Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

April 2002

News from the UK

UK TUC urges European Commission to give self-employed workers real health and safety rights

The European Commission's recently published voluntary approach to the health and safety of self-employed workers is not enough, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The Commission's proposal for a Council Recommendation (a non-binding measure) will only urge Member States to extend protections for employees to the self-employed, with legislative action put off for at least four years, leaving the self-employed, who have higher fatality and major injury rates than employees, as second-class workers.

The self-employed are explicitly excluded from the coverage of most European Union health and safety Directives, and a large majority of EU Member States do not currently provide legal health and safety protection for the self-employed. In Britain, the self-employed are covered by most health and safety laws, but they have no right of access to safety reps, and cannot claim state industrial injury benefits. Many workers are forced into so-called self-employment by their employers to avoid taxes and employment protections, and they often don't get the safety rights they are entitled to because neither they nor their employer realize they are covered.

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "This is surely a step forward, and reinforces that health and safety is for everyone. But it isn't enough - far too many people in Britain and the rest of Europe are excluded from health and safety not by the law, but because their employers have forced them into bogus self-employment. And the genuinely self-employed are still excluded from having their views represented, or getting compensation from the benefits system. We need a legal framework from the European Commission, not mere words."

The Commission proposal, approved on 3 April 2002, invites Member States to:

The full Commission proposal can be seen at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2002:0166:FIN:EN:PDF

All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

TUC website health and safety page www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety

Contact: Owen Tudor, Trades Union Congress, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS, UK. | Tel: +44 (0)20 7467 1325 | Email: otudor@tuc.org.uk

News from Europe

The Changing World of Work
Trends and implications for occupational safety and health in the European Union

Working life in Europe is changing at an ever-increasing speed. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has carried out a number of activities based on the implications of the changing world of work for occupational safety and health at work. These include the organisation of a European Conference, publishing an Agency Magazine with expert viewpoints and a special information section on the Agency's web site.

The Agency has also published two research information reports: one on the Research on the changing world of work - implications on occupational safety and health in some Member States of the European Union and another on Research on new forms of contractual relationships and implications for occupational safety and health.

The recently published FORUM 5 summarises the main findings and conclusions from these activities. These findings make very interesting reading and cover: Increase in Small and Medium Enterprises; Larger organisations changes with flatter management structure, fragmentation and increase in complexity and leaner organisations; Change and reorganisation as a constant feature of modern work life; Contractors and outsourcing; Reduced union membership; Increased employment in the service sector. All these changes have possible OSH changes and implications.

FORUM is published in English, French, German and Spanish and is available on the Agency
web: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/forum
Contact: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao, Spain | Tel: +34 944 794 360 | Fax: +34 94 479 4383 | Email: information@osha.eu.int | web: http://osha.europa.eu

News from Europe

Safety and Health Good Practice online
Step by step guide to accessing good practice information on the web

Getting hold of information about good practices in occupational safety and health is getting easier by using the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work website. You can find information by country - 15 EU Member States. EFTA countries, Australia, Canada and the USA; by subject e.g. Accident Prevention, Dangerous Substances, Stress at work; or by sector e.g. construction or Healthcare. The Good Practices online in the Agency's website will give you plenty of examples.

The Agency tries to offer as much information as possible in all the Member States languages, but cannot translate the information available. However Machine translation tools are available through the Agency's web site.

Contact: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao, Spain | Tel: +34 944 794 360 | Fax: +34 94 479 4383 | Email: information@osha.eu.int | http://osha.europa.eu/good_practice

News from Europe

Recognition schemes in occupational safety and health: Experiences in the Member States of the European Union

Despite the variety in the types and objectives of recognition schemes, a number of characteristics can be highlighted as features:

The recently published FORUM 6 summarises the main findings and conclusions from a workshop organised by the Agency and includes: Recognising Products, contractors, OSH management and offers other options.

FORUM is published in English, French, German and Spanish and is available on the Agency
web: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/forum
Contact: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao, Spain | Tel: +34 944 794 360 | Fax: +34 94 479 4383 | Email: information@osha.eu.int | Web: http://osha.europa.eu

News from the UK

Calculation of Resuspension Doses for Emergency Response: NRPB report

When radioactivity is released into the atmosphere, a proportion of the activity will deposit onto surfaces. Some of the deposited material will become airborne again, when disturbed by wind or human activities such as walking or vehicle movement. This process is known as resuspension*.

