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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

December 2005

EU prepares for a year-long campaign to protect young workers

A European Union (EU) wide campaign will start next year to address the safety of young people at work as according to European statistics they run a 50% higher risk of work accidents than other workers. A 16-year-old worker's legs were broken less than two hours into his first day at work as he fell from the footplate of an 18-ton refuse lorry. He was riding on the outside of the vehicle because there was not enough room in the cab for him and the three other workers. A 17 year-old girl lost part of a finger only one hour of starting her holiday job. Her fingers were crushed in a machine at the bakery where she worked.

Accidents like these are a daily occurrence and a serious threat to EU's 58 million young people. According to Eurostat data, the risk of work accidents is at least 50% higher among those aged 18-24 years than in any other age category. Accidents and damage to the health of young workers are particularly distressing where the young person has to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. Worse still is the premature death of a youngster from a usually avoidable work accident.

'Young persons are less likely to recognise the risk of accidents and even when they do, they may be less able to take appropriate action. And sometimes they are simply assigned to tasks beyond their capabilities or are not provided adequate training or supervision', explains Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 'We must take steps to ensure young people have a safe and healthy start to their working lives, and to promote risk awareness and risk prevention in enterprises, schools and colleges'.

In anticipation of the campaign that will run next year, the European Agency has just launched an online pool of information on issues related to young people and their safety and health. Topics covered include accident prevention and integrating occupational safety and health into education.

More information is available at

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: |

Competitiveness Council Meeting on REACH - Cefic

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, sees the political agreement reached at the EU Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 13 December 2005 on REACH as another step forward in the process leading to workable and effective legislation.

Cefic welcomes the decision to review granted authorisation on a regular basis versus the time-limited authorisation as recently voted by the EU Parliament.

Furthermore, the chemical industry acknowledges that substitution will not be introduced as a mandatory procedure. The fact that the industry permanently develops new substances will be taken into account. This will require further detailed information on these new substances.

The chemical industry also welcomes the commitment taken by the EU Commission to develop clear criteria and guidance for the Authorisation procedure, which should basically reflect the principle of "adequate control" in the respective annexes of the REACH proposal. It also acknowledges the various critical remarks of some member states which called for further clarity in the authorisation process.

Overall, the UK Presidency compromise package seems to be well balanced, though particular attention will be required when fine-tuning the authorisation process and requirements at a later stage.

The chemical industry will continue to contribute to the process in the 2nd reading phase to achieve good working legislation assuring the protection of health and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness of the industry.

Designing for Fires in the UK - can we learn from the NIST report?

Monday 27th March 2006, Institution of Civil Engineers, London

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report will have an impact on fire engineering in the US and how tall buildings will be designed in the future. What affect will it have on the designing of tall buildings in the UK? Will there be any changes to legislation? What advancements have there been in the analytical tools that are used?

This conference, organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers, will be your best opportunity to investigate these questions-in-depth and hear from experts in the field on their concepts and expectations.

Fire, Emergency and Preparedness Worldwide

Much time is spent these days searching the Internet for validated and authoritative information often resulting in out-of date sources. In this fast moving world it is essential to have quick access to validated, authoritative and constantly updated information collections. The ones brought together and maintained by information specialists are one sure way of getting good quality data.

As new research and new ways of working, with the attendant alterations in products, services and technology developments means that no-one, especially those responsible for fire, emergencies and preparedness in workplaces of all kinds, should be without the latest information.

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The Full text Collection has 4 major databases containing thousands of pages of easily searchable full text documents, which are continually being added to, thus updating the existing wide-ranging source of critical fire information. The collection contains all appropriate European and UK legislation for fire and fire related industry. In addition there is an extensive range of fire and fire related documents from organisations such as:

The Bibliographic Collection has 7 databases which contain over 240,000 records to journal articles, guidance and advice, circulars, reports, conference proceedings, research reports, statistics and codes of practice from worldwide sources, all of which may be easily accessed. For those organisations that do not subscribe to a range of journals/magazines this is one way of ensuring that the latest news, developments and trends are available. One of the databases - from the British Standards Institution - contains references to over 3000 fire and fire related standards.

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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0) 1909 772829 | Email: | | | | NEW

European Federation for Construction Chemicals (EFCC) now on the internet

The European Federation for Construction Chemicals - founded in July 2005 - has now its own website: Here you can find full information on structures and activities of this international organization.

The German association Deutsche Bauchemie e.V. with its website was very helpful in the development of EFCC's online pages.

For both associations the emphasis is on user guidance with a limited number of menu items and concise texts.

The website comprises:

Exploding the Myths on Ageing

Older adults are often discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of stereotypes about ageing. Many of these stereotypes may not be accurate or recognise the benefits of employing older workers, although they may influence the recruitment and retention of older individuals.

