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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


Focus Archive

Research into OSH is Altering All Our Lives

April 1999
Sheila Pantry, OBE

For years, various research institutions in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere in the world have been delving into all aspects of working life. The results, often after years of painstaking work, alters how workplaces are organised, and in some extreme cases contributes to the banning of products, substances and even machinery. Legislation is constantly altering, largely as a result of research, witness for example how occupational exposure limits have altered over the years; how substances like asbestos are banned in some countries; how the research into smoking has brought about an awareness of the long term ill-health effects.

Research into occupational safety and health is an essential feature of the budgets which must be assigned by countries to help in the long term battle against problems brought about by the working environment.

Recent research in the UK covers a wide range of subjects, as can be seen from some of the results reported:

Where research involves people, quite often it highlights that few workers have been given adequate information, instruction and training. Limitations in knowledge of relevant health and safety legislation are also evident in the results.

In the USA the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is to fund new research proposals of high quality this year to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses. The topics NIOSH will give special consideration to projects in agriculture, construction, the service industry (especially health care), and mining. Others are:

Another example is the Quebec Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute (IRSST) Canada which has just announced eleven new research projects, including, for example,

If you wish to keep up with OSH research activities, then keep looking at Health and Safety World web site, which links you from the Country Index first to the various countries, and then to institutes listed. References to research can be found in the very extensive OSH-ROM CD-ROM which contains six databases, including the UK Health and Safety Executive's Information Services HSELINE database, the US NIOSH database NIOSHTIC, the International Labour Office CISDOC database, RILOSH from Ryerson Technical University Information Services in Canada. Fire Worldwide is a premier collection of fire and fire research databases.

Full text of research reports can be found in OSH-CD and also FIRE-CD.

The products mentioned in this article are available for a free trial. Why not try these for yourself and check out the contents of these exciting sources of information against your own workplace needs?