Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

March 2004

Europe needs to make better use of its older workers

A Commission report just released examines how the European Union can make better use of the potential of its older workers. The concept of active ageing is a key component of achieving the European Union's stated goal of more and better jobs by 2010. Targets have been agreed to increase the employment of older workers on the labour market, but progress has been slow. The Commission highlights early retirement schemes as a particular cause for concern. "Europe's older workers have much to offer, and we need to ensure that they are given the maximum support to remain in the labour market," said Margot Wallstrom, acting Commissioner for employment and social affairs. Increased life expectancy means that people have greater opportunities to fulfil their potential over a longer life-span. However, their employment will be a key factor in maintaining living standards.

It is also fundamental to the future sustainability of our economies, in the face of expected reductions in the working age population. Active ageing was identified in the Commission's Spring Report as one of the three priority areas on which the European Union needs to focus its activities if it is to meet the Lisbon target. Increased life expectancy means that people have greater opportunities to fulfil their potential over a longer life-span. However, their employment will be a key factor in maintaining living standards.

The Stockholm and Barcelona summits in 2001 and 2002 adopted targets on the employment rate for people in the 55-64 age group (50% by 2010) and raising the average exit age from the labour market by 5 years by 2010. However, progress towards these targets has been disappointing: the current employment rate for older workers is 40.1% and the exit age went up by less than half a year between 2001 and 2002. The main issues for the employment of older workers are:

See Commission Press Release IP/04/295

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

Quality of life, a key priority across the enlarged European Union

Although differences in living conditions are considerable, values and priorities determining quality of life across Europe are not very different. This is the main conclusion from a joint report on living conditions and quality of life by the European Commission and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Condition.

Having a good job is ranked as the highest factor for a good life across Europe, and the fight against unemployment is universally perceived to be one of the most important means of improving the economic and social conditions of family life. Margot Wallström, acting Commissioner for employment and social affairs commented: "With this report, we have for the first time an analysis of social conditions across all current and future member states, plus candidate countries. It provides an interesting picture of 'social Europe' on the eve of enlargement."

The European Foundation has launched its initiative to monitor and report on living conditions and quality of life in Europe. In preparation for the findings of its 28-country survey, the Foundation will publish seven reports based on several Eurobarometer surveys on quality of life in the EU and in the acceding and candidate countries. The illustrative report is available online at www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/qualityoflife.

March 24th is World TB Day

"Every breath counts - stop TB now!" is the theme for World Tuberculosis Day 2004. The day will coincide with the opening of the second Stop TB Partners Forum, to be held in India, the country with the world's highest TB burden.

The Stop TB Partnership Secretariat is pleased to announce World TB Day 2004 and the Second Stop TB Partners Forum, which will be held 24-26 March 2004 in New Delhi, India. The event will convene ministerial delegations of the 22 highest tuberculosis burden countries, as well as high-level political invitees from the G-8 countries, and all Stop TB partners. The meeting will highlight progress at country level and the importance of private and civil sector involvement. See www.stoptb.org.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today a plan to expand collaboration between national tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS programmes to curb the growing pandemic of TB/HIV co-infection, with a principal focus on Africa where 70% of the world's 14 million people who are co-infected live.

The new policy guidelines define activities necessary to address the dual epidemic of TB and HIV and gives clear guidance for countries on the circumstances under which these effective activities need to be carried out. It will give critical support for '3 by 5', the WHO plan to provide antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to three million people living with AIDS by the end of 2005.

"TB/HIV is a deadly combination and needs to be tackled with an approach treating the whole person," said Dr. LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "With effective treatment, TB can be cured, HIV managed, and the health of millions of people preserved."

A key element will be to rapidly expand voluntary HIV testing and counselling in TB programmes, with the aim of identifying and referring more than half a million TB patients who are HIV positive for ARV treatment in the next two years. With additional training for health workers, TB programmes will also assist in HIV prevention, ARV distribution and patient care.

At the same time, TB case-finding will be intensified in high HIV prevalence settings by introducing screening and testing for tuberculosis into HIV/AIDS service delivery points. In Africa, up to half of all people with HIV/AIDS develop TB, and up to 80% of tuberculosis patients are HIV infected.

By routinely screening and testing people with HIV/AIDS for TB, co-infected cases, without TB disease, can be treated with prophylactic drugs that prevent development of active tuberculosis, and cured if they already have it. This will prolong the lives of people with HIV/AIDS until they can benefit from the expanded availability of ARVs in the coming years.

UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot, said: "TB is perhaps the greatest and most deadly opportunistic infection associated with AIDS. By tackling TB and HIV together, we can have a significant impact on improving the quality of life of people infected with HIV, while also controlling TB and preventing new infections."

