CIS Newsletter

No. 245
February 2010

CIS Newsletter celebrates 22 years & still going strong!
Bringing news from Members to Members in over 154 countries in the CIS Network!


  1. Editorial
  2. Don't oversimplify accidents
  3. Did you know?
  4. News, Events from around the World - Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, South America, Spain, Switzerland, Uganda, UK, and USA to name a few!
  5. OSHE websites to explore
  6. Diary of Events

The WHO Network of Collaborating Centre Connection (CCC) e-newsletter:

ILO CIS Network Newsletters:

The CIS Newsletter is a monthly newsletter for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Occupational Health and Safety Information Centres and is edited by Sheila Pantry OBE from the UK. The CIS Newsletter is NOT an official publication of the ILO but a newsletter containing information from Members in CIS Centres and other sources and is intended to be shared by anyone who finds the data contained useful. Users are free to use and reuse the data in these newsletters.


Greetings to all Readers

Thanks for the publications, emails and news - these are always gratefully received.

Last month I wrote about the New Decade ahead and what we should be doing to revitalize our efforts to make CIS and the Network even more well-known. I suggested that each CIS Member belonging to the network should make strenuous efforts to promote CIS in their own country, regional and internationally and also gave a number of ways HOW this is can be done (see January 2010 CIS Newsletter).

Times and events are fast changing and as 2010 progresses please help CIS to achieve its goals - USE IT OR LOSE IT! Don't let it slip into a LARGE BLACK HOLE!

Please remember that the CIS Network can help improve the knowledge of all workers through disseminating validated and authoritative information, which at all times, should be timely and presented in usable formats.

We must constantly make people aware of the strength of this network and work hard to constantly promote CIS!

Remember the World day of Health and Safety is being held on 28 April 2010 - now is the time to plan your activities - see some information on

The slogan for the World Day in 2010 is Securing the future: emerging risks and new patterns of prevention in a changing world of work

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

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

Remember that CIS Newsletters electronic archive going back nearly 7 years is available on

Will you be Surviving in 2010?... perhaps you will if you make efforts in 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

Paul Obua - Uganda

It is with great sadness the following news has been received:

Paul Obua, Head of CIS Unit, CIS National Centre, Ministry of Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Department, Uganda has died as a the result of a car accident.

CIS Members send their deepest sympathy to Paul's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

Paul came to many CIS meetings in the 1990s and early 2000s. I met up with him in ARLAC in Harare, Zimbabwe when I was one of the lecturers in an ILO FINNIDA Project at a month long training course for the ARLAC network of 21 English speaking African countries the ILO in 1993.

Paul went to Finland FIOH when in 1997 I organised with some CIS Members a week long training course on the use of computers and the Internet before the CIS Annual meeting.

Don't oversimplify accidents by Roger Bibbings, RoSPA

If you really want to prevent accidents you need to investigate and understand their causes as fully as possible, says UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Safety Adviser, Roger Bibbings.

There are two very common errors in the way people perceive accidents. Either they see them at one extreme, as rare, chance chains of events and circumstances which are beyond both prediction and control or, at the other end of the spectrum, they see them as quite simple events with single causes.

In reality nearly all accidents - even mundane ones - turn out to be as complex as they are preventable. But failure to understand the complexity of accidents leads both to missed opportunities for prevention as well as over-simple and inappropriate prescriptions to improve safety and reliability.

One of the reasons for an over-simple, uni-causal view of accidents among many non-experts is that few lay people have ever had to undertake an accident investigation. Investigation is not only challenging in itself but can be a great learning experience for those involved. Sadly, however, it tends to remain the preserve of 'experts' - even though team-based investigation, led by managers with worker involvement, offers many more opportunities for combining skills and insights as well as securing collective buy-in to findings and recommendations. (See

Over the last nine years, the need to enhance the quality of learning from accidents has been one of RoSPA's key occupational safety and health issues. The truth be told, however, it has been one of the hardest of all our policy priorities on which to make progress. Most businesses seem to think they investigate accidents quite adequately. But, although there are many organisations that do have really effective approaches to investigation and organisational learning from accidents, sadly the reality is that the vast majority of accidents are not investigated at all - especially in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Often this failure is accompanied by little or no reporting of near misses. And, where accidents are investigated, there are usually major barriers to real learning.

