CIS Newsletter

No. 206
November 2006

CIS Newsletter celebrates 18 years & still going strong!
Bringing news to over 140 countries in the CIS Network!


  1. Editorial
  2. News from CIS HQ
  3. More CIS News, Proposals and Questionnaire
  4. Bad News from Sweden - NIWL closing down!
  5. News from around the world - Canada, Europe, ILO, India, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, UK, UN and USA
  6. OSHE websites to explore
  7. Diary of Events
  8. Want to know about CIS?


Dear CIS Colleagues

Where do professional occupational, health and safety information managers, specialists and OSH practitioners go for their information? Are people looking at a number of known authoritative and validated sources to see what is available, or are they just taking the first items that come up when they use a search engine of their choice? Is the data retrieved from the search engines the latest information, authoritative and understandable?

A topical search for this year would be the European Union workplace campaign theme young people at work or young worker* (the asterisk * denotes that you are searching for worker and workers)

Try this enquiry across a number Search Engines available over the Internet - you will be shocked at the results.

Some search engines to use with this enquiry - see a number by using the link

Now try the same search in some of the well known authoritative and validated OSH databases that are available for you to access. If you wish to search 11 databases simultaneously, including CISDOC, go to enter username cis and password 2006

Again you will be shocked at the results (for different reasons) - and at the amount of data and the links to full text documents... I rest my case!

Remember that your News in the CIS Newsletter goes to over 140 countries and gets re-used in other magazines and websites. CIS Newsletters on the web are getting more and more used... With many hundreds of hits per month......Publicity means... tell them (would be customers as well as existing customers of your Information services), tell them and tell them again...

Don't know what to do to publicise to your CIS Centre? The Workshop held on 13 September 2006 entitled Working Smarter not Harder recognized that every one is mega busy and offered some very helpful ways of improving the visibility of your CIS Centre - again see below for the report.

Don't know how to publicise your Centre? One way is to send news about your centre or other OSH information produced in your country for this CIS Newsletter- it is amazing how far the Newsletter reaches - after every edition I get messages from outside of the CIS network from people who want to receive it on a regular basis.

Don't have enough finance to fund all the services you wish to provide from your Centre? Learn lessons from others! - see the 2006 CIS Workshop presentations on the web site (Presentations in a box on the same page as the CIS Newsletter). Please use these presentations and adapt for your own use in your country.

Don't know how to communicate OSH information and services? See the CIS Working Group Paper 1 - Publicity, Promotion and Communication Strategy - on the same web page - this gives All you need to know on how, why, when etc - again Work Smarter NOT Harder!!!!

Don't know where to find up-to-date OSH information? Never been easier - at the Training Workshop the delegates explored the new collection of 11 databases in OSH UPDATE. It is there for you to trial free-of charge until the end of November 2006... again see above for details.

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

Surviving in 2006... By promotion, publicity and telling the World that CIS and its network exists! Use the CIS Logo on your web site and publications!

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

Please consider the environment before printing this Newsletter

Feel free to use this notice on your own web site/pages/e-news

News from CIS HQ

Gabor Sandi writes...

44th annual meeting of CIS National, Collaborating and Regional Centres held in Geneva on 13-15 September

The CIS report of this 2006 meeting is available at:

Page 25 of the report also links to annexes and web links to presentations and CIS Centres annual reports are also available.

It includes the following documents:

Please read carefully the draft Declaration, whose text is based upon the discussions held during the meeting. We look forward to feedback about the draft.

Please read our proposals concerning future meetings, and fill out the questionnaire with your comments regarding these proposals.

All feedback to both the Declaration and the Questionnaire should be returned by e-mail to our CIS Centres address:

Please let us know if you want paper copies of any of the attachments we have sent you so that we can mail them to you.

We thank you for your kind collaboration.

With very best wishes,

Gábor Sándi
Head, CIS

More news from CIS HQ

Proposals and questionnaire survey concerning the organization of future CIS Centres meetings

Through informal discussions and feedback, we understand that some (maybe many) participants think that the Annual or Regional meetings of CIS Centres need to be more oriented to our practical needs.

CIS would like to learn the lessons of the last and of previous meetings and proposes a new arrangement for future meetings more suitable to your (and our) needs and expectations. We shall provide the basic features of the new proposal below. Please read them carefully, then spend a few minutes answering the questionnaire provided at the end. Your opinion is very important to us and we will certainly take your answers into consideration before finalizing our plans for the next meeting.


  1. Future CIS meetings will last three days. Two of these days will be devoted to practical work and training, the third to general discussions.
  2. Practical work and training sessions will involve smaller groups - no more than 20 people. If more than 20 people sign up for them, parallel sessions will be organized.
  3. If the need is there, parallel sessions in more than one language can be organized.
  4. Formal presentations on centres should be entirely devoted to the informational activities of these centres, with an emphasis on what is new and what is being planned. The internal organization of centres and their role in non-informational activities are not within the scope of interest of CIS.
  5. CIS will invite information presenters from a wider circle: other ILO departments, Non-governmental organizations, IALI, ISSA, labour unions, private businesses. Presentations may be made on OSH Conventions, ILO Programmes on child labour and AIDS, psychosocial issues (e.g. the SOLVE Programme).


Please add any suggestions and comments.

And you're your reply to Email:

News from Sweden

Difficult announcement: Swedish Institute for Working Life to be shut down

Director-General Mikael Sjöberg announced the following:

The Swedish Institute for Working Life is to be shut down. This announcement was made on 16 October 2006 when the Swedish Government put forward its budget proposal.

