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April 2005

Unity Beyond Differences - the need for an Integrated Labour Inspection System 2005: conference results
The ILO-EU Conference calls for the strengthening of labour inspection services

The Conference was jointly organized by the current presidency of the Council of the European Union, held by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, together with the ILO on Integrated Labour Inspection Systems worldwide from March 9th to 11th 2005 in Luxembourg. It was attended by worker, employer and government representatives from all regions of the world, as well as labour ministers and observers from international organizations.

Integrated Labour Inspection System is a holistic and coherent while flexible concept that contains elements, such as:

The conference noted:

1. That the globalization of economy affects the political agenda, including working life and the way individuals, organizations and economies work and the hazards they have to face. Globalization requires more and more creative holistic approaches, taking into account the changes in the world of work and the advent of new risks and opportunities merging the traditional technical and medical with the social, psychological, economic and legal areas.

2. The need for a tripartite partnership in order to achieve and to preserve decent working conditions and environment, to prevent health and safety risks and the well-being of workers.

3. That important functions of labour inspectors as control and enforcement agents, as well as investigators and facilitators have been underlined. The role of labour inspection is especially important with regard to enforcement and compliance and to promote "Tripartism" and Social dialogue.

4. The importance of training for the development of such systems as well as for the strengthening of policies has been reconfirmed. The Conference identified training of the labour inspectors as a key element for upgrading their qualification and competency, hence, an important tool for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the inspection activity. Labour inspection is one of the basic instruments for promoting compliance with ILO Core Labour Standards, other ILO Conventions and as well as Codes as well as national and regional legislation.

5. That globalization presses for economic and social reforms, but reforms can only be successful with strong, competent and independent labour inspection with adequate resources. National solutions through social dialogue and tripartite consultations are needed.

6. That competent labour inspection is an important actor in the battle for a fair globalisation, as a door opener for technical cooperation and as the securer of the enforcement of legal provisions (Art. 3 of Convention No. 81). Labour inspection has a key role in implementing and monitoring of Core Labour Standards at national, regional and community level and in mainstreaming Decent Work across all economic sectors, including the informal sector, and Quality of Work activities into all their functions, programmes and activities.

The Conference agreed:

7. To promote the elaboration of policies with regard to labour inspection on the international, as well as the national level. Regulations are essential for safety and health. Therefore labour inspectors enforcing these regulations are vital, acting with the advantage of being close to the practice of these regulations with a risk and solution oriented approach.

Policies should address all functions important for the safety, health and wellbeing of the workers, including pressing issues as equity, gender, violence at work, migrant workers, HIV/AIDS, communicable diseases, ageing workforce, etc. in addition to the more traditional issues.

8. On the need for strengthening of integrated labour inspection systems throughout the world, with special consideration to EU candidate countries, as well as transition and developing countries.

9. On the development of inspection strategies and policies at all levels and to provide a platform for exchange of best practices, promoting ILO's strategic objectives. The inspectorates should be strengthened and involved to implement labour and social policies at workplace level.

10. On the need to invest resources for updating the methodology and contents of the training materials and the application of active training methods. Training is a decisive element for the modernization and competence of inspectorates, investing in a preventative culture. Once the fundaments of a preventative approach have been laid down in national policies and s

11. To continue with the further collaboration with the ILO and the EU for implementation of projects in the field of safety and health at work and Core Labour Standards and especially labour inspection in priority sectors of economy.

Follow up:

ILO and member States should promote the role of labour inspection in achieving the Decent Work Agenda for all workers, including those in the informal sector. This could be realized by publicizing and disseminating information and by providing training for labour inspectors in assessing working conditions and labour practices, by:

  1. collecting and disseminating information on effective labour inspection practices, including strategies and inspection tools, such as the ten steps for strengthening labour inspection as well as other training and system tools.
  2. developing and maintaining an effective internet-based system that stores and makes readily available up-to-date information.
  3. making use of integrated labour inspection training system (ILITS) to serve as a basis for training of labour inspectors.
  4. promoting universal ratification and implementation of ILO standards such as those on labour inspection, occupational safety and health, labour administration and conditions of work.
  5. ILO should strengthen its cooperation with governments, social partners and organizations concerned such as the World Health Organization, the International Association of Labour Inspection, the International Commission of Occupational Health and the International Social Security Association in order to promote efficient and proactive labour inspection systems and should also strengthen coordination and cooperation between systems of enforcement and social security. Labour administration at national and international level can support these activities through their competence networks.
  6. This should comprise an integrated labour inspection training system, policy tools for labour inspection, strategies and sharing of best practices. Here, the responsible unit for labour inspection in the ILO, InFocus Programme for Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork), in cooperation with other units in the ILO structure and other organizations concerned, should deliver their competence and experience in order to build up such systems.

