CIS Newsletter

No. 218
November 2007

CIS Newsletter celebrates 19 years & still going strong!
Bringing news to over 140 countries in the CIS Network!


  1. Editorial
  2. Reports from Düsseldorf of the CIS Annual Meeting 2007
  3. Tripartite Governing Body Meeting and CIS Network! Must read this!
  4. Regional Meeting in Damascus November 2007
  5. FOCUS: World Congress in Korea 2008
  6. Safework bookshelf
  7. News from around the World - Canada, Europe, Hungary, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the USA
  8. FOCUS: Dying for a job?
  9. OSHE websites
  10. Diary of Events


Dear CIS Colleagues

Time is flying so quickly... and still lots to do in our OSH World. The November 2007 edition of the CIS Newsletter contains a wide variety of information. You should have received the official report from CIS Geneva of the CIS Annual General Meeting. You will find a quick link to it and also the list of participants who attended the meeting on - look to the box on the right hand of your screen.

As you can see this is a longish Newsletter October 2007 saw the very intensive European Safety and Health Week campaign theme on musculoskeletal disorders take place. It was entitled "Lighten the load". Go to The campaign had a range of awareness-raising activities that were organised in over 30 countries. The Agency is asking what you did during the 'Lighten the load' campaign - you can download your own personalised Certificate of Participation, and automatically enter a prize draw to win a free trip to the Basque Region of Spain for two people. Find details in all 22 European languages by clicking on the above website

There is some very important news for you regarding the future of CIS HQ activities and budgeting for the next 2 years. SEE BELOW for details and please DO read the report! It affects you as a CIS National, Collaborating and regional Centre.

I have added other news that continues to come in - many thanks to all those sending news... and those have NOT SENT any news - I look forward to hearing from you!

We are hoping that one of the outcomes of the CIS Annual Meeting that I chaired is that another Regional Meeting will be held in Geneva in early May 2008. CIS HQ is checking for available dates and these will be sent very soon. And it is hoped to offer Training Workshops for CIS members in the 2008 Regional Meeting - details also to follow. So the Wind of Change keeps blowing - play your part wherever you are!

Remember that the 2008 CIS AGM will be held in June 2008 in Seoul, Korea at the same time as the Congress see - abstract submission deadline due by 30 November 2007 and Early Bird Registration deadline by 28 February 2008!

Don't forget to make as much Publicity as possible regarding your OSH activities... tell them, tell them and tell them again... Remember >>>>

Use the CIS Logo on your web site and publications!

Thriving in 2007... Keep promoting and telling the World at large that CIS and its network exists!

You know I welcome ideas for inclusion in the future editions of this Newsletter. 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.

Changed email number recently? Please let me know of any changes so that I can continually alert you to when the new edition of CIS Newsletter is available via this website

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

Sheila Pantry, OBE

Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 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 Newsletter on your own web site/pages/e-news

News from Geneva

CIS Annual Meeting 2007

You will have received the Official Report* of the 45th Annual Meeting of the CIS Centres held in Düsseldorf on 20 September 2007, the list of participants and the presentation of Mr Gábor Sándi (CIS at the Crossroads") were also sent. For ease of access you will find a quick link to these on - look to the box on the right hand of your screen. And you will also find a report on the CIS Network activities - from Annick Virot. I urge you to read these reports - they are very important and will give you details of the various CIS activities now and in the future!

Also, please remember to add your news in the CIS News database...

******PLEASE READ THIS*******

ILO Tripartite Governing Body Meeting and CIS Network!

The ILO Governing Body will have its autumn session on 1-16 November 2007. CIS's work in the ILO is defined by the ILO's tripartite Governing Body, which is a kind of Parliament for the ILO. The proposed programme and budget for CIS will be presented to the Governing Body separately, CIS is one of only two units within the ILO organization with that privilege.

I urge you to read the report that you will find on

Your country's representative on the ILO's tripartite Governing Body that meets next week 1-16 November 2007 will be considering the CIS budget for the next two years amongst other budgets, then You might want to contact your country's representative and tell them how important CIS and its network is... especially as we can see many OSH information centres around the world being closed or declining in their efforts.

The new projects described should be supported and CIS staff will be needed to work FULL TIME to achieve these projects that will help CIS Network worldwide to achieve their goals.

Regional Meeting in Damascus in November 2007

On 21 and 22 November 2007, the CIS and SafeWork will be holding a Regional Meeting of CIS National and Collaboration Centres of the Arab States in collaboration with the Regional CIS Centres in Damascus, Syria.