This announcement is terribly difficult for me and for everyone employed at the Swedish Institute for Working Life. In addition to people losing their jobs, which is difficult enough to bear, this announcement also means that important research may go to waste, says Director-General Mikael Sjöberg.

The proposal indicates that the Swedish Institute for Working Life will cease operations as of 1 July 2007.

The Institute's mission has been to conduct research on working life conditions and to disseminate knowledge in this area. The basic principle of work at the Institute has been that research should be of practical use - it should be relevant and useful. In addition to research, the Institute has pursued extensive educational activities. Characteristic of the Swedish Institute for Working Life has been that research and development have taken place in close collaboration with the parties and actors involved in working life.

The Library of the National Institute for Working Life is Sweden's primary information resource in this subject area. It may be called a 'responsibility library' in that it collects national and international material on occupational safety/health and working life. The Library has unique collections of both Swedish and foreign literature.

Naturally, I'm worried about everyone who works at the Institute. Losing one's job is a heavy burden to bear. My co-workers here have been inspired by and devoted to generating knowledge that is useful to others in their working life, says Mikael Sjöberg, adding:

But I am also extremely concerned about what will happen to the research and knowledge that exists here.

At the same time, I want to stress that, as a public authority, we are in duty bound to adhere to political decisions.

Therefore, the shutting down of the Swedish Institute for Working Life has now begun, says Mikael Sjöberg.

CIS Members will be shocked to learn the above news - we send our sympathy to all the Institute staff and to Peter Lindgren - Director of the Information Services.

There are so few really active OSH Information Services and this Swedish loss is disastrous.

NIWL is the Swedish CIS National Centre.

News from Canada

IAPA's Safety Groups: Networking Pays

In 2005, 332 Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) member firms reduced their lost time injury frequency rate by 21.1%. All firms were members of an IAPA safety group, under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's Safety Groups program. In 2006, group membership rose to 587. Next year, IAPA anticipates 750 members. What's the draw? A peer-based process, facilitated by IAPA, for improving health and safety performance.

Despite the dramatic results, the program is not a quick fix. Nor does it offer a one-size-fits-all solution to any and every health and safety issue. Companies that sign on for the program bring different needs and challenges. However, they share a singular purpose in seeking to improve their safety performance, and they generate results.

Safety group member Alan Boucher works for a firm that has 17,000 employees across North America who provide contract janitorial and maintenance services to client firms. The health and safety challenges that the firm faces are daunting, from operating in many different environments where the company has little control over workplace conditions, to high employee turnover and language issues.

For another member firm, a commercial bakery near Brantford, Ontario that opened in 2002, its goal to exceed the industry's health and safety standards had to take into account 300 new hires working in a brand new and unfamiliar facility.

Participation in the Safety Groups program has helped both companies refine their safety efforts, reduce lost time injuries, and contribute to the overall success of the program itself. The key pillars of the program are that well integrated health and safety programs are good for business and that, by joining together in groups devoted to sharing their knowledge about health and safety, companies can benefit from each other's experience and expertise. Certainly this has been the experience for Unicco Facilities Services Canada Company and Maidstone Bakeries, both now approaching their fourth year in the program.

That it elicits a sustained effort and requires participants to revisit and reassess elements of their safety program is one of its stronger features, according to Alan Boucher. Each year safety group participants incorporate five health and safety program "elements" into their health and safety regime. Elements include everything from accident investigations and lockout/tagout procedures to new employee orientation. Four of the elements are selected by the individual companies and one is decided by a steering committee.

For Maidstone Bakeries a key benefit of the program is that it has helped the company to anticipate and prepare for new and evolving obligations. For example, with an eye on Ontario's new confined space regulations, which came into effect on September 30, the company selected confined spaces as one of the elements to work on this year. Doing so enabled the company to prepare for the new regulations in an orderly manner, and develop policies and procedures that reflect the experience and expertise of other safety group members.

How the program works

The guiding principles of the program are that safety makes good business sense and that firms can benefit from joining together in groups dedicated to developing and enhancing their health and safety programs. Rebates from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, awarded to safety group participants based on the performance of the entire group, provide an added incentive for companies to work together and help each other out.

Participating companies, which must make a minimum one-year commitment to the program, are assigned to local chapters. At the beginning of the year, each company selects four "elements" of a health and safety program that it will build into its existing program elements, and the safety group as a whole is assigned a fifth element selected by the steering committee, which has a representative from each chapter.

The sponsor (IAPA) facilitates meetings, liaises with the board, and provides support and resources to participants.

Firm representatives attend five local safety group meetings per year. At the end of the year, each firm is evaluated on how well it integrated the selected elements, and rebates are awarded according to the success of the entire group. In each of the four subsequent years, five more elements are added and the company must be able to demonstrate that it is maintaining the previous years' elements up to standard.

Measuring success

The Safety Groups program was piloted in 2000 and then established as an ongoing prevention program in 2002. Board evaluations of the pilot

Measuring success

The Safety Groups program was piloted in 2000 and then established as an ongoing prevention program in 2002. Board evaluations of the pilot program showed early promise. Information from participants indicated that

Statistics from 2000, the first year of the program, show that $5 million went back to safety group participants in rebates. The value of the improved safety performance of the safety groups, i.e., money saved because of fewer claims, was pegged at nearly $6 million in direct costs. If you add the indirect costs of workplace injuries-retraining, replacement workers, lost productivity-the figure swells to nearly $24 million in savings.

IAPA's first year as a sponsor was 2004. In that year the 121 participating companies achieved an average 26.2 percent reduction in lost time injury frequency, and were awarded rebate cheques from the board totalling $895,621.

