CIS Newsletter

No. 194
November 2005

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


  1. Editorial
  2. Press Release to use re CISDOC
  3. FOCUS ILO Project in NW Russia
  4. ILO Information resources and other contributions
  5. European Foundation New Director
  6. Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network
  7. News from around the World... Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Russia, South Africa, UK and USA.
  8. OSHE web sites
  9. Diary of Events


Dear CIS Colleagues

This year is moving so quickly - are you making progress with your plans and goals for 2006? This edition of the CIS Newsletter brings you news from a wide variety of sources.

We should not lose sight of the fact that CIS is truly a Global Network and it is through these worldwide links lies the strength... remember ...CIS Network of National and Collaborating Centres... Working together and Helping Each matter where people and centres are located in the world.

Publicity... tell them, tell them and tell them again...

So with this in mind, this edition of the CIS Newsletter takes one of the ideas from the Working Group 1 on Publicity in that there should be draft Press releases each month to help highlight CIS and the Network's activities. So you will find Press Release No.1 for November on the CISDOC database - what it is and how it is made available. You can alter this information as you wish with your own information - but it may encourage other organisations and individuals in your country and elsewhere to start and use this ever-increasing valuable source of information. Send out to all your contacts, journal editors, media, universities and, educators, trainers as well as businesses! And remember... all these communications help to put CIS on the international map and help them earn some revenue!

You can still read the Working Groups Papers and future work - see the list of papers in the Box alongside the CIS Newsletters.

Are you travelling in 2006?
From the May 2005 European meeting of the CIS Centres there was a proposal that the 2006 CIS Annual Meeting should be held in Geneva in May 2006 perhaps near to the dates of the ILO Conference. How many of you intend going to the ILO Conference? Could you please let CIS know email Gabor Sandi Annick Virot and myself with your ideas?

I hope that you enjoy this 'bumper edition' of the CIS Newsletter. Also appreciate all the news items - no matter what size the news - please continue to send. These are always gratefully received and are used as soon as possible. And of course, any suggestions to improve the Newsletter!

I am always delighted to hear from you... and was very pleased to hear from Roman Litvyakov, Project Coordinator, ILO Moscow about the ILO Project work in NW Russia. See FOCUS below.

Likewise equally pleased to hear from Garrett Brown about the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network - also in this Newsletter.

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. It is amazing how much the CIS Newsletter content gets re-used around the world. Take advantage of free publicity!

Remember you can see CIS Newsletter on the web site where back issues are stored.

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.

Remember >>>>
Surviving in 2005... By promotion, publicity and telling the World that CIS and its network exists!

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

Sheila Pantry, OBE

85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK
Tel: +44 1909 771024
Fax: +44 1909 772829

CIS Network of National and Collaborating Centres...
Working together and Helping Each Other...

Press Release No. 1 for November 2005 on the CISDOC database - what it is and how it is made available...

Searching for information? Then go to CISDOC/CISILO - The CIS Bibliographic Database

The CIS bibliographic database contains about 70,000 citations of documents that deal with occupational accidents and diseases as well as ways of preventing them.

The types of documents are: laws and regulations, chemical safety data sheets, training material, articles from periodical publications, books and standards. Every record contains a detailed bibliographic description, a full abstract and indexing descriptors drawn from the CIS Thesaurus. Every year, at least 2,000 new references are added.

The publications date from 1974 to the present and the Records contain information such as: title, author, name of the journal or publication from which the record is taken, publisher, summary of the journal article or publication and year of publication.

CISDOC is available via a free search interface on the ILO CIS web site in English, French, This is just the CISDOC database on its own.

CISDOC also appears in aggregations with other databases

The CISDOC database is made available through a variety of paid-for services to the public mainly via the Internet and combines with other valuable sources.

Click on the database names for more details on access and pricing. All vendors offer free trials some for 7 days others for 30 days!

So you can have a trial via each service so see which best suits your occupational health and safety enquiries.


Occupational Safety and Health in North-west Russia
ILO Project

The ILO Moscow Subregional Office has started implementation of a Project for Improved occupational safety and health (OSH) system in North-west region of Russian Federation.

The Project is aimed at creation of safety working conditions, which is on of the important components of process of poverty reduction, employment generation and economical development of the region.

The ILO Moscow Subregional Office works on a way of improvement of working conditions in 10 countries of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region for a many years. However this Project is the first OSH Project targeted on NW Russia.

The Project has been funded by the Government of Finland and going on under umbrella of the Northern Dimension Partnership on Public Health and Social Well-being.

Finland has a long history of collaboration with the ILO Moscow Subregional Office and Russia, in particular in North-west border territories. This collaboration is realized in many areas including providing of safe working conditions and social partnership. Many projects with participation of leading Finnish and Scandinavian specialists and institutes have been implemented during last years. Several TACIS and interregional projects have been realized. The Trade Unions of both countries have also a long history of cooperation.