The aftermath of an accident is hardly a comfort zone for anyone. People feel bruised, angry and vulnerable, especially where accidents are followed by a long enforcement and compensation trail that can often take years to settle. And, because enforcers or claimants are seeking to pursue their respective agendas the focus in their investigations is invariably on attributing fault and blame, which in turn creates an adversarial atmosphere that poisons relationships and prevents openness and learning. And even where the organisation does try to learn lessons, there are usually some fairly fundamental errors in the approach adopted.

Firstly, because serious events warranting extensive investigation are few and far between, the habits of investigation are often lacking; there may be no clear procedures, a lack of clarity about purposes, little/no managerial or worker involvement, and no way of scaling investigation effort or agreeing terms of reference with the commissioners of the investigation - usually senior managers. And at the end of the process there is often little (or no) communication of lessons learned (for advice on operational readiness to investigate visit:

Secondly, investigation can be distorted and stunted by the (often unconscious) operation of 'stop rules' (stopping the investigation as soon as an apparent cause is found) and biases (seeking only that evidence that confirms a pre-existing theory about what happened and why).

Thirdly, investigators often do not go back far enough in their evidence search to establish in detail, not just what happened in the last five seconds before the accident but what was happening in the last five hours, five days, five weeks or five months beforehand. Fourthly, there is often little use of structured methods to integrate evidence and no examination of underlying job, technological or organisational factors. This invariably leads to blaming the victim.

And underlying all this there tends to be a weak understanding of human error and the various ways in which this manifests itself in accidents.


Despite the focus on the complexity of accidents in the current teaching of H&S professionals, there are still far too many practitioners who seem to be easily drawn to simple explanations and quick fixes. After all, it is often much easier in an investigation to point the finger at poorly performing individuals as being the prime authors of their own or others' misfortunes - rather than to seek out other potentially more significant causal factors. Over-simple explanations in turn stimulate a ready appetite for trying to improve safety performance by harsh discipline, retraining, repetitive behavioural safety (BS) programmes or even use of screening techniques to weed out allegedly less reliable individuals.

Respected figures in the health and safety field such as Richard Booth and Trevor Kletz have observed wryly that to say over 95 per cent of accidents are caused by human error is about as useful saying that 100 per cent of falls are caused by gravity! Of course any serious student of accident causation has to acknowledge that errors by individuals do indeed form part of the explanation of most accidents. After all, major disasters such as Piper Alpha, Bhopal and Chernobyl were all initiated by the erroneous actions of teams and/or individuals. Yet subsequent investigations showed that the most significant causes were firmly rooted in weaknesses in technical and management systems.

In the case of Chernobyl, any suggestion that person factors and not the Soviet nuclear system were the root cause of the accident would have been seen as utterly one-sided if not ridiculous. On the other hand, Chernobyl in particular led to an acceleration of interest worldwide in human factors in safety and a new search for ways to ensure the reliability of the man/machine interface.

Over the last three decades, particularly as a result of the work of people such as James Reason, we have made big steps forward in our understanding of human factors and their relationship to other kinds of pathogenic weakness in organisations. Human error itself is understood as a complex phenomenon, comprising: 'slips' and 'lapses'; 'mistakes' (which can be skill and/ or rule based); and 'violations'. The latter can be 'exceptional', 'routine' and 'situational' - as explained in the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on human factors - HSG48.