"The success of a program like the Safety Group lies solely with the level of commitment and investment of its members," says Dianne Tolgyesi, an IAPA principal consultant for eastern Ontario. "The rewards of this program go well beyond the business efficiencies and cost reductions that firms see as a result of a lowered lost time injury rate, and speak to the larger issue of protecting people and reducing injuries, illnesses, and life suffering in the workplace."

Zuzka Hora, Manager, Information Centre Team, Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 5110 Creekbank Road, Suite 300, Mississauga, Ontario, L4W 0A1, CANADA | | Tel: 905-614-4272 ext 2385 or 1-800-406-4272 ext 2385 | Fax: 905-219-0009 | Fax: 1-800-316-4272 | Email:

News from Germany

EUROSHNET, the European network for OSH experts launches new discussion forum

The European Occupational Safety and Health Network (EUROSHNET) has launched its new online discussion forum with a debate on OSH management systems. It is the first EUROSHNET forum open to the general public. "The forum is meant to promote the exchange of opinions and information on all areas concerning safety and health in the workplace", says Rüdiger Reitz of the Federation of Institutions of Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in Germany (HVBG), which is one of the partners supporting EUROSHNET. "We have done this in response to a need to discuss questions relating to occupational safety and health outside OSH institutions."

According to Reitz, there is a particular need to discuss the role of OSH management systems in the OSH community: "Many companies have implemented such a system, yet there is no international norm that defines what an OSH management system is." Introducing such a norm, some fear, could lead to rising pressure on companies to obtain certification for their particular system - "a process we have witnessed recently in the area of quality management", Reitz adds.

The forum can be accessed via EUROSHNET's website

No registration is required to read postings, however, users will need to register in order to post in the forum.

EUROSHNET is a network of experts from OSH institutions across Europe.

Stefan Boltz, Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften/Federation of Institutions for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention, Albrechtstr. 10 c, 10117 Berlin, Deutschland/Germany | Tel: +49-(0)30 - 28 87 63 62 | Fax: +49-(0)30 - 28 87 63 70 | Email: |

News from Singapore

Alon Chong writes:

I would like to inform that the Ministry of Manpower has unveiled the new and improved website on 1st October which I informed CIS Members during the 2006 CIS Meeting. Our Occupational Safety & Health Division's website has been given a new look along with several improvements such as:

Check it out at

Alan Chong, Manager, IT Solutioning, Occupational Safety & Health Division, Ministry of Manpower, Singapore | Tel: (65) 63171429 | Fax: (65) 63171446

Don't forget to send your Questionnaire form back to CIS

Make my Day... Send some News - Your Editor

News from Canada

e-course from CCOHS helps demystify material safety data sheets (MSDSs)

A new e-course, "WHMIS: Understanding MSDSs", from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides guidance on how to understand and use material safety data sheets (MSDSs).

Anyone working with paints, cleaning solutions or any other potentially harmful substances should understand the hazards as well as how to work safely with the material, and what to do in case of an emergency. Under Canada's Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), employers are legally required to provide chemical safety information to all workers through MSDSs and labels on chemical products, as well as provide appropriate training. An MSDS contains information about the hazards of the product, on how to safely handle the product and is an important part of a workplace chemical safety program.

"WHMIS: Understanding MSDSs" teaches workers, supervisors, health and safety committees and anyone who uses MSDSs about the 16 different sections of an MSDS. These cover product identification, hazard identification and control, emergency preparedness and response, and more. Learners will gain an understanding of the purpose of WHMIS labels and MSDSs as well as the significance of the information in the different sections of an MSDS. The course explains how to identify hazards and precautions from a product label and MSDS. A glossary of chemical terminology and information on where to get additional information is also included.

Educating people how to use and understand the information on MSDSs is an important step in keeping workers safe and healthy at work.

This intermediate level course from CCOHS helps meets the requirements of provincial and federal regulations in Canada for MSDS training.

Courses from CCOHS are reviewed by expert representatives from labour, employers and government to ensure the content and approach are unbiased and credible. Learners can contact CCOHS subject specialists to ask specific questions that may arise. There are quizzes throughout and a certificate of completion is issued upon passing the exam.

Pricing and registration details are available on the CCOHS website:

Contact: CCOHS Client Services | Phone: 1-905-570-8094 (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time) | Toll-free: 1-800-668-4284 (Canada and USA) | Email:

Strength in unity: a new international trade union confederation is born

Vienna, 1 November 2006 saw the dawn of a new trade union international, a stronger and more united voice of workers' worldwide set to tackle the challenge of globalisation with renewed energy and hope.

As the culmination of a process that has inspired new hope in the face of huge challenges, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) was officially formed at this morning's opening session of its Founding Congress in Vienna. The Founding Congress of the ITUC, which will run until 3 November, was preceded yesterday by the dissolution congresses of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL). The new ITUC will comprise the affiliated organisations of the former ICFTU and WCL together with eight other national trade union organisations that will for the first time affiliate to a global body.

The international trade union movement is adapting in order to remain a key player in an economic climate that is creating more losers than winners. The imbalances of economic globalisation are having a devastating effect on millions of workers. Off-shoring, abuse of workers' rights and increasing poverty are all examples of the negative impact of these developments.

'The creation of the ITUC will solidify the trade union movement's capacity at the national and international levels', declared Guy Ryder, the former General Secretary of the ICFTU and prospective General Secretary of the ITUC. 'Stronger, we will exert more influence on companies, governments and the international financial and trade institutions. The founding of the ITUC is an integral part of the process of uniting the power of trade unionism," he added.

