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February 2006

Good practice awards ensure safe start for young people

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work invites nominations for the seventh European Good Practice Awards in occupational health and safety.

The 2006 award scheme will recognise companies or organisations, including schools, colleges and training providers, that have made outstanding and innovative contributions to ensure that young people make a safe start in their working lives, and that risk awareness and prevention is promoted in enterprises, schools and colleges.

The awards are part of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2006, which is dedicated to young people to ensure a safe and healthy start to their working lives.

'Accidents at work are 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', explains Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 'Through our 'Safe Start!' campaign and the Good Practice Awards competition the Agency will promote risk awareness and risk prevention in enterprises, schools and across Europe.'

Good practice examples are implemented solutions to promote the effective management of the occupational safety and health of young people in the workplace, and prevention measures to reduce the incidence of accidents and ill health amongst young workers. All entries should therefore show good management practice, particularly the effective use of risk assessment and implementation of its findings, and should be focused on the successful prevention of risks to young people.

Good practice examples are invited from all EU Member States. They can be submitted by individual enterprises or by intermediary organisations such as chambers of commerce, trade and professional organisations, trade unions, and by the education community including schools, colleges, education authorities and training providers.

The Agency will announce the winners at the campaign's closing event in March 2007 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.

Good Practice Awards are part the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, an annual campaign run by the European Agency to promote a specific issue each year. The European Week 2006 is dedicated to young people under the slogan 'Safe Start!'. The campaign follows a decentralised model: the Agency coordinates campaign activities, provides information in 20 languages and via the campaign website, organises Good Practice Awards, a Video Competition and the Closing Event; national Focal Points in each of the 25 EU Member Sates promote, stimulate and organise activities at national level. The dual objectives of the Week are to increase awareness of risks and to promote good practice solutions.

The 'Safe Start!' campaign will be officially launched on 19 June 2006 in the European Parliament, Brussels. The European Week itself will take place from 23 - 27 October 2006. The campaign's closing event will take place in March 2007 in Bilbao.

Updated information about Good Practice Awards 2006, the campaign as well as national contact points are 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: |

The Foundation's work programme 2006: Accent on job creation, mobility, better working conditions and work-life balance in 2006

Access to good quality jobs for all workers is a central policy concern in the European Union. The Foundation's 2006 work programme will focus on this priority issue, while also dealing with the related issues of employment creation and retention, mobility of workers and their families, working time arrangements and work-life balance. Key tasks for 2006 include contribution to the 2006 European Year of Workers' Mobility, and presenting findings from the fourth European Working Conditions Survey, and the Company Survey on Working Time and Work-life Balance. Finally, in November 2006, the Foundation will host the third Foundation Forum, entitled 'Competitive Europe, Social Europe - partners or rivals?'.

'The Foundation is in a strong position to contribute to the improvement of living and working conditions for all Europeans,' affirms Jorma Karppinen, Director of the Foundation, the Dublin-based EU agency. 'We have identified themes for our 2006 work programme that increasingly affect our lives in the competitive global environment. The results of our work will feed into the debate and provide policymakers with information that could ultimately lead to an enhanced quality of life for all European citizens.'

The Foundation will continue to provide data through its monitoring instruments and surveys, which have proved very effective in building a picture of life in the 25 Member States, as well as in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Turkey. Initial findings will be presented from the 2005 European Working Conditions Survey, with further analyses being carried out on selected topics. Findings from the Company Survey on Working Time will be released in the first quarter of the year. At the same time, preparations for the second European Quality of Life Survey will get underway. In addition to weekly news releases from the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) website, EIRO will feature an industrial relations profile of each Member State. The Industrial Relations Annual Report will present a comparison between current developments in Europe and its major competing economies. The European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC) will publish its first annual report on restructuring in Europe.

Information from the monitoring activities will be supplemented by in-depth studies of 'what works'. An in-depth study of temporary agency work from the point of view of industrial relations will be published at the beginning of the year. The Foundation will then unveil a major study and database on Employment initiatives for the Ageing workforce. Other studies will look at employment opportunities in childcare, the 'attractive workplace' as a way for companies to contribute to the Lisbon strategy, and strengthening the capacity for social dialogue in the new Member States.

