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News Archive

January 2004

European network ENSHPO

Following an initiative from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has taken the lead in establishing the new European Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations (ENSHPO). This network is open to practitioner organisations and associated bodies and organisations in all of the European Union (EU) member states. The aims of the network have been agreed as follows:

  1. To ensure participation from all safety and health practitioner organisations across the whole of Europe and to involve such organisations in the network's activities.
    Safety and health practitioner organisations have been defined on the basis of what is meant by a practitioner and this definition has been clearly described by the network:
    "A safety and health practitioner is a professional in safety and health practice, in the work environment, who is competent to give advice and support on safety and health issues to employers and others in the organisation. The safety and health practitioner may provide advice on: assessment, audit, evaluation, examination, investigation, risk management, training and other relevant activities."
  2. The network will develop co-operation with relevant European and International organisations and associations, including the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
  3. The network will be a forum by which information, experience and good practice on a wide variety of topics can be exchanged including:
    • Trying to accurately and clearly understand the role of the safety and health practitioner in each country
    • Identifying common objectives
    • Identifying the needs of safety and health practitioners
    • Addressing global issues affecting safety and health practitioners
    • Training issues
  4. The network will consider:
    • Arranging mini symposia at European conferences and exchanging information on common interests, leading onto organising high quality international conferences for safety and health practitioners
    • Organising workplace study exchange visits
    • Developing Europe-wide mutual recognition of safety and health practitioner qualifications and training
    • The feasibility of developing a European, recognised occupational safety and health (OSH) qualification with a minimum standard for safety and health practitioners.

Meetings are held twice each year.

The International Affairs Department was established in November 1998. The role of the department is to provide a point of contact for all the Institution's overseas members who currently number over 2000, and also to co-ordinate European and international occupational health and safety projects. The team is now in the process of developing links with key occupational safety and health bodies and organisations worldwide, looking at ways in which IOSH can work in closer collaboration on a variety of ventures.

IOSH, Europe's leading body for health and safety professionals, represents 26,000 members in over fifty countries worldwide. IOSH was officially incorporated by Royal Charter on 1 April 2003.

Contact: Anyone wanting further details about the network should contact Sarah Hamilton, IOSH, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3100 | Fax: +44 (0)116 257 3101 | email: sarah.hamilton@iosh.co.uk | www.iosh.co.uk

European Commission launches consultation on working time

The European Commission is calling for all interested parties to contribute to a consultation on working time, following a report on the workings of current EU legislation in this area. The report focuses on the issue of the so-called "opt-out", which allows individuals to waive their rights under the Directive (93/104/EC), and the definition and calculation of working time. As a result of recent European Court of Justice rulings, more member states are making use of the opt-out. The Commission is consulting on how the directive could be revised in the future.

Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, responsible for employment and social affairs commented: "We appreciate the importance of freedom of choice of individuals as to how they work but in practice the measures that the directive foresees to safeguard the workers' interests when opting out are not properly implemented. We need to find a solution that balances the interests of all concerned. We also need to consider how best to define working time, to avoid what is currently a flexible legislative framework becoming one that creates unnecessary burdens."

The Working Time Directive plays a vital role in protecting the health and safety of workers from the effects of working excessively long hours, having inadequate rest and disruptive work patterns. It can also contribute to improved productivity and a better reconciliation of work and family life. In 1993, the UK negotiated an opt-out, which allows member states not to apply the limit to working hours under certain conditions: prior agreement of the individual, no negative fall-out from refusing to opt out, and records kept of working hours of those that have opted out. The Commission's report finds that not all the guarantees laid down within the Directive are being provided. It is concerned, for example, that workers are frequently asked to sign the opt-out agreement at the same time as signing their employment contract, which acts a constraint to freedom of choice. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 31 March 2004.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-04-1_en.htm

Predicted Deaths from Mesothelioma

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have published updated statistics predicting the future numbers of people likely to die in Britain as a result of mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos.

These statistics, put together using the latest modelling techniques, suggest the annual number of deaths will peak at a lower level than previously predicted (published in 1995), and will peak sooner. The number of mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain (males and females of all ages) is now predicted to peak somewhere between 1,950 and 2,450 annually. The peak is expected between the years 2011 and 2015.

Previously published projections were restricted to men below age 90. Making the same restriction to the current model suggests a peak of between 1,650 and 2,100 deaths, between the years 2011 and 2015.

This updates a projection made in 1995 that suggested an annual peak of between 2,700 and 3,300 deaths around the year 2020.

HSE's Senior Statistician John Hodgson said: "Previous projections have been based on a rather simple statistical model in which mesothelioma deaths were related to age and date of birth. More recent data suggests a different and more complex model is needed to account for the changing pattern of asbestos exposure. This latest analysis suggests a lower estimated peak for mesothelioma deaths than predicted in 1995, occurring sooner. But the total numbers are still substantial."

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that principally affects the external lining of the lungs (pleura) and lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It has a strong association with exposure to asbestos dust, and the long latency period between first exposure to asbestos and the development and diagnosis of mesothelioma is seldom less than 15 years and can be as long as 60 years. This means that current and predicted death figures reflect exposure many years ago. Most deaths (around 85%) occur in men. Mesothelioma is exceptionally rare in the absence of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer are not included in the projections. Annual numbers of asbestosis deaths are much lower than the number of mesothelioma deaths. For example, there are likely to have been at least 160 asbestosis deaths in 2001. Annual numbers of asbestos-related lung cancer deaths are estimated to be substantial: between one and two lung cancers for every mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma death statistics for Great Britain are derived from HSE's mesothelioma register www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/mesothelioma, which comprises all deaths where the cause of death on the death certificate mentioned the word 'mesothelioma'. The statistics in this latest analysis are based on deaths in the register from 1968 to 2001.

Details of the mesothelioma projections can be found in a fact sheet available on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/proj6801.pdf or as a hard copy from Epidemiology and Medical Statistics Unit, HSE, Room 244, Magdalen House, Stanley Precinct, Bootle, Merseyside L20 3QZ., UK | Tel: +44 (0)151 951 3051.

This data is compiled, analysed and released in accordance with the National Statistics code of practice: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/the-national-statistics-standard/code-of-practice/index.html

This analysis is the second major update to an analysis published in the Lancet [Peto, J. et al (1995). Continuing increase in mesothelioma in Great Britain. Lancet; 345: 535 -9], a collaborative effort with the Institute of Cancer Research. The first major update, in 2002, suggested an annual peak of between 1,450 and 2,000 deaths between the years 2008 and 2018. This used a more complex statistical model than was used in 1995. Our current analysis refines this model further.

HSE has published two other fact sheets on mesothelioma deaths. The first was an analysis of the deaths by occupation, and showed males with the highest risk of mesothelioma were metal plate workers (includes shipyard workers) and vehicle body builders (includes railway carriage and locomotive building). Many of the other high risk occupations were associated with the construction industry. See www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/occ8000.pdf and www.hse.gov.uk/press/2003/e03077.htm. The second fact sheet was an analysis by geographical area. See www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/area8100.pdf and www.hse.gov.uk/press/2003/e03189.htm.

Fire Safety and Security on Construction Sites

Construction site fires cost lives, jobs and money. This new video from the Fire Protection Association demonstrates safe working procedures and precautions to help keep fire at bay on your site.

The lively and accessible programme follows the progress of a new recruit on a construction site with a difference. The video is aimed at both construction site workers and managers and it covers:

Running time 19 minutes this video encourages site workers to be alert to fire risks on site and to adopt simple measures to make their site a safer place to work.

Non-FPA members £79.50 + VAT | FPA members £63.60 + VAT

Contact: Fire Protection Association, Bastille Court, 2 Paris Garden, London SE1 8ND, UK | Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7902 5300 | Fax: +44 (0) 20 7902 5301

FABIG Technical Meeting - Protection of Piping Against Fires and Explosions

The next FABIG Technical Meeting is "Protection of Piping Against Fires and Explosions" is on 28 January 2004 - The Institution of Structural Engineers, London and 29 January 2004 - The Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen

13.00 - 14.00, Registration and Buffet Lunch
14.00 - 18.00, Meeting

Registration and Inquiries:

Please contact Martin Homer on +44 (0)1344 623 345, Email: fabig@steel-sci.com or send your contact details and registration fee of £295.00 plus VAT (for non FABIG members) to The Steel Construction Institute, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7QN, UK.

Attendance is free to FABIG members and £295 + VAT per person for non-members. For further details and online registration visit: www.fabig.com.

The Environment? What Europeans think

The environment has the highest priority for Europeans. The results if two opinion polls threw new light on environmental and sustainable development issues.

The results, which are representative of all Europeans, provided the EC with a great deal of new information.

See the results in:
The Environment? What Europeans think
European Commission
Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
2003. 36 pages. ISBN 92 894 4778 8. Luxembourg

Europass: a new instrument for better recognition of qualifications and skills in the enlarged Europe

The European Commission has just adopted a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass). Conceived with an eye to lifelong learning, the proposal integrates various transparency-promoting instruments into a coherent framework, identified by the single label "Europass", which will be accessible on the Internet and to which other instruments may also be added in the future.

Coordination, rationalisation and computerisation are the key concepts of the proposal, which thus makes these instruments more accessible, more user-friendly, more visible and more familiar. The urgent need to improve the transparency of qualifications and competences has become even more pressing with the impending entry of ten new Member States as emphasised by the Education Ministers of 31 European countries, the social partners and the Commission in November 2002 in the Copenhagen Declaration, to which this proposal for a decision represents a concrete response.

"With the European Union poised to expand from 15 to 25 Member States, and closer relationships being forged with the other countries of Europe, improving the transparency of qualifications and competences is essential in order to increase and improve transnational mobility and make lifelong education and training a reality", declared Viviane Reding, European Commissioner in charge of Education and Culture, at a press conference in Brussels. She went on to add: "This proposal gives concrete effect to a recommendation made in the Copenhagen Declaration and also fits in with the framework for action proposed by the Commission in its Communication: "The success of the Lisbon strategy hinges on urgent reforms" [1]."

The Copenhagen Declaration of 30 November 2002 [2] explicitly called for action to "increase transparency in vocational education and training through the implementation and rationalisation of information tools and networks, including the integration of existing instruments into one single framework."

One year later, the proposal for a decision adopted by the Commission establishes this single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences, known as "Europass" a name taken over from the present Europass-Training, which this proposal amends and renames "MobiliPass".

The proposal for a decision incorporates into the Europass five existing documents which cover qualifications and competences in a lifelong-learning perspective, focusing on:

However, the Europass is an open framework to which more documents may be added in the future, in particular in order to address specific sectors or skills more specifically.

Individuals looking for a job or for a change of job whether with or without a change of residence clearly need tools which will help them communicate their skills more effectively. The fact that in little more than a year the European CV has been downloaded more than half a million times from the Cedefop website alone gives an idea of the numbers of citizens concerned.

To this end, the proposal for a decision provides that all implementation activities shall be rationalised and coordinated by a single body in each country, within a European network. Preparatory work on the technological platform has already begun: Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the Working Group On Transparency established by the Commission in connection with the Copenhagen Process have already developed a prototype electronic Europass which will be perfected in the course of 2004.

The proposal for a decision should be adopted by the end of 2004: discussions in the European Parliament and the Council will begin under the Irish Presidency and conclude under the Dutch Presidency. The official launch of the new Europass could therefore take place at the major conference on vocational education and training to be held in Maastricht in December 2004.

More information can be found on the following websites:

[1] Cf. IP/ 03/1520

[2] Cf. http://ec.europa.eu/education/pdf/doc125_en.pdf
    Cf. also the Council Resolution of 19 December 2002, OJ C 013, 18/01/2003, p. 2.

Work life and EU Enlargement

The latest edition of Work Life and EU Enlargement (04/03) from the Swedish National Labour Market Board (AMS) has two major topics:

Work Life and Enlargement and EU Enlargement is a co-operation project aiming at building and sharing knowledge on working life issues in the candidate countries. The project is run by the Swedish National Labour Market Board.

Contact: Editor and Publisher Lena Skiold, Head of Project Information, Work Life and Enlargement and EU Enlargement Project, International Secretariat, Swedish National Labour Board, SE-113 99 Stockholm, Sweden | Tel: + 46 8 58 60 62 41 | Fax: + 46 8 58 60 60 32 | Email: lena.skiold@ams.amv.se

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