CIS Newsletter

No. 184
January 2005

CIS Newsletter celebrates 17 years & still going strong! Bringing news to over 137 countries in the CIS Network


  1. Editorial
  2. News from CIS HQ
  3. New Series: Hot Topics: Falls from Heights
  4. News from around the World - Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, European Commission, Finland, ILO, Japan, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, UK, USA
  5. FOCUS - Control Banding
  6. More News from around the World
  7. OSHE web sites
  8. Diary of Events



We remember those who have lost their families, friends, homes and livelihood in last week's Disaster.


Dear CIS Colleagues

Welcome to the first CIS Newsletter of 2005 and All Good wishes to everyone, wherever you are in the World. Surviving in 2005.... By promotion, publicity and telling the World that CIS and its network exists! You will see many new ideas and news in this edition.

Now we look ahead - for those who like to start planning early - and this year will be essential for those who intend to travel to the USA to go to the ILO World Congress to be held on 18-22 September 2005 in Orlando, USA.

The 2005 CIS Annual Meeting will be held at the same time as the ILO Congress and you should inform the CIS HQ as soon as possible if you intend going to the Annual Meeting.

Some people have already mentioned that travel to the USA may not be possible and taking up the discussions at the 2004 Brussels CIS meeting where some people wanted to have Regional Meetings..... if you are interested let the CIS HQ know and also send your replies to this Newsletter - so that they can be communicated in the forthcoming editions.

Many thanks to you have sent Greetings, emails and news. As always these are always gratefully received and are used as soon as possible. You will see that many are preparing for next year in many ways.

If you are planning any publications, conferences, seminars or training courses, then please send your details to me so that we can share your efforts with others. Don't forget to send me your latest news! It is amazing how much the CIS Newsletter content gets re-used around the world.

You know I welcome ideas for inclusion in the future editions of this Newsletter. Let me know if there are any areas you would wish to see covered in future.

A few people have responded since the last edition, but if there is anyone else who want to get it electronically please let me know as soon as possible your email number. Anyone who finds that they cannot received the CIS Newsletter either by email or from the web site where back issues are stored should also let me know by fax +44 1909 772829 that paper based service is the only way.

Also on emails.... Some of you who have changed your email number and addresses in recent months, please let CIS Headquarters know your new email/address and also let me know as well - otherwise you will not get the CIS Newsletter or other news.

All good wishes to you, your families and your colleagues.

Sheila Pantry, OBE

85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK
Tel: +441909 771024
Fax: +441909 772829


News from CIS HQ

The whole CIS team in Geneva would like to thank readers of the Centres Newsletter for everything they have done to make the worlds' workplaces safer and healthier in 2004. We wish you all the best for the holiday season and 2005.

Emmert Clevenstine, Head


"Safety and Health at Work - ILO/CIS Bulletin", which has been published for over 30 years (17 years in its present format), will stop publication with the present issue. We think that it has served its reading public well, but changing times require changing information resources.

Given the overhead involved in publishing a paper bulletin - overhead in cost, in time and in effort - and the constant reduction in resources that we have experienced in recent years, we cannot ensure the regular and timely appearance that subscribers have a right to expect.

We also think that most members of our primary audience - the world's OSH professionals - have access to the Internet, so it would be a far better use of our resources to do the best we can to keep the CISDOC database up-to-date and as complete as possible.

CISDOC, with its almost 65,000 records, is of course the OSH bibliographic database that the CIS Bulletin has been based on, and CISDOC will survive and prosper with its brand-new Internet interface. The URL of this interface is:

Although we are dropping our periodical publication, we plan to continue issuing topical bibliographies and other OSH-related documents from time to time. We invite our network of National and Collaborating Centres, as well as other interested OSH professionals, to indicate to us their needs as far as printed documentation of the international literature is concerned."

ILO launches electronic library collection of over 1,000 publications

The International Labour Office today announced the availability of a new electronic library that will simplify access to essential ILO publications on globalization, HIV/AIDS, fighting poverty and other issues concerning the world of work.

The collection, called ILO Insight, is a fully searchable archive of over 1,000 publications covering such issues as labour, employment, social protection, women at work, occupational safety and health, child labour, management, training, labour statistics and more.

The ILO has partnered with MyiLibrary, a company specializing in online content, to create this large and diverse collection. Available on a subscription basis, it includes key ILO books, monographs, official documents of the annual International Labour Conference, complete text of Conventions and Recommendations, reports, working papers, codes of practice and more. Many of the publications are offered in French and Spanish as well as English.

Further information on this new service can be found at

Recent publications included in the collection are "A Fair Globalization: Creating opportunities for all", the report compiled by The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization and the first systematic attempt to deal with social dimensions of globalization. "HIV/AIDS and Work: Global estimates, impact and response" which provides global projections of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the world of work, as well as other past and current Reports of the Director-General including "Organizing for Social Justice" and "Working out of Poverty".

The collection will be updated monthly and provide subscribers with immediate access to the latest information and research from the ILO.

Lord Bill Brett, the head of the ILO London office, called the ILO Insight e-collection "an excellent example of how the ILO is determined to ensure its publications reach the widest possible audience, so that the ILO can achieve its mission of disseminating this vital and important content to the people who need to access it. We are pleased to have partnered with MyiLibrary and are excited at the prospect of offering our social partners and other interested parties online access to our publications".

For further information about the ILO Insight, please contact: Nadine Prowse, Coutts Library Services MyiLibrary, Headlands Business Park, Salisbury Road, Ringwood Hampshire BH24 3PB | Tel: +44(0)1425-471160 | Fax: +44(0)1425-471525 | Email: |
or Lauren Elsaesser, ILO Publications, 4, route des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland | Tel: +4122/799-6195 | Fax: +4122/799-8578 | Email: |

News from IAPA, Canada

Dear CIS Centres Colleagues,

It was a pleasure to have met you at the 42nd meeting of the CIS National and Collaborating Centres in Brussels, Belgium, this past September. I very much enjoyed your presentations regarding your unique CIS Centres. At the meeting I learned a great deal about the breadth and depth of occupational health and safety activities of many CIS Centres located in countries around the world.

To build on the collaboration and sharing of information - an issue that we all hold dear - we at the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) wish to communicate regularly our activities and successes, and we wish to keep you informed, regularly, of developments in oh&s in Canada, as well as in the province of Ontario, where our organization resides. While Sheila Pantry keeps us all connected with her wonderful "CIS Newsletter," we would welcome any and all additional communications with other CIS Centres. We will endeavour to contribute to Sheila Pantry's "CIS Newsletter," because it is a very important glue that joins us together. One additional way that we would like to begin to fulfill our aim of greater collaboration and information sharing is by sending you a complimentary copy of our bi-monthly publication "Accident Prevention." You will begin receiving copies of "Accident Prevention" starting with our next edition.

I was very fortunate in having the opportunity to accompany Maureen Shaw, IAPA President and CEO to the 42nd Meeting of the CIS Centres and to have met with you all. I look forward to many interactions with you all in the years to come.

Sincerely, Zuzka

Zuzka Hora, Manager, Information Centre Team, Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 207 Queens Quay West, Suite 550, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2Y3, CANADA | | Tel: 416-506-8888 ext 385 or 1-800-669-4939 ext 385 | Fax: 416-506-8880 | Email:

"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." - Michael Garrett Marino

Dear CIS-ILO Centres Colleagues,

The Industrial Accident Prevention Association - a CIS Collaborating Centre located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada - is pleased to invite the research community in participating with us in this exciting new opportunity for researchers to display and present their work to a broad community of academics, professionals and practitioners.