The Foundation will use a number of thematic campaigns - on mobility, work-life balance and quality of work - to diffuse its message in 2006. The newly launched twice-yearly magazine, Foundation Focus, will devote the two issues for 2006 to the ageing workforce and equal opportunities. A new policy-oriented publication, Foundation Findings, will be launched in the spring. As 2005 saw a huge increase - by one third - in the number of web user sessions to the Eurofound website, the planned integration of the Foundation's separate web activities in 2006 under one common 'Eurofound' banner should make the site even more user-friendly.

The programme of work can be downloaded from

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Press Officer | Email: | Tel: +353-1-204 3124 | Mobile +353-876-593 507

NOTE: This press release is available in 21 EU languages on

Asbestos: the iron grip of latency

The ILO estimates that 100,000 people die each year from work-related asbestos exposure. Asbestos-caused cancers will kill at least 15,000 people in Japan in the next five years, and up to 100,000 people in France over the next 20 to 25 years. In the United States, hundreds of thousands of injury claims have been filed since the 1970s for deaths, cancers and other health problems related to asbestos exposure, bankrupting dozens of U.S. companies. ILO online spoke with Jukka Takala, Director of the ILO InFocus Programme SafeWork.

It happens every day somewhere in Europe: a building from the 1950s is demolished. A few children on their way back from school watch the giant bulldozer at work. The engine has already attacked the ground floor - apparently nobody has noticed the asbestos pads...

For a short moment, huge quantities of asbestos fibres become airborne. The fibres are very narrow and easily breathable. Their resistance to chemical dissolution means that they will persist for a long time - perhaps indefinitely once in the lung. Harmful effects only emerge after decades of latency.

"Broadly speaking asbestos can cause two types of damage in humans: asbestosis, a fibrous thickening either within the alveolar structure of the lung, or in its pleural lining, and cancers of the lungs and larynx, including mesotheliomas, the most malignant of the work-related tumours", explains Jukka Takala.

Although the use and production of asbestos has been forbidden in the 15 old member States of the European Union and the new member States may follow with a ban soon, the "iron grip of latency" explains why the issue of asbestos contamination still ranks high on the political agenda in many industrialized countries.

In October 2005, a French Senate report blamed the government for failing to adequately respond to the country's asbestos contamination problem, which has, as a result, accelerated cancer deaths attributed to asbestos.

"While 35,000 deaths can be attributed to asbestos between 1965 and 1995, another 60,000 to 100,000 deaths are expected in the next 20 to 25 years", the report says. Due to the long periods of latency typical of the lung cancers caused by asbestos, French scientists consider the coming epidemic to be inevitable and irreversible, and expect it to continue until 2030.

"Asbestos is one of the most, if not the most important single factor causing work-related fatalities, and is increasingly seen as the major health policy challenge worldwide", comments Jukka Takala.

Taking into account studies by the ILO, the Japanese Environment Ministry recently gave a first official estimate for the numbers of deaths to be caused by asbestos. According to Ministry officials, the number of fatalities from mesothelioma or other lung cancers in Japan by 2010 could reach 15,600.

The Ministry will use the figure for a planned special measures law to cover medical costs for those suffering from diseases caused by asbestos, and offer payouts for family members of asbestos victims.

In the Western Europe, North America, Japan and Australia, an estimated 20,000 new asbestos-induced lung cancers and 10,000 new mesothelioma cases occur each year.

Towards a worldwide asbestos ban?

The EU Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work (83/477/EEC, amended in March 2003) and ILO Convention No.162 concerning Safety in the Use of Asbestos adopted in 1986 have halved worldwide asbestos production since the 1970s.

"Nonetheless, asbestos is still the No.1 carcinogen in the world of work", Jukka Takala says. "Rather than being solved, the problem has been moved. In transition and developing countries the risk is now even higher than in the established market economies and it is certain that asbestos will prove to be a health 'time bomb' in these countries in 20 to 30 years' time".

In developing countries, asbestos use increased in the last three decades of the 20th century, while the United States and other industrialized countries were phasing out their use of the substance.

Jukka Takala refers to the ship breaking industry in Asia as a particularly prominent example. "A ship that is being dismantled in Bangladesh or elsewhere contains in average six tons of asbestos. Almost everything on such a ship will get recycled, including the asbestos. There is no harm in recycling safe products, but scrapping and repackaging asbestos from the ships without any protection devices is unacceptable", he says.