The meeting will be co-organized by the ILO Beirut Office, SafeWork, CIS and the Arab Labour Institute of the Arab Labour Organization. The objective of the meeting is to strengthen the network in Arab States by revigorating existing Centres and creating new ones where they do not exist yet.

Immediately before, from 18 to 20 November, an Interregional Tripartite Meeting of the Arab States will take place also in Damascus, Syria, on Occupational Safety and Health. The main purpose of the Meeting is to reinforce OSH in the region through the development of national OSH programmes, systems and strategies and to develop an action plan for the future.

FOCUS: Promotion of the XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2008

Seoul, Korea

The world's biggest international forum in terms of the safety and health field, the XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from June 29 to July 2, 2008.

The World Congress is a great opportunity for decision makers and professionals in the OSH field, those representing workers and employers, and social security experts to share information and knowledge related to the prevention of industrial accidents and occupational diseases. It provides an opportunity to discuss recently emerging major issues in relation to safety and health and to come up with the measures to handle safety and health related problems. It is jointly organised by the ILO, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA). Its motto will be: Safety and health at work: A societal responsibility.

The World Congress will have four main topics:

  1. Strategies and Programmes of Safety and Health for the Future.
  2. Impact of Changes of Working Conditions on Workers' Protection.
  3. New Challenges and Opportunities in Occupational Safety and Health.
  4. Safety and Health Management Systems.

For the first time in its history, the Congress will include, on Sunday 29 June 2008, a Safety and Health at Work Summit during which participants will be asked to reflect on safety and health at work as a basic human right and a means to economic growth and development. Participants will include ministers responsible for occupational safety and health, industry leaders, and high-level representatives from employers' and workers' organizations, as well as leading specialists from the fields of occupational safety and health and social security. The purpose of the Summit is to stimulate political commitment and bring OSH higher up in national and international agendas. One expected outcome of the World Congress is The Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work, which will be probably issued after the Safety and Health Summit.

Other features of the Congress include a Plenary Session, six Technical Sessions, six Regional Meetings and 45 Symposia, as well as a Speakers' Corner and Poster sessions and an International Film and Multimedia Festival. Social activities and other side events are also planned.

The 46th Annual Meeting of the CIS National, Collaborating and Regional Centres will also take place on Sunday 29 June 2008.

Reminder Notes from Düsseldorf...

In concluding the Annual CIS Meeting in Düsseldorf, the Chairperson, Sheila Pantry urged Centres to specifically inform the Network of any changes in contact details. This would enable the continued active sharing of information among the Centres and with CIS.

She highlighted the fact that "e-" (electronic) communication was the key in today's world, and that without it networking would be much more difficult.

She encouraged Centres to engage tripartite support in their initiatives, and to lobby for funding for the continuation of CIS activities.

Concerning the Encyclopaedia she pledged to work with CIS in designing the questionnaire discussed earlier.

New interface to Safework Bookshelf

The International Occupational Safety and Health Information Center (CIS) has created a new interface to its SafeWork Bookshelf database that contains the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety, an authoritative source of on-line information on all aspects of the multidisciplinary field of occupational safety and health (OSH).

Available for free on the ILO Web site, you can access the results of the collaborative work of several hundred recognized experts form over 50 countries by clicking on

The Encyclopaedia consists of over 1,000 articles, complemented by copious illustrations, easy-to-read tables and thousands of references.

The new SafeWork Bookshelf also gives access to the OSH-related ILO Conventions and Recommendations, the ILO Codes of Practice as well as the ILO/WHO/UNEP International Chemical Safety Cards, summarizing essential health and safety information on chemicals for their use in the workplace.

In addition to a new look, the SafeWork Bookshelf is more user-friendly and contains new searching features. The interface allows the novice user to perform simple queries and easily save or print the retrieved information.

The SafeWork Bookshelf is also available in French at

News from Hungary

Katalin Balogh sends the following news.

This is the official text on the closure of the Hungarian OSH Institute:

"We would like to inform you, that Public Foundation on Research of Occupational Safety, (PFROS) Hungary Budapest, established by Hungarian Government in 1995, was dissolved by the decision of the government on 12th October 2007 without legal successor.

I have been working for the Hungarian Labour Inspectorate, Department of International Affairs and Strategy since September 2007.

Please contact me at my new address:

Katalin Balogh
Hungarian Labour Inspectorate, Department of International Affairs and Strategy
H-1024 Budapest, Margit krt. 85. Hungary
Tel: +36 (1) 346 9595

Looking forward to a fruitful cooperation in the future.

I have just finished a conversation with my boss on CIS National Centre membership. So the National Centre will be the Hungarian Labour Inspectorate Department of International and Strategic Affairs, head of department: Mr. János Gádor, and the correspondent is me.

