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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

May 2008

Mind the Gap: Fire Safety Engineering Group Publications added to FIREINF

A new database from the UK University of Greenwich Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) has just been added to FIREINF that is arguably the world's premier collection of related validated, authoritative information on the subject aims to help all those seeking such information. Emphasis is on all aspects of fire, emergency and preparedness management principles, fire risk assessment, practices and research. FIREINF leads the searcher to quality guidance and advice from around the world. And it is used by organisations, those teaching fire science as well as fire brigades, rescue services, forensic and fire experts.

In this fast moving world it is essential to have quick access to validated, authoritative and constantly updated information collections. Much time is spent these days searching the Internet for validated and authoritative information often resulting in out-of date sources. Collections 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. Nor should people be without access to information that has been published in the past!

Searchers should also be aware that the myth abounding in the world that everything is published on the Internet and is free is just not true! Nor is the latest theory that if you have a credit card and access to search engines then you do NOT need a library!

One way to quickly gain access to legislation, guidance and advice that is up-to-date and relevant is to take a 15-day Free Trial of FIREINF - the service that is focused, affordable, easy to use and continuously updated as new data is published.

Published by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd. since 1997 (previous titles Fire Worldwide and also Fire, Emergency and Preparedness Worldwide), FIREINF uses the powerful Headfast software

Fireinf is accessible via the Internet Service

Contact Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd. for 15 day FREE trials for all services that are cost effective. Why pay more for information? Click onto

Claustrophobia - stress factor in the workplace? by Andrea Perry

Claustrophobia may be preventing employees from applying for promotions, changing career or from carrying out their work effectively. As much as ten percent of the population experience claustrophobia at some time in their lives (1), either as a result of specific trauma, as a fear that seems to arrive out of the blue without an obvious cause, or as a general unease about enclosed space which may persist for many years. Left unaddressed, the phobia usually worsens over time.

Intellectually, many sufferers know that avoidance perpetuates the phobia, but feel so overwhelmed by their fear that even thinking about dealing with it can trigger profound anxiety. Many sufferers do not reveal their difficulties to colleagues or employers, through shame or through fear of being considered weak, unstable or unprofessional. Their self-confidence is likely to be undermined by the phobia, an unhappy state compounded by their anxiety to conceal it.

'Several members of my team were trapped in a lift for about half an hour in a hotel in Milan', reports PL, a UK-based lawyer. 'One of our senior partners, an otherwise calm and laid-back man, completely 'lost it,' and was screaming and thumping at the door, desperate to get out. He recovered quickly once we were rescued, but it was quite alarming. None of us knew about him being claustrophobic before that, and you can sympathise, but it's hard not to see him a bit differently now'.

First-person accounts from people who experience claustrophobia indicate that many avoid applying for different jobs or promotion, if there is the possibility that interviews or the new job might involve having to travel by tube or plane, or if the work is located on floors only reasonably accessed by lift (2). Terrorist attacks have exacerbated fears of using public transport, effectively ending the tube-travelling careers of some: 'Better a live wimp than a dead hero' wrote one commuter, shortly after the London Bombings on 7th July 2005 (3). Others, for example, those working in emergency services, have been unable to return to their work after traumatic incidents.

Equally, initiatives aimed at strengthening security have inevitably lead to more electronically-controlled and enclosed buildings and public spaces. Innovations in transport safety (for example, laminated side-windows in cars and sealed train compartments) increasingly raise the spectre of being trapped, heightening stress for sufferers both at work and when travelling. Finally, people who experience claustrophobia may be incapable of working in certain sectors at all, for example the fire service, police, theatre nursing or radiology, the prison service, or in 'back of house' jobs in hotels, restaurants, and warehouses.

There are many ways in which employers can help (2).

Andrea Perry 2008

Andrea Perry is a psychotherapist and soft-skills consultant to private, public and voluntary organisations. Her latest book, "Claustrophobia - Finding Your Way Out: Hope and help for people who fear and avoid confined spaces (Worth Publishing, 2008) has received excellent reviews, and is the first on the subject.


  2. Perry, A. (2008) Claustrophobia - Finding Your Way Out London: Worth Publishing

UK Health and Safety Executive Chair reminder on Leadership Agenda

Health and Safety is fundamental to business success, says HSE Chair at RoSPA's 2008 Birmingham conference.

"The responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of all organisations' employees starts at the top," says Judith Hackitt, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Speaking at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' Developing Leadership Action conference today (Tuesday, 13 May 2008 ) at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, she continued:

"Leadership from the top of every organisation is essential to create and maintain a real and lasting health and safety culture. Health and safety leadership is about good, integrated governance.