IAPA invites Poster Abstracts for our Health & Safety Canada 2005 IAPA Conference & Trade Show. Health & Safety Canada is the largest event of its kind in Canada and the second largest health and safety event in North America. The 2005 annual conference takes place April 4 to 6 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada.

The primary focus for posters is the transfer of research, workplace applications, and best practices knowledge in health and safety.

Please see the attached pdf file which outlines the Poster Abstracts invitation. We look forward to your participation!

Sincerely, Zuzka

Zuzka Hora, Manager, Information Centre Team, Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 207 Queens Quay West, Suite 550, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2Y3, CANADA | | Tel: +1 416 506 8888 ext 385 or 1-800-669-4939 ext 385 | Fax: +1 416 506 8880 |

New awards encourage safety among fleet operators

The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is launching a new award scheme to recognise the efforts made by businesses and organisations to reduce deaths and injuries on UK roads. Any organisation with a fleet of vehicles can enter for the RoSPA Managing Occupational Road Risk Awards. Entrants need to demonstrate robust risk management systems and culture as well as an improving work-related road accident record.

Fleets can be large or small and run any type of vehicle - cars, trucks, vans or motorcycles. Between 800 and 1,000 deaths on Britain's roads each year are linked to people driving as part of their job. The Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Transport have made it clear that employers have duties under health and safety law to manage the risks faced by employees when on the road.

The awards will be made at gold, silver, bronze and merit levels. All entries will automatically be considered for the RoSPA MORR Trophy, which will go to the most outstanding entrant for the year.

Entrants for gold awards must provide four years of accident records, for silver three years of data, for bronze two and for merit one. They will also be required to answer 10 key performance questions to explain their policies and procedures for managing occupational road risk.

Charles Davis, RoSPA Head of Driver and Fleet Solutions, said: "One of the best ways to raise health and safety standards is to encourage and reward those who head the field and lead by example.

"We hope this new scheme will persuade fleet operators to build on their success each year so that they go on to achieve higher and higher awards as they play their part in making Britain's roads safer."

The awards will be presented at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole Hotel, at the NEC, in May 2005. They will be part of the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards, sponsored by RMC Group plc, which honour around 1,100 winners each year. Some will also be presented at RoSPA Scotland in September 2005.

The closing date for entries is February 28, 2005. For further information, contact the RoSPA Awards Helpline on 0870 777 2091 Email: or

Hot topics... New Series: Falls from Heights

In the forthcoming CIS Newsletters in addition to the OSHE web sites I will be alerting you on some new Hot topics that may help in your search for further information. If you have a new Hot Topic that you want to share with others please send details to your Editor.

Last month we looked at nanotechnology. This month we look at Falls from Heights

Falls from heights are the most common cause of injuries and death in the construction industry. Approximately 40% of accidents in the construction industry involve falls. These falls can occur from:

The Australian Occupational Health and Safety Index points to Practical Guidance Material and Safety Alerts available on Australian OHS Authorities websites on falls from heights.

In order to increase the attention to health and safety in construction the Senior Labour Inspectors' Committee (SLIC) took the initiative to start a common Europe-wide Campaign on Construction Safety. Information on Preventing accidents, Working Safely at Height, Checklist to prevent falls from Heights and advice on Personal Protective Equipment.

The UK Health and Safety Executive's leaflet Inspecting fall arrest equipment made from webbing and rope is available under the heading Falls from Heights. Gives details of what to look for in the equipment.
The UK Health and Safety Executive's research Assessment of the factors that influence the tensile strength of safety harnesses and lanyard and webbing also has a supplementary report.
The UK Health and Safety Executive's CRR 451/2002 Harness suspension: review and evaluation of existing information objective was to review, locate and study literature dealing with the effects of being suspended in a harness and evaluate and report on them, together with attendant issues regarding various types of harnesses, including the position of their attachment points. In addition, selected harness standards were to be examined to see if and how they addressed the topic of suspension Over 50 documents were located from sources in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia and the Internet. These form the basis of the report.
UK Health and Safety Executive Falls from height pages give details of publications, programme of work, research, and links. Falls from heights are the most common cause of fatal injury and the second most common cause of major injury to employees, accounting for 15% of all such injuries in the UK. All industry sectors are exposed to the risks presented by this hazard although the level of incidence varies considerably.

US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Falls from Elevation web site gives advice, guidance and publications as well as some references to journals etc.

News from Europe

Cutting health and safety risks in small businesses: EU funding helped raise safety status in 700 000 SMEs

A new European Agency for Safety and Health at Work report, Promoting health and safety in European small and medium-sized enterprises: SME Funding Scheme 2002-2003, describes how a relatively small European funding scheme has helped over fifty projects to improve health and safety in SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are key drivers in the European economy, but their safety and health performance often falls short of that of their larger counterparts. It is clear that many SMEs do not have the knowledge or the resources to manage their own health and safety problems. They need help with practical training and in gaining a better understanding of the issues, so that they assume higher priority than they generally do now.

Health and safety issues in Europe's small businesses were the focus of the second SME Funding Scheme (2002-2003) run by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which has just published its report on 51 completed projects: 40 national and 11 transnational (involving cross-border cooperation between partners), with full contact details for anyone interested in finding out more.

The overall aim was to reduce the number of accidents at work and to reduce the incidence of occupational ill health. Topics covered included chemical hazards, stress-related illness, prevention in high-risk sectors such as agriculture and construction, and the promotion of a preventive culture.

For example, a project in Luxembourg developed a method of analysing the risks to which people working in crèches are exposed: notably lower back pain from bending and lifting. In cooperation with crèche staff, the project team identified problem areas, developed a guide to good practices and provided training for staff.

In Denmark, a hospital department of occupational medicine set out to reduce knee problems by showing how floor layers could cut down the time spent putting undue strain on the knees. They trained instructors to use new tools that allowed much of the work to be carried out standing up. These instructors could then train operational floor layers on a region-by-region basis.

A recent independent evaluation of the funding schemes, carried out by the Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services (CSES), showed that the great majority of these initiatives would not have gone ahead without Agency funding, so the scheme fills a significant gap.

The CSES concluded that this was a well-run programme, achieving considerable added value, having beneficial impacts for some 700,000 SMEs across Europe and wider 'demonstration' effects by highlighting good practices that could be replicated more widely.

Noting that accident levels for small firms can reach up to 130% above the overall EU average Stephen Hughes, MEP, said in his introduction to the SME report: "The Agency's schemes have shown EU policy-makers, such as the European Parliament, that current safety and health legislation, if complemented by good implementation practices, can lead to improved health and safety standards also in small firms across the EU."

The Agency's Director Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, commenting on the report's publication, said: "We are delighted that the Agency's scheme has already been able to promote higher safety and health standards in some 700 000 SMEs. Our hope now is that many more SMEs will also benefit. Many of the cases covered in the report could be adapted and used by companies across Europe, so it is well-worth taking a look and seeing how the good practice developed by these project holders could be transferred to your own company!"

The report is available in English now and can be downloaded from the Agency website at

Printed copies of the SME Funding Scheme report can be ordered from the Publications Office of the European Communities ( and its sales agents. A CD-ROM with translations into French, German, Spanish and Italian will be available in early 2005.

