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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

March 2009

Why waste time chasing around the Internet for quality safety and health information? Save time and money by taking OSH UPDATE!

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BOHS appoints new Chief Executive

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Perkins as its new - and first ever - Chief Executive. Replacing a long-standing Executive Secretary following retirement, this new role will provide the consistent direction and management required to maximise the opportunities for growth and development of the Society and, according to Steve Bailey, BOHS President, Perkins "is undoubtedly the right man for the job".

As the health issues of public concern shift with time, technology and societal expectations, so occupational hygiene has to be prepared to change its focus. Membership of the Society must continue to evolve and represent the full range of disciplines currently active in workplace prevention, and the Society itself must demonstrate leadership and relevance within the wider occupational health field.

"I am excited to have taken on this position, and ambitious for BOHS to build on its strengths and enhance its reputation, influence and services," states Perkins. "Occupational hygiene has always been at the vanguard of science in practice in the workplace, and its relevance is just as important in today's workplaces as it ever was. Our aim is to reduce work-related ill-health; the latest figures published by the Health and Safety Executive show that an estimated 28 million working days are lost annually due to work-related ill-health (compared to six million due to workplace injury) so there is clearly a lot still to be done - both in bringing ill-health prevention higher up the national agenda and in improving people's working lives. I look forward to helping BOHS make a real difference."

Steve Perkins is 42, and has a degree in Physics from Oxford University. He began his career at Rolls-Royce Aerospace in 1987 working in aero-acoustics research, where he became a company specialist. Whilst with Rolls-Royce he went on to work in Project Management, IT and Business Improvement. In 2002 he moved into the voluntary sector becoming Operations Manager for EMCF Ltd, one of Derby's largest faith-based charities, and has since held a number of senior management positions with EMCF.

Contact Anthea Page, BOHS Communications Manager | Email: | Tel: 01332 250701 |

Global: Chemical Industry to Highlight Product Stewardship Progress

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), a coalition of leading chemical trade associations around the world, will soon issue a report on important product stewardship progress made by the industry in the past few years. At the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-2), to be held in Geneva 11 - 15 May 2009, industry representatives will detail progress in improving the safe management of chemicals. Furthermore, ICCA will explain how the global chemical industry will continue to demonstrate its economic, social and environmental commitments around the globe.

At ICCM-1, held in Dubai in February 2006, the industry undertook two new initiatives, the Responsible Care® Global Charter (RCGC) and Global Product Strategy (GPS), to help fulfil the objectives of the U.N.'s Strategic Approach of International Chemicals Management (SAICM). SAICM is the international policy framework that encourages governments, industry and other stakeholders to work together to realize the goal established at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development - that by the year 2020, chemicals will be produced and used in ways that minimize adverse impacts to human health and the environment. The GPS includes a 2018 target date for assessing the safety of chemicals in commerce and an interim 2012 target for companies to report on their progress for making these assessments.

"At ICCM-2, the industry is eager to report its progress in implementing the Responsible Care Global Charter and Global Product Strategy (GPS)" said Christian Jourquin, President of ICCA. "The Global Charter goes beyond the elements of industry's existing Responsible Care safety, health and environment programs to address the growing public dialogue over sustainable development, public health issues relating to the use of chemical products, and the need for greater industry transparency. And the GPS both advances and measures industry's product stewardship performance and improves communication with stakeholders."

In Geneva, ICCA will report on many important milestones including:

Alain Perroy, ICCA Council Secretary, noted that industry is keenly aware that expectations about product stewardship have risen in recent years. "While companies and associations have made considerable strides in collecting and reporting industry performance, we know our stakeholders expect us to set an even higher bar," he said. "As we continue our efforts, ICCA members look forward to working with other SAICM stakeholders to achieve the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development."

For more information on the Responsible Care Global Charter, and the Global Product Strategy, visit ICCA online at:

UK Health and Safety Executive Research Report RR682 - Development of fire protection measures for vessels containing reactive chemicals

The objective of this work is to have a better understanding of the phenomena that occur when a vessel containing reactive chemicals is exposed to an external fire and so assess possible preventive and mitigation measures. The following approach has been adopted:

This work will form a useful basis for HSE to assess the adequacy of the 'fire case' for relief systems provided on a range of process reactors containing reactive chemicals and on storage vessels for reactive monomers. These installations vary in size from small reactors common in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries to the large, several hundred tonne capacity storage vessels used in the petrochemical industry.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

View the full report:

Buncefield back to petrol storage

Part of the Buncefield oil storage depot in Hertfordshire, UK, has now been granted approval to store petrol on site.

