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News Archive

October 2009

European Week for Safety and Health 19-13 October 2009

During the European Week for Safety and Health at Work from 19-23 October 2009 hundreds of campaign events and activities will take place all over Europe. These include conferences and exhibitions, training sessions and activities where both large and small companies work together.

The common theme linking all these activities is promoting the importance of carrying out risk assessment in every workplace.

European Week Page: https://osha.europa.eu/en/healthy-workplaces-campaigns/previous-healthy-workplaces-campaigns

The campaign concludes with the Closing Event on 17 November 2009.

CIS Health and Safety Information Centres celebrates: 50 years anniversary

CIS, the International Labour Office (ILO) international network of health and safety information centres is celebrating its 50 years anniversary this year - 2009!

CIS was founded in 1959 as a joint endeavour of the International Labour Office (ILO), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the European Coal and Steel Community and the occupational safety and health authorities of 11 European countries. The original 11-member network of National Centres has grown to cover 154 countries all over the world. In many countries, Collaborating Centres complement the National Centres, and the Arab Occupational Health and Safety Institute of the Arab Labour Organization became the first Regional Centre in 2004. With the evolution of European institutions, CIS enjoys the support of the European Commission.

CIS's goal is to ensure that workers and everyone concerned with their protection have access to the facts they need to prevent occupational injuries and diseases.

CIS members will be gathering Occasion in Geneva between 20-23 October 2009 at the Annual CIS Meeting to celebrate this very Special Occasion.

As Gábor Sándi, CIS Coordinator, Geneva says:

50 years is a long time in the life of an organisation. It is particularly long if it deals with information in a field that deals with scientific, technical and social matters at a time of very fast change.

To read more about CIS and its activities see www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/cis/intro and also the CIS Newsletters including the special June 2009 edition at www.sheilapantry.com/cis/cis200906.html.

Towards Better Work and Well-being: International Conference on 10-12 February 2010 in Helsinki, Finland

The Conference provides an opportunity to discuss strategies and tools for the promotion of health and well-being at the workplace, and to explore their links to productivity. It also provides a forum for presenting findings, and demonstrating methods, tools and approaches to health, and well-being at workplaces.

The main themes are: Evidence, action and implementation, Management and good practices - Better productivity, The Workplace as an arena for health promotion, and Expert services and competencies.

The Conference is organised by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health with national and international partners. More information on the Conference is available at www.ttl.fi/en/international/conferences.

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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.

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The Full Text Collection has 5 databases containing thousands of pages of full text information and The Bibliographic Collection has 12 databases which together contain over 535,000 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.

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Entry opens for 2010 RoSPA health and safety awards

The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has launched its 2010 Occupational Health and Safety Awards, coinciding with the anniversary of a law that led to major improvements in the protection of workers.

The RoSPA Awards - an annual celebration of good practice in health and safety in the UK and overseas - are open to businesses and organisations of all sizes and types. In addition to looking at accident records, they consider organisations' overarching health and safety management systems and recognise practices such as strong leadership and workforce involvement in accident and ill health prevention.

The development of robust health and safety management systems was encouraged by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The Act, which was an umbrella for bringing together and reforming a patchwork of existing health and safety laws, provided a framework of goal-setting duties for reducing occupational accidents and ill health, stating that organisations should ensure the health and safety of their workers and others "so far as is reasonably practicable".

The closing date for entries into the RoSPA Awards is February 12, 2010, although entrants should start preparing their submissions now.

New features have been added to the awards scheme, now in its 54th year, in response to requests from previous winners.

For the first time, organisations can pre-register (before December 24) to benefit from discounted entry. They then have until February 12 to send their full submissions.

There is also a new optional feedback service for organisations entering for a non-competitive achievement award. Feedback will still be given as standard to those entering the competitive sector awards.

The awards are sponsored by NEBOSH - the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health - and presentations will take place next year in Birmingham in May (alongside Safety and Health Expo) and Glasgow in September.

The majority of awards are non-competitive and mark achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. Gold medals, president's awards and orders of distinction are presented to organisations maintaining high standards over time.