The most important goal of the Project is to summarize results and experience which have been accumulated during preceding collaboration, to analyze it and to create auspicious conditions for effective implementation and development of their in current conditions.

Safe Work - Good Business

Current stage of economical development of Russia makes to look at OSH issues from other points of view. Slogan "Safe Work - Good Business" has to be very relevant within the next few years. Modern employer has to understand clearly all the benefits from creation of safe working conditions at the enterprise. New OSH management systems have to give new opportunities for development of social dialog in OSH issues on the Federal level as well as on the level of enterprise.

A safe working condition is a part of normal quality and production management. Providing adequate working conditions is an investment in the human resources and skills of the work force at the enterprise, in quality and productivity and not an extra cost. On the contrary, poor working environment costs money for the enterprise and the society in the form of increased costs of hazard pay and added leave for work force employed in sub-standard working conditions, for personal protective equipment, for compensation costs for accidents and diseases and lost days of production and quality. Furthermore, hazardous working conditions can lead to personal disasters, loss of family members, social exclusion and child labour.

Promotion of the Safety culture in Russia today is a very important task on all levels - from state authorities to every worker.

The Project covers a wide spectrum of issues closely related between each other. All these issues as we can see from the Figure (see Fig.1) are related with task of poverty reduction and employment generation. The Project activities will be realized in close interaction of listed issues on the Federal level as well as on regional and municipal.

Figure 1

Figure 1. The ILO Project for improvement of OSH system in North-west region of Russia.

Whereas the overall objective is the reduction of poverty, skills development for increased employment and secure conditions of work and life, the immediate objective for the OSH cluster is improved working conditions for men and women working in the North-west Okrug giving them a safe and decent working life.

The execution of the OSH project, with its components of social partnership, good governance and rule of law, is further diminishing the decent work and life gap at the Finnish border, being the border between the European Union and Russian Federation.

The Project Objectives

Following main areas of work have been defined for the Project based on analyze of the results of previous cooperation and current Russian tasks in the field of OSH:

Working together

The Project will be working in other areas not listed above promoting exchange of experience and joining of operations of specialists. The Project will develop cooperation with the Northern Dimension Partnership on Public Health and Social Well-being in selected areas. Development and implementation of joint work programs of cooperation with Baltic Sea OSH Network is also one of the Project tasks.

The project has agreed with the Scandinavian institute NIVA for joint work in the field of training of specialists. The NIVA will implement several OSH training courses in Russia involving leading experts from Finland and EU.

Many Russian organizations, Institutes and specialists such as OSH authorities, employers organizations, trade unions, enterprises (especially OSH specialists and safety committees members), labour inspectorates, sanitary inspectors, technical inspections, OSH Institutes, training and Information centers from several regions of North-west of Russia are involved in the Project.

A lot of Finnish partners will work together with Russian colleagues in the Project.

The Ministry of foreign affairs, the Ministry of labour, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish OSH Institute, Trade Unions, the OSH Centre in Helsinki, the OSH scientific organizations and Institutes are the main Finnish partners.

The Project started in April 2005 and has been planned for 2 years, but we hope on continuation of the cooperation between Finnish and Russian partners based on the results of the Project.

The Project office is located in Saint Petersburg. Recently many work meetings has been implemented. Agreements for joint work with many partners have been completed. Contact person in ILO Subregional office in Moscow is Mr Wiking Husberg | Tel. +7 095 9330827 | Email:

Detailed information about the Project can be found on WEB site of the Virtual Academy of Safework | ILO Moscow WEB site

Roman Litvyakov, Project Coordinator, ILO Moscow | Tel: +7 901 3022990 | +7 095 9330827 | E-mail: |

ILO Information resources and other contributions

You may have not looked at the ILO web site in any detail recently. You will find the following most useful.

News Room


ILO Library

There are also details of Job opportunities at the ILO

Other sources

You may also like to see FIOH Finland website - where they produce and hold OSH magazines that FIOH edits see that contains the full text of:

a. The African Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety has been published since 1991, and continues the traditions of its predecessor, the East-African Newsletter. In helping to publish this periodical, the FIOH supports the global occupational health strategies of the International Labour Office (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The periodical is targeted at 21 African countries and the experts working in these countries, but it is distributed in some 100 countries.

b. The Asian-Pacific Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety (published since 1994) provides the information to occupational health and safety experts in Asian countries. The publication of this periodical, too, supports the International Labour Office (ILO) and WHO Global strategies on Occupational Health for All. It is distributed in some 100 countries. The articles in the periodical are written mostly by specialists from the region.

c. The Barents Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety (published since 1998) provides information to occupational health and safety experts in the countries of the Barents region.

