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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

December 2007

Learn from past mistakes and keep-up-to-date with all the latest health, safety and fire information the simple way

How long are you going to live before you find that vital piece of authoritative and validated OSH information? Do you believe the myth that it is "all there on the Internet and Free"?

Sadly, many people believe that ALL occupational safety and health (OSH) information is available on the Internet and free. This is just not true... even the UK Health and Safety Executive does not published all its guidance and advice on the web.

Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd. publish a number of health, safety, environment and fire electronic services that contain authoritative and validated information from well-known organisations around the world such as the Health and Safety Executive, European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, ILO Health and Safety Centre, Geneva, US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Fire Service College and UK Forensic Science Service.

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Partnership for better worker health

Europe's largest body for health and safety professionals has said that cross-profession partnerships must be forged to help improve workers health.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said that without doctors, nurses, health and safety practitioners, HR and managers working in partnership, the UK's hopes of cutting the 2.2 million who suffer an illness caused or made worse by work will be hampered.

Commenting on IOSH's response to the national director for work and health, Dame Carol Black's review into the health of Britain's working age population, IOSH president Ray Hurst said it was also important government funding was in place, and that there's a greater push towards 'worker-friendly' workplaces.

"We're pleased the government is conducting this review as we believe good work-related health is vital for workers, their families, employers and for the country as a whole. But it's imperative the relevant professions work together as teams on this and also fully involve workers in the decision-making processes.

"The key to reducing illness is protection and prevention, but where illness does develop there has to be access to effective treatment quickly. This needs to be coupled with appropriate rehabilitation provision. That's why it's so important for all those professionals working in health-related disciplines to pull together.

"In addition to making Britain's workplaces safer, healthier and more 'worker-friendly', we believe employers could use workplaces to offer free information and support, helping to actively promote good health, wellbeing and quality of life to millions of people. IOSH is already raising awareness through its free on-line occupational health toolkit and will also be issuing guides on rehabilitation and wellbeing in the New Year.

"We're keen that resources and effort are properly focused and we've highlighted the importance of using research to find out what works best to promote health, an area we've recently commissioned research into. Further government research is needed and we're calling on them to extend their provision and evaluation of government-funded occupational health services; to provide tax incentives for employer-provided therapies facilitating sustainable rehabilitation for workers; and to pilot awareness training in rehabilitation for OSH practitioners."

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3100 | Fax: +44 (0)116 257 9141 |

DAIRY EVENT: WorkSafe China 2008 - 5-7 March 2008

"2008 China OHS Management Conference". is the chemical-industry-specific conference which aims to provide participants with the most practical OHS strategies and solutions from our expert presenters on the following main issues:

Organised by Avail Corporation which is based in Shanghai. Avail's core business is the provision of business intelligence through thoroughly researched business-to- business conferences, training courses and customized courses. The business also acts as an agent for companies seeking to provide business services to the Chinese market.

Contact: Alan Wong, Avail Corporation | Tel: + 86-21 6229 1717 ext. 116 | Fax + 86-21 6229 1718 | Email:

European Chemicals Agency - First Forum meeting kick starts harmonised enforcement of REACH

The Forum met in Helsinki for the first time 11-12 December 2007. This commenced the work towards harmonised enforcement of REACH across the EU. The meeting elected Ms. Kowalski as its provisional Chair, approved operating rules and decided to set up three working groups. The work programme for 2008-10 will be prepared for adoption at the next meeting in May.

Interim Executive Director, Geert Dancet, said in his opening statement: "The enforcement of REACH, which is a national competence, needs to be coordinated to ensure proper functioning of the Regulation. The Forum plays a critical role in this coordination by harmonising the efforts and promoting best practices."

The "Forum of exchange of information on enforcement" is a network of Member States authorities responsible for REACH enforcement stipulated by the REACH Regulation. Its objective is to ensure harmonized enforcement of the Regulation across the EU. The tasks of the Forum include spreading good practice and highlighting implementation problems, agreeing on harmonised enforcement and inspection projects, identifying enforcement strategies, developing working methods and tools, and coordinating exchange of inspectors.

The Forum consists at this stage of 27 members; each Member State has appointed one member for a 3-year term. In the future, the Forum may appoint up to five additional members. The current members are listed in the Annex.

In the first meeting, the Forum elected Ms. Ulrike Kowalski from Germany (Head of Unit, Federal Institute of Occupational Health and Safety) as its provisional Chair. The formal election of the Chair and two Vice Chairs will take place in the next meeting.

The meeting also discussed and agreed on the rules of procedure for the Forum. The rules will safeguard transparency of the Forum's operations while maintaining its independence and ensuring confidentiality of data. The rules cover also the participation of observers to the Forum meetings. The ECHA Management Board will review the rules before they formally adopt them.

The Forum set up three working groups:

The mandate and composition of these working groups was agreed at the meeting and are recorded in the meeting minutes. The minutes will be made available on the ECHA website after they have been approved.

The Forum will meet at least twice a year. The next meeting is scheduled for May 2008.

Juhani Sormunen | Tel. +358 9
Petteri Mäkelä | Tel. +358 9
or Email: |

European Working Conditions Survey Seminar - Quality of work and employment in Europe: Women or men, does it matter? Background paper

Casting the spotlight on the gender dimension in the workplace inevitably leads to an exploration of the different gendered elements of the experience of work in Europe. With this aim in mind, this paper will draw from the findings of the report Gender and working conditions in the European Union (Burchell et al, 2007). In turn, this report is based on secondary analysis of the data from the Foundation's fourth European Working Conditions Survey, as well as on recently published research from the Eurofound's observatories - the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) and the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO).