In the event of an accidental release, people may continue to inhale resuspended activity after the initial cloud of radioactivity has dispersed, and so receive additional doses (resuspension doses). A review of experimental studies of resuspension has been carried out in order to recommend an appropriate method for estimating likely resuspension doses after an accident, in UK conditions. This information can be used to assist decisions on how best to protect people in the immediate aftermath of an accident, i.e. during the emergency phase.

The report recommends a mathematical formula for estimating resuspension doses from measurements of radioactive contamination on the ground. In addition, guidance is given on how to apply that formula in different situations (such as very windy conditions, in towns with a lot of traffic) and how to modify the formula for resuspension that might occur inside buildings.

This work was carried out under the Environmental Assessments Department and Emergency Response Group Quality Management System which is certified to ISO 9001:2000, certificate No. 956546.

(Resuspension = The process by which material on surfaces can become airborne.)

The report NRPB W1 Calculation of Resuspension Doses for Emergency Response ISBN 0859514595 Price £15.00 can be purchased from:
Information Office, National Radiological Protection Board, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 0RQ, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1235 831600 (international 44-1235 83160) | Fax: +44 (0) 1235 833891 (international 44-1235 833891) | E-mail nrpb@nrpb.org

News from the UK

Invaluable information for Environmental Health Professionals

Environmental Health Today 2 (EH Today 2) is the new and improved second edition of a CD-ROM encyclopaedia of current environmental issues. The revised layout and improved search capability means this 600 page CD-ROM is now fully searchable, making it easy for professionals to grasp the pressing environmental health issues of today.

This new version provides a work of quick reference for practitioners, students, and those with a more general interest in the way in which our environment and health are connected.

E H Today 2 seeks to present evidence of the relationship between the environment and our health in a useable and easily accessible form. The information is updated regularly, saving professionals the time and effort involved in researching and reviewing new knowledge and developments. EH today 2 should prove extremely valuable to the busy environmental health professional, providing them with more time to apply their understanding into day-to-day tasks. he key features of this invaluable CD-ROM include; clear and easy to use bookmark system, hyperlinks providing topical cross referencing, 600 pages of valuable information that is fully searchable and easy to navigate, easy to print pages, and is Windows compatible.

Produced by Chadwick House Group Ltd (CHGL) which is the trading arm of the UK Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). CHGL Ltd is the leading Environmental Health publishing house in the UK. The CIEH is the Professional and Educational body for Environmental Health and is also the world's leading awarding body for Food Safety Qualifications.

The price of the second edition CD-ROM 'Environmental Health Today 2 is £60.00 plus VAT, and a special price of £20 plus VAT for customers already registered to use edition 1. Post and Package charges are £2.00, but overseas customers will need to inquire. If customers purchase a copy of EH Today 2 and become a registered user they will become eligible for a 50% discount on all further editions of EH Today. Edition 3 will be available from September 2002.

For further details please contact the Publications department:
Tel: +44(0) 20 7827 5830 or Email: g.butler@chgl.com.
Visit the CIEH website at www.cieh.org

News from Denmark

Contaminated environment jeopardizes our children's health

WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Environment Agency present Children's health and environment: a review of evidence "Investing in child health is essential to ensure human and economic development, and children's health needs to be protected from environmental threats," says Dr Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe. Today in Brussels, on the occasion of the opening of Green Week 2002 by Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, WHO and the European Environment Agency (EEA) jointly launch the monograph Children's health and environment: a review of evidence. "This publication shows that European governments and institutions can collaborate to protect children from environmental threats. This goal lies at the very heart of sustainable development and is a challenge for the future of today's and tomorrow's generations," adds Dr Danzon.

Up to 40% of the global burden of disease attributable to environmental factors is estimated to fall on children under the age of 5 years. As developing organisms, children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of environmental pollution. This is so for a variety of reasons, which include the following:

Further, children have no choice about the factors to which they are exposed. They are also likely to be the most "sensitive indicators" for the environmental health of populations,

On this basis, European ministers at the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in 1999 made a strong commitment to protect children and to develop key indicators for children's health and the environment.

"The European Union is setting the issue of children's environment and health high on the political agenda. The link between environmental degradation and poor health is clearly established, but we need further research in order to improve our understanding of these complex issues. The joint WHO-EEA publication is therefore a very welcome contribution in our efforts to prepare policy responses to the threats that a bad environment poses to children's health," remarks Ms Margot Wallström, European Commissioner for the Environment.

In the WHO European Region, the rise of hazards in the settings where children live, learn and play is increasing concern about the effects on children's health of the deterioration and contamination of the physical environment.