CIS Newsletter

Finally there is the CIS Network's own CIS newsletter
FREE of CHARGE published since 1989 and still going strong!

News from Ireland

New Director appointed for the European Foundation

Jorma Karppinen has been appointed by the European Commission as Director for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the Dublin-based EU-agency.

Jorma Karppinen, born 1948 in Finland, is currently Director of Business Development at Metso Automation Ltd in Helsinki, Finland, a global automation systems manufacturing company, where he previously held the posts of President of Energy Automation and then President of Process Automation Systems. With an academic background in engineering and technical physics, including a doctorate in technology in 1979, his career spans positions in scientific research, marketing and development, and senior management with Nokia Electronics, Afora Ltd and Fortum Engineering Ltd.

'This is a great opportunity for me to contribute to European competitiveness, job creation and quality of life, and to use my experience in international business and in different work cultures for the benefit of the European social model,' Jorma Karppinen said. 'Further strengthening of the Foundation's important work and role in improving living and working conditions in Europe will be an important goal. I am looking forward to work with the excellent team in its highly cross-cultural environment at the Foundation.'

Through his extensive experience in business development and management, Jorma Karppinen has developed a comprehensive understanding of the industrial changes facing Europe today. Jorma Karppinen has first-hand experience of implementing industrial restructuring projects, taking part in labour union negotiations, and participating in European works council meetings. Throughout his working life, Mr Karppinen has travelled widely and has developed a global view of the living and working conditions of many different countries.

Jorma Karppinen hopes to take up his new post as Director of the Foundation in December 2005.

Read more on the Foundation's website EuroFound at

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer, on telephone +353-1-204 3124, mobile: +353-876-593 507 or email:

The European Foundation

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policymaking with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research. The Foundation was established by Council Regulation EEC No. 1365/75 of 26 May 1975. The Foundation is located in Dublin, Ireland.

More news and information from the Foundation is available on:

To register for regular information from the Foundation visit:

News from Canada


Have A Seat - Safely, Comfortably, And Ergonomically

Let's face it: our posteriors are permanently parked. We sit while we travel. We sit for meals. We sit through meetings and presentations, and when the day is done we sit in front of the TV. For those of us who also sit in an office all day, every work day, having a chair that's appropriate to our body dimensions and the tasks we perform is essential to our health and well-being.

Finding the right chair is not as easy as it sounds. Buying a chair just because it's labeled "ergonomic" can be a mistake. "Ergonomics" is the science of matching the job to the worker. A chair only becomes ergonomic when it specifically suits a worker's size, workstation, and work tasks.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends finding several chairs that fit the user's body dimensions, and then allowing the worker to try out each chair, preferably at the workplace while performing his or her daily work tasks.

While an individual's body dimensions and personal preference certainly come into play, a chair should meet certain basic requirements. The seat height should be adjustable. Check that it can be adjusted to the height recommended for the worker who will be using it. The backrest should be adjustable, both vertically and in the frontward and backward direction. The seat should be deep enough to accommodate a tall worker or shallow enough for a short worker. The chair should have a five-point base for stability.

Consider whether the height of the armrests is adjustable, and whether the distance between the armrests is suitable to the worker's body size. Also, depending on the job, consider the type of flooring and the work environment; some workers prefer chairs with casters or wheels while others prefer a stationary chair.

OSH Answers on Ergonomic Chairs

The Office Ergonomics Safety Guide

Report: 96,282 Died in United States from Workplace Diseases in 2001 - 10/05/2005

For every U.S. worker killed at work by an injury, more than 10 die from work-related diseases, according to the most recent estimate by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

"One of the biggest challenges we face is the relative under-emphasis of occupational health in relation to safety," asserted Jukka Takala in an interview to discuss the results of the ILO's report on global workplace injuries and illnesses. Takala is the director of ILO's SafeWork program and played an important part in putting together the data.

Every 3 years, ILO issues a report on global occupational injuries and illnesses. The most recent figures, released at last month's World Congress of Safety in Orlando Fla., go through the year 2001.

The ILO figures for the annual death toll of work-related illnesses are roughly double estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), according to Takala. The ILO estimates that in 2001, 6,643 U.S. workers died in fatal accidents, 728 more than the official BLS number.

For the entire world, ILO estimates that a total of 351,251 workers died from occupational injuries in 2001, while approximately 1.8 million lost their lives because of work-related diseases.

Estimating work-related diseases is difficult, Takala said, because of long latency periods and the problem of determining whether the disease resulted from exposures outside the workplace. BLS stopped performing estimates of fatal occupational illnesses several years ago for these reasons, according to a BLS official.