In turn these forms of error can combine in various ways (e.g. Steve Stradling's dictum 'Error plus violation = crash!') together with job and organisational factors. Other 'person' factors in accidents can include not just things such as personal attitudes to safety but impairments (poor general health, poor sleep quality, poor eyesight, stress, drugs, alcohol etc) and distraction factors (poor communications, monotony, information or task overload, interruptions etc).

Despite all this complexity the assumption that most accidents are simply the result of carelessness and/or wilful rule breaking just will not fade away. Currently there seems to be a worrying resurgence of interest in the idea of 'accident-proneness'. The suggestion here is that some people are more likely to have accidents as a result of absent-mindedness, clumsiness, carelessness, impulsivity or a predisposition to risk-taking. Although substantial research has been devoted to this subject, a number of other studies have cast doubt on whether 'accident-proneness' actually exists as a distinct, persistent and independently verifiable syndrome. It was largely discounted, for example, by the Robens Committee in 1972 as a result of the evidence submitted by Andrew Hale and others.

If empirically it seems that some people in certain settings do have more accidents than others, this is certainly not explained just by personality traits. Personality variables are no doubt important but individual 'injury proneness' is just as likely to be associated with a variety of other non-personality factors such as inexperience, lack of knowledge and skill, younger age, poor sleep experience and physical fitness, eyesight etc. Emotional factors too can also contribute to accident involvement: for example, depression or anxiety which can result in loss of concentration etc.

The idea of the careless or accident prone worker also lies behind the attraction which many safety practitioners feel towards behavioural safety (BS) programmes. Such programmes clearly have their place but not as stand-alone interventions and only once proper health and safety management systems are well established. Typically BS programmes tend to target violations. Yet often in the training of BS observers, trainers can neglect to explain that violation is only one error type and that in turn violations can interact with many other factors. So in the context of an investigation, just concentrating on rule breaking without looking at everything else is not really the best way forward (see HSG48). Often BS programmes are introduced on the assumption that all the options for improving safety by improving technology or organisation have been exhausted. And yet time and again investigations show that there are still many things which could have been done to make work equipment or management systems safer. It was back in the 1980s that HSE research showed that about 75 per cent of accidents were due to failure by management to put reasonably practicable measures in place and under a quarter were due to failure by employees to follow procedures.


Accident causation is multi-factorial and thus by its very nature safety solutions must be multi-stranded. So there is always a danger - particularly if investigators do not fully understand this - that they will tend too easily to reductionism, ascribing disproportionate significance to those causal explanations which support the case for safety prescriptions that lie within their particular intellectual comfort zone.

Learning from accidents is not easy. Accidents test organisations and they test relationships. Above all they should test our assumptions and prejudices.

A final point to remember is that accidents should always be regarded as an investment. You've spent time, trouble and money having them. So logically you should try to maximize your return by learning lessons that can enhance safety and prevent recurrence.

Acknowledgements to Roger Bibbings, RoSPA for allowing this article to be published here. It first appeared in RoSPA's Occupational Safety and Health Journal, December 2009.

Did you know?

Where the CIS web site is? Here is the answer...

In the January 2010 CIS Newsletter I asked "how many of you have spotted the NEW CIS website???"

Only one person responded and told me that it no longer existed!

NOT TRUE! ... One of the last jobs that Andras Szucs did before he left ILO/CIS was move the CIS onto the revamped ILO web site so that it can still be reached by keying in the simple, well known URL

Did you know?

Where the CIS databases such as CISDOC, the list of OSH Institutions etc can be found?

In the last months of working at the ILO, Andras Szucs was given the unenviable task of supervising the transfer of CIS and SafeWork web pages into the new, ILO-mandated, Web Content Management system (WCMS).

Look at - look at the left hand of your screen and you will find quick links to online databases - familiar (hopefully) to you all. For your convenience we have made these links for you so can bookmark them if you wish!

More information next month!

News from around the World...

Seveso II Directive - Implications of new EU legislation on classifying substances and mixtures. How is the scope of Seveso currently determined? UK HSE website gives details...

