News from around the World
November / December 2001
- Business start-ups OSH information on the web
- UNAIDS is joined by the ILO
- Work Life and European Union (EU) Enlargement
- NOHSC declares prohibition on use of chrysotile asbestos
- Shiftworkers... can't sleep? can't eat?... read the Shiftworkers Guide
- IRSST new research projects and publications
- Emergency Planning and Management
- Glutaraldehyde: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals
- Technical infosheets
News from the UK
Business start-ups OSH information on the web
A new web site has been created by partnership between the UK Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the Norwich Union Risk Services to provide essential guidance for small businesses to help them with their occupational safety and health obligations.
The site provides interactive, informative and user friendly guidance on welfare matters, insurance categories and risk assessment, and looks at the contents of a health a safety policy.
The site will health small and medium sized companies and business start-ups to meet their health and safety responsibilities. The providers of the web site hope it will go some way to address the current situation in which, on average. the rate of fatal and major injuries in small firms is almost double that for firms employing more a than a thousand people.
The site was launched as part of the European Week for Health and Safety at Work, and will be developed further.
News from the ILO
UNAIDS is joined by the ILO
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has announced that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has formalized its commitment to fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic by becoming a co-sponsor of UNAIDS.
The ILO has already made a major contribution to the global campaign against HIV/AIDS with the adoption of a pioneering Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work, launched at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, in New York, 25-27 June 2001.
ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, said "HIV/AIDS affects everyone today but has an especially profound impact on workers and their families, enterprises and employers, and national economies. With the accession of the ILO to UNAIDS, we now add the historic force of tri-partism - governments, workers and employers - to the international efforts being undertaken to meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS and its impact on the world of work."
For more information contact:
Ligia Teixeira, ILO London Press Office:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7828 6401 Ext 201
Fax:+44 (0)20 7233 5925
News from Sweden
Work Life and European Union (EU) Enlargement
Working life is essential to people, economies, societies and countries, not least in a rapidly changing Europe where employment and all its implications, is a key issue. The aim of Work Life and the EU Enlargement, a co-operation project run by the Swedish National Labour Market Board, is to build and exchange knowledge within the field of working life in the 13 candidate countries in order to facilitate their entry into European Union.
The enlargement of the European Union is one of the most important challenges of the coming years. Enlargement entails more than fulfilling the criteria and adopting EU law: it is also about working together and developing common understanding of the problems and the possibilities of today.
The project includes all 13 candidate countries, in collaboration with many other authorities, agencies and confederations, and will run for 3 years, concluding in February 2004.
To find out more contact:
Lena Skiold, Head of Project Information, Work Life and EU Enlargement Project, International Secretariat, Swedish National Labour Market Board, SE-11399 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 58 60 62 41. Fax: +46 8 58 60 60. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/se
News from Australia
NOHSC declares prohibition on use of chrysotile asbestos
On 17 October 2001, NOHSC declared a prohibition on the use of chrysotile asbestos in Australia.
The prohibition will take effect simultaneously under regulations in each Australian OHS jurisdiction by no later than 31 December 2003. This action had been supported by the Workplace Relations Ministers' Council at its meeting on 21 September 2001.1 As required under the NOHSC Act, public comment was sought earlier this year on the prohibition proposal and all submissions were considered before the prohibition was declared.
What is chrysotile asbestos and what are its uses?
Chrysotile is a mineral that is a known human carcinogen. As with other forms of asbestos, exposure to chrysotile can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma2 in humans and animals. The objective of the prohibition is to reduce future deaths and illness.
Raw chrysotile is imported for the manufacture of friction materials (such as brake pads, brake linings and brake blocks), gaskets and non-sag adhesive putties for the building industry. These products are sold to local and overseas markets. Similar products using chrysotile are also imported.
What is the scope of the prohibition?
All uses of chrysotile asbestos, including the replacement of chrysotile products when replacement is necessary, are prohibited except for (a) bona fide research or analysis, (b) for removal or disposal, (c) where it is encountered during non-asbestos mining, or (d) where there is another specified exception3. The prohibition does not apply to the removal of chrysotile products in situ when the prohibition takes effect.
Why is the prohibition to be phased in?
This is to allow manufacturers, sellers and users of chrysotile products to make necessary adjustments, including the development and marketing of new products and increasing the supply of non-asbestos products to meet greater demand.
Implementation arrangements are being developed that will be settled in the second half of 2002. They will include a nationally consistent approach to granting any exemptions.
What is being done about other forms of asbestos?
NOHSC is incorporating existing prohibitions on crocidolite (blue) and amosite (brown) asbestos into the instrument prohibiting the use of chrysotile asbestos.4 This is the first step in facilitating a consistent approach to a prohibition on the use of all forms of asbestos. There are three other forms of asbestos: actinolite, anthophyllite and tremolite. Although not currently banned, they have no known present uses in Australia. NOHSC is, nonetheless, considering their prohibition and will issue a discussion document in November 2001 seeking public comment.
How will the prohibition be formalised?
There will be a notice in a forthcoming Commonwealth Gazette. At that time, information materials on the prohibition will be published on the NOHSC web site.
Is chrysotile asbestos banned elsewhere?
The European Union (EU) has banned most uses of chrysotile, with the exceptions subject to review by 1 January 2005. The Australian approach is similar.
Further information about chrysotile and its prohibition appears in the public discussion documents on the NOHSC website: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au
For more information contact Michael Mulrine, NOHSC Corporate Communications on
+61 2 62791037
1 The prohibition is also consistent with recommendations by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in 1999 that the use of chrysotile in Australia, including for exports, be phased out over time.
2 NOHSC has been monitoring mesothelioma for some years.
3 A limited range of exemptions may be considered, for example, where alternative products do not exist or where their use would create greater risks that the corresponding chrysotile product.
