the Water Act 1989. available from HMSO)

You can find out if your tap water complies with the legal standards. Either go and look at the public register held by your water supplier or get the information sent through the post.

Ask for details of the maximum permitted levels of various substances, so that you can make your own comparison.

Moreover, the water from public water systems is often compromised after emergency situations or natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires, or boil alerts). During these times, bottled water is a necessary and reliable alternative to deliver clean, safe drinking water. 

If you cannot understand the information, ask your local Environmental Health Officer or Friends of the Earth group for help. (For a FoE briefing sheet on drinking water, send an sae to: FoE, 26-28 Underwood Street, London N1 7JQ.

Water Brands

Voss Artesian Water

Two Norwegian entrepreneurs created Voss, a classy, designer-savvy tube of water from the crisp, frigid aquifers of their Nordic homeland. Shielded for hundreds of years from pollutants by thick layers of rock and sand, Voss water is bottled in Southern Norway, “naturally unfiltered” and served both still and sparkling. 

But its rugged purity is not Voss’ only selling point. The company’s designers painstakingly developed the bottle’s look and feel to reflect a brand that embodies both health and high fashion.

Voss first became available mostly in upscale hotels and in health spas in Europe and in the United States but has since seen much wider distribution in gourmet food and retail stores on both continents.

Saint Geron Mineral Water

Saint Géron, known as “the queen of mineral waters,” stems from an ancient spring in the Auvergne region of France. The light, sparkling mineral water in a bottle of Saint Géron is the product of an 1,100-year filtration process. 

This results in the water being cleansed of all bacteria and nitrates, which show up at less than .1 milligrams per liter. Unusually rich in calcium and magnesium, Saint Géron has long been used as a treatment for digestive problems, diabetes, anemia and even gout.

Although the water was not bottled until the nineteenth century, the Romans patronized the spring long before — ancient coins from the Gallo-roman period (50 BC–486 AD) have been found scattered all around the source. 

The water comes in a modern, elegant glass bottle created by painter and designer Alberto Bali.

Hildon Natural Mineral Water

One of the UK’s most prestigious bottled waters, Hildon Natural Mineral Water is served at the House of Commons and the Royal Opera House (and is rumored to be the water of choice at Buckingham Palace). 

Hildon begins as rainfall, which percolates through the chalk hills of the Hampshire countryside. After a period of 50 years the water emerges at an underground aquifer beneath the nineteenth-century Hildon Estate.

The chalk acts as a unique natural filtration system, protecting the water from pollution and endowing it with high levels of calcium. Once it reaches the source it is immediately bottled without chemical treatment. Naturally low in sodium, the water is prized for its purity and well-balanced taste.

Hildon, which produces both still and sparkling varieties, was the first company in the world to sell a natural mineral water with a carbonation level below 2.9.

This low level of carbonation makes their “Gently Sparkling” water ideal for sipping alongside fine wines and subtly flavored dishes, which risk being overwhelmed by more robust bubbles.

Evian Natural Spring Water

Discovered by a French nobleman during the French Revolution, Evian stems from a source that was thought to hold curative and restorative powers from the start. Evian begins as water that emerges from the Source Cache in France in a mountain tunnel at 52.88 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The source is fed from the melted snow and rain that filters through glacial sand from the Vinzier Plateau over a period of fifteen years. The glacial sand is surrounded by clay, which protects the water from pollution and gives it its mineral composition and taste.

The water is bottled at a nearby bottling plant, which is highly automated and exceptionally hygienic.

Fiji Natural Artesian Water

FIJI Water, natural artesian water, began being bottled in 1996 at the source in the Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu, one of Fiji’s two principal islands, and is now the number one imported bottled water in the United States. 

FIJI’s natural artesian origins provide the water with a unique mineral profile, including its high silica concentration. FIJI Water is known for its iconic square bottle and its signature soft, smooth taste, which comes from the natural silica content and trace amounts of calcium and magnesium.

As part of that strict commitment to quality, no human hands are allowed to touch it. Perfectly protected from outside air and external elements, FIJI Water is untouched until you unscrew the cap.

Gerolsteiner Mineral Water

Founded in 1888, Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water is the number one water export in Germany. In the German style of stringent purity and cleanliness, Gerolsteiner’s production follows strict purity protocols. 

Originating in springs from the area of Volcanic Eifel, Gerolsteiner flows from ancient, rocky volcanic reservoirs 200 feet beneath the earth’s surface. Minerals and carbonic acid leach into the water as it percolates up through the volcanic rocks, giving Gerolsteiner its exceptionally high amount of calcium, bicarbonate and magnesium.