Planning restrictions have limited BP to storing only aviation fuel until now.

An explosion ruptured the terminal in December 2005, injuring 40 people and damaging residential and business properties. It was caused by an overflowing fuel storage tank at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited (HOSL) terminal at Buncefield.

Dacorum Borough Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say that energy company BP has met all safety criteria. The council formally signed off safety works undertaken by BP following a year of inspections by the council, HSE and Environment Agency to check BP had met 55 safety criteria set out in a legal agreement drawn up in February 2008.

BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams says BP has taken on board all the requests made by the local council and residents, resulting in BP investing over £10 million (€7.9 million) at the terminal.

Up until now planning restrictions have meant that the company could use its existing tanks at the depot for storing aviation fuel only. The stringent criteria were set to ensure that the HSE and Environment Agency could confirm to the Council that they both were satisfied with the safety of operations at the site before any moves by BP towards storing ground fuel like petrol or diesel.

Cllr Ian Reay, Dacorum Borough Council, said: "The safety of local people and businesses and the prosperity of the Maylands business area has always been our primary concern. However, we have to recognise the national significance of fuel supply through Buncefield.

"The list of safety criteria which we have now signed off was compiled from reports by the Buncefield Standards Task Group and the Major Incident Investigation Board. We have done all we can to ensure the highest possible standards of safety at the site."

Call for papers: Hazards XXI Process Safety and Environmental Protection to be held on 10-11 November 2009 in Manchester, UK

The theme of this symposium organised by SCI Health and Safety Group is process safety and environmental protection in a changing world. Globalisation is creating new supply chains, putting pressure on established companies to innovate and improve efficiency. New suppliers are emerging and expanding their operations. They need to achieve high safety and environmental standards, learning the lessons of historical failures and adapting systems and technologies to fit their different cultures and business practices. Well established industries have to adapt and evolve to meet new challenges like maintaining old plant, managing ageing workforces, introducing new technology and implementing organisational change.

Unfortunately, accidents continue to happen. Improved safety and environmental management practices are being developed in a wide range of industries in the post Buncefield and Texas City era. New laws are being proposed and implemented in response to these incidents. For example, major changes to the EU Seveso II Directive are being considered, the regulatory regime for pipelines is being revised and REACH is being implemented.

New industries continue to emerge, bringing with them new hazards and EHS challenges. This can generate unforeseen safety risks and environmental impacts, as new technology introduces unforeseen ways of causing failures. Organisations also still fail to address foreseeable risks, as the lessons from established industries are not learnt. It is important that we improve our understanding of all these risks, in areas such as nanotechnology, food technology, clean coal power supply, oil sands, next generation biofuels, renewable energy, nuclear power and decommissioning, and LNG supply.

The aim of this twenty-first symposium in the series is to bring together international experts and practitioners in process safety and environmental protection to present and discuss the latest technical advances and developments in safety and environmental management techniques.

Papers or Poster papers (even Work in Progress) are invited in all relevant areas including the following topics:

For more information re call for papers, please contact: Mike Adams | Tel: ++ 44 (0)1539 732845 | Fax: +44 (0)1539 732845 | Email:

BOHS 2009 Annual Conference

The British Occupational Hygiene Society's (BOHS's) Annual Conference - Occupational Hygiene 2009 - takes place this year in Eastbourne, from 28 - 30 April 2009.

Highlights include the Conference-opening Warner Lecture by Max Lum, from the US's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), who will focus on social media in relation to occupational hygiene, and this will be followed by a plenary session from the Peter Isaac Award Winner for 2008, Mark Piney of the HSE, on reducing exposure and ill-health from isocyanates in motor vehicle repair.

Keynote lectures on each of the three days are also not to be missed: Sayeed Khan, of the HSE Board, will cover competency, Rodger Duffin of Edinburgh University will be presenting on the variable hazards of carbon nanotubes, and Stephen Mudge, University of Bangor, will give a lecture entitled, 'Environmental Forensics: investigating the source'. Workshops on COSHH in the NHS, sharing occupational exposure data, asbestos, and local exhaust ventilation (LEV) will run alongside scientific and professional development sessions, and a poster display. Important themes this year include epidemiology, physical agents, carcinogens and asthmagens, REACH, communicating hazards, offshore drilling muds, aerosols and measurement methods.