"The motivation for building a health and safety culture needs to be driven by the belief that not only is it the right thing to do morally, but also that it is fundamental to the business success of your organisation.

"Creating the right culture in your organisation will play a critical part in ensuring the health and safety of your workforce."

The HSE Chair highlighted the actions that all leaders should be taking:

The conference, running in association with HSE, was held alongside the Safety & Health Expo, which also featured a dedicated stand of HSE's 'Shattered Lives'. HSE is running its 'Shattered Lives' campaign, to highlight the devastating consequences of slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

Slips, trips and falls can be viewed as being minor, funny accidents but the effects are not. It can lead to major injuries, a lifetime of disability and in worst cases, fatalities.

For more information on the 'Shattered Lives' campaign, visit

Recently Judith Hackitt reminded board members and senior business directors to put effective health and safety performance high on their agendas. Speaking at Capita Senior Directors' Health and Safety Briefing in London Ms. Hackitt said, "No matter how good the health and safety system, nor how competent those who manage it, without effective board-level leadership and oversight, the competing demands of running a business can push health and safety into a back seat."

The Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act, has focused the attention of directors on their responsibilities for health and safety. Now that the Act has entered into force, organisations should be re-examining their health and safety performance - and asking 'Are our board and board members playing an appropriate and effective role?'"

Recent incidents such as the explosions at Buncefield and BP Texas City in 2005 clearly show the need for strong health and safety leadership in high hazard industries. But Ms Hackitt reminded her audience today that it is key for every business to consider its own risk profile and demonstrate leadership in managing those risks. The responsibilities apply in all businesses including those in the services sector.

Ms Hackitt's message on boardroom-level leadership was clear, "The challenge now is very much with directors and boards who must seize the opportunity to critically evaluate the risks in their business and the adequacy of their leadership and to make changes. Directors and boards need to translate words into actions, and deliver - the ball is in their court."

Effective health and safety processes protect the workforce, meet legal and moral imperatives and bring business benefits from improved productivity, reduced sickness absence, raised staff morale and enhanced corporate reputation.

The HSE and the Institute of Directors have jointly published, 'Leading health and safety: leadership actions for directors and board members', which has been developed in collaboration with key stakeholders. The user-friendly document is written, 'by directors, for directors.'

The HSE will be commissioning an evaluation of the changes in directors' and boards' behaviour arising from the new guidance and the other developments. The evaluation is set to take place in the second half of 2009 to give time for the new measures to have an impact on behaviour.

European Commission Code of Conduct for Nanotechnology Research

The European Commission has recently published in the Official Journal of the EU a Recommendation on a code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research.

Commission Recommendation of 7 February 2008 on a code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research
(OJ L116, 30/04/08)

£500,000 Scholarship to save lives and reduce injuries

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and BNFL have just announced a major, new, long-term scholarship scheme for students to undertake research aimed at saving lives and reducing injuries.

BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels) has pledged £500,000 to establish a fund to finance students capable of carrying out work that will have a significant impact on improving safety in the UK and around the world.

Under what is believed to be one of the biggest accident-prevention scholarships ever funded, up to three PhD students will be awarded grants annually. The researcher who produces the best work each year will be awarded a further cash prize as an added incentive for excellence.

An invitation to bid for the scholarships, together with key themes for research, will be announced later this year. RoSPA and BNFL will be seeking to engage the country's leading researchers to focus on priority topics, not just in occupational safety and health, but also accident prevention on the road, in the home, in water and in leisure activities as well as in the area of safety education.

The scheme was outlined at RoSPA's conference on Developing Leadership Action at Safety and Health Expo in Birmingham by Mike Parker, BNFL Group Chief Executive.

The announcement was welcomed at the conference by Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, who was also speaking at the event.

BNFL has won many top awards from RoSPA for its commitment to health and safety and, now that nuclear power management is being moved into the private sector, the scholarship will ensure its name lives on as a safety champion. BNFL will close down over the coming year once it has completed the sales and transfers of its remaining businesses.

It is envisaged the scheme will run for 10 to 12 years, starting in 2009.

The scholarships will be built into RoSPA's highly-regarded Occupational Health and Safety Awards system. Winners will be announced each May at the Society's Oscars-style awards ceremonies at the NEC, which are attended by nearly 3,000 people.

Tom Mullarkey, the safety charity's Chief Executive, said: "This wonderful legacy from BNFL will play a major part in helping us to achieve our mission, which is to save lives and reduce injuries.

"It will finance research to produce results that can make a real difference to people's lives. We may also extend projects to allow recommendations to be implemented and specific projects to be fully developed.

"BNFL is blazing the trail to prove what can be done to prevent accidents, which have such a devastating impact throughout society. We hope other businesses and organisations will follow its lead and help us to resource initiatives which demonstrate that the vast majority of accidents are far from inevitable and that something can and must be done to stop them."