Gerolsteiner is a great source of essential nutrients that our bodies need daily and its natural carbonation gives Gerolsteiner its refreshing, neutral taste.

Ferrarelle Naturally Sparkling Mineral Water

Relatively unknown in America, Italy’s number one brand of sparkling mineral water was established in 1893, though Italians have been drinking from its source for hundreds of years. 

This naturally effervescent water is bottled directly at a spring located in the protected Sorgeto di Riardo Park near the extinct Roccamonfina volcano in Italy’s Campania region. Ferrarelle is extremely mindful of the quality of its products, testing them more than 600 times each day. Care is also taken to safeguard the habitat surrounding the spring, and the company’s bottling plants are powered by solar energy.

Ferrarelle water, both sparkling and still, is bottled in glass containers rather than plastic, which protects its taste and purity and lessens the impact on the environment. Ferrarelle water begins as rainfall, which trickles through layers of rock in the ground, soaking up valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and fluoride.

Nevertheless, it has no mineral taste and no unpleasant saltiness. It does have the thirst-quenching, pure taste of simple water, with a pleasant amount of fizziness.

Perrier Mineral Water

Perrier is a naturally sparkling mineral water sourced from a spring in Vergèze, France. Originally called Les Bouillens, the spring has been used as a spa resort since Roman times. The distinctive bottle shape is said to have been inspired by Indian clubs used for exercise by spring owner Sir Saint-John Harmsworth. 

The water and carbonation are captured separately and recombined in the bottling process to preserve the natural sparkling flavor of the original water from the spring.

Today, Perrier is marketed as a healthy alternative to soda drinks and cocktails and is available in a variety of flavors, ranging from pink grapefruit to lemon and lime.

Mountain Valley Spring Water

Since 1871, Mountain Valley Spring Water has been praised by U.S. presidents, world-class athletes and even Hollywood stars for its refreshing taste and potent health benefits. 

Bottled at its source in the hills between the Glazypeau and Cedar Mountains in Arkansas, Mountain Valley Spring Water has a unique mineral composition that is believed to have medicinal properties that can help alleviate chronic disorders.

Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Joe Lewis were firm believers in the restorative powers of this water, and they weren’t the only ones. Thirteen presidents (from Coolidge to Clinton) had Mountain Valley regularly served to their guests while they were in office, and the water is currently being served in the United States Senate.

In fact, President Dwight Eisenhower drank the water medicinally following a heart attack. It was also served to a number of famous racehorses, including Nashua, Sunday Silence and the great Secretariat. This sparkling water is light and clean, with a delicate pH balance for premier taste.

Volvic Natural Spring Water

Volvic is bottled exclusively at its unique source in France and available in more than 60 countries. The basin supplying the Volvic spring source is located in the Regional Park of the Old Auvergne Volcanoes, a volcanic region that has been dormant for 10,000 years. 

The name Volvic refers to the town as well as a type of gray volcanic rock. The source of the water, the Clairvic Spring, was discovered in 1927.

In 1965, the French Ministry of Health authorized the bottling of Volvic water. Volvic emerges year-round from its protected source at the constant temperature of 8.8 degrees Celsius.

Brecon Carreg Bottled Mineral Water 

It begins as rain falling on the hills and valleys of the Brecon Beacons, then streams, filters and flows through layer after layer of dense limestone strata and other ancient rocks for many, many years.

Not surprisingly, during the course of this long and colourful excursion, the water gains traces of lots of different minerals, which are present in the various rocks it is travelling through on its journey to the surface. The minerals acquired in this way, are what gives our bottled mineral water its unique natural taste and make-up. 

Another factor in our success and popularity is that the excellent balance of minerals in our water also gives it a reassuringly low sodium content. In fact our water has the lowest sodium content of all major UK mineral water brands, which means if you’re concerned about too much salt in your diet then this is the mineral water for you.

How to avoid low back pain

Low back pain is an aching discomfort that normally occurs in the lumbar portion of the spine. It is one of the most common health problems, and is the reason most drivers often give for taking time off work.

Low back pain may be the result of excessive strain on the lower back due to a poor posture, bad seating position when driving, being overweight, or hav­ing to do a lot of carrying or lifting of heavy loads. For a few people, persis­tent back pain may be due to arthritis.

What is low back pain?

Back pain is usually caused by a mechanical disorder of one of the structures in or around the spine. The pain may be the result of damage to a ligament or muscle, or to one of the joints between adjacent vertebrae (bones of the spine).