The government has supported the European Employment Directive on Equal Treatment and made a commitment to introduce legislation, covering employment and vocational training, before the end of 2006.

This review is part of a National Guidance Campaign (NGC) being taken forward by the Age Partnership Group (APG) working with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The NGC aims to raise employers' awareness of, and ability to adopt, flexible employment and retirement opportunities in order to increase the recruitment, retention and training of older workers prior to the implementation of the age legislation. The report forms part of a range of information and guidance products, which aim to provide practical information and age diversity employment practices.

The Age Partnership Group (APG) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have commissioned this report to provide information towards ongoing development work. Responsibility for the views expressed in this report rests solely with the authors. The members of the APG and the DWP do not accept responsibility for the views of the authors.

The report considers some of the common 'myths' about older workers and provides, where possible, evidence and arguments that aim to dispel inaccurate perceptions about older adults and demonstrate that health and safety cannot be used as an "excuse" to justify the exclusion of older workers. The report highlights the facts about older workers' ability to work and the benefits of employing older workers.

The report used information and data taken from a variety of sources, for example statistics from the Office of National Statistics, published journal articles and reports.

HSL Report
Facts and misconceptions about age, health status and employability
Report Number HSL/2005/20 for list or direct to

Occupational Risk Prevention and Corporate Social Responsibility

Fourth International Conference on Occupational Risk Prevention to be held in Seville, Spain on 10-12 May 2006 10- 12 May 2006

There are, of course, the usual menu items "Contact" and "Links" as well as a search function to assist users. The conference will take place at Palacio de Congresos de Sevilla Av. Alcalde Luis Uruñuela, 1 41020, Sevilla, Spain.

HSC to call for explicit safety duties on directors

Company directors should be subject to explicit new legal safety duties, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has decided. A 6 December 2005 meeting of HSC, the body that advises the government on health and safety, backed the position argued by unions and safety campaigners and will now be recommending there are positive legal duties on directors to ensure their organisations comply with safety law.

The decision was supported by the three employer representatives on HSC. It was also agreed there should be more authoritative guidance, more enforcement, greater penalties and more use of director disqualifications. The decision goes beyond the recommendations of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) paper considered at the meeting, which did not call for new legal duties. HSE civil servants were instructed by the meeting to explore possible ways of 'imposing duties on directors' of private sector and public bodies.

TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: 'The TUC is delighted that the HSC has taken this view. We must make sure that new and effective legislation is drawn up at the earliest opportunity. We recognise that this achievement would not have been possible but for the campaigning by both the trade unions and groups such as the Simon Jones Campaign and the Centre for Corporate Accountability.' CCA director David Bergman said: 'We are delighted that the Commission has unanimously supported the need for changing the law and imposing positive duties on directors. It is now for the HSE to produce a paper setting out the legislative options and we look forward to being part of the discussion on the nature of the legal change.'

Just how up-to-date are you with your OSH information?

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HSE publishes new guidance on whole body vibration

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published further guidance on Whole Body Vibration (WBV). The guide, "Whole Body Vibration: The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005" gives advice to employers of what can be done to reduce and control the risks of WBV under the Control of Vibration Work Act 2005 which came into being earlier this year.

The new guidance will be helpful to those who operate off-road machinery and construction vehicles as well as industries where drivers can be exposed to shocks and jolts while travelling over rough ground like, mining and quarrying.

The book is a detailed, plain language guide of the regulations as they apply to whole-body vibration together with chapters, giving practical advice on a number of issues like: how to do risk assessments, estimating vibration exposure and arranging health surveillance.

Mike Shepherd, head of HSE's Noise and Vibration Programme said, "HSE has been working closely with industry over the past 4 years to carry out research, which will help identify what the levels of whole-body vibration are in agriculture, mining and construction. The research is to identify the most effective ways of reducing excessive vibration exposures."

"Employers looking for more in-depth explanations of the regulations and how to manage the risks effectively will find the new guidance book very helpful. However for many, the guidance in the free leaflet on whole body vibration will provide all they need to understand and comply with the Regulations."

The new guidance book is titled "Whole-body Vibration" and complements free leaflets and pocket cards which were published on 27 June 2005 and a priced book on hand-arm vibration (also covered by the new Regulations) which was published on 27 September 2005.

The research reports can be downloaded free from the web "Whole-body vibration in agricultural vehicles - Research Report 321"

"Evaluation of whole-body vibration exposure in British Industry - Research Report 377"

Whole-body vibration on construction, mining and quarrying machines - Research Report 400"

Copies of Whole-body Vibration (L141), ISBN 0-7176-6126-1, price £10.95

HSE Books PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1787-881165 | Fax: +44 (0) 1787-313995