Further cooperation between the EU and the ILO is needed to implement these new approaches within the framework of the ILO/EU strategic partnership. This joint action should include a EU funded program for the reinforcement and strengthening of labour inspection services, in particular, in accession, transition and developing countries.

For the full paper see www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/labinsp/luxconf.pdf

Good Practice Awards 2005 - reducing risks from workplace noise:
25 countries to take part in European health and safety award scheme

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has invited nominations for the sixth European Good Practice Awards. The 2005 award scheme will recognise companies or organisations that have made outstanding and innovative contributions to the prevention of risks from noise at work, this year's central theme of the Agency-run annual safety and health awareness campaign.

Good practice examples are implemented solutions to prevent or reduce risks from noise to workers' safety and health. All entries should show good management, particularly the effective use of risk assessment and implementation of its findings, and be focused on successful prevention of risks to workers. Entries are invited from all EU Member States: they can be submitted by individual enterprises (SMEs' participation is especially much welcome) or by intermediary organisations, including chambers of commerce, trade and professional associations and trade unions. The area covered is quite broad and may range from control and elimination of loud noise from the workplace and sound management methods used to enable effective communication in noisy environments (e.g. by emergency services), to training schemes and awareness-raising education programmes.

The Director of the European Agency, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, said 'Noise at workplace is still too often viewed as a necessary evil, and, as its effects are not instantaneous, it is not considered a priority. The truth is noise does have a devastating impact on our health and it affects not only workers at steelworks or construction sites, but also millions of people employed in the service sector, e.g. in education, entertainment, or call centres. It can be a causal factor in accidents, contribute to work-related stress, and may act together with other workplace hazards to cause ill health. With the European directive on noise to be implemented early next year, it is high time to take more decisive measures to "stop that noise". We hope the good practice awards will demonstrate, by example, that work-related noise can be effectively controlled.'

This is the sixth year of the awards, which come under the umbrella of the annual European Week for Safety and Health at Work. The Agency will announce the winners at the campaign's closing event in December this year in Bilbao. The awards will provide the winners with European recognition for their role in improving working conditions in Europe, and the awarded examples will be presented in an Agency booklet to be distributed across Europe.

Noise is a serious but often neglected work-related risk that can cost you more than your hearing. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing disabilities but noise can also cause or be a factor in:

Further information about the awards will be available online at https://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en/european-week-safety-and-health-work

Noise-induced hearing loss has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as 'the most prevalent, irreversible industrial disease'. Hearing loss may not only stop a person working to their full potential; it can destroy a person's social life, isolating them from the community around them.

Work-related noise is a growing concern across Europe as it directly affects millions of workers not only in heavy industry but also in growth sectors such as services, education and entertainment. One third of Europe's workers are exposed to high levels of noise for more than a quarter of their working time, and almost 40 million workers (equivalent to the entire population of Spain) have to raise their voices above normal conversational levels in order to be heard for at least half of their working hours!

To protect workers, the 2003 EU directive that comes into force in all Member States in February 2006, sets a daily noise exposure limit of 87dB(A) and requires that 'the risks arising from exposure to noise shall be eliminated at their source or reduced to a minimum'.

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 | http://osha.europa.eu

Good Health and Safety is "Hallmark of Business Success" says RoSPA

Organisations that manage health and safety well are likely to excel in other areas of their business, delegates to a national conference organised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents will be told.

The RoSPA Safety and Health at Work Congress Raising Standards, Embedding Excellence will be held at the NEC Hilton Birmingham Metropole, May 17-19. It is sponsored by EDF Energy.

Roger Bibbings, the Society's Occupational Safety Adviser, said: "Increasingly, businesses large and small are being judged by the way they manage health and safety.

"A consistently high standard of health and safety risk management is seen as a hallmark of business effectiveness and professionalism. If a company's health and safety management system is not working, the likelihood is that other parts of the organisation will be inefficient.

"Our conference will show how putting health and safety at the heart of the way an organisation is run can lead to success. There needs to be strong and visible leadership by senior managers, real involvement of every worker and their representatives in decision-making and effective use of professional advice.

"Legal compliance is no longer enough. The pursuit of health and safety excellence needs to be a key performance objective within every business."

The congress programme will offer opportunities to examine: the real challenges associated with error and human behaviour; organisational capacity to investigate accidents and embed lessons learned; how to connect professional health and safety advice with other parts of the business agenda; and how to develop attitudes, knowledge and skills to ensure health and safety competence at all levels.

Congress will also focus on the key challenge of putting health at the heart of health and safety management, reviewing 'what works'; whether it is a question of managing stress and staff ill-health absence, or the challenge of reducing manual handling injuries, tackling occupational asthma or dermatitis or developing approaches to workplace health promotion that actually help to deliver healthier working lives.