Occasionally the pain is due to a slipped disc, a condition in which the spongy material be­tween the vertebrae, bulges through its sur­rounding ligament and presses on adjacent spinal nerves. This nerve pres­sure causes pain in the back and also pain run­ning down the back of the legs (sciatica).

Other causes of back pain include arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (a disease of the joints) and, rarely, a tumour in the spinal column. It may also be caused by abdominal problems such as peptic ulcer, pancreatitis or aortic aneurism (localised dila­tion of the aorta).

In most cases, back pain goes away within a few days. It often improves be­fore the doctor has arr­anged any tests, so the exact cause may not be confirmed. If the pain per­sists or keeps comingback, tests will be done to establish a diagnosis.


  1. Pain that radiates from the back into a leg.
  2. Numbness or tingling sensations which occur in one or both legs.
  3. Weakness in a leg.
  4. Loss of control over bladder or bowel.

How is low back pain diagnosed and treated

Most episodes of low back pain can be resolved by resting the back for a few days. However, if low back pain is persistent or recurrent, the doctor’s di­agnosis can usually be made by means of a physi­cal examination.

The physical examina­tion includes testing neu­rological (nervous system) responses and muscle function. Other diagnostic studies may include tak­ing a CT scan (a complex form of X-ray which gives a detailed cross-sectional image of a part of the body), or a myelo­gram (an X-ray of the back taken after an injection of a dye into the spine).

Bed rest for at least a few days only and followed by gentle movements. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants, heat pads / baths may be prescribed to help re­lieve muscle spasm. 

Manipulation of the back by a doctor, physiotherapist or osteopath can be very effective, helping to relieve the pain and spasms in some cases.


Anyone with severe back pain caused by an injury or fall, or who is unable to move, should be taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

Do not move the injured person as this should only be done by trained staff.

What can I do myself

Factors that increase the risk of injury include the load being too heavy, large, difficult to grasp or unstable, the task being too strenuous or involving awkward postures or movements.

The working environment lacking sufficient space, having slippery, uneven or unstable floors, having extreme temperatures or poor lighting.

Employers are required to carry out risk assessments, and take action to protect workers from the risks of manual handling.

Prevention measures include:

• Designing and organising tasks to avoid manual handling completely, or at least restrict it.

• Using automation and lifting equipment.

• Organising manual handling tasks in a safe way, with loads split into smaller ones, and proper rest periods provided. 

• Providing information and training to workers on tasks, and the use of equipment and correct handling techniques. (CPC Course)

Avoid prolonged sitting and keep the back mobile. Take a walk during your 4.5 hours rest periods and ensure your seat is correctly adjusted for your size. 

Take regular exercise on your days of work and attempt to strengthening ab­dominal and back mus­cles. Swimming is excel­lent exercise for back pain. Using a back rub can also help control minor bouts of back pain.

Some people find relief from cold treat­ment with an ice pack.

For persistent backache, a gradual loss of excess weight will help reduce the weight-bearing load on the spine. Sleeping on a firm mattress and, for se­vere, chronic back pain, wearing a corset-like back brace can also help to ease the situation.

Reducing emotional stress if at all possible, can help, as many people un­consciously tighten their back muscles when they are worried or tense.

When should I see my doctor

Your doctor will examine your posture and the movements of your back when you are standing. You will then be asked to lie down so your back can be checked for areas of tenderness and muscle spasm. The nerve and muscle function in both legs will also be checked, as pressure on the spinal nerve can cause numbness or weakness.

Is low back pain dangerous

Low back pain is rarely dangerous. However, if the pain is accompanied by leg weakness, a feeling of numbness, or bladder or bowel problems, this in­dicates that there is pres­sure on one or more of the spinal nerves.

If the pain is caused by a disc prolapse or tumour, prolonged pressure on a spinal nerve will require surgery, as permanent nerve damage can result. You must see a doctor if the pain is persistent.

How can I avoid low back pain
  1. Maintain your ideal weight.
  2. Practice back and abdominal exercises.
  3. Wear flat or low shoes.
  4. Sleep on a firm mattress.
  5. When lifting, squat down in a knee-bend, pick up the object and hold it close. Keep your back upright, but not unnaturally straight. Slowly straighten your legs as you rise.

Many people with recurrent back pain have found relief by studying and following the Alexander Technique. 

This is a system of posture adjustment and training for the correct movement of the spine, neck and limbs.

The technique is taught in individual classes.

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