News from Romania

Maria Purcherea writes:

I would like to announce the new address of our Institute:

Responsible for CIS activities
Head of the Documentation Office
National Institute for Research and Development on Occupational Safety
Str.: Ghencea, nr. 35 A, sector 6
Bucuresti, ROMANIA
Tel: + 4 021 313 17 26
Fax: + 4 021 315 78 22
Mobile: + 4 0724319190
Email: and

The General Director of our Institute is Dr. ing.Mihai Costescu, who will visit Sankt Augustine, Germany, next week and will meet Dr. Meffert for a future collaboration and the Scientific Director is Ionel Iorga, who was in Düsseldorf with me.

I, together with both of them, send you our best regards and our willingness to work in any international programme on OSH.

Best wishes,
Maria Purcherea

News from Canada

Health & Safety Canada 2008

Health & Safety Canada 2008 IAPA Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, April 21-23, 2008. Enter at 255 Front Street West or, for direct access to the South Building at 222 Bremner Boulevard.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

How do I register for the 2008 Conference?

Delegates can register:

  1. Online at the IAPA website (preferred method).
  2. By mail or fax using the Registration Form in the Preliminary Guide.
  3. By telephone through an IAPA Customer Care Representative.

Note: Online registration is the preferred method of registration with payments in advance via credit card.

What are the registration fees for the 2008 Conference?

Before March 17th, 2008
3-day registration: $575 + $34.50 GST
1-day registration: $375 + $22.50 GST
Exhibit Only: Free
After March 17th, 2008
3-day registration: $675 + $40.50 GST
1-day registration: $400 + $24 GST
Exhibit Only: $25 + $1.50 GST

The following events are priced separately:

Are volume discounts available?

Volume discounts are available for 6 or more delegates. Registrations must be made together.

Firms wishing to register a large group of delegates should contact Helen McDowell, Ext 2227 to discuss customized pricing.

Do I have to pre-register for individual sessions?

No. Delegates may attend any session scheduled on the day(s) they attend. However, occasionally sessions are filled to capacity at which time no further delegates can be admitted.

NOTE: Professional Development Courses do require pre-registration.

Who are the Keynote Speakers for the 2008 Conference?

Chris Kennedy Lawford: Symptoms of Withdrawal
Lawford recounts his story of near-fatal drug and alcohol addiction & his path to sobriety for the past 20 years. Co-sponsored by Caron Treatment Centres.
Watts Wacker: World-Renowned Futurist
Lecturer, best-selling author, political commentator, social critic and one of the worlds's most respected futurists.
Michael "Pinball" Clemons: CFL Legend and Toronto Argonauts Coach
Clemons inspires audiences with what he has learned about leadership, teamwork and communication.

What is the entertainment for the Closing Lunch?

Joel Cohen, writer and co-executive producer for The Simpsons, will speak on "The Business Tao of Homer: Lessons in Creativity and Innovation from The Simpsons". The closing lunch is priced separately ($30 + 1.80 GST)

What is CANECT 2008 and how does it relate to our Conference?

CANECT 2008 Environmental Conference and Trade Show is Canada's largest, privately owned environmental show. It co-locates with the IAPA Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The two conferences are separate events with separate registration but the trade shows for both conferences are located in adjoining exhibit halls. Delegates to both conferences have access to the two trade shows.

What is the Leadership Exchange?

(Note: "Leadership Exchange" is a working title. Final name has not been determined yet.)

For the past two years IAPA has held a Leadership Forum at the Conference. The Forum provides business leaders with the opportunity to learn from organizations that are actively pursuing the path of excellence in Health, Safety and the Environment - organizations who have realized that these activities are synonymous with sustainable and profitable business practices.

For 2008, IAPA is partnering with the Conference Board of Canada to organize this event which will be held on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at the Conference. The event will be renamed and reconfigured. The timing will change from the afternoon to the morning of April 22, 2008.

More detailed information on the format and speakers will be available on the Conference website.

What is the Health & Wellness Pavilion?

The Health & Wellness Pavilion is a feature area of the trade show where exhibitors display the latest, interactive health and wellness products and services.

What is "Action Alley"?

Action Alley is another feature area of the trade show which showcases interactive exhibits as well as an Internet Café where delegates can check their e-mail.

What is LINK 2008 and how does it relate to the IAPA Conference?

LINK stands for Learning Innovative New Knowledge. Teams of high school students teach their peers about health & safety through multimedia presentations incorporating key messages, visuals and drama performances. It runs on the Monday and Tuesday of Conference. LINK will be a part of the conference program in 2008.

What is the Research Poster Exhibit?