The ILO provides various solutions to the asbestos challenge based on its international standards (Conventions, Recommendations, Codes of Practice). The ILO Conventions Nos. 139, 148, 162 and 170 on occupational cancer, working environment, safety in the use of asbestos, and safety in the use of chemicals have received 116 ratifications by the ILO member States.

These Conventions provide solid legal and technical basis for worker protection against harmful exposures to asbestos by prescribing comprehensive preventive measures at national and enterprise levels. Other means of action such as sharing knowledge and experience, dissemination of information, direct technical assistance and technical co-operation activities are widely used by ILO to intensify preventive efforts against asbestos-related diseases.

"We are still far away from a global ban on asbestos use and production. 27 countries have ratified ILO Convention No. 162 on safety in the use of asbestos", says Jukka Takala, adding that among the 25 countries that have banned asbestos are the EU15, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

"Moving the risks elsewhere does not fit in with the aim of fair globalization that offers opportunities for everyone. It is a big but important challenge to expand the asbestos ban to all countries in the world. To that end, the international community must provide knowledge and assistance to help them cope with the necessary restructuring measures, create alternative jobs and promote the use of asbestos substitutes around the world", concludes Jukka Takala.

AIHA schedules Nanotechnology Symposium for May 2006 conference

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) will hold a day-long seminar on May 13, 2006, on issues relating to the control of potential workplace exposures in processes where nanomaterials are produced or used. The seminar will be part of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-18, 2006, in Chicago, IL., USA.

Decontaminating chemical protective clothing and equipment subject of new document from AIHA

Pengfei Gao, of the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, is the lead author of Guidelines for the Decontamination of Chemical Protective Clothing and Equipment, recently published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Dr. Gao is a member of AIHA's Protective Clothing and Equipment Committee. The guidelines offer methodologies for decontaminating chemical protective clothing (CPC) and equipment, including the most current practices for regulatory compliance, decontamination work plans, waste management, hazard and risk assessments, CPC reuse, quality assurance, and training. Dr. Gao's participation provided a means for NIOSH's research and expertise on protective clothing and equipment to be incorporated into the guidelines. The views and policies expressed in the guidelines do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of NIOSH. Ordering information can be found on the AIHA Web site

AIHce and VENT 2006

The American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce) and Ventilation 2006-the 8th International Conference on Ventilation will be held concurrently May 13-18, 2006 in Chicago, IL. AIHce 2006 will feature weekend symposia on nanotechnology and infectious disease, late-breaking sessions on hurricane response and recovery, and expert panel sessions on nanotechnology, confined spaces and hexavalent chromium. Additionally, participants attending AIHce 2006 will have access to Ventilation 2006 at no additional cost. Ventilation 2006 will serve as a forum for exchanging latest developments in ventilation-related emission and exposure controls. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a cosponsor of Ventilation 2006.

Fire Response Preparedness for Underground Mines

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-105 deals with the preparedness of miners to respond to underground fires. It is intended to aid the mining industry in understanding the various roles of emergency responders and the training techniques used to increase their skill levels.

The report also presents a technology overview to assist in effective response to mine fires.

Catalogue of Success In Targeting Messages

The new Scriptographic Publications' catalogue documents one of the companies busiest periods in its 23 year history. New title launches and the constant revision of established booklets has kept its range of 200 health, safety and personnel development booklets in step with legislative initiatives and the communications and training needs of the health and safety professional. The full range can now be viewed on paper or website.

The catalogue lists the entire range of 200 booklets and posters, including examples of personalised publications for organisations like DuPont, British Airways and a flip-flop Welsh/English version of the Freedom of Information Act guide, produced for Conwyn Council. The catalogue coincides with the launch of new titles which advise on good health for men and women, intended for those concerned with occupational health.

Scriptographic booklets have found their way into the pockets and induction packs of more than a million employees across the UK in the last eighteen months, from Kent County Council workers to the staff of AMCO Amalgamated Construction. Buyers have included Police Forces, NHS Foundation Trusts, County Councils, Education Authorities and manufacturing and construction companies of all types and sizes.

The 16 page booklets convey simple messages in a format that can be read and absorbed in minutes. They are used to target specific issues ranging from manual handling to forklift truck safety and are issued to staff as part of ongoing in-house training, induction sessions or corporate welfare initiatives.