Any site, not just those in the chemical sector, is covered by Seveso if it has dangerous substances present at or above specified quantities, or if dangerous substances could be generated during loss of control of an industrial chemical process.

Annex 1 is the main part of Seveso that is used to decide whether the Directive applies. Currently, a substance is 'dangerous' under Seveso if it:

What's going to change?

Over a period of time, CLP will replace the EC Dangerous Substances and Dangerous Preparations Directives. This will break the legislative link between Seveso and the existing classification legislation so a new method of determining the application of Seveso will need to be found. This will necessitate an amendment to Annex 1 of Seveso.

(Note: since the EU has now implemented the United Nations GHS system through the new CLP Regulation, these Seveso website pages will generally refer to the implications for Seveso of CLP rather than GHS.)

Why can't the references in Seveso to the Dangerous Substances and Preparations Directives just be replaced with references to CLP?

Unfortunately it isn't that straight forward because, to some degree or other, many of the CLP classifications (hazard categories) differ from the current ones. This creates potential for changes to:

The UK Competent Authority for Seveso is working with the EC and other Member States to identify the implications of CLP for Seveso.

What is the EC's position on linking Seveso with CLP?

The aim of the EC is to link Seveso with the new CLP categories so that there is:

What are the timescales for making changes to Seveso?

The EC is expected to publish a proposal to amend Seveso in 2010.

The EC will consult on the proposal, which will include an impact assessment.

Any changes that need to be made because of the introduction of the CLP Regulation must be agreed at EU level and transposed into national legislation by 1 June 2015.

How will the changes be implemented?

Depending on the extent of the changes to Seveso, a new or amended set of Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) will be developed. The Competent Authority will consult on these, an impact assessment, and any supporting guidance, before the changes are introduced.

Some changes, especially those involving Article 12 or Annex 1 of Seveso, will also need to be implemented through separate land use planning legislation which is the responsibility of Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Scottish Government.

News from Ireland from Eurofound

Fifth European Working Conditions Survey: A snapshot of working conditions in Europe today

Eurofound launches the fieldwork for the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, involving face-to-face interviews of workers in 34 European countries. This critical and timely research tracks the current state of working conditions in Europe, highlights the quality of work and employment, and monitors changing trends. The first findings of the survey will be presented at the end of 2010.

The European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS) provide valuable and unique comparative information about working conditions, including issues such as working time, exposure to risks at work, health and safety at work, work organisation, work-life balance, training, and overall job satisfaction. The underlying aim is to help social policymakers improve overall living and working conditions. The surveys also offer opportunities for workers to make their voices heard about the state of their working conditions, how working conditions and quality of work affect their lives, and how these change over time.

In cooperation with Gallup-Europe, Eurofound will interview around 43,000 workers in 34 European countries for the fifth edition of the EWCS, during the period January to April 2010. Each face-to-face interview covers 120 questions and will be carried out in the person's home. All the information gathered will be treated in the strictest confidentiality and the anonymity of each interviewee is guaranteed. The survey targets working people who are randomly selected from a statistical sample in each country, comprising a cross-section of society, ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 people per country.

Eurofound is an EU agency with a proven expertise in examining how people across Europe live and work, and how this is changing over time. Eurofound's research findings, data and recommendations allow social policy makers and company management at EU and national level to make decisions that improve workplaces and work-life balance for all.

To date, Eurofound has carried out four European Working Conditions Surveys (1991, 1995, 2000/2001 and 2005). The evolution of the European Working Conditions Surveys mirrors the changes in the European Union itself. In 1991, the survey covered just 12 countries; in 1995, this was expanded to include 15 countries, and in 2000 to 16 countries: the 15 EU Member States and Norway. The 2000 survey was extended in 2001 to cover the ten candidate countries for membership to the EU. The fourth survey, carried out in 2005, covered all 27 Member States of the EU plus Croatia, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway.