The Fifth Annual Research Poster Exhibit will feature a variety of posters illustrating research projects in the field of health and safety. The researchers will be available at specified times to discuss with conference delegates the practical application of their research in the workplace.

When will the Conference Preliminary Guide be available?

The 2008 Conference Preliminary Guide will be available in mid January 2008.

What are the nearest hotels to the Conference?

Room blocks have been arranged at special rates at the following hotels:

Intercontinental Toronto Centre
$209 1-800-422-7969 Specify IAPA
Holiday Inn on King
169 1-800-263-6364 or 416-599-4000 Specify code IAPA8
Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown
$182 1-800-237-1512 or 416-341-7100 Specify IAPA
Novotel Hotel
$169 416-367-8900 or email
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
$195 1-800-663-7229 or 1-800-441-1414

Make my Day... Please send some News - Your Editor

News from the Netherlands

Previously I sent you some information about the changes in the Dutch legislation on occupational health and safety: the Working Conditions Act.

The revised Act and corresponding Working Conditions Decree and Working Conditions Regulation have now been translated into English, and is available on the internet at:

An explanation about the reasons for changing the legislation and a short overview of the changes is also available.

Best wishes,
Elly Goos

News from the USA

ARTBA is pleased to announce the availability of two books to help you communicate better with Spanish speaking workers!

Spanish-English Dictionary for Construction

Increasing numbers of Spanish speaking workers in construction has created communication difficulties affecting both productivity and safety. Help eliminate this problem at your site! The Spanish-English pocket size dictionary includes over 1,400 words and terms that are used on the jobsite everyday.

Spanish-English Construction Communication

The Spanish-English Construction Communication book is the perfect companion to the Spanish-English Dictionary. This book includes advanced terms and eleven chapters including communication, safety and overcoming language barriers. Thousands of words are broken into lists of safety terms, related slang and common sentences related to each phase of construction.

This book is a great learning and study tool for both workers and supervisors!

Easy Ways to Order

News from Canada

Cancers and firemen - literature reviews

Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute (IRSST) published 4 reviews of the scientific literature concerning the risks of certain cancers' development and the fireman profession. The colorectal cancer, the leukaemia, the Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, the multiple myeloma, the cancer of respiratory system, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, prostate, testicles and skin are the object of these reviews.

The documents can be downloaded free from:

Communication Division, IRSST | Tel: + 1 (514) 288-1551 | fax: + 1 (514) 288-0998 | Email:

Work Involving Varied Tasks - An Ergonomic Process for MSD Prevention

Occupational Health and Safety Institute (IRSST) published a new guide: Work Involving Varied Tasks - An Ergonomic Process for MSD Prevention.

Long-cycle varied tasks might cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The IRSST's guide allows such situations to be studied using an ergonomic analysis process, presents the context of application of this process, explains each of the steps in the work analysis, and proposes that companies assess their intervention.

The guide is intended for ergonomists responsible for work analysis. It can also be used by business and healthcare network stakeholders and by decision-makers who might be involved in an intervention.

Each stage of the analysis process is described in one of the sections of Chapter 2. At the beginning of each of these sections, a synoptic table of the stage is proposed, including the goals pursued, the action plan and the know-how. The explanations regarding the process are organized according to the goals pursued in each stage. The attainment of these goals depends on implementation of the proposed action plan. However, to materialize the action plan and assist in its implementation, the guide provide ergonomists with know-how arising from IRSST's experience in companies. Egonomists can adapt this know-how to the context of their own interventions to obtain the expected results.

The know-how is presented in boxes, beginning with the tools specific to the process, which were validated during the research projects. In the body of the text, these tools also serve as illustrations of how they can be used. Their complete versions are found in the "Tools" section at the end of the document. The know-how is also presented in less formal guises, such as lists of criteria to assist in decision-making, quick references, questions and examples derived from our practice.

The guide can be downloaded free from:

Formaldehyde and Pathology Laboratory - New prevention fact sheet

Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute (IRSST) published a new fact sheet on formaldehyde. This new publication which continues the Institute's research work on the risks associated with formaldehyde exposure and on the means of prevention to be implemented.

The fact sheet is divided into four sections that address health risks and effects, emission sources and hazardous tasks, improvement measures, and personal protective equipment.

The document can be downloaded free from:

Communication Division, IRSST | Tel: + 1 (514) 288-1551 | fax: + 1 (514) 288-0998 |

News from the Annals of Occupational Hygiene

Could I remind those promoting occupational hygiene in developing countries that non-profit institutions in countries with incomes of $825 GNI per Capita or less can get on-line access to Annals of Occupational Hygiene free, and those with incomes $826-$3,255 GNI per Capita can get the journal at a greatly discounted rate.

