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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

January 2009

Workplace exposure to vibration in Europe: an expert review

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work latest report states that one in three European workers is exposed to vibrations at work and for some sectors, such as construction at 63%, this figure is much higher. Although vibration is a long-standing and well-known risk, its importance has increased since the application of the vibration directive (2002/44/EC), which came into force on 6th July 2005. Enterprises, regulators and legislators face new challenges; measurement is complicated and risk assessment and reduction are not simple. This report brings together specialists from eight leading European institutes to produce an overview of the challenges facing the occupational safety and health community as regards management of occupational vibration risks. The situation in six Member States - Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France and Poland - is examined, and research information is presented covering all Member States.

Workplace exposure to vibration in Europe: an expert review
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Address European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Vía 33, 48009 Bilbao, Spain
Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; L 2985; 2008; 126 pages; OPOCE Catalog Number: TE8108322ENC

Mind the Gap: Keeping up to date in fire information 2009

Essential one-day conference for all those involved in Information in fire and fire related topics.
Benefit from the expertise of specialist speakers.

Chaired by Sheila Pantry OBE, long time health, safety and fire information expert.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London, UK


To make a booking for a delegate to conference please fill in the Booking Form:

Cost per delegate is £120.00 (FIG UK Members £80.00) and send by Good Friday, 10 April 2009 at the latest, with cheque made out to "Fire information Group" to:

Sally Walsh
Fire Information Group
Dr J. H. Burgoyne & Partners LLP
11-12 Halfmoon Court
Bartholomew Close

Time to clear the air - paving the way for healthier work

In 2004, more than 500 construction workers lost their lives to lung cancer and even more were suffering from silicosis as a result of inhaling a dangerous substance called Respirable Crystalline Silica, (known as 'silica dust' or 'RCS'). These striking estimates are based on the UK Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) funded research.

Found in stone dust, RCS is easily inhaled if unprotected construction workers are involved in cutting stone and concrete such as kerbs or paving blocks.

The effects of silicosis can leave sufferers breathless and unable to do sport, or daily activities we normally take for granted. They can be rendered housebound and dependent upon bottled oxygen.

HSE's 'Clear The Air!' multimedia campaign was produced in collaboration with the construction industry; a DVD, leaflets and online forums show construction workers how to protect themselves from inhaling RCS. More than 240,000 leaflets and 3,000 copies of the DVD have been requested by industry.

The DVD was edited and scripted by highly experienced members of the industry, such as 'voiceover' Seamus Doyle from Daniel contractors. Vaughan Burnand, Chair of Major Contractors Group Health and Safety Committee said:

"Methods and products to prevent dust clouds have been available for a long time and this working group has produced a range of resources to facilitate their use. It is now up to industry as a whole to take the lead and prevent needless illness and deaths caused by silica dust."

The campaign also engages hire companies through the Hire Association Europe and the Builders Merchants Federation to access hard to reach groups. Few hire companies have provided dust suppression kits with their machinery, but STIHL (GB) has done this for its cut-off saws for 30 years. Since the launch of the campaign, Mark-One-Hire has also pledged to support the campaign:

"We are now offering this [dust suppression equipment] free for a period to support the construction industry in its goal to reduce this needless illness," said managing director, Clive Potter.

Agencies are choosing to communicate the campaign messages to their staff in different ways. The Highways Agency is getting on the road with its specially equipped health and safety training vehicle to reach their workers across the country.

Interpave (British Precast Concrete Federation) has also produced excellent guidance on good practice including alternatives to cutting, which can be downloaded for free from the Interpave website. One of their case studies also recommends that cutting offsite should be an option, (even for difficult jobs), and makes suggestions for precast concrete kerbs.

Using plastic kerbs to avoid creating dust is an alternative that's gaining wide support in the industry. In fact, the Highways Agency recently triumphed at the Building magazine awards, winning 'Client with the Best Commitment to Health and Safetyin2008' for their use of plastic kerbs.

HSE's Dr Robert Ellis from the Chemicals Risk Management Unit is leading the 'Clear the Air' campaign. He is encouraged by reports that the industry has reported a marked increase in staff awareness and improved compliance.