The fifth survey will cover the 27 EU Member States, the three EU candidate countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania: a total of 34 countries. This fifth edition of the survey is also an important landmark for Eurofound because it builds on the lessons learned from the previous four surveys and hence will provide a rich and varied picture of workplace trends in Europe over the last 20 years. The first results of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey will be made available before the end of 2010.

More information about the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, and the results from the previous four surveys, is available on the Eurofound website.

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer, on telephone +353-1-204 3124, Mobile +353-876-593 507.

You can register for regular news and information from Eurofound at:

Results from the PEROSH Seminar on Working Environment Challenges of the future held in Denmark

The proceedings of an expert Seminar on Working Environment Challenges of the future that was held by PEROSH (Partnership for European Research in OSH) and the Danish Working Environment Authority are now published.

The Seminar gathered distinguished experts from the PEROSH member institutes as well as from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao), the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Dublin) and l'Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST - Québec).

The report and video presentations can be freely accessed on

Brief Results of the seminar...

International experts share their views on the working environment challenges of the next decade.

An ageing workforce, increased migration, poor lifestyle habits, new technologies and the effect of globalisation on the economic system as well as more "traditional" occupational safety and health risks are only some of the challenges the world of work will face during the years to come. The topics were put forward as main priorities by the international experts that were invited to the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen to present their scientific views on the future of the working environment.

The seminar took place in Copenhagen on 24-25 September 2009. It was organised by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment and funded by the Danish Working Environment Authority as part of a consultation process to gain input for the New Danish Working Environment Strategy 2010 - 2020.

Scientific views on the OSH challenges of the future

The seminar brought together 14 senior experts from the PEROSH member institutes as well as from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao), the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Dublin) and l'Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST - Canada).

During the presentations, the experts called attention to the following priorities for the prevention of future occupational safety and health problems:

Research challenges

During the concluding panel discussion, the experts pointed out a number of specific research topics and needs related to the future working environment challenges:

Proceedings and video presentations on line

The Seminar proceedings "Working Environment Challenges for the Future" contain 11 expert views and a Danish and English summary. The papers, presentations and videos of the presentations can be accessed via the PEROSH website:

Did you know?

Who are the CIS and Safework staff members?

Announcing the Launch of ROBUST - The FREE Business Continuity Toolkit

Insurer-funded initiative to support all companies with Business Continuity Planning

The UK based RISCAuthority has recently launched ROBUST (Resilient Business Software Toolkit) to help the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) market produce effective Business Continuity Plans quickly and efficiently and manage incidents to recovery in a timely fashion. The software is available in complete form entirely FREE from the launch site together with all supporting documentation and a significant portion of relevant parts of the prestigious RISCAuthority library.

The aim of the ROBUST initiative is to produce a software package and distribution process that will encourage the uptake of Business Continuity measures in principally the SME commercial sector that currently give little or no time to protecting the resilience of their business.

Dr James Glockling, Technical Director of the FPA and Director of RISCAuthority says "Whilst there is a great deal out there to make everyone aware of the need and benefits of undertaking Business Continuity Planning there is little in place to help those considering it take the next step without significant commitment of cost and effort".

The production of the Business Continuity Plan is only one part of the Business Continuity Management System but its production does represent a valuable milestone in addressing business resilience. It is the intention that using the ROBUST tool will assist in Business Continuity Management being engrained within day to day company procedures.

Douglas Barnett, AXA's Head of Customer Risk Management, who has been closely involved with the development of ROBUST says "The launch of the ROBUST Business Continuity tool is a commitment by the major UK insurers to business in the UK by, for the first time, delivering a free-to-download product for all business that has been developed by industry experts. Business Continuity planning has for too long been seen as too complicated or too expensive for business to undertake - the new ROBUST tool will resolve many of the concerns of the business community".