Willy Thys, the former General Secretary of the WCL, said today: 'There is no doubt that the ITUC will become an effective countervailing force in a society that has changed enormously, with workers' rights being flouted under the pressure created by the current trajectory of " race to the bottom" globalisation'.

The Founding Congress, a historic event for the international union movement, will begin this morning with a formal opening ceremony. This will be followed by a plenary debate and an address by Juan Somavia, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The programme for Thursday, 2 November, will include panel discussions on the impact of globalisation, including "Cohesion and chaos - the global institutions" and "Global unions - global companies". Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, will address the congress in the morning via a satellite video link. The final day of the Congress, Friday 3 November, will focus on the adoption of the ITUC's programme and the establishment of regional structures. Those decisions will be followed by the election of the new organisation's General Secretary and General Council, with the Council electing the remaining office bearers following the close of the Congress.

The ITUC represents 166 million workers through its 309 affiliated organisations within 156 countries and territories.

News from India

Greetings from PRIA!

As a next step of information exchange and building capacity of human resource engaged in workplace safety and health, PRIA has started conducting courses in distance education mode. As you are aware that we are collaborating centre of CIS since 1994.

CIS will be including PRIA's information on the Training Section of the CIS Website at

Harsh Jaitli, Director, PRIA, 42, Tuglakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi 110062, India | Tel: + 91-11-299556908, 29960931-33 | Fax: +91-11-29955183 | Emails: and |

News from Portugal

"Labour Inspection: a guide to the profession" in Portuguese

Graca Nunes writes "our translation of "Labour Inspection: a guide to the profession" by Wolfgang Von Richthfen was made by the Portuguese Labour Inspection and the ILO Office in Lisbon. We have made an agreement with a publisher - Coimbra Editora and they are the ones who sell this book to the public.

We had a book launching event in the Congress Centre in Lisbon on 4 October 2006 in the presence of Mr. Richthofen and it was a success with 200 participants from the Government, Social Partners, Labour Inspectors and other people concerned with this subject.

We are going to send this book to all the Labour Inspection representatives of the other Portuguese speaking countries."

Contact: Graça Nunes | Email:

"INSPECÇÃO DO TRABALHO - Um guia da profissão"

A IGT em cooperação com o Escritório da OIT - Organização Internacional do Trabalho - em Lisboa promove a publicação em português do livro "Inspecção do Trabalho - Um guia da profissão" originalmente editado pela OIT para disseminar os resultados de uma reflexão que sirva de referência para a audiência tripartida destinatária das publicações da OIT

See web site:

News from Canada

High-Risk Initiative/Last Chance Program

Canada's Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) involvement with the Ministry of Labour's High-Risk Initiative/Last Chance Program continues to progress, with IAPA taking part in targeted contact and intervention with 600 firms between April 2006 and March 2007. For those unfamiliar with the initiative, the program began in 2004 with the goal of reducing injury frequencies by 20% in Ontario by the end of 2008.

The firms selected are based on overall injury frequency and cost, approximately half of these being small businesses. Kathleen Douglass' team at IAPA is assigned first contact with small businesses made up of six - 19 employees, with follow up and referral to consultants as required. IAPA consultants are making first contact with approximately 150 medium-sized firms (20 - 49 employees), and WSIB account managers make first contact with firms of 50+ employees and offer referrals to consultants as necessary. The WSIB Account Manager contact is an important lever to persuading firms to take advantage of IAPA services.

As of the end of Q3 at IAPA, over half of the firms have been contacted, informed of their status as a last chance firm, and offered assistance. To date, approximately 65% of firms contacted have accepted the offer of assistance from IAPA and the objective is to make contact with all firms by the end of October 2006.

With the recording advantages provided by the customer relationship management program, as the process matures IAPA can track its progress in greater detail to better identify areas of improvement for each firm where contact and intervention has been initiated.

News from the Netherlands

Method in your madness: System in your Safety by Professor Andrew Hale

Safety is always achieved by trading off with other goals. That requires transparent models of how danger arises and validated research results about the effectiveness of risk control measures: in practice this is rarely the case. That is one of the statements made by Prof.dr. Andrew Hale in his valedictory speech as Professor of Safety Science at the TU Delft on Friday, 15 September 15th 2006.

Whilst emphasizing that safety levels have improved in most sectors in developed countries over the last forty years, Prof. Hale generally signals a gap between policy and practice when it comes to safety. 'Safety and risk control is irreducibly complicated. Managers who ask for a safety management system on 'one sheet of A4' are kidding themselves. Safety will not of itself take root in the practices of a university, company or a government. We need dedicated safety professionals in research, teaching and practice, but above all a leadership in all of those, and in government, committed to implementing its safety goals.'

'I would like to challenge employers' federations and professional bodies to approach the relevant deans of faculties and rectors to persuade them just how important an understanding of risk management is. Employers should declare graduates unemployable without such a baggage integrated into their university, professional and technical training.'

Knowledge about safety and risk management is particularly important to the success of the strategy of self regulation which many countries have implemented in the last thirty years, says Hale. 'If designers, managers and professionals do not understand risk and how it emerges and can be managed, such an approach is a dead letter.'

In parallel with these processes of regulatory change Hale observes an increase in out-sourcing, the break-up of monopoly companies in railways, telecommunications and energy and the introduction of competition into markets which previously had none. One of the victims of this process has been the overview of how safety and health is faring in those sectors, he finds. 'We have seen the problem in the series of accidents and building collapses in the building industry in the Netherlands in the last few years.'