Competitive awards go to the best entries in 22 industry sectors including construction, healthcare, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing and education. There are awards for workforce involvement, training, occupational health, environmental management and managing occupational road risk (MORR), and a trophy for the best organisation operating or based in Scotland. RoSPA's top accolade is the Sir George Earle Trophy, which was won by Northern Rail in 2009.

The top MORR award is being sponsored by Allianz Insurance plc for the first time, becoming the RoSPA/Allianz MORR Trophy.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive, said: "It is 35 years since the introduction of one of the most enduring and successful pieces of social legislation of the past four decades, which set the scene for the proper management of health and safety to save lives and reduce injuries.

"The RoSPA Awards recognise organisations which have achieved or are striving to attain excellence in such management practices. More than 1,650 winners were honoured in 2009 and I hope their example will inspire other organisations to enter the scheme, both to gain independent recognition of their own achievements and to contribute to our shared knowledge of good practice."

For more information about the RoSPA Awards, or to request an entry form, visit www.rospa.com/awards, call 0121 248 2090 or email awards@rospa.com.

National Stress Awareness Day 4 November 2009

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is pleased to support National Stress Awareness Day 2009.

This year's International Stress Management Association campaign is focused on 'stressing the positives'.

One of the positive actions an employer can take is to tackle work-related stress using the HSE's Management Standards - www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm?ebul=cons/sep09&cr=21

More information about National Stress Awareness Day www.isma.org.uk/about-national-stress-awareness-day-nsad

What do Europeans think about their working conditions?

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has just released the results of a Europe-wide opinion poll on safety and health at work. According to the findings, there is widespread concern among European citizens that the current economic crisis could adversely affect health and safety at work, putting at risk the improvements that they report having seen over the last five years. Many Europeans also feel well informed about occupational safety and health and consider it an important factor when choosing a new job.

The economic downturn puts pressure on European workers

According to the opinion poll, 6 out of 10 Europeans expect the global economic downturn to deteriorate working conditions, especially regarding health and safety. And a significant majority of respondents (75%) across Member States believe that ill health is caused at least to some extent by the job that people have.

Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA, recognises the challenges that businesses face today and reminds them of investing in their workers health: "The financial crisis may lead organisations to ignore or minimise the importance of workplace safety and health. And even there is a risk that companies will consider cutting back on their investment in occupational safety and health (OSH). The challenge to us, as the Agency, is to convince them that there is no point in making short-term gains at the cost of long-term problems. All of our work shows that the more healthy workplaces are, the more productive they also tend to be".

Salary and job security most important

As unemployment increases, people may be more concerned with their immediate job security than with the safety and health of their working conditions. When asked about the deciding factors for choosing a new job, European Union citizens believe that job security and salary level are more important than safe and healthy working conditions, which ranked third in the poll before working hours.

Better information - improved health and safety conditions

The encouraging news is that people within many of the Member States (particularly EU-15) regard themselves as well informed about risks in the workplace and 57% of respondents believe that health and safety at work has improved over the last five years.

Gender differences

The opinion poll also reflects gender variations in attitudes towards OSH. Male participants regarded salary (61%) and job security (55%) as the most important factor when taking a new job, in comparison to lower percentages among female respondents (53% and 51%, respectively). On the contrary, women seem to give more importance to working hours (26%) than men (19%).

In addition, more male respondents believe that health and safety conditions have improved over recent years (62%) than their female counterparts (only 52%) and men feel better informed on safety and health matters (71%) than women (61%).

Jukka Takala said: "In fact, safety and health risks of women at work tend to be underestimated and neglected. The incompatibility of working time with family life, the 'double shift' which still affects women disproportionately and the fact that there is more emphasis on accidents at work than on occupational health (which leads to attention being turned towards male-dominated sectors and occupations) are some of the new challenges which must be faced. It is essential to take a 'gender sensitive' approach to safety and health at work, an issue which EU-OSHA will continue in its contribution to ensure greater understanding within businesses across the European Union".