There will also be an associated exhibition of suppliers of services and equipment running alongside the conference programme.

Our Annual Conference is the largest occupational hygiene conference in Europe, and brings together leading UK, European and international researchers, practitioners and regulators, in a professionally cosmopolitan environment, so providing excellent scope to meet fellow hygienists and peers from related professions from all sectors of industry. The Conference Dinner is the social highlight, on the Wednesday night.

The Conference can be booked on-line, via the event calendar on the BOHS website,, where the programme is also available.

All non-BOHS members paying the full conference fee will be granted complimentary Society membership until 31st December 2009.

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, London EC1A 7HF, UK | Email:

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RoSPA calls for radical overhaul of health and safety in the UK

A significant reduction in needless harm and easily preventable suffering would result if the UK's health and safety system underwent a radical overhaul, the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has told a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) consultation.

In its response, the safety charity says it is time for the HSE to develop a new dynamic between its work and the wider health and safety market, linking its activities much more closely to the hard work of the thousands of professionals who help to ensure effective risk management in the workplace.

The HSE's consultation entitled "The Health and Safety of Great Britain: Be part of the solution" closed last week.

RoSPA's response, which was prepared with input from the Society's National Occupational Safety and Health Committee, draws attention to the true size of the UK health and safety problem which includes work-related road injuries. It also highlights the fact that the business case for controlling losses that result from accidents and ill health is now even stronger in the midst of a recession.

It says: "HSE faces sharper challenges in delivering its mission with fewer resources. RoSPA argues consistently that the Government must continue to address the question of HSE funding. On the other hand, even with additional resources it is clear that HSE cannot deliver sustainable improvement acting in isolation. The 'HSE-centric' view of the health and safety system which has been prevalent in the past must now be abandoned for good.

"Business and people in the workplace - rather than the regulator - need to be placed at the heart of the 'system'. HSE needs to make it clear that it sees health and safety professionals as key allies and equals in the struggle to get casualty figures down and not mere auxiliaries.

"Indeed, the title of the consultation document, 'Be part of the solution', might be seen as undervaluing the substantial contribution of the tens of thousands of health and safety activists outside HSE who have been working on this important agenda, many of them for decades. And it might also be seen as ignoring the fact that millions of workers, together with their line managers, safety reps and directors, especially in better performing businesses, are already well and truly 'on the case' when it comes to tackling health and safety."

Among the specific recommendations made by RoSPA are: a new focus on proactivity by the HSE, encouraging organisations to go public on their health and safety performance so the HSE can target its resources more effectively; the development of a national health and safety services network, which is kept completely separate from enforcement activities, to help firms identify the services they need; and the use of non-HSE professionals in investigations and remedial programmes.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive, said: "Improved health and safety performance, particularly at a time of recession, can only be achieved through more creative working between the HSE and other health and safety bodies. The HSE needs to establish new and imaginative relationships with other key actors across the health and safety delivery landscape.

"In the coming months, we hope we will have the opportunity to develop these ideas into programmes that will actually save lives and reduce injuries."

Nano differences start to surface

Concerns about the approach to the regulation and control of nanomaterials are surfacing in Europe. A British manufacturer of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has pre-registered the product with Europe's chemical watchdog as a substance distinct from other forms of carbon, which it says have dramatically different properties.

The decision to undertake REACH registration for the nanomaterial - which like graphite is made entirely from carbon - separately with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was made by Thomas Swan & Co, a family-owned speciality chemical company based in County Durham. Des McGrahan, who is responsible for regulatory affairs at Thomas Swan, said: 'We believe that carbon nanotubes are completely different allotropes [structural configurations]. They may have a surface similar to that of graphite but their properties are so dissimilar that they are different substances. They should not be in the same category as bulk carbon or graphite.'

He added: 'We want nanospecific testing to be done under REACH on carbon nanotubes. We could be in a position to increase our CNT capacity to a commercial level if necessary. But before we make a decision to scale up our production we need to know where we stand in terms of hazards and toxicity exposure. At the moment there is not enough data available on the safety risks of CNT, particularly in the area of chronic exposure.' Concerns over the health and environmental risks of nanotechnology are generating renewed pressures for tougher regulation in the European Union.

The European Parliament is drafting a report on regulatory aspects of nanomaterials, and its tone indicates strong suspicion. The draft report currently under discussion in the Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety notes that nanomaterials 'potentially present significant new risks.'