'The more responsibility and control is delegated to the sector, the stronger the need for a monitoring role at government level. But ministries and their political masters currently seem largely uninterested in, if not antagonistic towards this.'

Another topic Hale mentioned in his speech is the role of the victims of accidents. 'Victims increasingly want to see somebody's head roll when an accident occurs. Defence lawyers require their clients to keep their mouths shut. The victim is the openness required for learning, as the case of an air traffic control prosecution at Schiphol after a runway incursion accident has shown us. Two controllers were prosecuted, partly on the basis of information in an internal company incident reporting system. The result was a drop in reporting of potential problems in that system of more than 50%, which still has not recovered to normal levels today. As a result, our airport may well be a more dangerous place today than it could have been.'

'Such a prosecution system has also not proved itself able to cope with the diffused responsibility which is so common in accidents in well-defended, complex systems, where accidents emerge from the coincidence of many small decisions, each of which is individually reasonably defensible. In these there is no smoking gun, but at most a few scattered grains of gunpowder lurking in obscure corners', Hale continues.

To conclude Hale urges people to be realistic about safety issues. 'The notion of zero accidents as an objective is too far off to be motivating. Much more fundamentally, it ignores the fact that safety is always achieved in relation to other goals. Ultimately there will be trade-offs. We also have to accept that some of the changes brought about by tighter safety standards are undesirable.'

Professor Andrew Hale was named a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2006. He received this Royal Honour for his services as follows:

"Since 1984, Andrew Hale has been a professor of Safety Science at Delft University of Technology's Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. Professor Hale has created a research group that is world renowned. Many of his ideas are now to be found in legislation regulating safety and safety systems, and in the ways safety is approached in companies, transport enterprises and aviation. In the Netherlands, he is credited with establishing safety education as a science. Andrew. Hale has some 100 research publications to his name. He is recognised as one of the most vitally high profile and most competent professors at TU Delft, and he has successfully built a bridge between technology and society.

To read Andrew Hale's full farewell speech read Method in your madness: System in your safety. 2006. 43 pages

Contact: Prof. Andrew Hale, Technical University Delft, The Netherlands | Tel: +31 15 278 1706 or +31 15 278 1477 | Email:

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) urges business to ease back pain worries by encouraging staff to stay active. Back to work could be the answer to Back Pain!

British businesses could hold the key to solving one of the nation's biggest health problems, it has been revealed in a new campaign from the Health and Safety Executive.

Back pain causes one in every six days off work due to ill-health with 4.5 million working days lost last year alone, according to the latest HSE figures. However the Better Backs campaign shows that back pain can be tackled. Staying active, introducing sensible workplace precautions and helping back pain sufferers return to work are all part of the answer.

Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive said:

"Back pain is one of the biggest cause of occupational ill-health in the UK, and will affect four out of five of us. Too many people still think the best answer is a good dose of bed rest, but modern medical opinion is agreed that staying active is the best way to manage back pain. In many cases, this can be achieved by getting back to work sooner."

The charity BackCare estimates back pain costs the NHS, business and the economy more than £5 billion a year. HSE is encouraging both employers and employees to talk openly about back pain issues, and to discuss ways that employers could make simple changes at work, allowing workers to return before the pain has fully subsided.

The campaign has already drawn support from many of Britain's leading employers, unions, experts from the health and medical community, and charities.

In addition, the HSE has worked with the charity BackCare to develop an exercise workout to help workers stay active. The routine is specially designed so that you can do it at any point throughout a normal day, whether that is at home, on the way to work, or during a working day.

The routine has been developed to emphasise how easy it is to use everyday activity, including work, as a way to manage back pain, but also to encourage people to take a moment at work to stretch and flex their back.

Mr Podger continued:

"Many people may find that they can make small alterations to their working day - perhaps avoiding heavy lifting, or taking more frequent breaks - which allow them to come back to work before their pain has fully subsided. By doing this, they are more likely to find their back pain recedes, as the activity of a slightly amended working day can be a tonic in itself.

"But the bottom line is, being back at work benefits employers and employees alike."

The UK Better Backs campaign runs throughout October and November 2006. To find out more about how to tackle back pain or when to visit the GP go to or you can call the HSE Infoline on 0845 345 0055.

Top 5 Back Pain Statistics

  1. Back pain will affect 80% of us at some point in our lives.
  2. One in six working days lost in the UK is due to back pain.
  3. In 2004/05 an estimated 452 000 people in Great Britain suffered, in their opinion, from a musculoskeletal disorder mainly affecting the back that was caused or made worse by their current or past work.
  4. It is estimated that 4.5 million working days (full-day equivalent) were lost in the previous 12 months due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders which mainly affected the back. Each person suffering from such a condition took an estimated 17.4 days off work on average in this period.
  5. The charity BackCare estimates that back pain costs the NHS, business and the economy over £5 billion a year.

News from Europe

Ageing and employment

What can be done to increase job opportunities for older people and to keep them in employment? A recently published report entitled "Ageing and Employment - Identification of good practice to increase job opportunities and maintain older workers in employment" addresses this issue. The report reflects on good practice, identifies key factors and recommends actions that can be taken at EU, national, company and individual level. The study also gauges the success of the European Employment Strategy, one objective of which is to extend the working lives and increase the employment rates of older workers.