The CSES report is the second independent evaluation, following an external assessment of the first scheme in 2003. It concludes that over 82% of the organisations responding to their survey would not have gone ahead without Agency funding. The CSES believes that around 700,000 SMEs will have benefited from the scheme in some way, either through direct advice, viewing a website or receiving written information. Some 80,000 SMEs will have received direct advice. These reports, with executive summaries, are available at:

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao - Spain | Tel: + 34 94 479 4360 | Fax: + 34 94 479 4383 | Email: |

Outsourcing of ICT and related services in the EU: EU jobs not at risk from outsourcing of ICT services

Europe is 'not losing jobs' in the information and communication technologies services sector (ICT) due to outsourcing, according to the Foundation's European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC) in its new report Outsourcing of ICT and related services in the EU.

The report shows that employment in other business services is growing consistently across all the countries studied and, in some cases, such as the Czech Republic, this growth is quite spectacular. With the single exception of Denmark, any decline in computer and related employment was more than compensated, numerically speaking, by growth in another business services sector.

The strongest growth has taken place in precisely those countries where employment levels in these sectors are at their lowest. In other words, whilst the new Member States may be behind the rest of Europe in the proportion of their economies devoted to ICT services, they are catching up fast. The lowest growth rates are, by and large, in the most developed economies.

The reasons for this continuing growth in ICT service employment in Europe are several. First, it is a reflection of economic and linguistic diversity, giving a large range of alternative sites for offshore outsourcing within the EU. Second, it reflects the fact that the EU is a recipient of outsourced employment from other parts of the world, notably the US. Finally, it highlights the increasing propensity to outsource ICT and ICT-enabled functions, resulting in a shift to these sectors from other parts of the economy, including the public sector.

The report pieces together, impartially, the available evidence on outsourcing of ICT and related services in the European Union with the goal of informing the EU policymaking process. It draws on a body of market research and anecdotal data, in the absence of reliable data, statistics or research, which has been carried out over the past two decades on offshore information processing, trans-border teleworking, and new global division of labour in information services.

Three major trends have been identified.

The report is available from

For further information, contact Barbara Gerstenberger, EMCC research coordinator | Tel: +353-1-204 3163 | Mobile: +353-871-385 472 | Email:
or Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer | Tel: +353-1-204-3124 | Mobile: +353-876-593 507 | Email:

Launching OSH UPDATE: New Internet-based service

Want to keep up-to-date in worldwide occupational health, safety, hygiene, road safety, water safety, environment trends and the latest information? Do budget constraints not allow you to buy all the journals, newsletters and documents that contain the latest information? Can't afford the time to search for the latest information, legislation and standards? No staff to search for this information? And no time yourself to spend hours searching for information?

Then a new, very affordable Internet based service OSH UPDATE, from Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd is the answer for you.

Powered by Head Software International's Headfast/Discovery Internet publishing software*, OSH UPDATE launched in Autumn 2004 and updated monthly. It contains a number of bibliographic databases from worldwide authoritative sources such as the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the UK Health and Safety Executive, US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Canada Ryerson University, the International Labour Office CIS Health and Safety Centre, European Union legislation and other legislation sources and OSH standards specifications including those from the British Standards Institution.

OSH UPDATE records has links to the full text where possible.

OSH UPDATE will expand - we are continuing to make agreements with other well-known information producers around the world and these databases will also be included. As well as the latest information many reference sources go back 80 or more years and so a valuable tool for researchers.

This new aggregation of databases will contain thousands of relevant references with abstracts or keywords and will keep you and your colleagues alerted to hot topics such as the health risks of nanotechnology, corporate killing and corporate social responsibility, bioterrorism, management of road risks, preparedness and business continuity.

The title price for a single user via the Internet will be GBP250.00 / US$ 450.00 per year - less than 68 pence / 1.2 dollars per day.

The price reflects our aim to bring health and safety guidance, advice, research, journal articles, papers, standards to the attention of health and safety practitioners and managers, researchers, trade union safety representatives, occupational physicians, information specialists in industry, colleges and universities, government staff, inspectors, university and college safety directors, university and college lecturers and those in training - at a cost that is affordable and a service that is time efficient.

If you are interested in taking up this service on trial please complete the OSH UPDATE Interest Form, or contact us to ask further questions


* Headfast/Discovery is being used for important bibliographic and full text information services on the Internet by other publishers including CERAM Research, Ellis Publications, Inspec, Nielsen BookData, Oxmill Publishing and TWI.

News from the USA

Antineoplastic agents: occupational hazards in hospitals

US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have produced a brochure makes you aware of the adverse health effects of antineoplastic agents. It describes how you can be exposed to these agents, and provide and identify control methods and work practices to prevent or reduce your exposure to antineoplastic agents.

Antineoplastic agents are widely used in cancer therapy because they can inhibit growth by disrupting cell division and killing actively growing cells. These agents can also cause health effects among health care workers who work with them. A summary of these health risks and means for protecting workers are available in a recent NIOSH Alert [NIOSH 2004].

Antineoplastic Agents: occupational hazards in hospitals.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-102

Contact: US NIOSH - Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA | Tel: + 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) | Fax: + 1 513-533-8573 | Email: | or visit the NIOSH Web site at

Polish CIS Centre

Many CIS Health and Safety Centres around the world work hard to promote their Occupational Safety and Health Information Collections.

One of the most visible inside and outside of their own country is the Polish National CIS Centre (CIOP) that is managed by Barbara Szczepanowska.

Each year the there is an assessment by the Ministry, CIOP Directors and other specialists to discuss the results of CIOP Information Department's projects, including the CIS project. This assessment is to ensure that resources allocated by the Ministry are being used effectively.

Barbara had to give a summary of the various activities, including attending the CIS Annual Meeting in Brussels in September 2004. The Director of CIOP then gave her opinion of the CIS Centre work. The opinion was very good. Then in the discussions that followed other people attending the meeting added their praises regarding the CIS activities, including asking how it is possible, that in fact almost all of the so many different activities are carried out by only one person. We offer Barbara our congratulations.

Barbara is not alone in that she runs a centre single-handedly, and I, the Editor would be interested in YOUR views on the ways in which we may encourage others elsewhere to promote their centre or even set-up new centres. An idea might be to seek a SPONSOR TO GIVE AN ANNUAL PRIZE AND A CERTIFICATE for the most enterprising Centre. This would give the CIS Network more visibility and help us to further promote the health and safety information sources that in turn help to improve standards in the workplace worldwide.

Discuss please!
Your Editor

For those wishing to learn from CIOP contact Barbara Szczepanowska | Email: | Tel: (+22 48) 623-36-90
Polish National CIS Centre Central Institute for Labour Protection |

NIOSH Spirometry Training Guide

The NIOSH Spirometry Training Guide was prepared for use as an adjunct or supplement to a NIOSH approved course on spirometry. This Guide is intended for individuals who are responsible for conducting spirometry in the workplace.

Available in print, on the web or on CD.
NIOSH Spirometry Training Guide DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-154c

Contact: US NIOSH - Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA | Tel: + 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) | Fax: + 1 513-533-8573 | Email: | or visit the NIOSH Web site at

The Worker Health Chartbook, 2004

The 354 page US NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States. A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses. Chapter 5 addresses special populations such as young workers, older workers and Hispanic workers.

