31 May - World No Tobacco Day 2012: EU-OSHA launches a 'Smoke-Free Workplaces' campaign
Sheila Pantry OBE
This year the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) takes part in the World No Tobacco Day, launching its 'Smoke-Free Workplaces' awareness-raising campaign which calls on employers and workers to eliminate environmental tobacco smoke in workplaces all around Europe. It supports the pan-European campaign 'Ex-smokers are unstoppable' by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.
In the European Union (EU), over half a million deaths per year are estimated to relate to smoking, about 79,000 of which are thought to relate to environmental tobacco smoke alone. Currently most EU countries already have in place smoke-free laws or a total ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, although their scope differs from country to country. This means there are still premises where employees are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.
EU-OSHA's 'Smoke-Free Workplaces' campaign aims to support employers and employees in creating smoke-free workplaces, regardless of the existing national regulation in each Member State. Three leaflets in 24 languages, a video clip featuring the cartoon character Napo, Lungs at work and other information materials have been created to reach this goal (http://osha.europa.eu/en/topics/whp/index_html).
Launching the campaign, EU-OSHA sheds light on 'false truths' on smoking in the workplace. Contrary to popular belief there is no ventilation system capable of completely eliminating smoke, and indoor smoking areas always pollute the air of non-smoking rooms. Moreover, locating smoking areas around doorways, windows or vents of buildings often leads to environmental tobacco smoke exposure due to draft effect. EU-OSHA stresses that smoking rooms do not prevent the exposure of workers to smoke, because cleaning staff working in these premises breathe the polluted air.
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Look further into the portal OSHWORLD www.oshworld.com and view the latest additions. In these days of tighter budgets perhaps training may be put on the "back-burner" - but think again how you can keep up with the latest techniques and training opportunities.
As 2012 advances and despite the recession an increasing number of conferences, seminars and training courses are being listed in the Diary of Events and you will find these being held in many places in the world and on a wide range of subjects.
Remember that even if you cannot attend these many events, speakers and organisers are often willing to share their knowledge. Look at the details - where possible, we add in the web sites of these events so you can request further information. And do let me know if you are organising any OSHE events so that I can add them to the Diary send to firstname.lastname@example.org
It is always good to review health, safety, chemical, fire and environment procedures on a regular basis. It is also important that the practices and systems in the workplace are constantly reviewed and if necessary, improved. This review may also indicate training requirements and updates and re-thinking how systems and services can be improved. This is where the free-of charge OSHWORLD can help you.
This month's Focus draws attention to changing names in our OSH World - we congratulate Guy Ryder on becoming the new Director-General of the ILO - The International Labour Office.
Globally there are continually new titles, news items, new products so remember to look at the News to find the latest information from a number of authoritative sources such as the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the UK Health and Safety Executive and US NIOSH. Use OSHWORLD as your portal to many hundreds of validated and authoritative web sites which you can find in the Country and Subject links we offer. New subject topics are constantly brought together on web sites, e.g. nanotechnology, driving as a job and smoke free workplaces.
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Don't work harder - work smarter! Be ahead of the game.
Are you hoping to have a zero accident, incident-free and healthy record this year in your workplace? Some would argue that this is not possible! But keep on trying!
And do continue to make plans for your campaigns for the rest of 2012 and beyond!