EU-OSHA has played an essential role in promoting safety and health at work within Europe for more than a decade and will continue to contribute in its pro-active approach to the improvement of working conditions. The Agency's Healthy Workplaces campaign, including the European Week for Safety and Health at Work from 19 to 23 October, is the world's biggest information campaign on OSH, involving thousands of organisations and workers across Europe.

For more information on the results of the Pan-European opinion poll on occupational safety and health see: http://osha.europa.eu/en/statistics/eu-poll

See also: http://osha.europa.eu

Latest European Directives on Occupational safety and Health

Directive 2009/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)
Brussels, Official Journal of the European Union; L260/5, 3 October 2009, 5-19, 15 pages
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:260:0005:0019:EN:PDF

Directive 2009/57/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 relating to the roll-over protection structures of wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors
Brussels, Official Journal of the European Union; L261/1, 3 October 2009, 1-39, 39 pages
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:261:0001:0039:EN:PDF

Directive 2009/75/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on roll-over protection structures of wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors (static testing)
Brussels, Official Journal of the European Union; L261/40, 3 October 2009, 40-77, 39 pages
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:261:0040:0077:EN:PDF

Directive 2009/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 relating to simple pressure vessels
Brussels, Official Journal of the European Union; L264/12, 8 October 2009, 12-29, 18 pages
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:264:0012:0029:EN:PDF

US NIOSH Expands, Enhances r2p Web Page for Partnerships in Moving Research to Workplace Practice

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has posted an expanded, enhanced web page on Research to Practice (r2p), to stimulate new partnerships in moving new knowledge, interventions, and technologies from safety and health research into actual workplace use.

The new r2p page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/r2p delivers recent information about innovations developed by NIOSH that are available for licensing, and about r2p in general. The page also provides information about new research partnership opportunities with NIOSH and past r2p successes.

NIOSH continues to actively recruit partners to develop usable, commercial products from NIOSH's research findings and innovations. Ultimately, this results in the acceleration of research findings into practical, commercial products in the marketplace, which reach vast numbers of employers, workers, safety and health professionals, and others who will use them to promote effective occupational safety and health practices.

Partners include universities, trade and professional associations, industries, other government agencies, standards-setting organizations, and companies all eager to tap into the synergy of collaboration.

"With r2p, NIOSH and its partners leverage their collective strengths to develop, test, and commercialize new tools and methods for preventing job-related injury and illness," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "The revised web page is designed to engage new partners, provide them with the information they need to establish new licensing agreements or research collaborations with NIOSH, and showcase the successes that have resulted from r2p."

Some immediate opportunities for licensing include these:

Past examples of r2p success stories highlighted on the web page include partnerships that advanced new knowledge, interventions, and technologies for:

  1. preventing head injuries among emergency medical technicians in moving ambulances,
  2. fostering the incorporation of the "business case" for occupational safety and health into business school curricula, and
  3. preventing work-related hearing loss in mine roof bolters.

NIOSH plans to regularly update the page to showcase new licensing and partnership opportunities as they become available. The expanded page also invites potential partners to suggest ideas for research collaboration. For additional information about r2p, current partnership opportunities, or to share your ideas, please email researchtopractice@cdc.gov or call (513) 533-8662.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. It was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. For further information about the range of NIOSH activities and products, please visit the NIOSH web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh.

Preventing risks to young workers: policy, programmes and workplace practices

Young workers (15-24 years) are a very vulnerable group when it comes to occupational safety and health (OSH). However, the majority of OSH risks are preventable - whether they involve young or older workers - by applying the principles of risk assessment and putting in place the necessary preventive measures.

To support information exchange on best practice, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has produced a report Preventing risks to young workers: policy, programmes and workplace practice about how the occupational safety and health of young workers can be managed at policy and practice level.

The report includes a variety of case studies and also identifies some success factors for prevention.

Preventing risks to young workers: policy, programmes and workplace practice
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Working Environment Information EN 7, September 2009, 144 pages
TE3008760EN-C
ISSN 1830-5954
ISBN 9789291912261
http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/TE-30-08-760-EN-C_prevention_young-workers/view