Drawing on experience in eleven EU countries, the study acknowledges that a key goal of European economic and employment strategies is raising employment by extending working life. Encouraging this in practice without undermining living standards, the work/life balance, fairness or economic efficiency depends on companies and institutions finding viable approaches. The research involved selecting 41 organisational (company) case studies across a mix of economic activities in the public and private sectors. An analysis followed into (i) the strengths and weaknesses of the national institutional framework within which these organisations operate and (ii) selected good practice in initiatives undertaken by social partners, NGOs and national or regional policy-makers.

Ageing and employment: identification of good practice to increase job opportunities and maintain older workers in employment (253p) (full report in English - summary also available in English, German and French) see Europa:

'European safety and health manager' agreed in principle

A European standard for health and safety professionals is closer to becoming a reality following a meeting in Rome on 29-30 September 2006.

Members of the European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations (ENSHPO) have agreed the new standard, and are currently working on Europe-wide certification and a Code of Conduct. The certification will allow eligible health and safety practitioners to use the designation EurOSHM (European Occupational Safety and Health Manager).

Richard Jones, Director of Technical Affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the vice chair of the ENSHPO Executive Committee, said: "The new standard will be at a level that means all chartered IOSH members and those non-chartered members with sufficient qualifications and experience will be able to apply for the award to ENSHPO's Certification Committee, chaired by Professor Andrew Hale.

"This is a significant step forward for European health and safety professionals. It's intended that this will eventually help achieve a common standard of health and safety practice throughout Europe and lead to easier recognition of equivalent qualification across member states.

"Creating an agreed standard is important because we all work within a common legal framework and face similar challenges requiring similar competencies, such as tackling musculoskeletal disorders and stress, and dealing with the health and safety implications of migration, terrorism, climate change and ageing population. Increasingly, practitioners may work across borders and employers in different countries need an easy way to identify the levels of competence of those offering services."

There is still further work for ENSHPO to do on the implementation arrangements. It's hoped to finalise the scheme for the pan-European certification standard in 2007 and also to work on producing a technician level European standard in the near future.

IOSH is the Secretariat of ENSHPO and was a driving force behind its creation in 2001. There are 14 member countries at present, including the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

IOSH is Europe's largest body for health and safety professionals. We have nearly 30,000 members worldwide, including more than 8,000 Chartered Safety and Health Practitioners. The Institution was founded in 1945 and is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that sets professional standards, supports and develops members and provides authoritative advice and guidance on health and safety issues. IOSH is formally recognised by the ILO as an international non-governmental organisation.

The European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations (ENSHPO) brings together health and safety professional organisations from the current EU member states, new member states, applicant countries, and other European countries.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3100 | Fax: +44 (0)116 257 9141 |

Health and Safety Pocket Book, by Jeremy Stranks

This pocket book contains a unique compilation of tables, data, checklists and a glossary for a wide range of health and safety topics. It includes:

The Health and Safety Pocket Book is a compact first point of reference for practicing health and safety professionals and auditors out on site visits, managers and HR personnel with health and safety responsibilities, and employee representatives. The book will also be useful on a wide range of health and safety courses at all levels.

Jeremy Stranks has 40 years of experience in occupational safety and health enforcement, management, consultancy and training. He is a founding member of NEBOSH and has lectured on numerous training courses on all aspects of health and safety. His company Safety and Hygiene Consultants offers companies advice in drawing up Health and Safety policies, writing risk assessments and audit procedures.

Readership: Health and Safety consultants and managers; Managers in all industries with health and safety responsibilities; Safety representatives in small to medium sized enterprises; HR managers. Risk assessors; Safety auditors; Lecturers and students on health and safety courses.

Health and Safety Pocket Book, by Jeremy Stranks. Butterworth-Heinemann. 2006. ISBN 0-7506-6781-8. 441 pages

Training Materials For Polish Workers

Estimates of migration from Poland since its accession into the EU in 2004 have put the figure at 600,000, and the beneficial impact of this influx of workers is now being felt across many industries. Communicating health and safety messages to non or poor English speakers has been a challenge for many employers, and Scriptographic Publications has become one of the first to produce training material in Polish.

'Employees Guide to Manual Handling' is one of the company's most successful booklets, and the 16 page publication has been reproduced in Polish with illustrations in the Classic Scriptographic style. The booklets are designed to be read quickly, with the material easy to understand and remember, and a brief test at the back of the booklet will check and reinforce that the messages have been absorbed.

'We surveyed some of our main customers to find out if foreign language booklets were required and if so in which languages. The overwhelming response was yes they are needed, and the main language they are needed in is Polish,' said Michael Whitcroft, Scriptographic Publications Managing Director.

Scriptographic Publications offers a range of more than 200 health and safety and training booklets, and supplies material to some of the UK's leading companies and public authorities. Booklets can be personalised with the logo of an organisation on the front and additional details on the back cover. Samples are available by calling 0800 028 5670 or emailing

Michael Whitcroft, Scriptographic Publications Ltd, Charwell House, Wilsom Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2PP | Phone: 08701 609 220 | email:

Important Notice - First round of Bursary Awards announced by BOHS

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is delighted to announce the first three recipients of its recently launched bursary programme. Nik Rowley, studying for an MSc in Occupational Hygiene at the University of Manchester, and Bernice Ndubuokwu and Peneyambeko Alina Munkawa, who are both studying for an MSc in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Management at the University of Portsmouth, have each been awarded a bursary to cover one year's tuition fee from September 2006. There were several high quality applications for this first round of awards, and so congratulations are extended to all three worthy winners. With free student membership of BOHS and an allocated mentor also part of the award, BOHS looks forward to mutually beneficial relationships with these excellent students at what is hopefully the start of their successful careers in occupational hygiene.