The intention is to develop ROBUST annually under the RISCAuthority scheme and continue to deliver it and the supporting documents ENTIRELY FREE to where it is needed most with the grateful support of RISCAuthority members.

RISCAuthority, is wholly funded by a group of 33 UK insurance companies with a remit to conduct research to support the development of best practice guidance in all areas of loss mitigation and is probably best known for the UK Sprinkler Rules, Risk Control Guides, Security Guides and Property Protection Building Guides. The scheme is administered by the Fire Protection Association; the UK's National Fire Safety Organisation -

For more information please visit the ROBUST distribution site:

Did you know?

About the International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC)

The International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) project is a joint undertaking between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Office (ILO). The project is implemented in the context of cooperation between WHO and the Commission of the European Union. WHO provides the technical Secretariat for this project.

ICSC provide concise and standardized health and safety information on chemicals. The primary aim of the Cards is to promote the safe use of chemicals in the workplace and the main target users are therefore workers and those responsible for health and safety in the workplace. ICSC are also used for other purposes, such as providing concise information for first responders dealing with a chemical accident, and also for training.

The Cards have not legal status and may not reflect in all cases the detailed requirements included in national legislation. To a large extent, however, the information provided in the Cards conforms to the ILO Chemicals Convention (No. 170) and Recommendation (No. 177), 1990; to the European Commission Directive 2001/59/EC; and to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) criteria.

The preparation of the Cards is an ongoing process of writing and reviewing by a group of scientists working for Participating Institutions (PIs) in different countries. The process of peer review by scientists ensures the authoritative nature of the information provided in the Cards.

ICSC are prepared in English and are published on the Internet. Subsequently, national institutions translate the Cards from English into their native languages. These translated Cards are also available on the Internet. The copyright of the translated ICSC remains with the translating institutions.

For more information and also:

Make my day ... please send your news items to your Editor!


UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revised guidance for operators of top tier COMAH establishments

Review and revision of COMAH safety reports (As required by the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999)
COMAH R01: 22 January 2010, 11 pages

Guidance for operators of top tier COMAH establishments. This guidance gives advice on the requirements for review and revision of safety reports under Regulation 8 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH).

The guidance has been revised to reflect the changes in arrangements for the submission and assessment of the five-year safety report review.

Full report:

Forthcoming Book - Multi-Plant Safety and Security Management in the Chemical and Process Industries by L.L. Genserik

Wiley, April 2010, 272 pages, ISBN: 978-3-527-32551-1

This practical text serves as a guide to elaborating and determining the principles, assumptions, strengths, limitations and areas of application for multiple-plant chemical safety and security management. It offers guidelines, procedures, frameworks and technology for actually setting up a safety and security culture in a cluster of chemical companies, thus allowing forward planning. The presentation is conceptually rather than mathematically oriented so as to maximize its utilization within the chemical industry.

Seveso Bulletin from the UK Health and Safety Executive

Sign up for free regular updates - go to the following URL and add your email address:

News from Australia

Engineered Nanomaterials - Evidence on the Effectiveness of Workplace Controls to Prevent Exposure

This literature review has brought together and evaluated evidence on the effectiveness of workplace controls to prevent or minimise exposure to engineered nanomaterials. Only workplace settings such as laboratories, pilot plants and production plants have been considered; environmental safety and consumer product safety were not considered.

Publication Date:
4 November 2009
978-0-642-32884-7 (Online PDF)
978-0-642-32885-4 (Online RTF)

Engineered nanomaterials - A review of the toxicology and health hazards

This review reports the current understanding of the toxicology and health hazards associated with engineered nanomaterials, and the implications in regard to health hazards in occupational settings (i.e. during manufacture, handling, and use). It updates a previous review by the Australian Safety and Compensation Council. The information in this review is based on scientific literature published from 2006 to 2008, however, during the editorial phase some important publications from the first half of 2009 have been incorporated.