Available in print or on the web
NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-146

Contact: US NIOSH - Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA | Tel: + 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) | Fax: + 1 513-533-8573 | Email: | or visit the NIOSH Web site at

Factsheet 53 Ensuring the health and safety of workers with disabilities

People with disabilities should receive equal treatment at work. This includes equality regarding health and safety at work. Health and safety should not be used as an excuse for not employing or not continuing to employ disabled people. In addition, a workplace that is accessible and safe for people with disabilities is also safer and more accessible for all employees, clients and visitors. People with disabilities are covered by both European anti-discrimination legislation and occupational health and safety legislation. This legislation, which the Member States implement in national legislation and arrangements, should be applied to facilitate the employment of people with disabilities, not to exclude them.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Factsheet 53 Ensuring the health and safety of workers with disabilities is available on the web at

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao - Spain | Tel: + 34 94 479 4360 | Fax: + 34 94 479 4383 | Email: |

Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA), and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao (Spain) have launched a new joint OSH website.

The site follows the structure and presentation of the Agency's website network and represents a significant contribution to the creation of a global portal to workplace safety and health information.

As well as linking directly to EU information, the site is a rich source of Japanese OSH information.

Mr. Kazuo Hiromi, the president of the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, JISHA, comments: "I am very pleased to launch this new website in cooperation with the European Agency. At the same time as JICOSH has been disseminating Japanese information across the world, Japanese industries have also been learning a lot from information provided by the Agency and other countries. In the new website we have agreed with the Agency to put the emphasis mainly on 'good practice'. In doing so, I hope we can further contribute to improving occupational safety and health in the world.

"This link between Japan and Europe provides valuable information on workplace health and safety standards in our respective economies. We can share our successful strategies to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses. Good OSH practice benefits society and makes sound business sense."

The Director of the European Agency, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, said: "The launch of the Japanese website adds a significant dimension to the Agency's network. It allows business, workers and experts alike to be better informed about regulatory demands, OSH systems and best practices in Japan and in the European Union and thus to meet the challenges of globalisation."

The EU/Japanese website is available at:

Achieving better safety and health in construction

The 16 cases described in this report consider a range of issues that influence standards of safety and health. These include design and planning decisions, effective partnering, training issues, construction site management and risk assessment

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Issue 314 - Achieving better safety and health in construction. 2004. 144 pages
ISBN 92 9191 073 2

This publication is available in PDF format on or can be ordered through Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg. OPOCE Catalog number: TE5904136ENC

World of Work: ILO turns 85: strong foundations for decent work

In the 85 years since the birth of the International Labour Office (ILO), the organization has sought to renew itself on a number of occasions. This year marks a series of important milestones for the ILO.

In the November 2004 edition there are articles on the ILO and its achievements plus a number of other important and interesting articles such as: Global economic security in crisis - new ILO report finds "a world full of anxiety and anger" and New ILO study on Youth unemployment at all-time high

World of Work magazine is now published three times per year by the Department of Communication of the ILO in Geneva. Also published in Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Japanese, Norwegian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish.

All correspondence should be addressed to the ILO Department of Communication, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland | Tel: +41 22 799 7912 | Fax: +41 22 799 8577 |

Readers in the US should send their correspondence to the ILO Washington Office, 1828 L Street NW, Suite 600, Washington DC 20036 | Tel: +202/653-7652 | Fax: +202/653-7687 | |

Important information sources on the ILO website

Two important sources of lifesaving information are now freely available to the public on the ILO's website. The English version of the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety and the bilingual (English/French) CISDOC database were previously available only on subscription through partner institutions. Internauts are now invited to point their browsers at and (underscore, not full stop, between "index" and "html").

The ILO's International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre announced the news in Brussels on 18 September at a meeting of knowledge management specialists from 20 countries. The delegates represented some of the 137 institutions world-wide that contribute time and publications to an active and self-sustaining information exchange network, a network that was an important source of expertise for the Encyclopaedia and continues to provide material for the CISDOC database.

Now in its fourth edition, the Encyclopaedia is a unique and widely respected reference. Its 1000 articles and copious illustrations have been available on paper, CD-ROM and the World Wide Web since 1998. But always at a price. Responding to calls from International Labour Conference Delegates and the ILO Governing Body to provide free access to more resources, the InFocus Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork) has now made the Encyclopaedia the centrepiece of its "SafeWork Bookshelf", which presently also includes the ILO/WHO/UNEP International Chemical Safety Cards.

CISDOC is the fruit of 30 years of screening the occupational safety and health literature of the world for interesting and useful books, articles and audiovisual materials that occupational safety and health specialists can use in their fight against workplace accidents and diseases. It already guides users to over 62,000 publications, and 2000 more references are added every year.

The Encyclopaedia and CISDOC are still available from their long-time vendors. The two are searchable together on the World Wide Web at, and CISDOC is combined with other important occupational safety and health databases on CD-ROMs from the Croner unit of Wolters-Kluwer (UK) and from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. It will also be shortly available on the new product OSH UPDATE

An important tool is included with the Encyclopaedia and CISDOC: the CIS Thesaurus. This trilingual (English/French/Spanish) collection of terms is used by the ILO to index CISDOC references, and by a number of occupational safety and health libraries around the world to organize their collections. In the Internet age, it is a valuable source of "meta-data" for making Web pages easier to find.

Biometric ID for seafarers ready to be issued:
New ILO Convention for maritime workers will come into force in February 2005

The International Labour Office (ILO) today announced that the new biometric system for issuing secure identity documents to the world's 1.2 million seafarers is ready for implementation, following successful testing of products that met the challenging requirement of "global interoperability" for such documents.

The new system, mandated under the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention, 2003 (No. 185) adopted by the Government, Employer and Worker delegates to the International Labour Conference in June 2003, represents a comprehensive response to the need for greater global security while guaranteeing the rights of workers in the global shipping fleet, which handles 90 per cent of world trade.

Convention No. 185 is the first international binding instrument for an identification system. Its biometric feature, the fingerprint, is based upon "global interoperability", meaning that it must be possible for the fingerprint information on the Seafarer Identity Document (SID) issued in one country to be read correctly by equipment used in another.

To enable this, the ILO Governing Body adopted in March 2004 a single standard with specifications to be followed in national systems and products for generating the biometric representation of fingerprints on the SID, and for verifying that the seafarer's fingerprint corresponds to the fingerprint on the SID.

With the cooperation of organizations representing seafarers and shipowners, the ILO has just completed a six-week test involving 126 volunteer seafarers on the M.V. Crystal Harmony, a vessel operated by Crystal Cruises. The seafarers included men and women from 30 countries and covered a broad distribution of ages and a diverse set of seafaring job categories.

The testing exercise involved seven biometric products submitted by various manufacturers. The ILO has found that two of them met the requirement of global interoperability.

"This announcement paves the way for countries to start issuing the secure identity documents," says Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the Standards Department of the ILO. "We are expecting that future testing will allow us to bring other providers to the list of products that meet the requirements and that can be used by countries to issue the new identification cards."

Convention No. 185 was adopted to replace the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention No. 108 (1958), which has been ratified by 61 ILO Member States representing 60.7 per cent of the world's fleet.

The new instrument will come into force in February 2005 following early ratification by France, Jordan and Nigeria. Several other countries have already started the process to complete ratification, according to information provided to the ILO. Among these are the Philippines, Indonesia and India, countries that provide the largest number of sea-going maritime personnel.

"Ensuring the security of seafarers and the ships they work on is crucial," says Ms. Doumbia-Henry.

For more information please visit the ILO website at


Control Banding - Threat or Benefit?

by Paul Oldershaw, Head of the HSE's Central Specialist Division and Immediate Past President of British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS)

Protecting workers against possible harm from the chemicals they encounter has become narrowly focused on setting exposure limits for inhalation, meeting those standards, giving them a legal base, and measuring them to ever greater precision. It has developed into quite an industry, and has been very useful in some instances. But, is it an appropriate approach for controlling all possible chemical hazards in the workplace? Here, Paul Oldershaw gives a personal view.