Nik is 33, has a BSc in Occupational Health and Safety and is currently a Health and Safety Officer with Leeds City Council. He is at a point in his career where he would like to specialise, and his background as a Chartered health and safety practitioner has directed his interest increasingly towards occupational hygiene. Without this BOHS bursary, Nicholas would have had to self-fund his MSc entirely. He says of his future career aims, "Given time and experience as an Occupational Hygienist I would ultimately like to make an impact on the UK industry as a whole by working for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in offering workable occupational hygiene guidance and not simply enforcement."

Bernice is a 46 year old Senior Occupational Health Officer at Shell Petroleum Development Company in Warri, Nigeria with a wealth of occupational health nursing experience and qualifications. Mid-way through her Msc, which to date she has been self-funding with some difficulty, she has already seen the benefit of her specialist occupational hygiene learning when working alongside the hygienist in her occupational health department's team. In Nigeria "there is a dearth of qualified occupational hygienists and consequently those few qualified can not adequately cope", according to Bernice; furthermore, "only a handful of multinational companies have fit-for-purpose hygiene services for the promotion and protection of the health of their workers". She is keen to practice as an occupational hygiene professional, to use her experience and to transfer her knowledge in the development of effective occupational hygiene solutions in Nigeria.

Peneyambeko Alina, 31, is an Occupational Health Officer with the City of Windhoek, Namibia, and a qualified Nurse with additional degrees in Occupational Health Nursing, and Health Sciences and Social Services. She is currently working at establishing her own occupational health, safety and hygiene consultancy, with the goal of building the capacity to deliver comprehensive services across all industries throughout Namibia. In her view, there is poor enforcement of occupational health, safety and hygiene law in her country, due to "lack of specialised skills, inadequate collaboration between relevant Ministries and subsequent poor government support" and she has a passion to address this. Part way through her MSc at Portsmouth, Peneyambeko has been funding her studies herself.

BOHS's bursary scheme is for students wanting to gain a higher education qualification in Occupational Hygiene, with up to five bursaries every year to be awarded biannually, each of up to £4,000 towards the payment of academic fees. The closing date for the next round of applications is 31st January 2007.

BOHS is a registered charity, with a simple aim: to help to reduce work-related ill-health, and this bursary scheme is one of a number of initiatives designed to promote education and research in occupational hygiene. For full details, including a complete list of eligible courses and how to apply, visit the 'Education and Training' section of the BOHS website on

Contact Anthea Page, Communications Officer, BOHS, 5/6 Melbourne Court, Millennium Way, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8LZ, UK | Email: | Tel: +44 (0) 1332 250701

News from the UK

1,000 Businesses benefit from free workplace health advice

Recently the new UK Workplace Health Connect, the free and confidential service helping smaller businesses with their health and safety needs, completed its 1,000th visit, putting the service on target to reach 110,000 employees through workplace visits over the next two years.

Since launching in February of this year, Workplace Health Connect has managed to reach over 85,000 employees through calls to the Adviceline. The top five reasons for these calls are from employers wanting help in drawing up risk assessments, advice on how to tackle stress in the workplace, hazard identification, guidance on handling long term sickness absence and supporting workers back into work after illness or injury.

Workplace Health Connect Project Director Peter Brown said: "Since launching Workplace Health Connect earlier this year, we've had a really good response from businesses highlighting how important many employers perceive health and safety issues to be. We are making progress, but with almost 600,000 people being injured or becoming ill at work each year, it is clear every business should make health and safety a priority. When you consider it costs a business an average of £1,200 each time a worker is off sick, there are benefits to be had by all, by making that call."

Businesses with between five and 249 employees can contact Workplace Health Connect by calling the Adviceline (0845 609 6006). This puts them in contact with a team of highly qualified, professional advisers who give confidential, practical advice, on how to reduce risks, and the associated costs, of workplace injuries and illness.

Employers in certain parts of the country can also benefit from a workplace visit, where a team of skilled advisers are able to provide them with advice and the skills they need to tackle workplace health and safety issues in the future. Further information is also available at

November 2006 News Briefs

From Japan

JISHA 2006

The latest Annual report from the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA) shows that the number of Japan's work related accidents has been on a downward trend from a long-term perspective. The annual statistics show 1,514 deaths, the smallest number in the country's history.

But the lack of safety awareness on the part of many companies has severely been called into question. In order to promote the spread of OSH management measures, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare put the revised Industrial Safety and Health into effect in April 2006. The revised law stress the need for employers to implement risk assessment and provide the creation of an exemption system under which companies that introduce the Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) are exempted from reporting their safety and health programme to the government authorities.

JISHA's many activities to promote good health and safety standards are reported in the Report.

With these projects, JISHA will accelerate the introduction of an occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS), forward the zero accident drive, promote the Total Health Plan (THP), back up safety and health measures at small and medium-sized enterprises, and furnish the latest information about safety and health.

To read more and about other JISHA activities in The JISHA Annual report 2006 edition contact: Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, 5-35-1 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0014 Japan | Tel/Fax: +81 3 3454 4596 | Email: |

From the USA

The Fall issue of LIFELINES (Vol. 8, No. 3) is out and available at the LIFELINES archive. The stories include:

As always, we look forward to your feedback and comments.

Steve Clark, Communications Manager, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America, 905 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA |

From the UN

New UN Report on violence against children: the workplace setting

Zero tolerance for violence against children in the workplace: A new report by the United Nations on violence against children is to be transmitted to the UN General Assembly this week. One of its sections is devoted to violence as it affects children who work.

According to the report, the key departure point has to be a policy of zero tolerance of violence against children who are working - whether legally or in child labour.