The vast majority of HIV-infected people do not know their HIV status and seek health care from general service providers. HIV testing and counselling for TB patients using rapid tests offers an entry point for a continuum of prevention, care, support and treatment for HIV/AIDS as well as for tuberculosis.

"Evidence has shown that the uptake of HIV testing by TB patients is high, so mainstreaming HIV testing and counselling into TB programmes will identify many more candidates for ARV treatment," said Dr. Mario Raviglione, the Director of WHO's Stop TB Department. "We also know that ARVs reduce the development of TB in people with HIV, in some cases by up to 80%. So promoting and expanding a collaborative approach makes perfect sense."

The launch of the "Interim Policy on Collaborative TB/HIV Activities" guidelines coincides with the fourth round call for proposals by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The deadline for submissions is April 2004. The interim policy will enhance proposals which address the dual epidemic of TB and HIV. Already, the Global Fund has committed US$ 2.1 billion over two years to programmes in 120 countries.

Taken together, the two epidemics represent a massive challenge to public health. Forty million people are currently infected with HIV, and 5 million more are infected every year. According to WHO, one third of the world's population is now infected with the TB bacillus, with more than 8 million people developing the active disease and 2 million dying of it each year.

The next FABIG Technical Meeting is "Protection of Onshore Oil and Gas Plants Against Fires and Explosions"

To be held on 31 March 2004 - The Institution of Structural Engineers, London and 1 April 2004 - UMIST Conference Centre - Staff House, Manchester.

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

Registration and Inquiries:
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. If you have already registered, confirmation and location details will be sent nearer the date.

For further details and online registration visit: www.fabig.com.

Japan joins European Network

European Agency and the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association agree to join forces to improve safety and health at work. Japan's participation is an important step in establishing a global Internet portal for occupational safety and health (OSH) information.

The Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA) is set to become the latest member of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's online information network http://osha.europa.eu.

The Agency's unique network of websites provides access to global information on legislation and regulations, good safety and health practice, research, statistics, training and other fields. It has grown rapidly since its launch in 1998 to become the world's largest online repository of validated and up-to-date safety and health information. As the latest partner in the Agency's network, the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association will join forces with some of the biggest names in workplace safety and health information. Network partners already include the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organisation and the Organization for American States, as well as specialist safety and health institutions in more than 30 European countries, Australia, Canada, Brazil and the United States.

Commenting on the arrangement, the Director of the European Agency, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, said: "I'm especially pleased to welcome JISHA as our first Asian network partner. Workplace safety and health is a matter of global concern and geographical barriers should not stand in the way of the flow of information that can raise safety and health standards in workplaces across the world. Through this cooperation arrangement, businesses, workers and experts in Europe and Japan will be better informed in the future about regulatory demands, new research findings and good practices. And therefore be in a better position to meet the safety and health challenges of globalisation."

The Japanese website is expected to go online before the summer of 2004.

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

ERGONOMA/ConfoSeat 7th, 8th and 9th April 2004 in Brussels

16 countries present, Germany the guest of honour will make ERGONOMA/ConfoSeat the 1st pan-European exhibition of the comfort of the workplace.

Although work is inevitable, pain at work is not...
After the "cocooning" for housing, we are now faced with "nesting". But don't get it wrong, this tendency is more and more a worker claim for their work places, and is often what marks the difference between a "good" and "bad" company. Today, workers are subject to such pressure concerning efficiency and productivity that companies must bear in mind not only the technical factors, but above all the human factors and organisational means for making their personnel loyal and developing better performance.

This is not a tendency, but harsh reality. If in the heart of the European Union, 28% of workers state that they suffer from stress (repeated muscular and skeletal pain are a factor that aggravates stress) related to work, more than 50%* of absenteeism is caused by stress at work, costing at least 20* thousand million Euros a year in work time lost and in health expenditure, without adding the costs caused by downtime.

How does one spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 40 years in a painful universe that multiplies migraine, eye, back and neck pain, reduces the number of interventions in the Carpian canal syndrome, causes muscular and skeletal traumas and places the smallest handicap in a "ghetto".

The organisation of a work place involves the study of the comfort not only of the furniture, but also of the whole work post. Maximum comfort will give optimal productivity. This is what the ERGONOMA/ConfoSeat 2004 exhibition will strive to communicate for 3 days.

The United States and Canada will be present, and also Germany, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Holland, Poland, the United Kingdom and Sweden and Switzerland, all making a dynamic presentation of ergonomic materials, services and procedures aimed at industry, the tertiary sector and health professions.

At the same time, a training pole will be set up aimed at those responsible for health and safety at work, prevention counsellors, work doctors and nurses, ergonomy specialists, architects and designers, human resource managements and general means, heads of companies and groups wishing to acquire knowledge for the better analysis of work places and posts and choice of material. The aim: to develop health prevention, combat ill-being, bad stress, muscular and skeletal traumas, in order to improve the social climate of the working universe to increase competitiveness in European companies. In 3 days, at least 38 sessions with simultaneous translation in French / English / Dutch led by European experts in cognitive and applied ergonomics (see www.ergonoma.com programme).