Samples of Scriptographic booklets are available by calling 0800 028 5670 or emailing

Further information about the full range is available. Contact Michael Whitcroft, Scriptographic Publications Ltd, Charwell House, Wilsom Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2PP, UK | Tel: +44 08701 609 220 | Email:

Introduction to Health and Safety at Work, 2nd edition

Phil Hughes MBE, MSc, FIOSH, RSP and Ed Ferrett PhD

Introduction to Health and Safety at Work has been developed for the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health, accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and closely matches the syllabus. The successful first edition has also found ready acceptance for other NVQ level 3 and 4 courses in Health and Safety.

As an introduction to all areas of occupational safety and health the book will also be useful to managers and directors with health and safety responsibilities and safety representatives. It covers the essential elements of health and safety management, the legal framework, risk assessment and control standards, promoting a positive health and safety culture, movement of people and vehicles - hazards and control, manual and mechanical handling hazards and control, work equipment hazards and control, electrical hazards and control, fire hazards and control, chemical and biological health hazards and control, physical and psychological health hazards and control, construction activities - hazards and control. It also covers incident investigation, recording and reporting, monitoring review and audit, International aspects, Study skills - excellent.

New in this edition:

Phil Hughes MBE, MSc, FIOSH, RSP is a former Chairman of NEBOSH (1995-2001) and former President of IOSH (1990-1991) and runs his own consultancy. He received an MBE for services to health and safety and as a director of RoSPA in the New Year's Honours List 2005.

Ed Ferrett PhD, BSc (Hons Eng), CEng, MIMechE, MIEE, MIOSH is the Vice Chair of NEBOSH and a course manager for NEBOSH courses at Cornwall Business School of Cornwall College. He is a Chartered Engineer and a health and safety consultant.

Introduction to Health and Safety at Work
Phil Hughes MBE, MSc, FIOSH, RSP and Ed Ferrett PhD
2nd edition 2005. 395 pages.
ISBN 0 7506 6623 4

Stress at Work Management and Prevention, by Jeremy Stranks

In this jargon-free guide, Jeremy Stranks explains what stress is and what causes it, how people respond to stress and cope with it, how stress can be evaluated and managed and what employers' legal responsibilities are.

Gives practical advice on how to implement a stress management system. Helps employers avoid expensive court cases brought by employees or enforcement officers Work-related stress and resulting sickness absence costs the UK economy about £3.7 billion every year.

Written for managers, HR professionals and safety reps, the emphasis of this book is strongly on practical advice and solutions. The author provides simple tools to measure and assess stress and shows how to deal with a range of stress-creating workplace situations, such as bullying, harassment and violence at work. The book also details how to implement a stress management system that complies with the new HSE Management Standards to avoid civil claims and criminal sanctions by the enforcement agencies.

End of chapter key points draw out the implications of the preceding text for the employer and an executive summary shows the main aspects that senior management have to be aware of. In addition, the book contains forms and templates to help with managing stress. These are also available for download on the companion website.

Stress at Work will also be a valuable reference for students on the following courses as part of modules concerned with Human Factors: NEBOSH Certificate and Diploma courses, MSc courses in Occupational Health and Safety Management, IOSH Managing Safely, British Safety Council diploma and NVQ level 3 and 4 courses in Occupational Safety and Health.

Jeremy Stranks has 40 years of experience in occupational safety and health enforcement, management, consultancy and training. He is a founding member of NEBOSH and has lectured on numerous training courses on all aspects of health and safety. His company Safety and Hygiene Consultants offers companies advice in drawing up Health and Safety policies, writing risk assessments and audit procedures.

Stress at Work Management and Prevention
Jeremy Stranks MSc, FCIEH, FIOSH, RSP, Managing Consultant, Safety and Hygiene Consultants, U.K.
ISBN: 0-7506-6542-4
Butterworth-Heinemann. 15 March 2005

Jeremy Stranks is speaking at the Health and Safety and Stress Management Seminar and Exhibition, organised by limited to be held on 3 April 2006 at the Brooklands Restaurant and Conference Centre, Barnsley, Yorkshire UK.
Contact: Highfield | Tel: +44 (0) 845 2260350 |

OSH UPDATE keeps everyone informed and healthily and safe

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