4 The prohibition of chrysotile asbestos is to be given effect by its inclusion in Schedule 2 of the National Model Regulations for the Control of Hazardous Substances. Uses of substances included in this schedule are prohibited unless a relevant public authority provides an exemption. Prohibition of crocidolite (blue) and amosite (brown) asbestos is already recommended by their inclusion under the Prohibited Carcinogens Schedule of the National Model Regulations for the Control of Scheduled Carcinogenic Substances. This schedule was a precursor to Schedule 2 of the National Model Regulations.
News from the UK
Shiftworkers... can't sleep? can't eat?... read the Shiftworkers Guide
Night shift working poses a chronic risk to worker's mental and physical health because of disruptions to sleeping, eating, domestic and social routines. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is increasingly concerned about the health and safety aspects of shift working has now published the results of its research looking at how people who work night shifts can be helped to cope with their lifestyle.
HSE suggests that organisations need to adopt a more proactive and intensive programme of behaviour change to educate shift workers on how to improve their health, perhaps involving counselling. A review of the literature has shown that there are common problems attributable to shiftwork including effects on sleep, eating habits, social life, domestic life and exercise patterns. Shiftwork can also be a risk factor leading to the development of adverse health consequences including gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular problems and psychoneurotic disturbance. The Shiftworkers’ Guide disseminates advice in the form of coping strategies that aim to alleviate shiftwork problems thus improving adaptation to working shifts and also to ameliorate the negative health effects experienced by shiftworkers.
Health and Safety Executive
CRR 365 An intervention using a self-help guide to improve the coping behaviour of nightshift workers and its evaluation
can be downloaded from
Paper copy from:
HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk C010 2WA , UK
Tel: +44 1787 881165 | Fax:+44 1787 313995
News from Canada
IRSST new research projects and publications
As part of Quebec's IRSST (Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute Robert-Sauve) ongoing efforts to keep you abreast of the latest research results and developments it now offers through the web site the IRSST news subscription service.
The IRSST web site is regularly updated and instead of waiting for the printed Newsletter to arrive, you can register on the mailing list in order to be kept informed of new research and also new publications. All IRSST publications are available free of charge on the web site.
Recent new research covers topics such as:
- return to work of victims of post-traumatic stress following incidents of workplace violence
- evaluation of gloves to reduce exposure to hand-arm vibration
- documentation of endotoxin levels in the cotton industry
- evaluation of the impact of lowering permissible exposure levels for formaldehyde
New publications (in French only) include:
- A solution base for builders... consists of a collection of solutions that have been tested or implemented by companies in the construction industry. Report R-262. 82 pages. Can$ 8.00
- Development of a method to evaluate the resistance of fire-fighters' protective footwear to laceration and perforation. Report R-246. 26 pages. Can$ 4.50
For further details www.irsst.qc.ca
or IRSST Communications Division,
505 De Maisonneuve Blvd.West, Montreal,
Quebec, H3A 3C2, Canada
Tel: +1 514 288 1551 | Fax: +1 514 288 7636
News from the UK
Emergency Planning and Management......
During the past month HHSC Ltd have been asked for books on planning for emergencies. The following 4 titles in this general area are listed on HHSC Website:
Emergency Planning and Management: Ensuring Your Company's Survival in the Event of a Disaster, 2nd Ed (Stringfield) 2000 ISBN 0865876908
Emergency Planning on the Internet (Tobin and Tobin) 1997 ISBN 0865876002
An Introduction to Fire Safety for Managers, HHSC Handbook No. 27 (Burchett) July 2001. ISBN 0948237414
On-Site Emergency Response Planning Guide, 2002 Edition (Vulpitta) 2001/2 NSC Code #122120000
News from the USA
Glutaraldehyde: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals.....
Glutaraldehyde is used as a cold sterilant to disinfect and clean heat-sensitive equipment such as suction bottles, ear, nose and throat instruments and surgical instruments. This chemical is also used as a tissue fixative in histology and pathology laboratories and as a hardening agent in the development of x-rays.
The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have issued a timely brochure which:
- makes you aware of the adverse health effects of glutaraldehyde
- describes how you can be exposed to it, and
- provides and identifies control method and work practices to prevent or reduce your exposure toglutaraldehyde
The brochure also contains a reading list which gives more information about glutaraldehyde.
To obtain a copy of Glutaraldehyde: occupational hazards in Hospitals. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No.2001-115, Sept 2001 visit NIOSH web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh
The document is in the public domain and may be freely copied or reprinted.
For a paper copy contact:
NIOSH Publication Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Parkway. Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA.
Tel: +1 800 356 4674
News from IOSH
The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's (IOSH) Technical Infosheets are designed to provide a user-friendly source of information. They are an introduction to the topics concerned and include useful contacts for further information. Technical Infosheets are free to both Members and non-members and can be downloaded on the appropriate title listed below. Alternatively, single copies of Infosheets are available free of charge on request from the IOSH Technical Affairs Department.
Without waiving the conditions of copyright, Technical Infosheets can be reproduced in full in non-electronic format for individual use, provided that the source is acknowledged and the material is not used for commercial gain.
You will need the Free Adobe Acrobat reader to view these files, which can be Downloaded from the IOSH web site if it is not already on your p.c.
The titles are:
- Behavioural safety: kicking bad habits examines the implementation of a behaviour-based safety process as a way of improving safety performance.
- Safety in the global village provides basic guidance for those placing people abroad and for those who may be posted to other countries.
- Teleworking - out of site, out of mind? This infosheet focuses on safety and health issues for the fast-expanding teleworking sector. Checklists are included for an organisational risk assessment (91KB) and an assessment of premises for teleworking.
Contact: Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 116 257 3100 | Fax: +44 116 257 3101 | www.iosh.co.uk