Publication Date:
4 November 2009
978 0 642 32921 9 (Online PDF)
978 0 642 32922 6 (Online RTF)

News from European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Combined exposure to noise and ototoxic substances

Noise-induced hearing loss remains one of the most prominent occupational diseases in Europe. However, noise is no longer perceived as the only source of work-related hearing damage and increasing attention is being paid to the risks of combined exposure to high-level noise and ototoxic substances, that is, those which can affect the structures and/or the function of the inner ear and the associated signal transmission pathways in the nervous system.

This publication aims to provide an up-to-date picture of our knowledge in this field. It includes: a description of the basic features of the physiological mechanisms leading to hearing impairment, current diagnostic tools, and an overview of the chemicals that may be deleterious to the inner ear, ranking the certainty of their ototoxic properties in a defined weight-of-evidence approach.

The review also identifies the health effects resulting from exposure to multiple ototoxic substances and also from the interaction of ototoxic substances and noise, pointing out the work areas where exposure to ototoxic substances is likely. Finally, the report highlights gaps in our current knowledge for proposed future action and research.

News from the USA

NIOSH New Office of Construction Safety and Health

In December, the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced its new Office of Construction Safety and Health.

Christine Branche, Ph.D., NIOSH Principal Associate Director, will serve as acting director of the new office. Construction is a key industrial sector that employs over eight million Americans. To address the special problems in construction, it is critical that NOSH ensures rigorous coordination of our construction safety and health research.

For more on construction research at NIOSH, go to

MSHA and NIOSH Unite to Eliminate Black Lung

Coal workers' pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease, persists as a work-related hazard in coal mining. NIOSH joins with the Mine Safety and Health Administration and other partners in a renewed effort - which began with a Dec. 3 MSHA kickoff event in Beckley, W.Va. - to eliminate this irreversible but preventable work-related illness.

Evaluation of Employees' Chemical Exposures While Blending and Repackaging Glass Beads for Road Markings

The NIOSH HHE Program evaluated chemical exposures at a facility where glass beads are blended and repackaged to be applied over wet paint to make street markings reflective to automobile headlights. The request concerned potential chemical hazards relating to a silane coating on the imported beads. Investigators recommended that managers require employees to wear safety glasses or goggles when handling glass beads. Employees were advised to wash their hands before eating or touching their faces.

Due to employee health concerns, the company has stopped importing certain glass beads.

For the full report Evaluation of Employees' Chemical Exposures While Blending and Repackaging Glass Beads for Road Markings


OSHE web sites to explore...

We look at websites in different parts of the world that are offering quality information. This month we look at a variety of websites from Sweden.

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

If we do not have your web site listed please send it to me

Ministry of the Environment, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate   SWEDEN
Ministry of the Environment, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate environmental information: legislation, guidance, press releases, library and related links. Also contains the full text journal Swedenvironment.

National Testing and Research Institute SP   SWEDEN

Fire, energy, building and materials technology, chemical analysis from the National testing and Research Institute SP which develops and transfers technology for improving competitiveness and quality in industry and for safety, conservation of resources and a good environment.

Swedish Association for the Electro-sensitive (FEB)   SWEDEN

Swedish Association for the Electro-sensitive (FEB) has information, publications, articles, references and links to other related web sites.

Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate   KEMI   Nanotechnology   SWEDEN

Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate - KEMI has produced a report Nanotechnology - large risks with tiny particles? released on 31 October 2007 that warns firms developing nanotechnologies that they must take a precautionary approach to the sector to prevent environment and health risks. 'Companies should apply special precautions in the development and use of nanomaterials,' Kemi said, because of the 'rapid development in this area and the great lack of knowledge about risks.' Though the sector is covered by legislation, Kemi said in many cases nanomaterials used in finished products will fall through the chemical safety assessment net being introduced in the EU's new Reach chemical policy. Governments will need to 'complement the EU regulatory framework for nanomaterials,' including on the way companies must test for health and environmental effects, it said. Kemi proposes to hold a conference during Sweden's EU presidency in 2009 on how nanotechnology should be dealt with by legislation. Ethel Forsberg, director-general of Kemi, said: 'The combination of the rapid development in the area of nanotechnology and the lack of knowledge concerning the risks to humans and the environment is worrying. A strategy for nanotechnology, which includes research on health and environmental risks, needs to be devised without delay.' The report is in Swedish but has an English summary. Kemi news release and report (PDF).

