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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

August 2003

Mobile phones use whilst driving banned from 1 December 2003 in the UK.... so keep both hands on the wheel!

Driving whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone is to be made a specific offence in the UK. from 1 December 2003. The Government's aim is to make UK roads safer: initially offenders will be subject to a GBP £30 fine, which can be increased to a maximum fine of GBP £1,000 if the matter goes to court. The Government is also planning to legislate to make it an endorseable offence, so that drivers will get three points on their licence each time they are caught. RoSPA advises that people should switch off their phones when they get into their vehicles and not use them again until they are parked in a safe spot. RoSPA are worried that people will switch to hands-free devices, because research has shown that whether the equipment is hand-held or hands-free, talking on a phone makes drivers four times more likely to have an accident. So RoSPA would like drivers prohibited from using hands-free phones as well whilst driving.

Road Safety Minister David Jamieson says "driving (and texting) whilst using a mobile phone is dangerous".

A report, The Risk of using a mobile phone while driving, was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). The summary of information available on the use of mobile phones and driving can be found at

F-Gases proposals given a welcome

The European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee (EFCTC) welcomes in general the proposal for a EU Regulation on fluorinated gases which has just been issued by the European Commission. The industry group supports legislation that seeks to harness the environmental benefits of F-gases, through enhanced energy efficiency and emission reduction but is concerned that the proposed restriction on the use of enhanced R-134a, in car air-conditioning could be counterproductive.

"The draft Regulation presents a clear set of rules for the trade and use of Fluorinated gases, including end of life issues across the EU" says Dr. Nick Campbell, chair of EFCTC". With the exception of the automotive sector, it will assist in reducing the large degree of uncertainty which is discouraging new investment and innovation in energy efficient equipment and technologies, much of which will use F-gases". The proposal provides a common system for data reporting, and lays down a framework for emission prevention. These aspects have been strongly advocated by industry as part of Responsible Use.

Mobile air conditioning

"We welcome the recognition that the commission gives to a range of options for mobile air-conditioning, which includes the long term use of HFCs with a low Global Warming Potential. Given the current lack of a proven alternative, that is commercially operating, we believe the setting of a phase out schedule for enhanced HFC134a systems in cars is inappropriate", continued Dr. Campbell. Investment in enhanced R-134a has been shown to have a superior environmental performance when compared to other systems, in regions where there are hot traffic conditions. A rapid phase out in Europe will stop investment in this technology, which is currently delivering significant improvements in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This could be counter-productive for the environment, leading to the adoption of less energy efficient and heavier mobile air-conditioning systems that could, ironically lead to greater emissions of carbon dioxide. Also it could undermine the move from CFCs (which have a much higher Global Warming Potential) to HFCs in developing countries. The focus on the phase-out of R-134a in mobile air-conditioning contradicts the conclusions of the final report of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), endorsed by the Council of Ministers in December 2001. These conclusions were clearly orientated toward containment of these gases and monitoring of actual emissions, which minimise their environmental impact. Better containment in current systems and enhanced R-134a air-conditioning systems should be a priority.

The benefits of F-gases, vital in many daily life applications. There are strong arguments in support of the use of F-gases, bringing substantial benefits to society. F-gases (fluorinated hydrocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) are used in many vital applications of our daily life such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, thermal insulation and medical sprays. They are particularly safe (because their low toxicity and low flammability) and consequently can have distinct environmental benefits such as improved energy efficiency when used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems or in foam used for thermal insulation.

Their improved energy efficiency can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which is why all avenues should be explored to use these gases responsibly, rather than proposing phase-out of their use. The proposed regulation confirms the long-term sustainability of F-gases in their vast majority of applications and clearly establishes common rules for the EU.

F-gases and climate change into context

To put F-gases into context, it is important to note that all together they currently contribute less than 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. By 2010 this figure is expected to remain less than 3% but the benefit F-gases bring through improved energy efficiency is thought to outweigh this, as they contribute to reduced CO2 emissions in many of their applications. By contrast, the CFCs progressively replaced by the HFCs represented about 25% of all greenhouse gas in 1990.

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Don't miss EUROHSE 2003 Conference ... this is the most important conference being held in London on 4 and 5 November 2003

Eminent speakers from Europe AND AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD to the future world of work ... can you afford not to attend? Bookings already made from places as far apart as Luxembourg, New Zealand, Russia, USA.

Click onto for all details and book form or for further details contact: Mary Meadows, Office and Logistics Manager, European Occupational Health and Safety Magazine (EurOhs), Angel Business Communications Ltd, 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth CV8 1HE, Warwickshire, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1926 512424 | Fax: + 44 (0)1926 512948 | email:

NIOSH Publication No. 2003-147: Handbook for Dust Control in Mining

This handbook describes effective methods for the control of mineral dusts in mines, and it assumes the reader is familiar with mining. The first chapter deals solely with dust control methods, irrespective of the application. It serves as a brief tutorial on mining dust control, and will be of help to the reader whose dust control problem does not conveniently fit any of the mining equipment niches described in subsequent chapters.