"However," adds Rob, "reaching smaller businesses such as the one or two-man bands remains an important goal. Recently, I saw a sub-contractor working without any dust suppression and the foreman told me he didn't even realise there was an issue and was shocked to realise there was a cancer risk."

"HSE wants to continue the good work to make sure we're reaching everyone so we're asking everyone in Construction to become better informed. Anyone, no matter how big or small the company, can request information and will provide it for free."

HSE has three top requests for the construction industry and their suppliers:

  1. To use methods, materials and equipment to meet the legal requirements.
  2. To ensure standards are being achieved.
  3. Inform colleagues, employees and others of the risk.

RCS may also cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as well as cancer. Hans Fairley from STIHL (GB) has been involved with the 'Clear the Air! Campaign from the start: "STIHL has been fitting dust suppression kits to its cut-off saws for more than 30 years and is committed to work both with the industry and with users to ensure not only the availability but also the use of effective dust suppression". Recent developments have seen the manufacturer optimise the water-jet system on its latest generation cut-off saws, and Hans Fairley confirms ongoing product development objectives "to combine maximum efficiency with minimum fuss for the user."

The Interpave case study 'Efficient Design for Safe Construction using Precast Concrete Kerbs' and their good practice leaflet can be downloaded for free from the Interpave website:

For a copy of the DVD / leaflets, call +44 (0)151 951 5828 or go online to a specially-devised website about kerb cutting safely:

HSE web page about respiratory disease in construction:

HSE's Research Reports are available on the HSE website at

Do not make safety and health decisions without quality OSH information - so why not take OSH UPDATE?

You may have had access to OSH-ROM for many years and will now know that it has ceased publication. OSH-ROM was created by Sheila Pantry OBE who subsequently, in 2004 produced OSH UPDATE.

OSH UPDATE - produced by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd now has 19 databases containing validated and authoritative worldwide information on all aspects of health and safety 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. It has user-friendly powerful software and the lowest priced collection of occupational safety and health (OSH) information.

During 2008, over 50,000 new records containing 4,715 URL links to full text including 842 full text documents were added.


Send your request at

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

Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds from Ireland

Ireland's Health and Safety Authority has produced a 124 page Code of practice covering all aspects for safe access and working scaffolds.

The aim of this Code of Practice is to provide practical guidance to scaffold erectors, contractors and users of scaffolding on the requirements and prohibitions set out in the relevant statutory provisions. The information will be very useful to those working with scaffolds.

Details include safe systems of work, management, control of scaffolding, layout, design, erection, maintenance, materials, foundations, ground surface, working platforms, decking, toe-boards, guard rails, cantilever platform, falling object protection, brick guards, sheeting, fans, ladder access, dismantling, inspection handover, use and much more including a checklist.

To download go to:

Don't be without access to FIREINF that has doubled in size in 2008 bringing together even more quality data in fire and fire related information

Last year - 2008, FIREINF has doubled in size and is arguably the world's premier collection of related validated, authoritative information on fire and fire related information as well as a broad range of occupational safety and health information .

Emphasis in FIREINF 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 and their union, rescue services, forensic and fire experts.

FIREINF is the world's premier collection of validated, authoritative fire and fire related information and contains two major collections.

For those individuals and 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.

The Full Text Collection has 5 databases containing thousands of pages of full text information and The Bibliographic Collection has 10 databases which together contain over 523,000 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. One of the databases - from the British Standards Institution - contains references to over 4000 fire and fire related standards.

This long established collection started in 1997 as Fire Worldwide and then expanded into Fire, Emergency and Preparedness Worldwide. From 2007 the collection continues to expand with the new powerful software and host platform and aims to help all those seeking information on all aspects of fire, emergency and preparedness management principles, fire risk assessment, good practices and research.

FIREINF is continuously enlarged as new information is published.

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? Go to

Risks to airport workers from loading baggage - new UK research report

A new Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Research Report that has just been published is based on the findings of a collaborative project at East Midlands Airport, UK.

The research project explores the health risks associated with manual loading of bags into the holds of narrow bodied aircraft. The report also examines the effectiveness of new technology, Extending Belt Loaders (EBL), and provides an update on previous research and studies.