These bands are defined by the World Bank.

Details of the scheme are at: and the list of countries is at:

Unfortunately neither Romania not India is on these lists. 2400 institutions receive the journal this way, although I appreciate that for many a primarily research journal like the Annals will not be first priority.

Trevor Ogden
Editor Annals of Occupational Hygiene

Seeking authoritative guidance and advice on health and safety information in Polish?

Maybe the following will help:

News from Poland

Poland's website for micro enterprises

This website offered in both Polish and some of it in English by CIOP-PIB is dedicated to micro-enterprises. It has the objective of providing access to information on safety and health in the working environment to the smallest and most numerous companies in Poland.

Since it should compensate for the lack of materials for self-education on the above topic for the individual types of commercial activities, it has been prepared in the form of sets of informative and popular materials for each of the selected sectors. The materials that have been put together in this service are therefore organised by sector for various sections of the national economy.

The information contained in it allows employers to independently assess the state of occupational safety in their enterprises. It contains a discussion of the basic duties of employers in the area of occupational safety and health.

The OSH check lists contain a summary of potential hazards that could appear in the companies of a given sector, together with proposals of methods for eliminating or reducing them. The materials also contain the necessary references to the OSH related legal regulations and technical standards being in force in Poland. The information covers the following sectors:

News from the USA

MRSA and the workplace

US NIOSH has issued a new topic page on MRSA and the workplace

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," is a type of bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection.

Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pustules and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics. However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).

For full details see:

NIOSH Recommends Interventions to Prevent Electrocutions, Electric Shocks Involving Metal Ladders and Power Lines

Practical recommendations for preventing job-related electrocution or electrical shock from unintended contact of metal ladders with power lines in outdoor work are made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in a new publication, Workplace Solutions: Preventing Worker Deaths and Injuries from Contacting Overhead Power Lines with Metal Ladders.

Full document see

News from the European Agency

'Lighten the load'

Safe offices - healthy workplaces

Surely an office is one of the safest places to work? Up to a point. While it is true that typical office work is not overly physical, workers are exposed to many risks that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) developing.

MSDs affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other soft tissues and joints of the neck, upper limbs, back and lower limbs. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tingling and numbness. Almost two thirds of EU workers report being exposed to repetitive hand and arm movements, which are part and parcel of working on computers in the office.

Ergonomics - keeping workers healthy

Well-designed offices and equipment keep workers healthy and safe. According to the International Ergonomics Association, ergonomics deals with the understanding of interactions among people and other elements of a system to optimise wellbeing and overall system performance. Ergonomics promotes a holistic approach in which considerations of physical, cognitive, social, organisational, environmental and other relevant factors are taken into account. It extends across all areas of work activity including working postures, repetitive movements, mental workload, organisational structures and work design.

Ergonomics aims to make sure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment suit each worker. The result is a reduction in the potential for ill health at work. This keeps the worker happy and it also benefits the employer by maximising the efficiency of the workforce.

Helping keyboard users...

Several copy-takers doing prolonged repetitive keyboard work in a UK advertising department developed upper limb disorders, leading to high sickness absence and staff turnover. Following an assessment by an ergonomist, the company provided a rest room and ensured that workers took breaks. It also adjusted work schedules to reduce pressure on staff, and provided adjustable chairs and desks.

These changes cost 65,000 euro but the savings in reduced absence and turnover were worth more than 30,000 euro a year. And, there were no reported cases linked to MSDs in the following three years.

'Lighten the load'

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work is tackling MSDs with its 'Lighten the load' campaign this year. MSDs cannot be dismissed as 'backache' or a 'stiff neck': in the worst cases, workers are left with a permanent disability. And the cost is huge: in some Member States, 40% of the costs of workers' compensation is caused by MSDs.

'Lighten the load' supports an integrated management approach to tackling MSDs with employers, employees and government working together. Any actions should address the 'whole load on the body', which covers all the stresses and strains being placed on the body. Employers should also retain, rehabilitate and help employees with MSDs return to work.

MSDs are a widespread problem - at some point in their life as many as 90% of people will suffer from them - and both employers and workers need to tackle them without delay. Signing up to 'Lighten the load', is a good way to start.

'Lighten the load' culminated with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2007 from 22 to 26 October 2007

For information, go to:

'Lighten the load'

Patient handling in health care

With a workforce of some 20 million people, health care is one of the largest employers in Europe. But many countries are facing labour shortages, which are likely to get worse in the coming years.

Cutting the high rates of work-related ill health, absenteeism and early retirement in health care is a priority for employers. But health care workers also deserve better working conditions. Accident rates are 30% above the EU average and the sector has higher rates of work-related illnesses, which are caused mainly by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), stress and depression.