In the subsequent chapters, dust control methods are described for different kinds of mines and mining equipment. This includes underground coal and hard rock mines, as well as surface mines, stone mines, and hard rock tunnels. Because dust sampling has so many pitfalls, a chapter on methods used to sample dust is included. For those occasions when there is no practical engineering control, there is a chapter on respirators.

GoPOP: Going Public on Performance.... declaring your occupational safety and health in public

How many companies across Europe, let alone the rest of the world, can prove they take health and safety seriously by publishing more information on their websites? The UK based Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have issued a new report, Going Public on Performance that looked at the websites of Britain's top 350 companies and found that only 129 included health and safety information. Of those, 123 reported on policies and principles, 77 on performance data and 64 on their health and safety targets. Only on 13 of the sites was the information on health and safety judged "very easy to find".

RoSPA is recommending that all organisations should consider providing details of their health and safety policies, performances and targets on their websites.

The report makes recommendations to help companies who want to being health and safety reporting on the web. RoSPA's GoPOP site will eventually have links to companies with health and safety reports on their sites.

The Convention on the Future of Europe: Working towards a European Union Constitution

The Convention on the Future for Europe explores issues of legitimacy and subsidiarity in the debate about the Future of Europe. It looks at the assumptions behind the Constitutional Convention and its working methods as well as its implications for reform processes in the European Union.

It also analyses the concept of subsidiarity both from the perspective of the division of powers and as a factor legitimising the political structures of Europe. Furthermore, the book provides an analysis of how the Constitutional Convention fits into the broader constitutionalisation process of the European Union.

Contents include:

The Federal Trust series is essential reading for all practitioners and students of European integration, as well as for national policy-makers, business and the media.

The Convention on the Future for Europe by Jo Shaw, Paul Magnette, Lars Hoffmann and Anna Verges. Published by Kogan-Page. 144 pages. 2003. ISBN 190340360X

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Tolley's Managing Stress in the Workplace

by Carole Spiers

Stress-related illness can be costly to companies in terms of lost productivity, sickness absence and ill-health retirement. Management practices that are good for the health of the employees are likely to be good for their productivity. Good management policy is therefore in the interests both of the organisation and the workers.

Managing Stress in the Workplace is a practical, accessible guide to the legal and moral obligations that employers face with regard to their employees.
Contents include:

The author draws upon her substantial experience in the field of stress management to provide an indispensable manager's guide, which covers identifying stress, stress management and intervention techniques. As well as containing useful checklists, best practice guidelines and case studies throughout, it explains the significance of the new UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance Notes and provides worked examples of formulating a stress policy and what constitutes best practice.

Carole Spiers is a RELATE trained counsellor and one of the first validated UK International Stress Management Association trainers. She founded Carole Spiers Associates in 1987.

Managing Stress in the Workplace by Carole Spiers. Reed Elsevier (UK) Ltd, 2003, 424 pages
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Pioneering research aims to reduce accidents at work

A new method has been pioneered to enable accident investigators to analyse human error alongside technical data allowing companies to pro-actively reduce the number of accidents occurring in the workplace.

Developed by Professor John Davies, Director, Human Factors Analysts Ltd and colleagues from the University of Strathclyde, the method is highlighted in a new book 'Safety Management: A Qualitative Systems Approach' which is aimed at risk managers and safety experts working particularly within safety critical industries such as utilities, transport and energy.

The book illustrates how companies can monitor verbal reports and perceptions of staff to reduce, and often pre-empt, serious accidents from occurring in the workplace. By adopting an innovative reporting system, companies can combine eyewitness accounts and opinions with engineering and technical data to provide critical information which companies can then use to prevent accidents from occurring.

A practical application of the system, described extensively in the book is, CIRAS, a confidential reporting system for the UK railways which was developed by Human Factor Analysts Ltd. (H.F.A.L), based in Glasgow. CIRAS enables staff, at all levels, to confidentially report safety concerns allowing the rail companies to act on the new knowledge. Over 80,000 staff across 52 companies operate CIRAS.

Historically hard data and facts have formed the key basis for establishing the cause of an accident, with less emphasis based on eye-witness accounts.

Instead of finding someone to blame, investigators should be seeking to find out the root cause to also ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Founded in September 2000, Human Factors Analysts Ltd (HFAL) based in Glasgow is an international consultancy specialising in human performance and the reduction of human error, particularly in accidents, across a broad spectrum of industries. The company currently works for European clients in the rail, nuclear and health sectors offering services including confidential reporting systems, accident and investigation tools, root cause coding systems and risk assessment management.

"Looking at what people say is often the only way to find out why accidents happen and why people do certain things. Safety depends on a flow of information to show weaknesses in systems therefore ignoring them can be extremely dangerous," said Professor John Davies, Director, H.F.A.L.

John Davies, who is also the Professor of the Centre for Applied Social Psychology at the University of Strathclyde, challenges existing theories within the book on human error and offers practical and reliable solutions to help risk managers.

Safety Management: A Qualitative Systems Approach, by John Davies, Brendan Wallace and Linda Wright. Published by Taylor & Francis. 2003. ISBN 0-415-30371-0