Foundation Findings: Work-life balance - Solving the dilemma

The European Union (EU) faces a dilemma in terms of social policy: it needs to increase employment rates to ensure continued economic growth and promote social inclusion. To do this, however, the EU needs to make it easier for people to combine their work and family commitments to facilitate people - women in particular - to enter the labour market. Despite the progress that has been made towards greater gender equality, women still have less paid employment than men, although they perform more work overall when domestic responsibilities are included. As equal opportunities should encourage more equal participation of women in the workforce, so there will be a need to increase the support for formal care, as women will no longer necessarily be available to assume the unpaid role of informal carer. A further effect of the difficulties faced in reconciling the demands of work and family means that families are having fewer children. A combination of falling birth rates and rising life expectancy means that Europe's population is ageing. This growing population of older people is already placing a strain upon social support systems; to supplement this, families will be shouldering a greater burden of eldercare responsibility. Across Europe as a whole, however, our workplaces, social provision mechanisms and employment policies do not readily permit people to both carry out their work and care for their families. This has been recognised in the Kok report, Facing the challenge: The Lisbon strategy for growth and employment, which calls for measures that 'enable people to stay in employment ... by creating structures in which they can best combine their work and non-work responsibilities.'

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2007
ISBN 978 92 897 0811 1

Dangerous substances and new technologies (e.g. nanotechnologies)

The rapid growth of nanotechnology (leading to the development of new materials, devices and processes) is outstripping our understanding and knowledge of the occupational health risks associated with manufacturing and using nanomaterials. Exposure to these materials during manufacturing and use may occur through inhalation, dermal contact and ingestion. Occupational health risks associated with manufacturing and using nanomaterials are not yet clearly understood.

See the Agency's collection of recent research information on nanotechnologies and possible impacts on workplaces

Fourth National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, NOIRS 2008

Will be held on October 21-23, 2008 at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is co-sponsoring the event with the National Safety Council and the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. NOIRS serves as a national forum for the presentation of the latest findings and methods in occupational injury research.

The symposium will cover topics that cut across all industries and include, but are not limited to, surveillance of fatal and non-fatal injuries, intervention evaluation, prevention through design, engineering/technology, research to practice, workplace violence, motor vehicle safety, fall prevention research, machines and industrial vehicle safety, high risk and vulnerable workers, emergency response, and the economics of injury prevention. Researchers interested in presenting at the symposium are invited to submit abstracts of 300 words or less by Monday, March 3, 2008.

To recognize excellence in the field of evaluation studies, NOIRS 2008 is holding an international contest to recognize outstanding evaluation studies of interventions designed to prevent work-related injuries. Winners will receive travel assistance, an award plaque and the opportunity to share evaluation research experiences in a special session of the Symposium. To learn more about the contest visit The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2008.

Graduate students interested in attending and presenting at NOIRS 2008 are eligible to compete for the NOIRS 2008-Liberty Mutual Best Student Paper Award. Awardees will be provided with travel support for NOIRS 2008 and will present their work in a special concurrent session during the Symposium.

To learn more about NOIRS 2008, including how to submit abstracts and find out more about the intervention evaluation contest and the NOIRS 2008-Liberty Mutual Best Student Paper Award, visit the NIOSH web site at or call the toll-free CDC information number 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). More information about NIOSH research on traumatic occupational injuries, including past NOIRS symposiums, is available at:

US NIOSH: Draft Offers Interim Guidance on Medical Screening of Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued interim guidance concerning the medical screening of workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles in the manufacture and industrial use of nanomaterials.

Because the topic has not been extensively discussed in the scientific literature, NIOSH has developed this guidance to generate discussion, fill the current knowledge gap, and provide interim recommendations until further scientific information becomes available. Additionally, NIOSH is seeking comments on the strengths and weaknesses of exposure registries for workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles.

NIOSH will continue to examine the scientific evidence and periodically update its guidance on medical screening. Until more is understood about the potential occupational hazards of exposure to engineered nanoparticles, NIOSH recommends the following for workplaces where a potential exposure may occur:

Engineered nanoparticles are materials with at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers, and are produced through controlling and manipulating matter at the near-atomic scale (nanotechnology). These particles often exhibit unique properties that may affect their physical, chemical, and biological behaviors. Preliminary research has raised concerns regarding the potential for adverse health effects related to occupational exposure to engineered nanoparticles. However, insufficient scientific and medical evidence currently exists to recommend, at this time, specific medical screening tests for workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles.

To provide feedback, mail written comments to NIOSH Docket Office, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS C-34, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226. Submit electronic comments as Microsoft Word files to Please reference docket number NIOSH-115 when providing comments. All public comments must be postmarked by February 15, 2008. The document "Interim Guidance for the Medical Screening of Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles" can be found at, along with additional information about this invitation for public comment.

NIOSH is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for preventing work-related injury and illness, and is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services. For more information about NIOSH or its nanotechnology research program, visit the NIOSH Web site at

New US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Survey Report

In Depth Study: A Re-evaluation of Styrene and Noise Exposures in the Fiberglass-reinforced Plastic Boat Manufacturing Industry

New book: Managing stress and conflict

Stress and conflict in the workplace undermine performance and can make people mentally and physically ill, and research indicates that ever-increasing numbers of people are experiencing excessive pressure of this kind - including aggression and abuse - in our rapidly changing world of work.

This applies to libraries and information organizations as much as anywhere; indeed they can be particular targets for verbal and non-verbal violent behaviour through their accessibility to the public, and there are also employees of such organizations who are suffering, often in silence, from aggression, bullying and harassment from a work colleague.

There are many lessons to be learned by all who work and manage people by reading this book - see the reviews

Managing Stress and Conflict in Libraries
Sheila Pantry OBE Facet Publishing, June 2007
ISBN-10: 1856046133. ISBN-13: 978-1856046138