MSDs are the most common work-related health problem in Europe, affecting millions of workers. They affect the body's muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves in the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs and, to a lesser degree, the lower limbs. Manual handling, frequent bending and twisting, heavy physical work and whole-body vibration can all cause MSDs, which tend to develop over time.

Generally, women are less exposed to the physical risk factors for MSDs. But with certain risks, such as jobs involving moving people, women are significantly more affected. In healthcare, for example, some six to seven million women lift or move people, and three to four million report back pain.

Patient handling assessment tool

In several studies patient transfer tasks have been associated with MSDs. The recommended patient transfer method is generally based on ergonomic principles aimed at reducing the physical load on the musculoskeletal system, and to meet the patient's need for quality care. Training programmes can be viewed as primary prevention of MSDs but there is no consensus about a preferred method.

The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety carried out a pilot study in a Greek hospital using a direct observation instrument for assessment of nurse/patient transfer techniques first developed in Sweden. The DINO instrument consists of 16 items in three phases of a transfer: preparation, for example, whether the patient is encouraged to cooperate; performance, for example, to what extent good balance, coordination and low load on back/shoulders are demonstrated; and, preparation, for example, if the transfer technique chosen causes any pain, fear or uncertainty, and whether the patient is in a functional position at the end of the transfer.

The DINO instrument proved easy to use, cost-effective and simple. Assessments can be done without special equipment, and can be used in both clinical and educational settings.

The Canadian experience

Installing patient lifting hoists in Canadian hospitals has reduced the high rates of low back pain that afflict nurses. British Columbia's compensation claims dropped dramatically following the installation of ceiling-mounted lifting hoists in 2002. In fact, the province's investment in lifting hoists paid for itself in less than four years.

Patient lifting hoists are a good start, but other equipment can also reduce musculoskeletal strain. Electric, height-adjustable beds reduce the strain on the back. But not all ergonomic problems can be resolved with new equipment. The risk of developing MSDs is greater for employees who have a rapid pace of work, low job satisfaction, high job demands and job stress.

Taking the strain

Regular patient handling and the absence of lifting aids have long been identified as causes of back injuries among nurses. In fact, the EU Manual Handling Directive promotes the implementation of a 'no lift' policy as a means of preventing musculoskeletal disorders among health care workers.

Strenuous lifting, manual handling and stressful working postures typically occur when assisting patients. But they are also found in many other tasks such as handling laundry, pushing beds and cleaning. Stressful working postures may also occur in surgery or laboratory work.

Some people only experience minor discomfort, but MSDs can develop into serious medical conditions that require time off work and medical treatment. In the most chronic cases, treatment and recovery are often unsatisfactory. The result can be permanent disability and even loss of employment. Some tips on patient handling techniques are shown in Box 1.

'Lighten the load'

The European Agency for Safety and Health campaign 'Lighten the load' is tackling MSDs in the workplace this year. The Bilbao-based Agency was set up by the EU a decade ago to improve people's working lives.

MSDs cannot be dismissed as 'backache' or a 'stiff neck': in the worst cases, workers are left with a permanent disability. The cost of MSDs to workers, employers and governments is huge. In some Member States, 40% of the costs of workers' compensation is caused by MSDs. And there is a strong link between workers' health, wellbeing and quality of work on the one hand, and economic prosperity on the other: MSDs cost countries up to 1.6% of their gross domestic product in lower productivity.

'Lighten the load' supports an integrated management approach to tackling MSDs. First, employers, employees and government need to work together. Secondly, any actions should address the 'whole load on the body', which covers all the stresses and strains being placed on the body, environmental factors such as cold working conditions, and the actual load being carried. Thirdly, employers need to retain, rehabilitate and help employees with MSDs return to work.

MSDs are a widespread problem - at some point in their life as many as 90% of people will suffer from them - and both employers and workers in the construction industry need to tackle them without delay. The agency's campaign, 'Lighten the load', is a good way to start.