The exhibition has been supported by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the Direction Générale de l'Humanisation du Travail du Service Public Fédéral Emploi Travail et Concertation sociale of Belgium, the Federation of the European Ergonomics Societies, the Belgian Society of Ergonomics, the Fédération Française de Santé au Travail, and the Mensch und Buro Akademie. It will be opened by Madame Kathleen VAN BREMPT, Secretary of State for the Organisation of Work and Work Wellbeing in Belgium. Germany will be the guest of honour.

Entrance free by invitation. Exhibition accessible for the disabled.
Free pre-registration to visit and registration at the training meetings on www.ergonoma.com
Email: info@confoseat.com or by fax on +33(0) 237 440 450
Espace Rogier (Pyramid)
2B, place Rogier
1000 BRUSSELS

Selling death Global Asbestos plc - it lies, it kills, it robs the dead

It blocked a deal that would have made it more difficult to unload asbestos on the developing world. It bought scientists and column inches in national papers. And it is killing hundreds of thousands each year. Hazards exposes the global asbestos industry's desperate battle for survival - at any price.

New reports reveal how the global asbestos industry has manoeuvred to rob asbestos disease victims of compensation, has lied about the financial impact of compensation claims on its profits and has used a dirty tricks campaign to push its deadly product.

Special online feature, Hazards magazine, 7 March 2004: www.hazards.org/asbestos

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

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

An Experimental investigation of backdraught

The Research Report Number 82 published by the UK Office of the Deputy Prime Minister describes experimental investigations into the phenomenon of backdraught in fires. These tests were carried out under closely controlled conditions and have shown the varying severity that can be achieved with different delays, compartment temperatures and venting conditions. The main lesson for the fire department is the potential severity and unpredictability of a backdraught. Firefighters need to be aware of potential backdraught situations at all times. Guidance is given in the Fire Service Manual and these investigations support this advice.

Contact: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Publications, PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7NB, UK | Tel: +44 0870 1226 236 | Fax: +44 0870 1226 237 | Email: odpm@twoten.press.net

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Smoking should be classed as killer chemical at work

On National No Smoking Day the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for tobacco smoke to be classified as a 'hazardous chemical' under European law and restricted in workplaces, including bars and restaurants, like other dangerous substances.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said: "Tobacco smoke is a killer and should be treated as such in the workplace. Making work smoke-free would save thousands of lives and do absolutely no harm to the economy."

The EU Commission has a legal obligation to examine the health effects of hazardous chemical agents and levels of workplace exposure using the latest scientific research (Council Directive 98/24/EC).

The TUC has written to the EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs asking for action under this obligation, including limits on exposure to tobacco smoke at work and to list it as an occupational carcinogen. The TUC says that the evidence clearly shows that failure to treat tobacco smoke in a similar way to other dangerous chemicals leads to the deaths or incapacity of many thousands of workers across the EU from lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis and asthma.

The TUC is also calling on the government to implement the legally binding Code of Practice to protect the health of hospitality workers and the public proposed by the Health and Safety Commission two years ago.

'Smoking bans are good for business', TUC backed Hazards magazine report challenging bogus arguments against smoke free workplaces: www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/smoking-bans-are-good-business

Ireland's Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) has now published Guidance for Employers on the enclosed workplaces smoking ban legislation

The guidance document gives the background to the legislation and sets out what will, when the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2003 becomes law, become section 47 of the Public Health Tobacco Acts 2002-2004. This section bans smoking in enclosed workplaces, with limited exceptions. As reported in HSR March 2004 the ban will apply to:

The ban will not apply to:

The OTC advises employers to have a written Workplace Smoke-Free policy. The guidance document states that employers are required to make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance and lists what the OTC regards as reasonable minimum efforts:

  1. having a smoke-free workplace policy
  2. displaying no smoking signs
  3. removing ashtrays and providing stubbing out bins at entrances.

No smoking signs should be displayed conspicuously.

A person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of up to €3,000.

The OTC has also published guidelines for the licensed trade. Both sets of guidelines can be found on the OTC's web site http://ntco.ie - look under the heading Current Features, see March 3rd reference to guidelines.

HSA answers

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has this week published on its web site Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the smoking ban. This is a most useful publication and can be accessed on the Authority's web site www.hsa.ie. Click on What's New and scroll down to click on the document. The answers deal with questions such as smoking in car parks and company cars, as well as the issue of smoking shelters, termed in the answers outdoor smoking facilities. It also deals with the issue of breaks.

From Herbert Mulligan, Editor Health & Safety Review. www.healthandsafetyreview.ie