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News Archive

February 2010

New UK Tobacco Strategy aims to make smoking history

The UK Government's new tobacco control strategy heralds the start of the next phase in tobacco control that will help make smoking history as fewer and fewer children take up the habit, said members of the Smokefree Action Coalition in response to the new plan just released. The new strategy includes ambitious, yet realisable, goals to dramatically reduce smoking rates among adults and children.

The UK Government has already achieved a great deal in recent years by making public places smokefree, establishing the stop smoking services, and more recently passing legislation that will end the display of tobacco at the point of sale and prohibit the sale of tobacco from vending machines. Over the past decade, smoking rates among adults have fallen by a fifth whilst smoking among 11-15 year olds has halved. There are now 2.1 million fewer smokers than ten years ago and this has reduced the cost to the National Health Service (NHS) of smoking by nearly £380 million pounds a year.

However there is much more that needs to be done to protect children from being lured into a lifetime's addiction to nicotine and to help existing smokers quit.

Members of the Smokefree Action Coalition believe that the measures contained in the new tobacco control strategy will have broad appeal and should be implemented which ever political party wins the next General Election in the UK.

Key measures contained in the strategy include:

The primary goals are to:

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH commented:

"The strategy demonstrates a continued commitment to tackling what is still the single, largest cause of preventable death and disease in this country. Building on the tremendous achievements of the past decade it will put us firmly on the path towards a smoke-free future for our children."

Professor Terence Stephenson, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

"We are pleased to see that children are a priority in this new strategy. We are particularly concerned about the health outcomes and effects when adults smoke in the presence of their children. Second-hand smoke has been found to be strongly linked to chest infections in children, asthma, ear problems and cot death."

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute said:

"The TSI fully supports the new strategy and is particularly pleased to see the commitment to protect children from tobacco and to tackle the supply of illicit tobacco products. Trading Standards Officers will be pleased to play their part by enforcing the tobacco control measures at the local level."

Contacts:

HSE - How to secure loads safely

Health and Safety Executive's advice - make sure loads are restrained and contained.

www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety

HSE - Whole-body vibration in ports

Health and Safety Executive's advice outlining the risk of developing back pain when using port machinery.

www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/wbv/ports.pdf

HSE - Protecting migrant workers

Guidance for small businesses from the Health and Safety Executive.

www.hse.gov.uk/migrantworkers/employer/protecting.pdf

UK's first performance standards for occupational health (OH) services

Dame Carol Black, National director for health and work has launched the UK's first performance standards for occupational health (OH) services as part of a wider move to nationwide accreditation planned for 2011.

The standards have been developed by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) in partnership with representatives from the main OH professional bodies, commercial OH providers, employer and employee bodies, and the regulators - define a set of minimum requirements, which will underpin the proposed voluntary accreditation scheme.

Both the scheme and standards are designed to help OH services identify good practice, credit work done by good providers, and allow purchasers to differentiate between services based on an independent validation of quality. As a first step, the FOM wants all OH services working in the private sector and NHS to familiarise themselves with the new standards, and to work towards complying with them during 2010.

"This is an important development for occupational health," said faculty president Professor David Coggon. "We have worked hard to make sure the standards are practical and proportionate, and we believe that they have the potential to improve occupational health services significantly in the UK."

The standards - covering business probity, information governance, people, facilities and equipment, and relationships with purchasers and workers are available.

www.fom.ac.uk/general-news/first-uk-standards-for-occupational-health-services-launched

Don't just pass the parcel: Accidents that would not have occurred if those involved had talked together by Trevor A. Kletz

In many design organisations responsibility for a project is passed on from one group of people to another. The research chemists develop a process and then pass it on to the process design group who blame the chemists for their ignorance of what is practicable. The project is then passed to the mechanical engineering group who develop the detailed design while the electrical, instrument and other specialized groups add their contributions. The project then passes to the construction team and finally to the team who will start up and operate the plant. These different groups may be in different buildings or places and may rarely or never speak to each other. Many accidents and operating problems have arisen as a result of such "pass the parcel" organisation. Some are described. To avoid these problems representatives of all the various groups should meet regularly as the project progresses. Each group is then able to suggest changes that will make the design easier for them and can comment on features which will increase their costs. Everyone will gain some knowledge of other groups' problems.

In Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Nov. 2009, vol. 22, issue 6, pp. 667-671, ISSN 0950-4230

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jlp.2009.07.018

What went wrong? Case studies of process plant disasters and how they could have been avoided, 5th edition, by Trevor A. Kletz

What went wrong? has revolutionised the way industry views safety. The new edition continues and extends the wisdom, innovations and strategies of previous editions, by introducing new material on recent incidents, and adding an extensive new section that shows how many accidents occur through simple miscommunications within the organisation, and how straightforward changes in design can often remove or reduce opportunities for human errors. Kletz's approach to learning as deeply as possible from previous experiences is made yet more valuable in this new edition, which for the first time brings together the approaches and cases of What went wrong? with the managerially focussed material previously published in Still going wrong. Updated and supplemented with new cases and analysis, this fifth edition is the ultimate resource of experienced based analysis and guidance for the safety and loss prevention professionals.

What went wrong? Case studies of process plant disasters and how they could have been avoided, 5th edition, by Trevor A. Kletz
Butterworth Heinemann/IChemE series, 2009, 5th edition
ISBN 9781856175319

Available through IChemE to order: Institution of Chemical Engineers Davis Building, Railway Terrace, Rugby, CV21 3HQ, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1788 578214 | Fax: +44 (0)1788 560833 | Email: sales@icheme.org | URL www.icheme.org/books

Proceedings of the First International Conference on Road Safety at Work held in Washington DC, USA in 2009

The full proceedings are now available online: www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/twu

US NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Programme evaluates a possible excess in cancer incidence among current and former employees in the criminal investigation section of a police department

The investigation determined that the cancers likely were not work-related. Investigators recommended measures to address potential chemical exposures. They recommended that air filters in the local exhaust ventilation and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems be replaced routinely and that the amount of outdoor air supplied to occupied areas of the building be increased.

Exhaust ventilation should also be added in rooms that house chemicals or emit nuisance odours. HHE Program investigators recommended that the super glue fuming chambers be replaced with units that minimize airborne ethyl cyanoacrylate exposures. Investigators also recommended that employees learn about cancer and get recommended cancer screenings.

US NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Programme evaluates exposures to hazardous metals, including lead and cadmium, during electronics recycling efforts at four prisons

Investigators recommended that these facilities be in full compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, including record keeping requirements, communication requirements, compliance plans, and medical surveillance.

HHE Program investigators also recommended that preplacement examinations for cadmium exposure be identical to periodic examinations so that baseline health status can be obtained prior to exposure. Investigators additionally recommended that a detailed job hazard analysis be conducted prior to beginning any new operation or before making changes to existing operations.

The American Society of Safety Engineers has developed a technical report, "Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes"

This report provides guidance on including prevention through design concepts and processes as a specifically identified element in a safety and health management system so that decisions pertaining to occupational risks are incorporated into the design and redesign processes, including consideration of the life cycle of facilities, materials, and equipment.

www.asse.org/publications

US NIOSH scientists published a major finding in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) journal Emerging Infectious Diseases on the relationship between silicosis and pulmonary mycosis.

Silicosis is a work-related disease caused by exposure to respirable silica dust. Pulmonary mycosis is a serious, irreversible but preventable disease caused by fungal infection. Scientists linked the two and found that some workers may be at risk for job-related co-exposure to silica dust and fungi.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/16/2/09-0824_article

Workplace Safety and Health Training Positively Impacts Worker

Occupational health and safety (OHS) training is an important part of managing workplace hazards and risks. A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Training & Education for the Protection of Workers reports on a study conducted by the Institute for Work and Health and US NIOSH to determine whether OHS training and education programs have a beneficial effect on workers and firms.

To read the full report go to www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-127 or go to the NIOSH Science Blog to provide comments: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2010/01/training

WHO Meeting Presentations Available

Presentations from the 8th Meeting of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centers in Occupational Health and the Joint CIS-CC Meeting are now posted on the NIOSH Web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/global/collaborations.html

Conference Nanomaterials and Worker Health

NIOSH and the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center will hold a conference, Nanomaterials and Worker Health: Medical Surveillance, Exposure Registries, and Epidemiologic Research, 21-23 July 2010 in Keystone, Colorado, USA

www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech

History of Occupational and Environmental Health Conference

4th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health, 19-22 June 2010 in San Francisco, California, USA

http://meded.ucsf.edu/cme