Lighten the load, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's 2007 campaign to tackle MSDs in the workplace, culminates with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work from 22 to 26 October this year with a range of activities and events across Europe. For more information, go to:

Patient handling techniques

Any kind of handling operation, even when using patient handling aids, involves several basic principles:

  1. Seek assistance where necessary: handling operations involving immobilised patients must be carried out by at least two people and, if necessary, by means of a sheet laid out underneath the patient or, even better, by using specific aids such as slide sheets.
  2. Position yourself as close as possible to the patient: this will reduce the need to bend or stretch across the bed during patient lifting and transfer, thus avoiding making the necessary physical efforts while the back is bent or twisted.
  3. Explain the procedure to the patient and encourage them to cooperate: this is advantageous for both patient and career; if the patient is capable of moving by themselves, however slightly, they will be able to carry out some operations on their own in which case the carer's function will be simply to direct this movement.
  4. Maintain a correct posture during patient handling operations: before starting the patient lifting or transfer, position yourself with your legs slightly apart and with one foot placed slightly forward to ensure a wider base of support. During patient lifting, leg and hip muscles should be used instead of upper body muscles, first bending and then slowly straightening the knees while lifting the patient; the spinal column should be kept in a position following its natural curve, taking care to avoid overloading it when stretching or bending.
  5. Get a good grip during patient handling operations: never grip a patient only with the fingers; always use the whole hand and try to identify the areas allowing a secure grip. Grasp the patient around the pelvic area, waist and shoulder blades; never grasp the patient's arms or legs.
  6. Wear suitable footwear and clothing: use footwear with a good grip; clothing should not restrict the carer's movements.

News from Korea

World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2008 and APOSHO Annual General Meeting to be held simultaneously

World Congress on Safety and Health at Work and The annual general meeting of the Asia Pacific Occupational Safety and Health Organization (APOSHO), a cooperative organization of safety and health institutions in the Asia-Pacific region, will be held simultaneously in Seoul, Korea next year.

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) and KOSHA said on 5 June that the 24th annual general meeting of APOSHO will be held for 4 days beginning 29 June 2008 in Seoul.

FOCUS: Dying for a job?

Every three and a half minutes, somebody in the European Union (EU) dies from work-related causes. That's more than 150,000 deaths a year as a result of either work-related accidents (8,900) or occupational diseases (142,000).

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that globally there are over 2 million work-related deaths per year.

All these figures are well known to be under-reported.

Workers and employers need to be made aware of the risks that they face, and how to manage them. But health and safety bodies in the individual EU Member States cannot do this alone. That is why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was set up, in 1996.

The Agency's mission is to make Europe's workplaces safer, healthier and more productive. They do this by bringing together and sharing knowledge and information, to promote a culture of risk prevention.

Likewise the ILO does the same thing globally through its Worksafe programmes and the Network of health and safety information centres.

But ALL countries and organisations need to set up services and systems to ensure that they too bring together and share knowledge and information, to promote a culture of risk prevention.

Sadly in some rich countries there now seems to be a view that health and safety information and knowledge is "out there on the Internet and is FREE OF CHARGE". So they do not really need health and safety information to be produced and disseminated.

Even those who are NOT information specialists should know that this is just another MYTH... and that governments and the budget holders should recognise that leaving it to "others" to do is not going to change things in their own country. What they will find is rising numbers of fatalities, injuries and long-term ill-health.

So why wait until your workers start and become yet another grim statistic?

OSHE web sites to explore...

Also look in for hundreds of links to authoritative and validated web sites


European Chemical Agency   FINLAND

European Chemical Agency (ECHA), located in Helsinki, Finland will manage the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction (REACH) processes for chemical substances to ensure consistency across the European Union. These REACH processes are designed to provide additional information on chemicals, to ensure their safe use, and to ensure competitiveness of the European industry. Site provides technical guidance, frequently asked questions (FAQs), software tools and contact details for a network of help desks.


Health and Safety Executive: Falls From Vehicles   UK

Health and Safety Executive Falls from Vehicle pages give details of information sheets, case studies, posters and links.

Institute of Industrial Accident Investigators IIAI   UK

Institute of Industrial Accident Investigators (IIAI) portal to international research and development for the industrial accident investigation community. Has details on IIAI history, mission and a recent update on IIAI official research projects. Has information on professional training courses as well as the Examination Panel's requirements for new or advancing members. IIAI membership... the only recognisable mark for professional industrial accident investigators.

Judge Project Northumbria University: Guidelines for judging quality health information websites   UK

Northumbria University Judge project has developed guidelines for judging the quality of health information Web sites. They are based on the views of health consumers and support groups. Two sets of guidelines have been produced - to help health consumers make informed choices about Web sites and to assist support groups to produce good quality web sites.

Safe Routes to School   UK

Safe Routes to School - the walking bus is the latest safe, fun and healthy way to travel to and from school. It comprises adult volunteers to drive and conduct a group of children. Powered by good old fashioned legwork, it follows a set route to school collecting pupils at designated bus stops. The site offers help in making a car-free journey safe. It has sections for schools, advice on organising walking buses, information packs, videos and factsheets.