Mike Parker said: "Since its formation in 1971, BNFL has always placed the highest priority on occupational safety and our employees have been consistently committed to achieving the highest standards. I hope that our contribution to the RoSPA scholarship will help to instil these commitments and beliefs more widely. In so doing, I believe we will be leaving a very fitting legacy for the future."

Judith Hackitt said: "I commend this valuable and imaginative initiative. Together RoSPA and BNFL will stimulate innovative research work by PhD-level students, which will make a real difference to accident and ill-health prevention."

More details about the scholarship will be announced shortly. Enquiries to

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST | Tel: +44 (0)121 248 2000 |

Nominations sought for award for promoting acoustics to the public

Noise pervades every aspect of our lives. In an increasingly noisy world, more needs to be done to raise awareness of issues surrounding noise.

Now in its fourth year, the UK Institute of Acoustics' Award for Promoting Acoustics to the Public was created to recognise those who are already doing exceptional public engagement work in raising awareness of acoustics and to encourage activity to create a greater public awareness.

The Institute of Acoustics is inviting nominations for its 2008 Award from innovative individuals or companies who have done outstanding work in promoting acoustics to the general public, either through a single piece of exceptional work over the previous year or in respect of sustained long-term activity.

Colin English, President of the Institute of Acoustics explains: "Examples of any work towards promoting acoustics to the public could be articles for the non-acoustic press, media work on TV or radio, work with schools to promote acoustics or perhaps exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures or even authored web pages. The Institute would particularly welcome applications which demonstrate a pro-active engagement with the public; instances where the applicant has initiated and developed new activities, rather than simply responding to opportunities provided by others. Innovative and ground-breaking engagements are particularly welcome. The winner's work must be shown to have benefited the public in the British Isles."

In the case of nominations for companies, it is necessary to show that the public engagement has gone above and beyond what might be expected to be the usual activities of company.

Colin English again: "Acoustics is a fascinating subject which has a fundamental impact on many aspects of our lives, but more needs to be done to raise awareness of the importance of acoustics amongst schoolchildren or students, public bodies, legislators and industry and the general public as a whole. This greater awareness can benefit us all. There is also strong demand for acousticians and promoting acoustics can also help encourage more people to study and follow careers in acoustics."

Previous recipients of the award are Bronwen Bird (2005), formerly of Techniquest, for her work in developing a large number of unique and innovative science exhibits and educational programmes through musical acoustics; Wendy Sadler (2006), Director of Science Made Simple who through her work has encouraged young people to think more about the science of sound; and David Sharp (2007) from the Open University for his work with schools as well as public lectures to older audiences and his media work including contributions to BBC's "Coast" programmes.

The closing date for submissions is 30 June 2008, but the award will only be made to a worthy recipient. Nominations may be made by third parties or by the individual or company concerned, in either case with documented evidence of the work involved and should be addressed to the President of the Institute of Acoustics at 77A St. Peter's Street, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3BN, UK. The individual or company nominated need not be a member of the Institute. Nominations forms are available from the Institute of Acoustics website at or by contacting Judy Edrich at the IOA on telephone: +44 (0)1727 848195, or Email

USA NIOSH latest publications

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), third and latest of three papers authored by NIOSH researchers Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, Misty J. Hein, and Kenneth Wallingford, detailing measurements of bacteria and fungi found inside aircraft cabins, was published in the March 2008 issue of The Annals of Occupational Hygiene. Outside partners Harriet Burge, Robert Herrick and Christine Rogers also co-authored the new paper. As part of a larger NIOSH program to assess potential health concerns for flight crews, this work represents the most comprehensive study to date on the bacteria and fungi in the aircraft environment. Overall, the bacteria found were either common skin surface organisms or organisms common in dust and outdoor air. The results do not by themselves indicate whether air travel places flight crews or passengers at risk for infectious or contagious diseases. However, the study does illustrate time periods which may be of higher risk for potential disease transmission on aircraft. The latest article is available on the journal's web page at

The other articles can be found at and

Other NIOSH publications

New NIOSH Safety and Health Topic Page "Hazards to Outdoor Workers"

Mining Publications

Croner's 4th Annual Health and Safety Conference 2008

Croner Training's 4th Annual Health and Safety Conference will be held on 3 December 2008, London. Now in its fourth year, this practical one-day conference will help you move ahead with health and safety challenges in your organisation and enable you to understand what needs to be addressed to achieve success. Programme is organised and conference chaired by Sheila Pantry OBE.