Frans Roselaers, Director of the ILO's Department of Partnerships and Development Cooperation and member of the editorial board of the report says that although the end of child labour may be in reach, stopping violence against working children is an urgent need.

The United Nations Secretary General's Study on Violence Against Children. The report to the General Assembly is available on-line. The full text of the study's findings are published in World Report on Violence against Children, by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, forthcoming November 2006.

OSHE Websites to explore

If you have a favourite website please send details to your Editor
Many other websites collected in the Country and Subject indexes in


Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut fuer Arbeitsschutz (BGIA, BG-Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institute fur Arbeitssicherheit site contains various GESTIS databases on hazardous substances and complete reports on up-to-date research topics ("BGIA reports", a number of these are in English. They provide results of the German BGs (institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention). Reports can be downloaded or ordered free of charge via the BGIA's publication database.


International Labour Organisation SafeWork SOLVE

The International Labour Organisation SafeWork SOLVE is an interactive educational programme designed to assist in the development of policy and action to address psychosocial issues at the workplace. Stress, alcohol and drugs, violence (both physical and psychological), HIV/AIDS and tobacco all lead to health-related problems for the worker and lower productivity for the enterprise or organization. Taken together they represent a major cause of accidents, fatal injuries, disease and absenteeism at work in both industrialized and developing countries. SOLVE focuses on prevention in translating concepts into policies and policies into action at the national and enterprise levels


Home Office Events safety   UK

The UK Home Office has published new guidance that includes good practice advice for organisers of carnivals, charity and small-scale sporting events. The advice is designed to ensure that such events are as safe as possible for the public and participants

The Lancet: Medical podcasts   UK

The Lancet offers audio summaries featured in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet are available as podcasts. Editorial staff discussing the highlights from the week's issue, and usually include at least one interview with the study author of a key paper. Also produced is a monthly audio summary for The Lancet Infectious Diseases and The Lancet Neurology.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents   RoSPA   GoPOP   UK

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents GoPOP - Going Public on Performance project encourages organisations to report their health ands safety performance in an open and transparent way. This revamped website now includes: What's New in Occupational Safety and Health reporting; the RoSPA Showcase, including award winners.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents RoSPA: RUA DUMMY 2?   UK

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents campaign to reduce the number of people who die in drowning accidents has launched, in conjunction with the Environment Agency this website to provide free water safety resources aimed specifically at young people.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents   RoSPA   UK

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has a wide range of services, publications and training courses for safety and health at work, water and leisure, education and at home. RoSPA Information Services database is available in the OSH-Ireland and also in OSH UPDATE


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health   NIOSH   Bicycle Saddles and Reproductive Health   USA
NIOSH has developed a new topic page on bicycle saddles and reproductive health. NIOSH researchers have investigated the potential health effects of prolonged bicycling on police bicycle patrol units over the past few years. Updates and published reports of these research studies are available on the topic page.

Diary of Events

If you have a seminar, conference or exhibition that you would like to promote - please send details to your Editor. Also look in

16-17 January 2007 - Music - Safe and Sound: European Forum on Hearing Conservation for Professionals in Music and Entertainment. Organized by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA)), Germany
Dortmund, Germany
Contact: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA), Friedrich-Henkel Weg 1-25, D-44149 Dortmund, Germany | Tel: +49 (0)231 9071 2500 | Fax: +49 (0)231 9071 2294 | Email: |

7 February 2007 - FABIG Technical Meeting - Defence in depth: prevention of escalation of fires and explosions
Institution of Structural Engineers, London, UK
Contact: Julia Hodge, FABIG, UK | Tel: +44(0)1344 636546 | Email: |

8 February 2007 - FABIG Technical Meeting - Defence in depth: prevention of escalation of fires and explosions
Hilton Aberdeen Treetops, Aberdeen, UK
Contact: Julia Hodge, FABIG, UK | Tel: +44(0)1344 636546 | Email: |

22-24 May 2007 - RoSPA Safety and Health at Work Congress and Expo
National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK
Contact: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST, UK | Tel: +44(0)121 248 2000 |

3-6 June 2007 - 9th International Symposium on Equity in Maritime Health
Esbjerg, Denmark
Contact: Per Sabro Nielsen, Head of Research, Research Unit of Maritime Medicine, 81-83 Oestergade DK-6700 Esbjerg, Denmark | Tel: +45 7918 2286 | Fax: +45 7918 2294 | Email: |

13-16 June 2007 - 2nd World Congress on Work-Related and Environmental Allergy (WOREAL) and the 6th International Symposium on Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ISICD)
Contact: Tel: +49 (0)3641 35 33 0 | Fax: +49 (0)3641 35 33 271 | Email:

15-19 July 2007- International Congress of Toxicology 2007
Organized by: International Union of Toxicology, the Society of Toxicology of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Contact: XI 2007 ICT Secretariat, National Research Council Canada, 1200 Montreal Road, Building M-19, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6, Canada | Tel: +1 (613) 993 9431 | Fax: +1 (613) 993 7250 | Email:

Want to know about CIS? Work Smarter not Harder!

If you wish to write about CIS Activities in your country and short of information on the range of CIS activities then you will find lots of very useful information, facts and figures in the report Report of the Director-General. Second Supplementary Report: Activities of the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) in 2004-05.

Read it and "cut and paste" the details into your own report or newsletter.

You will be impressed at the range of activities. I think the 2006-2007 activities will be even more impressive!

Make my Day... Send some News - Your Editor

Don't forget to send your Questionnaire form back to CIS HQ