If they are to be effective, exposure limits require a good evidence base and a skilled expert group to set them, a measurement system of adequate precision, the ability to both assess the measuring of the results and to act upon them, an acceptance of responsibility to update the limits with changing knowledge and a means of taking the value judgements inherent in all such systems. Not least, these capabilities also must be available to those at risk. And this list of costly, often highly limiting, needs could be extended.

Many occupational hygienists and toxicologists consider enforced limits to be a good thing, and certainly it is inconceivable that the high level of control of exposure to asbestos, silica and lead - as three examples - could have been delivered so effectively without quantification against standards. But I would argue that, for many other chemicals in many (particularly emerging) workplace situations, we need other means of ensuring effective control.

Most chemicals will never have an extensive scientific base from which to decide, quantitatively, upon the risks they bring to the workplace, since their usage and likely harm would not justify this. Year after year, perhaps two or three hundred new substances become commercially exploited in the EU, most of them probably offering no significant threat, and very few of major concern. Is their use prevented until a protective health based exposure limit is established? Certainly not! Users, perhaps on the advice of the supplier, or in keeping with common general practice in the industry, apply one of a very limited range of practical options to prevent or reduce exposure. In an ideal situation, training, personal protection, health surveillance, maintenance of plant and other standard occupational hygiene approaches will have been assessed as part of a structured health and safety management system (but that's another issue!).

Much less frequently than might be imagined, real expert help will be needed. Even measurement, with all its associated costs, will be of little practical extra benefit as a health protection tool over and above sensible controls; indeed my experience is that much environmental measurement is undertaken primarily to meet the need to show compliance with a legal limit and / or for defensive purposes against possible future claims of ill-health.

In many countries there are, indeed, national lists of exposure limits, but little or none of the resources necessary to give them practical effect. Occupational hygiene skills are rare, the infrastructure needed for measurement largely absent and, where it is present, not widely available at acceptable cost to those at risk. The capability is largely held within the big, sometimes multinational, enterprises and is not strong within the regulatory authorities who may have many other demands on their limited resources. Should expert advice be sought, it may well be prohibitively expensive if available at all.

In these situations other complementary means of practical health protection are clearly needed to ensure that a sensible, cost effective approach to control is taken by the user at the earliest opportunity, and that measurement and highly skilled risk assessment is directed only to those areas where it is justified, which will be a minority of cases.

One way of doing this is through Control Banding, which helps users to control key processes with the minimum of outside intervention. By taking the chemical hazard data (agreed for many thousands of substances across the European Community), combining it with their knowledge of their process and a simple indication of the likelihood of the substance becoming airborne (e.g. dustiness or volatility), users can feed this into a simple system, out of which come practical control suggestions. This guidance is put together by occupational hygienists with a good knowledge of the relevant industries and builds upon practical experience and accepted good practice. The system can be set up to direct the user to seek expert assistance, as it would do, for example, with carcinogens. This approach is known as e-COSHH Essentials within the UK where it was developed by the Health and Safety Executive, and has been extensively trialled, nationally and internationally, through a joint initiative by ILO, WHO and IPCS. Indeed the concept is being developed in many guises.

So is there universal acclamation? Not exactly - its reception is mixed. Some criticise it as though it seeks to be an expert system carrying out a risk analysis. It doesn't, however, aim to do this, as it defaults to directing the user to expert advice. Some criticise it as not being how toxicology should be carried out. I would argue that it doesn't look to do this, but actually builds upon much of the same information used for limit setting and chemical classification. Others say "interesting idea, but couldn't work here", whilst yet others see Control Banding as cutting across legal duties linked to compliance with exposure limits.

If this position, frozen by tradition or law, prevails then we will never be effective in addressing the risks to many workers, in most of the world, who have no access to the skills and resources to turn exposure limits into effective control.

If you want to explore the Control Banding approach to the control of chemical exposure, the UK system is freely available at: and the international version, developed through ILO/WHO/IPCS, at:


Paul Oldershaw joined the HSE in 1974 as an inspector specialising in occupational hygiene problems, and has since held many positions relating to health. He now heads HSE's Central Specialist Division. Paul has worked for many years in collaboration with WHO, ILO and within the European community. He is a Fellow of BOHS's Faculty of Occupational Hygiene, and has held the post of President of BOHS twice, in 1992 and 2003, the only person to have done so in the Society's 50 year history. He is also a Past President of the IOHA and heads its Co-operation in Occupational Hygiene Programme. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the HSE, BOHS or IOHA.

Service Makes it Easier for Employers to Meet Health and Safety Responsibilities and Help Workers Work Safely With Chemicals

A new MSDS Management Service from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) makes it easier and affordable to communicate chemical safety information in work places.

Thousands of hazardous substances are used in workplaces every day - from gas and cleaning products, to the toner used in photocopiers. Under occupational health and safety law, employers are required to keep workers informed on the hazards of chemicals found in the workplace. The MSDS Management Service makes it easier for employers to be WHMIS compliant, and for workers to easily access important safety information when they need it.

As part of the right-to-know (WHMIS), employers must make Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for each hazardous substance in the workplace. MSDSs contain information about health hazards, handling and storage, personal protection, spill and disposal procedures, and first aid. Keeping track of MSDSs that are usually in a paper format, and ensuring they are up-to-date can be a major undertaking.

CCOHS' new online MSDS Management Service draws on the extensive CCOHS MSDS database as the primary source for the most current records from more than 1200 manufacturers and suppliers. The Service enables customized, organizational subsets of MSDSs to be created. Users can then search from a smaller collection tailored to their specific requirements, giving them quick and ready access to MSDSs. As chemical suppliers produce new MSDSs, CCOHS automatically updates the database, and informs users of the changes by email.

In addition, CCOHS provides a complete turnkey service for organizations that do not have the resources to set up and maintain their own MSDS collection. With the MSDS Management Plus! Service, CCOHS takes care of the set up and uploading of MSDSs to create custom collections, and to help organizations manage their MSDSs.

As Canada's national source of occupational health and safety information, CCOHS bundles other content rich, complimentary products and services as part of the MSDS Management Service. These include CHEMINFO, a database of more than 1300 chemical profiles; a Chemical Notification Service that informs subscribers when new information is released on chemicals in which they are interested; a database of WHMIS chemical classifications, and a wealth of other relevant materials.

Contact: Eleanor Irwin, Manager - Marketing, Sales and Communications, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) | Tel: +1 905 5722981, Ext. 4408 | Email: |

News from South Africa

Appointment of new Managing Director for NOSA International

Well-known industry executive to lead Nosa International in the growing operational risk management marketplace.

Nosa International, a leading supplier of operational risk management solutions, announced the appointment of its new managing director. Heading up the company's worldwide operations from its Pretoria head office, Hannes Struyweg will be spearheading the company's exciting growth plans.

Struyweg brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role. His hands-on career experience includes roles spanning international operations such as auditing, consulting, certification and training as well as large-scale business management and integration. He started his career as a safety consultant and was the first Nosa International employee to deliver services in Hong Kong, China and South America.

Since 1990, he held various executive positions in the company. Prior to his appointment as managing director, Struyweg managed the training and consultancy division, which included responsibilities for no less than 55% of the staff complement employed across 9 departments. Struyweg is the co-author of the world-acclaimed NOSA Integrated Five Star System and has developed Nosa International's unique world-class auditing methodology. Apart from his in-depth knowledge of operational risk management, Struyweg is eminently qualified to provide leadership in the quest to translate success in the company's objectives of transformation, sustainable growth and restructuring.