Swedish Council for Social Research and the Swedish Council for Work Life Research   SWEDEN

The Council was established in 2001 through a merger of the Swedish Council for Social Research and the Swedish Council for Work Life Research. Its objectives are to promote the accumulation of knowledge in matters relating to working life and the understanding of social conditions and processes through: promotion and support of basic and applied research; identification of important research needs; dialogue, dissemination of information and transfer of knowledge; promotion of cooperation between researchers both nationally and internationally, particularly in EU programmes.

Sweden Labour Inspectorate   SWEDEN

Sweden Labour inspectorate details and statistics

Swedish Work Environment Authority   SWEDEN

Swedish Work Environment Authority site contains information on legislation, statistics, publications, news, topics and links.

Swedish Work Environment Authority   SWEDEN

Swedish Work Environment Authority statistics collection.

Diary of Events

These events may inspire you and your organisation to offer similar type 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 that is constantly being updated.

7-10 March 2010 - First International course on of work environment and productivity - first week (for second week see 6-9 September 2010)
Organised by NIVA and Prevent
Hotel Riekonlinna, Saariselkä, Lapland, Finland
Contact: Prevent Academy for Working Life, rue Gachardstraat 88, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium | Email: | Fax: +32 2 643 44 40
For NIVA: Zsuzsanna Renkó-Michelsén, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A FI-0050 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +58 0 474 498 | Fax: +58 0 474 497 | Email:
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8-9 March 2010 - Forum III: Leading the Change
Hilton Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, Canada
Contact: CCOHS | Tel: + 1 800 668 4284 |

14-17 March 2010 - Fourth International Conference on Safety and Environment in the Process Industry (CISAP4)
Palazzo degli Affari, Piazza Adua 1, 50123 Firenze, Italy
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24 March 2010 - Corporate Manslaughter for Health and Safety Professionals: A practical one day course led by both a health & safety professional and a lawyer
Contact: LexisNexis | Tel: +44 (0)20 7347 3573 | Email: quoting 10248DA
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29-31 March 2010 - Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design
School of Engineering and Electronics, Fire Safety Group, University of Edinburgh, UK
Contact: Office of Lifelong Learning, The University of Edinburgh, 11 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, UK | Tel: +44 (0)131 651 1189 | Fax: +44 (0)131 651 1746 | Email: |
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29 March - 2 April 2010 - Annual Safe Patient Handling & Movement Conference
Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Contact: University of South Florida |
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12-15 April 2010 - Fire Science and Fire Investigation Course
School of Engineering and Electronics, Fire Safety Group, University of Edinburgh, UK
Contact: Office of Lifelong Learning, The University of Edinburgh, 11 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, UK | Tel: +44 (0)131 651 1189 | Fax: +44 (0)131 651 1746 | Email: |
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13-15 April 2010 - Annual Conference American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Anaheim CA, USA
Contact: AAOHN National Office, 7794 Grow Drive , Pensacola, FL 32514, USA | Tel: +1 850 474 6963 or (800) 241-8014 | Fax: +1 850 4848762 | E-mail: |
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18-30 April 2010 - 1st Curso de Salud Ocupacional Cruzando Fronteras: a Spanish summer school
Lima, South America
Contact: Verónica Encina Zamora | E-mail: | | In order to register / apply for funding please use the registration form available
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20-22 April 2010 - Naidex 2010
Birmingham NEC, UK
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