One reason the ILO estimate for fatal illnesses is higher than that of BLS is that ILO uses asbestos mortality rates from the United Kingdom, which are five times higher than American numbers. Takala said he believes Britain's numbers are more accurate.

Takala explained that the ILO arrived at its fatal illness numbers by using "attributable fractions" for both age and gender. An attributable fraction is the fraction of a disease that would not have occurred had the work exposure not been present.

While estimating the numbers of work-related diseases is not easy, Takala expressed increased confidence with the most recent numbers.

"We have much better data now than we did before," he said.

Electrical Hazards E-Course Provides The Basics To Help People Work More Safely With Electricity

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed an e-course that teaches electrical safety in the workplace, to help people work safely.

Electricity is such a familiar part of everyday life that we can forget that it can be a serious hazard. Every year people get seriously injured and some even die from electricity hazards at work. Something as simple as replacing a burnt out or broken light bulb is a common cause of serious electrical injury. While there are more injuries in the manufacturing and construction industries, every workplace in every industry has some type of electrical risk.

Electrical Hazards, an e-learning course from CCOHS, introduces the learner to the basics of electricity and electrical hazards in the workplace. The course teaches people how to be more aware of electricity at work and to recognize the many hazardous situations, such as using power tools and extension cords, and working near electrical equipment or power lines.

Electrical Hazards will be helpful to managers, supervisors and workers who may encounter electrical hazards in the workplace, but who are not formally qualified to work with electrical equipment. Health and safety committee members, facilities managers and anyone who may need general awareness of electrical safety will also benefit from the information. This course is not suitable for those working directly with electrical equipment or installations, who must have specific training and qualifications. The material in the course applies to electrical safety in all workplaces including construction, manufacturing, utilities, retail, agricultural and office environments.

Electrical Hazards includes practical advice and tips that can help make workplaces electrically safe, and protect people from injuries.

More information about the course is available on the CCOHS website:

Contact: Eleanor Irwin, Manager - Marketing, Sales and Communications, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety | Tel: +1 905/572-2981, Ext. 4408 | Email: |

News from South Africa

SHERCON 2006: 7 - 9 March 2006

International Safety, Health and Environmental Risk Management Conference and Exhibition will hosted by DEKRA NORISKO Industrial South Africa.

To be held at the Emperors Palace, Gauteng, South Africa

Contact: Marina Nel | Tel +27 12 643 9360 | Fax: +27 086 621 7863 | Email:

News from Hong Kong

2005 Asia Pacific Conference on Risk Management and Safety - Challenges in Engineering Applications and Advances in Technologies 1 - 2 December 2005, Hong Kong


Organized by Hong Kong Association of Risk Management and Safety, with support from over 25 professional organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, the Conference provides a platform for engineers and safety practitioners from different industries to share their views and experiences in the applications of risk management in managing safety. Over 100 distinguished speakers from 15 countries will present their technical papers at the Conference.


Engineers, safety practitioners, and managers involved in the development and application of tools and techniques in risk management and safety, as well as professional and researchers in academia and industry with a commitment to managing risk and safety.

There is also a Pre-Conference workshop on 30-Nov for those who are interested in the concept, applications and latest development in risk management and safety. For full conference information and registration, please go to

Vincent Ho | Tel: +852.2688.1068 | Mobile: +852.9108.4096 | Fax: +852.2145.4039

News from USA

New Reports Issued Under Energy Research Program
Three new reports are available from studies conducted under NIOSH's Occupational Energy Research Program. The occupational health program is conducted under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The reports are:

Accidents and Agenda: New report from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering has just published a report, Accidents and agenda, that highlights the UK's relatively low incidence of major industrial and transport accidents (excluding road transport) but examines improvements to the established culture that can be made if the demands of the future are to be met.

The working group looked at seven industrial sectors: aviation, rail, chemical, construction, marine, nuclear and offshore oil and gas, commissioning individual reports by experts in each sector. It questioned, but ultimately endorsed, the UK's current post-accident processes and sees no need for a radical change.

It does, however, recommend that the Attorney General consider how the process of deciding whether to prosecute and whether the police or another agency should lead a particular accident investigation could be made faster and more transparently. As a default before decisions are taken on prosecutions we recommend that the HSE, or the appropriate Accident Investigation Branch, should be the lead investigative agency in all major accident situations. The primary aim of any post-accident investigation must be to allow accidents with similar causes to be prevented in the future and this starts with an objective and thorough investigation.

The current UK accident rate is not a given or stable state. The increasing use of software to control plants and equipment makes understanding the associated risks of departures from the normal more difficult. Systems may behave unexpectedly when stressed in certain ways or operators may do things unintentionally that create instability. Meeting these challenges requires better education.