Global: Warning on chemical cancers risk

A major report has warned that the global cancer burden has doubled in a generation and that too little attention is paid to potential occupational and environmental risks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer published its World Cancer Report 2008 last month. It says the global burden of cancer doubled during the last 30 years of the 20th century. In 2008, it is estimated that worldwide there were over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed, 7 million deaths from cancer and 25 million persons alive with cancer within five years of diagnosis.

The report warns of the 'the potential cancer burden from exposure to hundreds of probable and possible human carcinogens that have been identified and from thousands of new chemicals that have not been tested for their cancer potential. Little is known about risks from combinations of exposures at levels found in the environment or from exposures during critical time windows of development or in susceptible populations.' It also warns that the nature of exposures in the working and wider environment is rarely simple. 'Cancers may have multiple causes, so that environmental factors may contribute to cancers that are attributed to occupational or lifestyle factors. The known interactions between radon and smoking or between asbestos and smoking support the idea that individual cancers may have multiple causes.

Finally, it is important to remember that environmental pollution is not only a cancer problem. Much environmental pollution can be prevented, and reducing environmental pollution can contribute to reductions in diseases other than cancer and to increases in aesthetics and in the overall quality of life.'

USA: Obama backs safety enforcement

Barak Obama has pledged to increase the enforcement of workplace safety. The US president said mounting workloads and dwindling staff have hindered the government's ability to protect workers. Obama's budget blueprint, released last week, seeks to increase funding to the official safety watchdog, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The proposed funding increase for 2010 would enable OSHA to 'vigorously enforce workplace safety laws and whistleblower protections, and ensure the safety and health of American workers,' the budget proposal says. The extra money also would be used to increase enforcement of wage and hour rules, including child labour violations. 'After eight years of neglect, President Obama's strong commitment to additional resources to ensure the health and safety of American workers is a breath of fresh air,' said George Miller, the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee. There is a lot of neglect to undo. The number of federal OSHA compliance officers has dropped by about 35 per cent since 1980, even though employment has risen dramatically. Nationally, OSHA agencies inspect only about 1 per cent of all workplaces each year. 'Over time, the agency has just been eroded,' said Peg Seminario, safety director of the national union federation AFL-CIO. 'The consequence is that we've fallen further and further behind on addressing serious workplace health and safety problems.' In a $410 billion appropriations bill before Congress to fund the current fiscal year, there is a $27 million increase to the agency's budget, taking the total OSHA budget to $513 million.

The bill dictates that the increase be used to rebuild OSHA's enforcement.

Canadian Study: Performing arts: Occupational risks emerge from behind the scenes

An exploratory study on occupational risks in the performing arts sheds light on the impact of organizational modes of productions, cultural enterprises and sectors of activity on the health and safety of artists and artisans. The study, which was conducted by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), forms part of the work of the Table de concertation paritaire en santé et sécurité du travail pour le domaine des arts de la scène ("joint table on occupational health and safety in the performing arts"), a body created in 2005 by the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST) to follow up on measures put forward in Pour mieux vivre de l'art, the action plan implemented by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications.

New insights on occupations

Among the results obtained by the researchers is a description of enterprises and occupations in the performing arts sector. They identify risks to the health and safety of the artists and artisans, and the various causes of accidents. The study highlights inclusion, in the practices of cultural enterprises, of formal and informal experiences that can have a very positive effect on the health and safety of artists and artisans, despite the fact that prevention is sometimes perceived as a constraint on creative activity. The study also suggests that "participatory approaches" (approaches based on worker participation), which emphasize the need for prevention in occupational health and safety (OHS), depend on workers having positive experiences with these approaches. What also emerges is that artists, since they are passionate about their art and for reasons relating to the work environment, often choose to remain silent about their pain and hide their injuries. Furthermore, there is a marked trend among numerous stakeholders toward more open consideration of the realities of occupational injuries.

To download the document, please visit:

Tee off to a Healthy Heart

Playing golf regularly could add years to your life according to a Swedish study. Golfers with the lowest handicap do best, probably because they play and so exercise more regularly, but whatever your level, golf can bring you many health benefits:

Get the golfing bug, work on that handicap and enjoy the many benefits a healthy golfer's lifestyle can bring. Shop around for membership deals, seek out your local pay and play courses and driving ranges and tee - off to a healthy heart.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK | Tel: +44 (0)113 297 6206 | Email: