Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

February 2004

Safety and health risks of women at work tend to be underestimated and neglected

New Agency report examines gender differences in workplace injury and illnesses and implications for prevention and finds that the traditional prevention approach can underestimate work-related risks to women.

Gender issues in safety and health - A review examines gender differences in workplace injury and illness, gaps in knowledge and the implications for improving risk prevention. It shows how the design of work, its organisation and equipment are often based on the model of the 'average' man, although the principle of matching work to workers is enshrined in EU legislation.

In general it can be said that women suffer more from work related stress, infectious diseases, upper limb disorders, skin diseases as well asthma and allergies, while men suffer more from accidents, back pain and hearing loss.

Recommendations from the report include the promotion and facilitation of a gender-sensitive approach in research, policy and prevention practices to help ensure effective prevention and avoid gender bias in occupational safety and health (OSH).

Commenting at the launch of the report, Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said 'Improving the quality of women's work is a fundamental part of achieving the European Union's goal to significantly increase the participation of women in employment. This report shows how important it is to consider gender in risk prevention and include occupational health and safety in gender equality activities in order to improve the prevention of work related risks for both men and women.'

The Director of the Agency, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, commented 'Our study documents that the traditional gender-neutral approach to prevention can result in underestimation and even negligence of the real risks especially to the health of women. Risk assessment and prevention need to be more gender sensitive and in general take into consideration the ever increasing diversity of the European workforce.'

Coinciding with the release of the report, the Agency has also launched a web feature on gender and occupational safety and health, providing links to a wide variety of resources from sources worldwide. The Agency commissioned the report following the new community strategy for safety and health at work that has 'mainstreaming' or integrating gender into OSH activities as an objective for the EU. The report is available on the agency website at: http://osha.europa.eu/publications/reports/209.

Employment objectives of the European Union, as set out in the 'Lisbon Strategy', 2000 include increasing the participation rate of women in employment to 60% by the year 2010, within an aim of increasing overall participation to 70%. The strategy rests on the aim of not just creating jobs, but creating good quality jobs. (Lisbon European Council, March 2002).

The gender website can be accessed at https://osha.europa.eu/en/themes/women-and-health-work

In addition to the report, there the Agency has produced two factsheets, one providing a summary of the report, the other presenting a model for including gender in risk prevention. The factsheets are available in the 11 EU languages and are downloadable from the website at: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/factsheets

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao - Spain | Tel: + 34 94 479 4360 | Fax: + 34 94 479 4383 | Email: information@osha.eu.int

Register for EurOhs Magazine and Newsletter free of charge

You can register to receive both EurOhs: European Occupational Health and Safety Magazine published 8 times per year and also the EurOhs weekly electronic newsletter. Both are free of charge to those working in occupational health, safety, environment and fire Sectors.

Angel Business Communications Ltd, 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, Warks CV8 1HE, United Kingdom | www.angelbc.com | Tel: +44 (0) 1926 512424 | Fax: +44 (0) 1926 512948 | Mobile: 07973 158294

ASTM International announces the formation of a new committee to develop standards and guidance materials for Homeland Security Applications

ASTM International, one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world, announced the formation of a new committee to develop standards and guidance materials for Homeland Security Applications. The committee is comprised of a diverse range of stakeholders from both the public and private sector, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Secret Service, as well as from first responders, security product manufacturers, trade associations, and academia.

Coordinated Standards Effort for a Safer Country - the new ASTM committee, E54 on Homeland Security Applications, comes together at a time of increasing focus on homeland security following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been characterized as the most significant transformation of the U.S. government in over a half-century. Its mission is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.

The prevailing sentiment among government and business leaders is that homeland security is a complex issue requiring a coordinated effort between both the private and public sector. Both see that solutions for homeland security will require coordinated combinations of strategy, management structures, human resources, technology (equipment and data-intensive), financial investment, and a comprehensive standards component.

Committee E54 will be focused on the development of standards and guidance materials for homeland security applications, with specific concentration upon the following subject areas:

In addition E54 will be responsible for the coordination of existing ASTM standardization related to homeland security needs.

Additional information on ASTM Committee E54 can be found in the February 2004 edition of ASTM International's Standardization News magazine, which can be accessed online at www.astm.org

EUROHSE2004 and FSE2004: Two conferences not to be missed... book now

Following the two successful conferences held in 2003, you should make sure that you are able to attend these two important conferences organised by Angel Business Communications - the publisher of EurOhs: European Occupational Health and Safety Magazine and newsletter and Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd. Latest news and updates on a wide range of topics, given by speakers from authoritative organisations and chaired by knowledgeable and experienced people. Delegates from a wide range of countries benefit from the exceptional networking opportunities. Make sure that these are the conferences you attend in 2004!

9 November 2004 - Food Safety in Europe 2004
Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, London
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: mary@angelbc.co.uk | www.fse2004.com

10 - 11 November 2004 - EurOhse2004
Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, London
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: mary@angelbc.co.uk | www.eurohse2004.com

New ILO study says economic benefits of eliminating child labour will vastly outweigh costs

A new study by the International Labour Office (ILO) says the benefits of eliminating child labour will be nearly seven times greater than the costs, or an estimated US$ 5.1 trillion in the developing and transitional economies, where most child labourers are found.

What is more, the study[1], conducted by the ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), says child labour - which involves one in every six children in the world - can be eliminated and replaced by universal education by the year 2020 at an estimated total cost of US$ 760 billion.

"What's good social policy is also good economic policy. Eliminating child labour will yield an enormous return on investment - and a priceless impact on the lives of children and families", says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia.

The study, entitled "Investing in Every Child, An Economic Study of the Costs and Benefits of Eliminating Child Labour", is the first integrated analysis of the economic costs and benefits of eliminating child labour to be conducted worldwide. It compares costs and benefits - not with a view to justifying action to eliminate child labour, which is already called for by the ILO in its Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 - but with the aim of understanding the economic implications of these international commitments.

The ILO estimates that some 246 million children are currently involved in child labour worldwide. Of these, 179 million - or one in every eight children worldwide - are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, which endanger their physical, mental or moral well-being.

Calculating the costs and benefits

According to the study, eliminating child labour would be a "generational investment" and a sustained commitment to children, both today and tomorrow. In the first years, the costs would almost certainly exceed returns. However, net economic flows would turn dramatically positive as the effects of improved education and health take hold. By 2020, costs would be far outweighed by the returns, leaving annual benefits of around US$ 60 billion.

In comparison to other social costs, the average annual cost of eliminating child labour would be far less than the cost of financing debt service or the military, the study says. For example, the average annual cost of US$ 95 billion would amount to about 20 per cent of current military spending in developing and transitional countries, or 9.5 per cent of developing countries' US$ 1 trillion debt service.

The study argues that the costs are a "wise investment" as each extra year of schooling stemming from universal education to the age of 14 results in an additional 11 per cent of future earnings per year, yielding global benefits of just over US$ 5 trillion. On the cost side, the supply of education accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total costs.

1 - Investing in Every Child, An Economic Study of the Costs and Benefits of Eliminating Child Labour, ILO Geneva, December 2003. ISBN 92-2-115419-X.
Available from: Nick Evans, Head of Publications, ILO-London, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP | Tel: +44 (0)20 7828 6401 Ext 203 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7233 5925 | Mobile: 07793 559992

NOSHCON 2004: Sun City, South Africa, 4-7 May 2004

NOSHCON 2004 Conference & Exhibition is a well-established annual event which includes a wide variety of activities attended by ± 2000 delegates each year.

The conference affords local and many overseas risk management professionals and practitioners the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise on the latest developments in the quest for a risk-free workplace for all employees.

The programme includes more that 60 presentations by selected and highly professional specialists who will deliver presentations on a wide range of contemporary risk management related topics, such as, environmental risk management, behaviour based safety, occupational health, occupational hygiene, corporate reputation, sustainability, training and human resources and risk management case studies.

NOSHCON 2004 will once again be the place to be for those who are seeking practical solutions and best practice risk managements concepts, whilst at the same time exploring the latest in risk management products, services and solutions being demonstrated and showcased at the largest risk management exhibition being held in Southern Africa.

For more information re. Noshcon 2004 visit www.noshcon.co.za or visit NOSA's website at www.nosa.co.za

Contact Marina Nel, NOSCON, South Africa | Tel: +27 (12) 303-9700 | Fax: +27 (12) 303-9856

Dangerous products in the spotlight: Commission to publish weekly reports on safety alerts

The European Commission is to start publishing weekly summaries of the alerts it receives from Member States about dangerous non-food consumer products. The first of these is available on the Commission's Consumer Affairs website. The Commission typically receives between 2 and 4 safety alerts each week via an EU-wide rapid alert system known as RAPEX. The dangers presented often include risks of choking and suffocation, electric shocks and fires. The type of products most often notified in these alerts are toys, followed by electrical appliances. The RAPEX system was recently strengthened by the coming into force on 15 January of the new revised General Product Safety Directive which introduced new obligations for businesses to alert the authorities to dangerous product. The EU has a separate rapid alert system on food and feed safety (RASFF), which also makes available weekly summaries of alerts.

David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said: "For me one of the most important objectives of consumer protection policy is to protect consumers, of all ages, against shoddy, unsafe products. Providing information to the public about product hazards is essential to achieve this objective. Clear information, active market surveillance and rapid intervention to remove dangerous products from the market: these are they key elements needed to provide European citizens with the protection level they require."

As well as the weekly reports, the Commission will be publishing quarterly statistics about RAPEX notifications. These too will be available on the Commission's Consumer Affairs website. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-04-183_en.htm

Dutch Ministry launches English language website

Recently the Ministry has launched an English language website describing the main policies and activities of the Ministry. This site was launched in preparation of the Dutch European Union (EU) presidency (second half of 2004).

Policy areas discussed are:

www.government.nl/issues/health-and-safety-at-the-workplace

National Fire Protection Association Tentatively Incorporates NIOSH Criteria for CBRN Respiratory Protection

US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) criteria for testing and certifying two types of respirators for use against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) exposures have been incorporated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as tentative interim amendments to two NFPA standards. On July 17, 2003, the NFPA Standards Council adopted a tentative interim amendment to NFPA 1500 that references NIOSH's criteria for testing and certifying self-contained breathing apparatus and full-face piece air purifying respirators for use against CBRN exposures. NFPA 1500 sets guidelines for fire service occupational safety and health. On January 4, 2004, the NFPA Standards Council approved a tentative interim amendment to NFPA 1994, referencing the NIOSH criteria in minimum requirements for protective ensembles and ensemble elements for fire and emergency service personnel exposed to CBRN agents in responses to terrorist incidents.

The tentative interim amendments automatically become proposed permanent changes to the two NFPA standards, subject to the procedures of the NFPA standards-setting process for the next editions of the standards. The last time the standards had been amended, NIOSH had not yet issued its CBRN testing and certification criteria. To learn more about the NIOSH criteria for CBRN respiratory protection, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/standardsdev/cbrn.

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New US NIOSH Alert on Limiting Job Exposures to Food Flavourings and Flavouring Ingredients

US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH Alert: Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 2004-110 recommends employers take measures to limit employees' occupational respiratory exposures to food flavorings and flavoring ingredients in workplaces where flavorings are made or used. The Alert, drawing on interim findings and recommendations from Health Hazard Evaluations (HHE), provides practical guidelines for recognizing and reducing potential occupational risks.

NIOSH learned of the occurrence of bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe lung disease, in workers at a microwave popcorn packaging plant, following a series of Health Hazard Evaluations. Results from these HHEs suggest that adverse effects may result from occupational inhalation exposures to high, airborne concentrations of some flavorings or their ingredients in the form of vapors, dusts, or sprays. The Alert can be accessed at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-110.