It used to be almost sufficient for engineers to receive one burst of formal education and then to rely on experience - but this is no longer the case. Experience still has its own value but designing, applying and managing complex computer control systems require focused education. We believe that all engineers who aspire to professional qualifications should receive formal safety management and accident prevention training before they qualify plus formal education in the safety aspects of particular systems before they are expected to use them operationally.

The working group felt that the acid test is whether we prevent future accidents by applying what we have learnt. In the major incident area there is evidence that we do. In aviation a constant stream of innovations traces much of its background to accidents around the world. The Piper Alpha disaster and the subsequent public inquiry brought fundamental changes to the offshore oil and gas industry. However, a vast amount of indifference to learning and improvement still persists. Accidents happen time and again for reasons that we have already seen explained and understood. Better approaches to learning from the misfortunes of others are needed, from both actual accidents and from incidents that had safe outcomes - but might not have done. Alongside this we need to improve the culture of safety in companies and learn more generally that short cuts in safety are dangerous, expensive and bad for business.

Accidents and Agendas was compiled by an Academy working group of very experienced people in a range of industries. The work of the group has been materially assisted by other advisers.

The Academy has taken a keen interest in matters of public and industrial safety.

News from Europe

The Framework of Actions on Gender Equality

The Framework of Actions on Gender Equality has been produced by the European Social Partners UNICE/UEAPME, CEEP and the ETUC and approved by the ETUC Executive Committee. The Framework of Actions highlights the ongoing inequality between women and men across the EU, in the family, the workplace and society at large and argues that overcoming this inequality will accelerate the implementation of the Lisbon strategy aims for economic growth, the creation of more and better jobs for all, and increased social cohesion.

The Social Partners identified four priority areas that required particular attention and action in each of the member states: addressing gender roles; promoting women in decision making; supporting work/life balance and tackling the gender pay gap. The Social Partners have requested that the national social partners (such as the TUC and the CBI) to disseminate the Framework of Actions widely, and to draw up a national annual report on progress in each of the four priority areas. It is anticipated that the annual report will be required in Spring 2006. The impact of the Framework of Actions will be evaluated after four annual reports have been submitted.

Copies can be downloaded from and the annex of the case studies is available at

First Aid tips - iFIRSTAID - first aid anytime, anywhere

St. John Ambulance has become the first British charity to provide downloadable audio First Aid tips - iFIRSTAID - first aid anytime, anywhere!

St. John Ambulance offers First Aid tips as audio files to allow people to 'take their First Aider with them' has become the first charity to offer First Aid audio files for people to download to their portable MP3 player or phone or burn to a CD.

iFIRSTAID offers advice on the steps someone should take if they come across an accident scene and is available to download from the leading First Aid charity's website at

'Following the terrorist attacks on London, we experienced a 25% increase in enquiries about First Aid courses. We heard from many people who had wanted to help the injured but were not confident enough to administer First Aid,' said Andrew New, senior training officer at St. John Ambulance. 'Now that MP3 players are so popular our iFIRSTAID downloads will make First Aid guidance available for people when they need it, where they need it, in the format they need it.'

The files are available online from and currently include information about performing a primary survey at an accident scene; identifying and treating burns, bleeding, shock and fractures; giving rescue breaths and chest compressions; and putting someone in the recovery position. The charity plans to develop the scheme to offer advice for further scenarios, First Aid podcasts and seasonal First Aid advice.

'People rely on St. John First Aiders at football matches, concerts and public events and this service offers them the chance to effectively take a First Aider with them - on public transport, on holiday, or anywhere they take their MP3 player,' continued Andrew.

'The iFIRSTAID tips are no substitute for First Aid training but it's useful to have a quick reminder to give you confidence and reinforce your knowledge,' said Dawn Upton, the St. John Ambulance trainer whose voice listeners will hear when they download the advice. 'It's perfectly natural to panic or feel unsure if you come across a casualty, but we hope that having these tips available will enable people to deal with an emergency situation more confidently and effectively.'

St. John Ambulance is the UK's leading First Aid, transport and care charity. It has over 44,000 volunteers, provides First Aid cover at thousands of public events and trains over half a million people each year in First Aid and health and safety.

During the attacks on London, St. John Ambulance supported the statutory emergency services by providing:

Further information about First Aid training can be found at:

First Aid supplies, such as First Aid kits, manuals etc, can be found at:

Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network: introduction

The "Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network" is a volunteer network of 400 occupational health and safety professionals who have placed their names on a resource list to provide information, technical assistance and on-site instruction regarding workplace hazards in the 3,000 "maquiladora" (foreign-owned assembly) plants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Network members, including industrial hygienists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, occupational physicians and nurses, and health educators among others, are donating their time and expertise to create safer and healthier working conditions for the one million maquiladora workers employed by primarily U.S.-owned transnational corporations along Mexico's northern border from Matamoros to Tijuana.