"Children are at risk of exposure to more than 15 000 synthetic chemicals, almost all developed in the last 50 years, and to a variety of physical agents, such as polluted indoor and outdoor air, road traffic, contaminated food and water, unsafe buildings, contaminants in toys, radiation and environmental tobacco smoke," points out Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, EEA Executive Director. The spread of disorders possibly associated with environmental factors (asthma, injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders, cancer, and food- and waterborne diseases) is reaching unacceptably high levels in many cases. "Close cooperation between environmental and health organizations is vital, not least to minimize duplication of efforts," adds Mr Jiménez-Beltrán.

Details of the book's findings can be found on the Regional Office Web site (www.euro.who.int).

For more information please contact:
TECHNICAL INFORMATION:
Dr Ondine von Ehrenstein Children's Health and Environment, WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, Rome Operational Division Via Francesco Crispi, 10 I-00187 Rome, Italy | Tel: +39 06 4877549 | Fax: +39 06 4877599 | E-mail: ove@who.it

PRESS INFORMATION
Ms Cristiana Salvi, Health Impact of Environmental and Development Policies, WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, Rome Operational Division, Via Francesco Crispi 10 I-00187 Rome, Italy | Tel: +39 06 4877543 | mobile: +39388 6098878 | Fax: +39 06 4877599, e-mail: csa@who.it

Tony Carritt, Media Relations and Communication Manager, European Environment Agency Kongens Nytorv 6 DK-1050 Copenhagen K, Denmark | Tel: +45 3336 7147 | mobile: +45 23683669 | Fax: +45 3336 7198 | E-mail: Tony.Carritt@eea.eu.int

Vivienne Taylor Gee Environment and Health Coordination and Partnership WHO Regional Office for Europe Scherfigsvej 8 DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark | Tel: +45 3917 1343 | Fax: +45 3917 1880 | E-mail: vge@who.dk

WHO and EEA press releases can be found on their Web sites www.euro.who.int and www.eea.europa.eu

News from the USA

Availability of $4 million in grants for training in FY 2003 announced by NIOSH

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is inviting applications from educational institutions for $4 million in competitive grants in Fiscal Year 2003 for training occupational health and safety professionals.

Applications must be submitted by July 1, 2002. The available competitive funds include:

NIOSH announced the availability of funds in the Federal Register. The notice included additional background information, identified the forms to be used for applications, and provided instructions on submitting applications. The announcement can be obtained by calling the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (Tel: 1-800-356-4674).

ERCs are competitively funded academic institutions that provide interdisciplinary graduate training and continuing education for professionals in occupational health and safety fields. ERCs graduate almost half of the nation's post-baccalaureate occupational health and safety specialists, including the majority of occupational health nursing and occupational medicine graduates. TPGs are competitively awarded to academic institutions for single-discipline graduate training in occupational health and safety fields.

News from the USA

OSHA unveils new web page for Spanish-speaking employers and workers

A new Spanish web page will help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reach out to non-English speaking employers and workers, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently announced.

"Job safety and health depends on employees and employers knowing what they must do to ensure workplace protections," said Chao. "That starts with understanding vital, basic information about preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Through our new Spanish page, millions more employers and workers in this country will have access to information they can use to make their workplaces safer."

The web page initially focuses on several areas: an overview of OSHA and its mission; how to file complaints electronically in Spanish; worker and employer rights and responsibilities; and a list of resources for employers and workers. The new page features highlights from the agency's extensive website and offers one-stop service for Spanish-speaking employers and employees. Additional information will be added in months to come.

"One of our top priorities is expanded outreach and education," Chao said. "More than 10 million Americans speak little or no English, and one in five Americans does not speak English at home. Too many of these workers, especially Spanish-speaking workers, have experienced on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2000 the fatality rate for Hispanic employees climbed by more than 11 percent, while deaths for all other groups declined. OSHA is concerned about the safety of Spanish-speaking workers and has established an ongoing effort to reach across language barriers to employers and workers to reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths on the job

The new Spanish-language page can be found at www.osha.gov

News from the UK

Offshore Research Focus to be online only!

The Offshore Research Focus (ORF) has announced that from Issue 136 to be published in June 2002 will only be available online only. Published by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this important development mirrors the rapid acceleration in the trend towards online publishing generally and marks the start of a new phase to enhance the ORF web site.

Readers presently receiving the printed version of FOCUS can be notified of quarterly updates to the ORF website and are invited to complete the subscription form on the web site.

ORF web site contains versions of the ORF articles optimised for both online viewing (HTML) and offline printing and reading (PDF) will continue to provide both these formats.

Issue No.135 March 2002 contains a range of articles e.g. Safety of Turret Systems, Storm Incidents, Rough Weather Rescue and Seismic Hazard Mapping.