Trades Union Congress Bullying at Work   UK

Trades Union Congress site contains guidance for safety representatives to use when dealing the cases of bullying and harassment within many workplaces. Bullying is a major problem and often remains a hidden problem and can be accepted or even encouraged by the culture of an organisation. Bullying at work can never be acceptable. The TUC believes that all workers have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work and any form of bullying is totally unacceptable behaviour. In addition it can lead to work related stress and ill health for many workers. The main TUC site on bullying is at and contains links to other advice and guidance. See also


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health   NIOSH   Lyme Disease   USA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) new topic page on Lyme disease that provides employers and workers with recommendations for protecting themselves from tick bites. Outdoor workers, particularly those located in the northeastern and north-central states, are at highest risk of exposure to infected ticks. The page outlines symptoms and diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

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

3-4 December 2007 The RCN Society of Occupational Health Nursing Forum and Society of Occupational Medicine joint conference and exhibition: Collaboration... the way forward for Occupational Health
City Hall, Cardiff, Wales
Contact: Priya Tekchandani, Conference and Events Organiser, The Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London, UK | Tel: +44 (0)207 647 3581 | Fax: +44 (0)207 647 3411 | Email: |

3-5 December 2007- European NanOSH Conference - Nanotechnologies: A Critical Area in Occupational Safety and Health
Marina Congress Center, Helsinki, Finland
Contact: EuroNanOSH Secretariat, Leila Ahlström, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 A a, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +358 30 474 2851 | Email: |

5 December 2007 - Health and Safety Agenda 2008, organised and chaired by Sheila Pantry OBE
London WC1H 0HX
Contact: Customer Services, Croner Training, 4th Floor, North West Wing Bush House, Aldwych, London WC28 4PJ, UK | Tel: 0845 120 9602 | Fax: 0845 120 9612 | Email: |

9-13 December 2007 - Fire Department Instructor's Conference FDIC 2007
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Contact: +44 1992 656 657 | Email: |

31 January - 1 February 2008 - Moving and Handling People 2008
Business Design Centre, Islington, London
Contact: Moving and Handling people, Disabled Living Foundation, 380 -384 Harrow Road, London W9 2HU, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7432 8010 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7266 2922 | Email: |

18-22 February 2008 - 7th International Scientific Conference - IOHA 2008
Organized by the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA), the Taiwan Occupational Hygiene Association (TOHA) and the Council of Labour Affairs (CLA, Taiwan).
Taipei, Taiwan
Contact: IOHA2008, 17 Hsu-Chou Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan | Tel: +886 2 2341 8522 | Fax: +886 2 2393 8631 | Email: |

25-27 February 2008 - The RoSPA Road Safety Congress 2008
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow, UK
Contact: RoSPA, Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5 7ST, UK | Tel: +44 (0)121 248 2000 | Fax: +44 (0) 121 248 2001| Email: |

3-4 March 2008 - RoSPA National Water Safety Congress 2008 "Information into Education" Looking to the future
Thistle Hotel, Bristol, UK
Contact: RoSPA Events, Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST | Tel: +44 (0)121 248 2120 | Fax: +44 (0)121 248 2094 |

3-6 March 2008 - 7th Panafrican Congress on Occupational Health (PACOH): Prevention initially: the informal economy and its risks; chemical hazards in industry and agriculture; child labour; mental health in the African context
Cotonou, Benin
Contact: General Secretariat PACOH 2008, 01 B.P. 188, Cotonou, Benin | Tel: +229 21 30 52 22 | Fax: +229 21 30 52 23 | Email: |

3-7 March 2008 - Fourth international course for Leaders of interdisciplinary research projects
Gentofte Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
Contact: Gunilla Rasi, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FIN-00250 Helsinki, FINLAND | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 | Email: |

9-13 March 2008 - Fifth international course on Age management: Life course and work
Hotel Riekonlinna, Saariselkä (Lapland), Finland
Contact: Pirjo Turtiainen, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, FINLAND | Tel: +358 30 474 2349 | Email: |

12-14 March 2008 - IALI Conference 2008: Towards healthy, safe and decent work through alliances, ethics and influence
Organized by SafeWork SA - the occupational health and safety (OHS) and industrial relations authority of the Government of South Australia - and the International Association of Labour Inspection (IALI) in cooperation with the OHS authorities of Australia and New Zealand and the ILO.
Adelaide, South Australia.
Contact: IALI 2008 Conference Secretariat, SafeWork SA, Level 4, 1 Richmond Road, Keswick, South Australia 5035 | Tel: +61 8 8303 0469 | Fax: +61 8 8463 4978 | Email: |

18-19 March 2008 - IOSH 2008 conference
Arena and Conference Centre Liverpool, UK
Contact: IOSH |

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