Since 2000, the Network has expanded its work to include projects in Indonesia, China and Central America. Our goal has always been to build the capacity of workers and their organizations to understand occupational health and safety issues and to be able to speak and act in their own name to protect their health and to exercise their rights. Our activities have included providing information and trainings to plant-wide health and safety committees, and to community, human rights and professional associations; technical assistance to workers filing complaints under international trade agreements; and technical information for grassroots organizations monitoring the performance of transnational corporations and government health and safety agencies in the global economy.

The Support Network is not designed to generate, nor is it intended to create, business opportunities for private consultants or other for-profit enterprises. On the contrary, Network participants will be donating their time and knowledge pro bono to workers, community organizations and professional associations.

The Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network was launched in October 1993 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). It includes occupational health specialists from Canada, Mexico and the United States who are active in the APHA, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the 20-plus local grassroots Committees for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) groups in the U.S. and Canada.

The Support Network is continuously seeking more health and safety professionals and activists to join the network, as well as looking for more worker and community organizations who can make use of the information and technical assistance offered. Please join us!

LETTER FROM THE COORDINATOR - Garrett Brown - October 2005

One of the original motivations and concerns of our Network was the anticipated impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on workplace safety and health when it went into effect in January 1994. One of our accomplishments has been the 12-year effort to track and document the adverse impact of NAFTA on all three signatory countries. Our efforts have been focused on how to assist Mexican workers better understand the hazards they face on the job, what they should demand of their Mexican and U.S. corporate employers, and how to exercise their rights under both Mexican law and the NAFTA "labor side agreement."

Our detailed, thoroughly researched reports on NAFTA's failure to protect Mexican workers on the job - posted on our website - are the fruits of this decade's worth of work. We are now looking another key task for the Network - doing the same for Central America.

We began to export this work to Central America even before the U.S. approval of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in late July. CAFTA has yet to be implemented - the U.S. government has to further twist the arms of two balking countries in the region to give their approval before it goes into effect - but CAFTA means more of the same for workers and farmers in Central America, despite all the lying, sales propaganda for the treaty.

Farmers in Central America are even more vulnerable than Mexican farmers to massive imports of subsidized agricultural products from the U.S. and more will be driven off their lands. Small businesses in Central America are weaker than Mexico's were, and more susceptible to crushing competition from U.S. transnationals and their low-wage producers in global supply chains.

The "investor protection" provisions of NAFTA's Chapter 11 have actually been strengthened in CAFTA. This means the extended "patent protection" provisions of CAFTA will raise the drug costs for the region's 275,000 AIDS patients from $216 a year to $4,900 a year. CAFTA is literally a death sentence for these quarter-million Central Americans.

Environmental and occupational health will pay a heavy cost as well. The Texas-based Harken Energy company has announced it will sue Costa Rica for $58 billion (more than the country's entire gross national product) if it is not allowed to begin offshore oil drilling in protected waters designated by the United Nations as a "World Heritage Site."

Mexico had the advantage of having workplace safety regulations that are roughly equivalent to those in the U.S., and Mexico has a formal infrastructure for enforcing these regulations (even if it does not and cannot do so).

Central American countries, however, have neither the regulations nor the infrastructure for enforcement. These countries have been kept way behind the curve in terms of workplace safety for the very same reason that Mexico does not enforce its more developed regulations: anything that "discourages foreign investment" - such as promulgation or enforcement of health-protective regulations - is economic suicide and a political impossibility for Mexico and the much smaller and weaker Central American countries.

So those of us concerned about protecting workers' health and safety anywhere in the world have our work cut out for us in Central America when CAFTA comes into play. We have our own good example, however, of how we can partner with worker organizations - be they unions, women's, human rights or community-based organizations - to provide essential information, technical assistance and training to protect workers whose well-being the global economy cares not one whit about.

Since CAFTA does not even have the worker complaint procedures that exist (and failed) under NAFTA, we will have to be creative in terms of figuring out how to track and document the impact of the treaty and the global economy on occupational health and safety in Central America.

But this will be a key role that OHS professionals can and must play.

There's nothing like a good challenge to inspire an exemplary response. So for all those looking for a challenge and/or inspiration, this would be a good place to begin.


The Network hosted a "Grassroots Social Hour" at the September World Safety Congress in Orlando, Florida, which drew more than 100 participants from all corners of the globe. The activity was designed to present the work of two Network partners - COVERCO in Guatemala and CFO in Mexico - so that occupational health professionals attending the conference could consider possible collaborations with grassroots organizations of workers in the developing world.