The 2007 conference was attended by well over 100 delegates and received very good delegate feedback:

Attending this conference will give you:

This conference will help you to:

Who should attend?:

The final programme and speakers details will be confirmed shortly.

Croner's 4th Annual Health and Safety Conference 2008
3 December 2008, London (location TBC)
Price: £399 + VAT (Early booking discount of £100 if place booked before 29th August 2008)

Contact: Customer Services on 0845 082 1170 to book your place or email:

CCOHS database added to OSH UPDATE

OSH UPDATE produced by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd now has 18 databases containing validated and authoritative worldwide information on all aspects of health and safety at work.

The latest database to be added to OSH UPDATE indexes the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Questions and Answers of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), and links to the full text documents.

The topics covered are based on actual questions that the Inquiries Service at CCOHS have received from employers, workers, occupational hygienists, safety professionals, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, government officials, lawyers, the media and anyone else with questions about any aspect of occupational health and safety.

Information that people need varies as widely as their roles and activities that they carry out at work.

OSH UPDATE - arguably one of the best collections of full text and bibliographic health and safety information is continuously updated as new data is published.

During 2007, 24,152 new bibliographic records containing 3,387 links to full text and 1,811 full text documents containing 42,724 pages were added. It is hoped to progress in the same way in 2008.

Why not take a FREE 15-DAY TRIAL OF OSH UPDATE now? Send your request at

Contact: Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0)1909 772829 | Email: | | | | |

Barriers to rehabilitation costing UK manufacturers £610m a year - EEF survey

Continuing failure to break down the barriers to effective rehabilitation of employees is costing Britain's manufacturers up to £610 million a year according to a major report on sickness absence published today by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, in partnership with Unum, the UK's leading disability insurer.

The EEF's Sickness Absence Report 2008 shows that those organisations stating that they do not encounter any barriers to rehabilitating employees, on average, have sickness absence rates that are 0.7% lower than those with barriers. On an annual basis, this means an extra 1.5 days attendance per worker or approximately 4.5 million days of work lost across the manufacturing industry.

The major barriers to rehabilitation that most affected sickness absence rates were identified in the report as the 'misconceptions about the effect of the employee's health condition', 'employee resistance to rehabilitation', 'the role of General Practitioners in promoting rehabilitation' and 'concern about employees being protected under the Disability Discrimination Act'.

Commenting on the findings, EEF Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Sayeed Khan, said:

"Promoting rehabilitation in the workplace is the single biggest factor that government, employers, employees and healthcare professionals can address in tackling our sickness absence record. Dame Carol Black's review of the health and well-being of the working population is a critical part of this process and we need all stakeholders to support this if we are to make the necessary step change in behaviour."

Professor Mike O'Donnell, Unum Chief Medical Officer, added:

"We know that many of the things that prevent people from returning to work are unrelated to their actual health condition. Unum's work with Cardiff University has highlighted the importance of psychosocial factors - including beliefs, fears and advice from family - in prolonging absence from work, and these results confirm that the employee's health condition is only one of the many factors in preventing return to work. Employers and healthcare professionals need much greater awareness of these psychosocial issues when assessing how to help people return to work."

Commenting on the report, Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health & Work, said:

"The results echo much of what I discovered during my review and it is encouraging to see support for one of my key proposals - the Fit for Work service. I am glad to see EEF endorsing the idea and recommending it should be a priority. The survey also importantly highlights the issue of mental health problems, an area where there needs to be early intervention to prevent such problems becoming long-term and leading to people losing their jobs."

The report also shows that those companies investing in rehabilitation and absence management policies, especially training for line managers, are continuing to reap the benefits with lower absence rates and higher levels of profitability.

87% of companies now have a written policy on absence management, whilst 38% of managers received training in managing long term sickness absence, up from 34% in the 2007 survey.

The survey showed the positive benefits of such investment with 30% of companies who trained their managers reporting a decreasing trend in all types of sickness absence. This compared to 21% where no absence management training was carried out.

The report, based on one of the UK's largest surveys of companies on the management of sickness absence and rehabilitation, also contains a number of findings which challenge popular assumptions:

EEF, the manufacturers' organisation is the representative voice of manufacturing in the UK with a federation of 11 regional Associations and ECIA, the Engineering Construction Industry Association and UK Steel. The EEF has a growing membership of almost 6,000 companies of all sizes, employing some 900,000 people from every sector of engineering, manufacturing, engineering construction and technology-based industries. EEF provides its own Occupational Health service for companies which has its own dedicated website,

EEF has produced an award winning toolkit to help employers manage sickness absence. It is available from

Unum is the UK's leading provider of group income protection insurance, with over 35 years of experience. Our critical illness and life insurance products enable our customers to purchase complementary protection solutions that together make up a comprehensive protection package.