This is an exciting time in the company's evolution. Various initiatives are currently being introduced, including the sourcing and implementation of BEE shareholding, private equity capital as well as the establishment of a trust with shares available to Nosa International employees. Processes are managed with the assistance of external turnaround consultants and will imminently result in value creation for the company's growing international client base. "With sound management, the company is capable of producing sustainable profits and continued dominant market share as enjoyed for more that 50 years", says Struyweg.

"We are experiencing solid performances in the Australasian, South American and Far Eastern markets. Highlights include our joint venture with the Chinese State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) to provide occupational risk management services in China. Business in South America is also back on track showing a 40% growth in recent months. Nosa Australia signed a contract with a major nuclear services supplier and this is another milestone in our international business growth", commented Struyweg.

"With current demands for better integration of systems and processes, clients now have one solution in Nosa International's wide range of services and products. This includes the successful introduction of HIV/Aids management solutions (NAMS) and B-Safe (behavioural safety) management solutions (BSMS) to our portfolio. A services contract for B-Safe services has recently been signed with one of the largest electricity entities in South Africa. Nosa International has remarkable and well-established brand names and is proud of its reputation in the industry however, we have many more opportunities to exploit", concluded Struyweg.

Background Information on Nosa International

Founded in 1952, Nosa International is a worldwide operational risk management services and solutions company. The company's services and products have been pivotal in improving the risk management performance of companies across the globe. Apart from its 13 offices in Africa, it has several more established offices in Australia, China and South America. Employing highly qualified staff with expertise in systems integration, risk management, environmental management, occupational health and safety management, HIV/Aids management, behavioural safety, training and consulting, Nosa International has developed a global portfolio that spans the full spectrum of operational risk management. For more information, visit

"Driving for Work Safer Speeds Policy" and "Driving for Work: Mobile Phones"

RoSPA, with the support of the Department for Transport, has produced two new publications, "Driving for Work: Safer Speeds Policy" and "Driving for Work: Mobile Phones". Both are written for employers, and particularly line managers, who have staff who drive (or ride motorcycles) for work

Research indicates that about 20 people are killed and 250 seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes. HSE Guidelines state that "health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities as to all work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system".

Therefore, employers must assess the risks involved in their staff's use of the road for work and put in place all 'reasonably practicable' measures to manage those risks. These two resources are designed to offer advice on how managers can ensure that their staff are able to complete their journeys without speeding or using a mobile phone while driving. They complement a guidance leaflet we published earlier this year, "Driving for Work: Safer Journey Planner"

All three of the "Driving for Work" policy guidelines can be freely downloaded from:


EU health and safety rules at work - Social Agenda No. 9 2004

In the light of recent changes in work and society, this issue is devoted to the EU's Strategy for Health and Safety at Work. Other topics include, among other things, increasing life expectancy in the new Member States, EU anti-discrimination policy, and the future of the Enlarged Social Europe. It is available in English, French and German.

Occupational health: Eight priority action areas for Community policy

by Laurent Vogel

EU enlargement raised many questions about the future of health at work policy. There has been progress in cutting work accident rates, but elsewhere what has been done generally falls well short of what is wanted and needed.

The TUTB picks out eight specific areas where health at work strategies need beefing up.

Over a hundred thousand people in the European Union are killed each year in an accident or by a disease caused by poor working conditions. Truth to tell, this is no more than an approximate minimum, because no exact figures can be put on it. It is a conservative and certainly under-stated guesstimate. Whenever authorities or researchers attempt to determine what measurable impact working conditions has on some aspect of health, they uncover new problems. Men and women workers do not need specialists for that. Surveys tell us of the fatigue, pain, disabilities and illnesses they suffer on a massive scale.

Occupational health is a hidden issue. It is rarely front-page news. The authorities do not get much exercised about research in the field. To cite just one example, far more money is poured into genetic research on cancer than the scant funding allowed to research into the role of occupational exposures in cancers.

There is often a misperception that workplace health problems are mainly technical. We think not. We believe occupational health to be first and foremost a political issue that reflects societal choices.

This publication gives a broad-brush picture of some of the on-going debates on workplace health problems in the European Union.

Occupational health: Eight priority action areas for Community policy
by Laurent Vogel
2004 32 pages ISBN 2 930003553 10 Euros EN FR
format 17x24 cm

TUTB Publications can be ordered directly from the Internet site, by fax or e-mail.

Postal address: TUTB, BD du Roi Albert II, 5, B-1210 Brussels | Fax: +32 2 224 05 61

Contact person: Géraldine Hofmann (+32 2 224 05 63) | Email: |

European Commission asks workers and employers what action should be taken to combat musculoskeletal disorders

The European Commission is seeking the views of workers' and employers' representatives on how best to tackle the growing problem of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). These ailments, which include back pain and repetitive strain injury, are the biggest health and safety problem facing European workers today. Studies show that they affect over 40 million workers in all sectors across the EU and account for 40 to 50 per cent of all work-related ill-health. They are costing employers across the EU billions of euros. The problem is eroding Europe's competitiveness and leading to losses of 0.5 to 2 per cent of GNP each year.

In a consultation document issued today, the Commission says that whilst such disorders are in principle covered by general EU health and safety legislation, most of it is over a decade old and does not apply specifically to work-related MSDs. Some Member States have passed laws to tackle the problem and others have not. The Commission is asking workers and employers to say how they think these gaps in the law at national and Community level should be plugged to prevent such ailments from developing.

The Commission highlights the problems for business that arise from these disorders: production losses, sick leave, medical, compensation and insurance costs, the loss of experienced staff and the cost of recruiting and training new staff, and the impact on the quality of work. The main cause of these disorders is poor ergonomic conditions. The three main risk factors are lifting and moving heavy loads, repetitive movements, and strenuous working postures.

The problem affects men and women alike, in all sectors across the EU. Figures show that it is increasing: in 2000 over a third of European workers complained of back-ache - a three-point increase from the 1995 level. Agricultural workers are the worst affected overall, with 57 per cent suffering from MSDs. The highest increases are being seen amongst professionals (up from 18 per cent to 24 per cent) and technicians (up from 23 per cent to 31 per cent).

Workers' and employers' groups have six weeks from now to reply to the Commission's paper. They are being asked whether they would like to see new Community legislation or whether they would prefer voluntary measures, or a combination of binding and non-binding measures, and what the main focus of the preventive measures should be (e.g. ergonomics, work organisation, psychosocial aspects). They could also decide to draw up an agreement themselves to tackle the problem.

MSDs are one of today's major modern workplace issues being dealt with as part of the "social dialogue" between the two sides of industry which is being promoted by the Commission. As a result of this dialogue, an agreement on combating stress at the workplace was recently reached.

Full text on the website:

New guidelines for businesses on product safety obligations

Guidelines clarifying businesses' duties to alert government authorities on unsafe products have been published by the European Commission. The new guidelines will provide assistance on when and how to make such a notification and clarify the deadlines within which businesses must act. Once notified, the authority may, depending on the nature of the risk, require the business to take further action - such as tracing and withdrawing the products concerned or even organising a product recall.

The relevant Member State may also notify the European Commission if the product poses a serious risk and is marketed in several EU countries. The Commission will then alert member state authorities across the EU via its RAPEX rapid alert system on product safety (IP/04/183). Since the beginning of 2004, the EU's General Product Safety Directive has made it obligatory for producers and distributors to rapidly inform the relevant member state authorities if a product they have helped place on the market is found to be unsafe.

Cochrane Collection - Occupational Health Field

In May this 2004 the Cochrane Collaboration has registered a new entity: the Cochrane Occupational Health field. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international non-profit independent organisation, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare readily available world-wide. It produces and disseminates systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other studies of interventions.

Visit the Cochrane web site for more details

The development of the field is the result of the collaboration of the ICOH Scientific Committee on Health Services Research and Evaluation in Occupational Health. The committee has been looking for ways to gather scientific evidence on occupational health interventions. This has resulted in the founding of a Field in the Cochrane Collaboration. The aim of the Occupational Health Field is:

Occupational health interventions are defined as intentional strategies or activities aimed at reducing:

They include actions aimed at improving working conditions, empowering workers, improving and maintaining work ability. These actions intend to create better conditions than the mere absence of disease and disability

The Field will maintain a database of controlled trials and systematic reviews on occupational health interventions and support Cochrane Systematic Reviews on these interventions. The website is available from December 1 at

The Cochrane Collaboration functions mainly on the basis of voluntary participation. We call on all readers to contact us if they want to conduct a systematic review, handsearch scientific journals, contribute a trial or systematic review to the database or want to make suggestions for funding of the Field or systematic reviews.

Contact details
The Field is housed at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the department of Research and Development of Occupational Health Services, Kuopio, Finland.
Jos Verbeek is the Field Co-ordinator. He can be reached at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, P.O. Box 93, 70701, Kuopio, Finland or by email at

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international non-profit independent organisation, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare readily available world-wide. It produces and disseminates systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other studies of interventions.

Visit the Cochrane web site for more details

Discussion paper in
Scand J Work Environ Health 2004;30(2):164-168
Building an evidence base for occupational health interventions
by Jos Verbeek, PhD; Kaj Husman, MD; Frank van Dijk, MD; Merja Jauhiainen, MSc; Iris Pasternack, MD; Harri Vainio, PhD

This article summarizes arguments for building an evidence base for occupational health. Evidence is needed on the most effective ways of eliminating health hazards in the workplace and at work, enhancing healthy behavior or the empowerment of workers, and preventing and treating occupational diseases and occupational disability.

An evidence base for occupational health must include systematic reviews. The Cochrane Collaboration has brought together some of the evidence; however, a search for systematic reviews on the top priorities in occupational health research showed that systematic reviews are lacking in many areas. Current reviewing methods can be adapted to the special features of occupational health. It is concluded that more effort should be invested in the preparation, maintenance, and dissemination of systematic reviews in order to create a necessary evidence base for occupational health interventions. Occupational health could benefit considerably from greater awareness of the evidence for and against various types of intervention.

Costa Rica and Canada new idea

Costa Rica is a small, progressive country in the heart of Central America. They focus on improving communities and social development and have surpassed most other Central American countries in efforts to develop both strong and universally accessible education and health systems.

Costa Rican officials are striving for further improvements in reducing work-related injuries and fatalities. They realized that fostering a safety attitude at home, or during travel and recreational activities would be a further benefit to communities at large.

They contacted Canada with an idea: "Could we collaborate to develop a health and safety curricula for primary school children?" Costa Rican officials see educating youth as a way of forging a new safety culture across the country. Canada has, of course, made efforts to integrate health and safety education into its school curriculum in many parts of the country.

As a result, a special project was undertaken between Canada and Costa Rica through the work of the Office of Inter-American Labour Co-operation in Ottawa. Through their co-ordination, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) met, helped set strategies, and worked alongside two Costa Rican groups: the Labour Ministry's Council for Occupational Health and the National Ministry of Education. The goal was to develop a teacher's training resource manual for primary schools that promotes health and safety education and supports the existing related cross-curricular themes in this area.

The project was initiated with introductory meetings in May 2004 at which the team membership, responsibilities and capabilities were identified. Project development as a team occurred over two weeks during the mid-summer (rainy season) in San José, the capital of Costa Rica. With input from education specialists and CCOHS, draft materials prepared by the Council for Occupational Health were further developed and enhanced, training exercises and teaching tools were created, and images and exercises were designed. All of these efforts occurred using simultaneous translation during meetings. The manual was created directly in Spanish.

CCOHS specialists who had developed health and safety curriculum previously on different projects in Canadian settings quickly recognized that culture and environment made for some interesting differences between Costa Rica and Canada teaching objectives.

"Costa Rican education and workplace health specialists really took a big picture approach to health and safety. Educating youth about choking on foods or what to do during natural disasters was as important as home product safety and the impact of organization on work," said Jan Chappel, one of the workplace safety specialists from CCOHS.

Currently several dozen schools across Costa Rica are testing the teaching manual, the theme of which, Forging a Culture of Prevention and Safety, recognizes the goal of the project. The Education and Labour Ministries plan to fully release the manual countrywide once feedback and suggestions are received and integrated. CCOHS was proud to participate in this collaborative achievement to help promote a safety culture in Costa Rica.

W. Australia Implementation plan for new workplace safety and health laws

Safety and health in Western Australia's workplaces will undergo the biggest reforms in almost 20 years as new laws begin taking effect in the New Year. Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke said the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Legislation Amendment and Repeal Act 2004 last month, was one of the highlights of the Gallop Government's Parliamentary year.

"From January 1, 2005, new maximum fines ranging up to $625,000 will bring WA more into line with penalties applying in other States," Mr Kobelke said.

"Under the new laws, there will also be the option of jail sentences for accountable senior managers found guilty of gross negligence causing serious injury or death."

The Minister said many employers understood the value, in personal and commercial terms, of providing safe and healthy workplaces, but the tougher penalties for unsafe or dangerous workplaces now provided bigger deterrents for those who did not comply.

"From April 4 2005 after a period of appropriate training, safety and health representatives will be able to issue Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs), where employers are failing to abide by their obligations under the legislation," he said. "The previous Liberal Government failed to respond adequately to calls for safer and healthier workplaces as well as letting WA slide with five budget deficits in eight years.

"Under the Gallop Government's good management, WA has not only balanced the Budget every year, funding has been made available for a 20 per cent increase in the number of safety inspectors and through extensive consultation we have produced much more effective laws to keep workplaces safer and healthier."

Mr Kobelke said it was vital to stay focused on occupational safety and health, because on average a workplace death was recorded every 16 days and every 25 minutes a Western Australian was injured seriously enough to need time off work. "This is an unacceptable toll and these comprehensive reforms will provide a new level of accountability to help prevent injury and illness of WA workers," the Minister said.

February 25 is 'work your proper hours' day in 2005

Friday, February 25 is the day in 2005 when the UK TUC estimates that people who do unpaid overtime will stop working for free and start to get paid. The TUC is urging people who do unpaid overtime to 'work your proper hours' on that day so that they take a proper lunch-break, and arrive and leave work on time.

This should remind Britain's employers just how much they depend on the good will and voluntary extra work of their staff, the TUC says. Indeed the TUC is urging Britain's bosses to take their staff out for lunch, coffee or a cocktail on 'work your proper hours day' to say thank you for their hard work and commitment.

The TUC will run an intense PR campaign in the run up to the second 'work your proper hours' day. 'This will be an annual event,' said TUC Head of Campaigns, Nigel Stanley. 'It's an ideal opportunity for leisure, arts and the hospitality industry to introduce special promotions on that day, and join the celebration. This is not a confrontational campaign, but we do work the longest hours in Europe. Every so often even people who love their jobs and are happy to put in extra hours want to be told they are not taken for granted. And if it makes people and employers think a bit harder about organising a better work-life balance, so much the better.'