The research was a collaborative project carried out with the co-operation of the airport, airlines, ground handlers, manufacturers of ground support equipment and workers' representatives, with the aim of improving understanding of the risks and developing agreement on good practice.

"It was important that we had a good spread of organisations in the group so the ideas and views of both the industry and employee representatives could be shared, and we could get agreement between all the industry players on implementing improvements" said Christine Barringer, Head of Transportation Section, Services, Transportation & Safety Unit of the Health and Safety Executive.

The research into this report was carried out at East Midlands Airport in 2007 with a view to clarifying the real risks involved, and reducing the risk of injury and ill health to baggage handlers. The report provides a strong case for the task and some current work practices to be re-designed to reduce the risks. Evidence is also drawn from previous work by the HSE, (a report by Tapley & Riley, 2005).

Some key findings are:

  1. The task of baggage handling should be mechanised as much as possible.
  2. Baggage handlers should avoid lifting bags to/from low level (from ankle height) and to/from a high level, (above shoulder height).
  3. All organisations involved in the baggage handling process - the airport, the carriers, the handlers and the Ground Service Equipment (GSE) manufacturers - must learn to co-operate and communicate with one another to achieve the necessary standards.

Working together and communicating more regularly are identified as key to progress this particular area of risk reduction. Were organisations able to better collaborate, says the report, identifying and implementing ways of improving baggage handlers' physical safety would be facilitated.

As well as the HSE, staff from Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), East Midlands Airport (EMA), Menzies Aviation, Servisair, EasyJet, BMI Baby and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) formed a collaborative working group to take this work forward.

The reports can be found at:

New European Directive on CLP

Directive 2008/112/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 amending Council Directives 76/768/EEC, 88/378/EEC, 1999/13/EC and Directives 2000/53/EC, 2002/96/EC and 2004/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council in order to adapt them to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures

The Directive is in the Official Journal of the European Union; L 345/68; 23 December 2008; 6 pages

27 April - 1 May 2009 - 12th World Congress on Public Health: Education in Public Health for 21st Century

Will cover Global Public Health Workforce, Public Health & Health Services Research & Technology, Global Governance, Health and Development, Comparative Analysis of Health Systems, Strengthening Global Public Health Systems, Financing Global Public Health, Environmental Safety & Stewardship, Health, Geopolitics, & Public Diplomacy, Public Health, Political Will, & the Public Good.

Organized by the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the Turkish Public Health Association. To be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Contact: Turkish Public Health Association (TPHA), Mithatpasa Cad. No. 52, 7 Kizilay-Ankara, Turkey | Tel: +90 312 285 31 00 / 230, 231 | Fax: + 90 312 284 00 70 | Email:

Four New US NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Reports Now Available

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published the following Health Hazard Evaluation Reports.

Potential musculoskeletal hazards at a postal processing and distribution center were evaluated by the HHE Program.
Investigators recommended that the shelving in the sorting area be moved to make space for empty containers and that the tray management system conveyor is moved in front of the sorters; both changes would eliminate 180° lifts. Investigators also recommended that the number of workers in the loading and sorting areas be increased to allow for job rotation.

Contact dermatitis at an automotive parts manufacturing facility was evaluated by the HHE Program.
Investigators recommended that machines be cleaned before metal working fluids (MWFs) are added and that machines that leak hydraulic oil be fixed to prevent MWF contamination. Investigators also recommended that MWFs and biocides be replaced with less sensitizing materials. Investigators recommended that a comprehensive MWF maintenance program and personal protective equipment program be implemented.

The effectiveness of using gaseous chlorine dioxide to killmold during urban rehabilitation projects was evaluated by the HHE Program.
Investigators recommended that additional clean-up techniques, such as the use of high efficiency particle air filter vacuums, be used to reduce concentrations of spores and microbial components before re-occupancy is permitted in previously contaminated structures.

Respiratory and dermal conditions at an aluminum wheel production facility were evaluated by the HHE Program.
Investigators recommended that the facility conduct environmental monitoring for metal working fluids (MWFs) and install local exhaust ventilation to machines using MWFs. Investigators also recommended that personal protective equipment and training be provided to employees who work with MWFs.