Speaking at the gathering were Julia Quinonez of the Comite Fronterizo de Obreros on the US-Mexico border and Homero Fuentes of COVERCO in Guatemala, who has also been coordinator of a region-wide initiative in Central America. Quinonez and Fuentes described their organizations' work in the area of workplace safety as well as other labor rights, and appealed for international solidarity and support. A representative from the Guangzhou Occupational Health & Rehabilitation Center in southern China was also scheduled to speak, but he could not make the trip to the U.S. because of a medical emergency.

Quinonez and Fuentes described working conditions in factories in their countries, many owned by or operated for U.S.-based Fortune 500 companies. Despite claims by transnational corporations of implementing "one global standard" for workplace health and safety, actual factory conditions in Mexico and Guatemala, as well as other "export processing zones" around the world, are often in violation of national laws, international conventions, and corporate "codes of conduct."

The speakers described their organizations' efforts to increase the factory workers' understanding of workplace hazards, possible control measures, and their rights under the law. Both organizations have organized workshops with our Network and have carried out follow-up activities to distribute written materials and technical assistance to workers in their countries. They solicited additional support from the assembled occupational health professionals for ongoing projects concerning workplace safety.

The social hour was co-hosted by the National Safety Council, the U.S. coordinating organization for the World Congress. Alan McMillan, President and CEO of the NSC, attended the social hour and opened the program with his greetings. Congress participants who attended the social gathering came from two dozen countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.

In addition to the social gathering, Quinonez, Fuentes and Network Coordinator Garrett Brown spoke on a panel on "Occupational Safety and Health Conditions of Vulnerable Populations in the Americas" during the three-day international conference. The Network's two trainings in Central America involving field day visits to Korean-owned factories producing garments for The Gap were the subject of another conference presentation by a representative of the clothing manufacturer's corporate social responsibility department.

The XVIIth World Congress on Safety and Health at Work was held for the first time in the United States in Orlando on September 18-22, 2005. The every-three year gathering was co-sponsored by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and U.S. organizations including the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA and MSHA) and the National Safety Council (NSC), which was the national host organization. The Congress had four main themes: Impact of globalization: opportunities and risks; Leadership in safety and health; Challenges in a changing world of work; and Prevention.

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HSE publishes new guides to improve ladder safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new free guides to help raise awareness of the risks associated with ladder use and to give advice on how to use ladders safely. The guides are aimed at all users of ladders and their employers and have been published as part of HSE's campaign to reduce falls from height.

Last year 13 people died from falls while working on a ladder, and more than 1200 people suffered major injuries. HSE's guidance builds on the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which came into force on 6 April, and comprises:

These are available on the HSE website at:

The guide, toolbox talk and pocket card are also available as hard copy documents (numbers INDG 402, 403 and 405) from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1787 881165

Ladders Week 14 - 18 November 2005 is a national initiative to promote safe use of ladders. Further details are available at

The Work at Height Regulations 2005, which came into force on 6 April this year, state that a ladder should only be used where a risk assessment demonstrates that the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified because of the low risk, and short duration of use or existing features on site that cannot be altered.

HSE has published a brief guide to the Regulations, available at

Further information to help duty holders and people who work at height safely is available free on the HSE website at

Masterclass on Fire Risk Assessment and Business Continuity Planning and Management

If the EurOHSE2005 conference (details above) is not enough why not also take in the Masterclass on Fire Risk Assessment and Business Continuity Planning and Management

This is to be presented on Tuesday 29 November 2005 at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire by Les Moseley - Director of the Coventry Centre for Disaster Management and Programme Manager - University of Coventry, UK and Dennis Davies CBE, OStJ, QFSM, CEng, CCMI, FIFireE(Life), MEI - Independent Fire Adviser - International Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire (CTIF) and formerly HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services, Scotland.

The Masterclass aims to build on existing knowledge and skills in Risk and Hazard Analysis for Fire Risk Assessment and develop further knowledge in Continuity Planning.


We look forward to hearing from you with your booking for these events, apply online or contact:

Stephen Whitehurst or Jesse Bhadal, Angel Business Communications Ltd, 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1HE, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1926 512424 | Fax: +44 (0) 1926 512948 | email: or

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OSHE websites to explore

The following may be of interest to OSHE information seekers, if you have a favourite website please let me know... Also look at at the links under country and also under subject.


International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions ICEM   BELGIUM

International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) has relaunched its website, complete with new health and safety pages. Covers a range of topics - some of the most hazardous and resource intense industries , Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance (CG), news items etc.