The TUC has used the official Labour Force Survey, which measures unpaid overtime, to work out when 'work your proper hours day' will fall.

Trades Union Congress, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS, UK |

WHMIS E-course enables workers to work safely with hazardous chemicals

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) released WHMIS for Workers, a new e-learning course to help train employees to recognize and work safely with hazardous materials in the workplace.

The course, which takes about 50 to 60 minutes to complete, helps workers understand and follow WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), Canada's system of providing safety information about hazardous products used in Canadian workplaces.

The course teaches workers about their responsibilities, WHMIS classes, symbols and their meaning, material safety data sheets (MSDSs), and labels. WHMIS for Workers also includes practical advice on basic health and safety measures to protect the worker from chemical hazards and to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Quizzes throughout the module allow the participant to test their knowledge of the course material.

CCOHS developed this course using the accumulated experience of our information services since WHMIS began in 1988. Delivered over the Internet in an e-learning format, the course is cost effective and makes training easily accessible. As its name states, WHMIS for Workers is suitable for all workers who need WHMIS training and would be especially relevant for those in workplaces where chemical products are used, students in science and technology programs, or young workers preparing for a new job. It is a valuable tool for human resources and safety professionals with responsibility for training and compliance.

CCOHS is committed to providing Canadian workers, management and businesses with the health and safety education and information they need to meet their responsibilities and develop a safety culture in the workplace, in easy-to-access, electronic format.

The French version of WHMIS for Workers is planned for release in early 2005.

Contact: Eleanor Irwin, Manager - Marketing, Sales and Communications, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) | Tel: +1 1905/572-2981, Ext. 4408 | Email: |

OSHE web sites to explore


Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health   AUSTRALIA

Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health aim is the recognition, prevention and treatment of mental health conditions in veterans and serving personnel. Its site includes a broad list of publications on PTSD and information about the centre's research

Australian Building Trades Group of Unions Drug and Alcohol Committee   AUSTRALIA

Australian Building Trades Group of Unions Drug and Alcohol Committee site gives helpful information regarding the policies in place in the construction industry for drug and alcohol testing, safe removal of syringes and dealing with accidents. It also provides access to conference papers presented by the Sydney-based committee and the resources and products it offers.

St John Ambulance Australia   AUSTRALIA

St John Ambulance Australia web site give first aid news and a range of information It includes a glossary of first aid terms and details of events and courses.


Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities   EUROPE

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, has issued a reminder that, since October 1 2004, all its data and publications are available free of charge on the Internet. This decision has resulted in three times as many visitors to the website in November, over 40,000, compared with earlier months this year. According to the needs of the user, there are two ways to access the data through Eurostat's site. From the homepage, the "data" link takes general users to the "Key indicators on EU policy". These are predefined tables, which include "short-term indicators", "long-term indicators" and "structural indicators". For specialist users, "database" contains more detailed data, which can be extracted online and is updated daily.


American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   USA

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine occupational health site, this features news releases, conference information and access to relevant journals. It also contains a number of guideline statements on topics such as drugs screening in the workplace and reproductive and developmental health management.

American Risk and Insurance Association   USA

American Risk and Insurance Association web site provides access to the Journal of Risk and Insurance and has links to other US academic sites which focus on risk management.

Airline Safety   USA

Airline Safety is a US site says it exists to provide a "free-market approach" to discussion relating to the complex issues of air safety. It contains a lot of safety articles and is frequently asked questions areas offers analysis of safety issues for those who do a lot of flying as part of their work.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH   Carbon Monoxide   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Carbon monoxide pages. Many people using gasoline-powered tools such as high-pressure washers, concrete cutting saws (walk-behind/hand-held), power trowels, floor buffers, welders, pumps, compressors, and generators in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces have been poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO). CO can rapidly accumulate (even in areas that appear to be well ventilated) and build up to dangerous or fatal concentrations within minutes

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH   Fire Fighting and Prevention   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH Fire Fighting and Prevention Program is to improve the fire safety of miners by conducting research and implementing findings on the prevention, detection, and suppression of mine fires. The fire prevention research program applies science and engineering towards such tasks as ensuring that fire-safe materials are used, that combustibles are properly handled and stored, that mechanical and electrical equipment is properly used and maintained, and that personnel are adequately trained and educated in fire safety practices.


15-17 January 2005 - Intersec 2005
Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contact: Intersec 2005 |

25-27 January 2005 - Traceability 2005
CNIT - Paris La Défense (in Paris)
Contact: French Technology Press Bureau, 21 Grosvenor Place, LONDON SW1X 7TB | Tel: +44 (0) 207 235 5330 | Email: |

26 January 2005 - Lessons learnt from past accidents
The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5DB,UK
Contact: Martin Homer, The Steel Construction Institute, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7QN, UK | Tel: + 44 (0)1344 623 345 | Email: |

27 January 2005 - Lessons learnt from past accidents
Hilton Aberdeen Treetops Hotel, 161 Springfield Road, Aberdeen, AB15 7AQ, UK
Contact: Martin Homer, The Steel Construction Institute, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7QN, UK | Tel: + 44 (0)1344 623 345 | Email: |

30 January - 3 February 2005 - The 3rd Annual Occupational Health Conference
J W Marriott Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contact: IIR Holdings Ltd. PO Box 21743, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Tel: +971 4 335 2437 | |

9-10 February 2005 - Occupational Health and Safety Conference: second national summit
IMI Conference Centre, Sandyford Road, Dublin 16, Ireland
Contact: The Sunday Business Post, 80 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, Ireland | Tel: +353 1 602 6015 | Fax: +353 1 478 6198 | |

16 February 2005 - Let's Get Physical': a BOHS seminar on the role of PPE in controlling exposure to physical agents
London, UK
Contact: BOHS - British Occupational Hygiene Society, Suite 2, Georgian House, Great Northern Road, Derby, DE1 1LT, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1332 298101 |

17 February 2005 - OHSI Annual Conference
Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Ireland
Contact: Health and Safety Authority, 10 Hogan Place, Dublin, Ireland | Tel: +353 1 614 7000 | Fax: 353 1 614 7020 | Email: |

22-26 February 2005 - Fire Emergency Services Asia 2005
Contact: ACE Conferences and Events Lte Ltd, 84 Genting Lane No.03-03, Singapore 349584 | Tel/Fax: +65 6741 1578 | Email:

11-12 April 2005 - Effective Risk Management
Regency Hotel, London, UK
Contact: IBC | +44 (0)20 7017 5508 | Email:

11-12 April 2005 - International Conference on Stem cells Research and Therapeutics
San Diego, California, USA
Contact: Exhibition and Sponsorship | Tel: +1 626 256 6405 | Email: |

27-28 April 2005 - IOSH05: Health and Safety: red tape or green light
Cardiff International Arena and Convention Centre, Cardiff, UK
Contact: Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), UK | For booking enquiries and queries contact the Bookings Hotline on +44 (0)20 7017 5521 | Email: |

18-22 July 2005 - 2005 Johnson Conference to Focus on Asbestos Methods
University of Vermont, Burlington, USA
Contact: Co-Chairmen Michael E. Beard, RTI International | Tel: +1 919 541 6489 | Email: | James S. Webber, Ph.D., N.Y. State Department of Health | Tel: +1 518 474 0009 | Email: or Harry L. Rook, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology | Tel: +1 802 244 6879.