It runs alongside Safety and Health Expo 2005 at the NEC and RoSPA's Occupational Health and Safety Awards ceremonies. For more information, Email: events@rospa.com | Tel: +44 0870 777 2120

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New BOOK... Toxicology & Ecotoxicology in Chemical Safety Assessment edited by Laura Robinson and Ian Thorn

The use of chemicals in the workplace is governed by stringent health, safety and environmental legislation, and companies spend significant amounts of time and money assessing the risks associated with the safe handling and use of chemicals. In practice, a range of information is required when assessing the safe handling of chemicals, much of which is provided by the manufacturer in the material safety data sheet.

Toxicology and Ecotoxicology in Chemical Safety Assessment is written for corporate health & safety officers and safety managers, R&D chemists, process chemists and engineers, and manufacturing unit managers & supervisors in all industries where chemicals are used. The information contained in this book will help those personnel understand, interpret and apply the range of information supplied on a material safety data sheet when planning the safe handling and use of chemicals.

Chapters cover Toxicology, Ecotoxicology, Classification and labelling of chemicals according to their hazardous nature including the Dangerous Substances Directive 67/548/EEC, Handling chemicals in the workplace, Risk assessment, Chemical hazards, Chemical control in Europe, USA and in Australia, The Material Safety Data Sheet and How to deal with differences in toxicological information. There is also a helpful glossary of term commonly encountered in health and safety literature.

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Blackwell Publishing. 2005. 168 pages. ISBN 1 4051 1559 9
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Health Effects of Welding Seminar

NIOSH and the West Virginia University (WVU) Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health (IOEH) are teaming up to sponsor an international seminar, "Health Effects of Welding," on July 23-24, 2005 in Morgantown, W.Va. Leading experts from around the world will gather to share the latest information in key research areas regarding potential respiratory, neurological, and reproductive effects associated with welding fumes or inhaled welding particles. More information about the symposium can be found at www.hsc.wvu.edu/IOEH

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated April 7, 2005, as World Health Day

The theme was "Make Every Mother and Child Count". As women enter industries and occupations that once were predominantly male, and as more teenagers take on their first job responsibilities, many unique and complex issues arise in regard to the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses.

US NIOSH is working with diverse partners to answer those questions. Regarding working women's issues, initiatives include:

Avian Influenza - Joint NIOSH/OSHA Publication

NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed the Avian Influenza Protecting Poultry Workers at Risk Safety and Health Information Bulletin. This 8-page guidance document describes measures for protecting poultry workers when an avian influenza outbreak occurs. This document complements avian population disease control and eradication strategies of state governments, industry, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and will aid in the development of biosecurity guidelines and standard operating procedures for the various sectors of the poultry industry.

The bulletin can be accessed at www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib121304.html

Links to the bulletin have been added to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association web page, https://www.uspoultry.org/foodsafety and to the CDC Avian Influenza Web page, www.cdc.gov/flu/avian

Call for Papers: Work, Stress and Health 2006: Making a Difference in the Workplace

NIOSH, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Labor, will convene the sixth international conference on occupational stress and health, Work, Stress, and Health 2006: Making a Difference in the Workplace in Miami, Fla., March 2-4, 2006, at the Hyatt Regency Miami Hotel. The conference is designed to address the constantly changing nature of work, and the implications of these changes for the health, safety, and well-being of workers. In keeping with the conference theme of "making a difference in the workplace," there will be a particular focus on the translation of research to practice and workplace programs, policies, practices, case experiences, and other efforts to prevent stress in today's workplace. The deadline to submit proposals is May 1, 2005. More information about the conference and the call for papers can be found at:

www.apa.org/pi/work

Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals - 2005

NIOSH, the Karolinska Institutet and the Stockholm County Council in Sweden are cosponsoring Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals-2005 in Stockholm, Sweden, June 12-15, 2005.
The conference will focus on practical ways to better prevent local and systemic injury and disease caused by exposing skin to chemicals.

More information on the conference is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin

or by contacting Sid Soderholm at Email: SSoderholm@cdc.gov

Fifth International Symposium on Modern Principles of Air Monitoring

NIOSH, the National Institute for Working Life, Sweden, and the National Institute of Occupational Health, Norway will cosponsor the Fifth International Symposium on Modern Principles of Air Monitoring, June 12-16, 2005 in Loen, Norway. The scientific program will feature the latest developments in exposure assessment and strategies as well as analytical air sampling and measurement/monitoring methodologies. New for the Fifth International Symposium, the topic of biomonitoring will be addressed.

Call for Papers: Advanced Personal Protective Equipment - Challenges in Protecting First Responders

The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are sponsoring Advanced Personal Protective Equipment - Challenges in Protecting First Responders. The conference will be held October 16-18, 2005 at the Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Va.

Attendees will learn about the hazards posed by emerging threats, the application of personal protective equipment (PPE) technology to these threats, and associated challenges with selecting and interfacing different PPE items. The emphasis of the conference will be on practical issues of threat accommodation, standards, regulations, applications of best practices, manufacturing and distribution issues, PPE decision-making and purchasing, and multi-PPE integration.

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