Instituto para a Segurança, Higiene e Saúde no Trabalho (ISHST)   PORTUGAL

Instituto para a Segurança, Higiene e Saúde no Trabalho (ISHST) has a range of information covering news, inspections, campaigns etc


European Campaign for Safety and Health at Work 2006: Young people   SPAIN

European Campaign for Safety and Health at Work 2006: Young people campaign shows that with the wrong start: young workers have 50% more work accidents than older workers. Their incidence rate of work accidents is going up. The consequence is the tragedy of young lives ruined. The site prevention measures include:risk awareness education for children; health and safety in vocational and professional training; taking account of young people's lack of physical and mental maturity at work; training at work and supervision. The Right Start: The campaign is promoting risk awareness in children and young people; the preparation of young people for the health and safety aspects of working life; quality work for youngsters- safe and healthy workplaces and practices; supporting networking and information exchange among stakeholders, supporting the European Youth Pact for employment and education and training. Start planning now for the European Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Campaign 2006 - young people - everyone is invited to take part and carryout activities in this decentralised campaign across Europe. Start planning now! It will include a Week of activity across Europe in October 2006 (23-27 October, week 43).This web page will be developed with resources, information and news about the campaign as it develops.


DEFRA: noise mapping   UK

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched The Noise Mapping England project that is in the first stage in the development of a National Ambient Noise Strategy for England. The project aims to establish the environmental noise climate across England.Defra has now launched the London Road Traffic Noise Map, which is fundamental to the Noise Mapping England project.

Royal National Institute for the Deaf   UK

Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) gives details of deafness and hearing loss, tinnitus, hearing aids, employment, education etc. Links to other sources.


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health   NIOSH: Asthma and Allergies Prevention of Occupational Asthma   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH pages are designed as a resource for individuals interested in the prevention of occupational asthma (OA).

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH pages on ammonia- chemical cards, pocket guide and other information and links

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH Indoor firing ranges   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH Indoor firing ranges are popular among law enforcement and recreational shooters because they offer protection from inclement weather conditions and can be operated around the clock under controlled environmental conditions. However, many firing range facilities lack environmental and occupational controls to protect the health of shooters and range personnel from effects of airborne lead, noise, and other potential exposures. This page provides links to information about the evaluation, measurement, and control of noise and airborne lead exposures at indoor firing ranges.

Diary of Events

If you have details of any conferences, seminars, training courses and events then please send to your Editor.

You can also check and please use any of the data in

29 November 2005 - EurOhse Masterclass on Fire Risk Assessment and Business Continuity, Planning and Management
Held in conjunction with the 3rd EurOhse Conference organised by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd and Angel Business Communications Ltd
Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
Contact: Stephen Whitehurst, European Occupational Health and Safety Magazine (EurOhs), Angel Business Communications Ltd | 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth CV8 1HE, Warwickshire, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1926 512424 | Fax: + 44 (0)1926 512948 | Email:

30 November 2005 - 1 December 2005 - EurOhse2005: creating a winning OSH culture
3rd EurOhse Conference organised by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd and Angel Business Communications Ltd
Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
Contact: Stephen Whitehurst, European Occupational Health and Safety Magazine (EurOhs), Angel Business Communications Ltd | 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth CV8 1HE, Warwickshire, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1926 512424 | Fax: + 44 (0)1926 512948 | Email:

13-14 March 2006 - IOSH 06 Health and safety: fit for business
ExCel, London, UK
Contact: IOSH, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3100 | Fax: +44 (0)116 257 3101 | or |

27-29 March 2006 - Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design
School of Engineering and Electronics, Fire Safety Group, University of Edinburgh, UK
Contact: Office of Lifelong Learning, The University of Edinburgh, 11 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, UK | Tel: +44 (0)131 651 1180 |Fax: +44 (0)131 651 1746 | Email: |

3-6 April 2006 - 20th Fire Science and Fire Investigation Course
School of Engineering and Electronics, Fire Safety Group, University of Edinburgh, UK
Contact: Office of Lifelong Learning, The University of Edinburgh, 11 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, UK | Tel: +44 (0)131 651 1180 | Fax: +44 (0)131 651 1746 | Email: |

28 April 2006 - ILO World Day of Health and Safety at Work 2006
World wide events
Contact: International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland |

1-3 May 2006 - IAPA Health and Safety Canada 2006 Conference and Trade Show
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Canada
Contact: Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 207 Queens Quay W., Suite 555, Toronto ON M5J2Y3, Canada | Tel: + 1 416 506 0488/8888 or +1 800 669 4939 |

11-14 September 2006 - 14th World Congress Social Actors, Work
Lima, Peru
Contact: Asociación Peruana de Relaciones de Trabajo, Peru | Fax: +51-1-241 5657 | Email: |

11-14 October 2006 - 7th Asia-Pacific Conference on Computer-Human Interaction
Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
Contact: Email: |

16-20 October 2006 - CAHFES 50th Annual Meeting
Hilton San Francisco Hotel, San Francisco, California, USA
Contact: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), P.O. Box 1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369 USA | Tel: +1 (310) 394-1811 | Fax: +1 (310) 394-2410 | Email: |

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