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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

June 2010

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New research shows more people die from work related cancer than on the roads in the UK

New research estimates that work related cancer kills more people in the UK than road traffic accidents. The study which was presented at the Society of Occupational Medicine's Annual Scientific Meeting has for the first time quantified in detail the burden of occupational cancer in Britain including the industries and workers who are most at risk and the carcinogenic substances that cause different types of cancer. Men working in the construction industry and women undertaking shift work were found to be most at risk of work related cancer.

The Society of Occupational Medicine believes that many of these lives can be saved by raising awareness of the substances at work that can cause cancer, the potential risks and reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and working practices.

The research estimates that over 8000 people die from work related cancer in the UK each year - more than was previously thought. This compares with 3000 people who lose their lives in road traffic accidents or 180 who die from accidents at work. The study shows that people working in a broad range of industries are at risk. These include those working in construction, metal working, personal and household services, mining, land transport, publishing, retail and catering, farming and several manufacturing sectors. 56% of men diagnosed with work related cancer came from the construction industry, whilst over half of the women (54%) diagnosed with work related cancer were attributable to shift work that includes night work. Much of the evidence that shows shift work leads to a greater risk of breast cancer has been obtained from studies of nurse and flight personnel and involves shift patterns that disrupt the circadian rhythm.

In many situations, workers such as those from the construction industry, painters and decorators and workers who are exposed to substances such as asbestos, silica and diesel exhaust fumes, are simply unaware of the risks and because of this, appropriate controls are not put in place. In some cases, simple practical steps can be taken to reduce exposure such as substituting the substance to something safer, wearing protective clothing, increasing ventilation or changing working practices. Often a change in attitude is needed. Communication about the risks needs to be undertaken and other strategies looked at such as regulatory change, technical innovations and training interventions to ensure the risks for workers from harmful cancer causing agents is reduced.

"There is a social inequality in occupational cancer risk, which is concentrated in manual workers and lower employment grades. This means that many of the industries with workers at risk don't have access to good occupational health advice so proper risk assessments are not undertaken" said Dr Olivia Carlton, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine "The missed opportunity is that we know many of the culprits and how to control them. It's simply a case of getting the right expertise into the right workplaces."

Dr Lesley Rushton, the author of the study said "In addition to deaths the study has estimated nearly 14000 newly diagnosed cases of cancer occur each year related to occupational carcinogens. For many carcinogens exposure levels have gradually been reducing over the years; risk reduction strategies should therefore focus on workplaces where exposures are still occurring"

Over a million people in the UK are exposed to cancer causing substances in their workplaces.

The study identifies the chemical or exposure circumstances that contribute to the current cancer burden in Great Britain. Whilst asbestos comes out top, other substances such as crystalline silica found in construction and other industrial processes, particles from diesel engine exhausts, paints and mineral oils were all found to present a serious public health risk. Five of the top ten on the list are all commonly found in construction and we need to target the message for improved control to this sector in particular.

Concern about psychosocial risks such as stress, violence and harassment is increasing in European organisations, the first findings of the biggest workplace health and safety survey in Europe show. The new data was released on 3 June 2010 by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) at the mid-term review conference of the Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work (2007 - 2012).

Four out of five European managers express their concerns about work-related stress, the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) reveals, making stress at work as important as workplace accidents for companies (79%). Work-related stress is very acute in health and social work (91% of companies regard it as of some or major concern) and in education (84%).

"With the financial crisis in full swing, 79% of European managers voice their concern about stress at work, which is already recognised as an important burden on European productivity", said EU-OSHA Director Jukka Takala at the conference in Barcelona. "But despite the high levels of concern, it is clearly worrying that only 26% of EU organisations have procedures in place to deal with stress. The ESENER survey highlights the importance of providing effective support for enterprises to tackle stress, which will be crucial in ensuring we have the healthy productive workforce needed to boost European economic performance and competitiveness".

The survey also shows that 42% of management representatives consider it more difficult to tackle psychosocial risks, compared with other safety and health issues. The sensitivity of the issue (53%) and lack of awareness (50%) are the main barriers for dealing effectively with psychosocial issues, according the findings.

ESENER shows that workplaces with employee participation are much more likely to see successful health and safety measures implemented. This is particularly the case for smaller workplaces where it is an important trigger for effective management of psychosocial risks.

In fact, 84% of companies with formal on-site employee representation have an occupational safety and health (OSH) policy or action plan, compared to only 71% of companies without formal representation. Measures to deal with psychosocial risks such as violence, stress and bullying are applied about twice as frequently by enterprises consulting their employees than by those designing their measures without the participation of employees.

Small size need not be an obstacle to effective risk management. ESENER found that the main barriers for dealing with health and safety issues are lack of resources (36%) such as time, staff or money and lack of awareness (26%).

Survey evidence also shows that even smaller companies are able to carry out in-house risk assessment, but need support in the form of expertise, guidance and tools to manage their risk management process effectively and to design and implement successful preventive measures.

Through its campaign and information services EU-OSHA is working to raise awareness on workplace hazards and promote comprehensive and integrated risk management. EU-OSHA makes available a number of products to make this process easier, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A new Risk Assessment Tools Database brings together checklists, handbooks, brochures, questionnaires and interactive tools from across

Europe, and is freely available from the website. An Online interactive Risk Assessment tool (OiRA) is currently being developed and should encourage and help many thousands of European SMEs across all sectors to carry out risk assessments.

In the context of the Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work (2007-12), it is important to know how workplace risks can be successfully managed and what the obstacles can be to achieving this, so that future OSH strategies can be better planned and supporting measures are tailored to companies' needs. The ESENER survey is a unique pan-European indicator of OSH performance that should assist policy-makers evaluate the progress and implementation of the Strategy.

The full ESENER report and a summary in 22 languages are available from the Agency's website.


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The annual World Day against Child labour on 12 June 2010

The annual World Day against Child labour on 12 June 2010 put the spotlight on the need for urgent national and international steps to accelerate action against child labour.

Coinciding with the opening of the football world cup, the theme for this year's World Day is "Go for the goal-end child labour". The goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016 was the major focus of a recent Global Conference against Child Labour held in The Hague.

On June 11 2010 the ILO's recently launched Global Report on Child Labour was discussed in the International Labour Conference which is presently meeting in Geneva. Following an introduction by the ILO Director-General a panel of government, employers and workers spokespersons will discuss the report's findings prior to a general discussion of the report.

World Day against Child Labour 2010 Events

World Day events were held in more than 60 countries. Events around the world will involve governments, employers and workers, other UN organizations and non-governmental organizations, high level panels, media events, awareness raising campaigns, cultural performances and other public events. In keeping with the theme for the Day, many events will have a football focus.

For more information on World Day events, reports, background and other materials, see

In Geneva, in addition to events in the International Labour Conference, on 11 June 2010 between 14.00-14.45 hundreds of local school children were joined by the Mayor of Geneva, Ms Sandrine Salerno, Mr. Charles Beer, Conseiller d'Etat, ILO officials and visiting Conference delegates participated in a "Children's solidarity event" at the Place des Nations. This event is organized by "Le Respect, ça change la Vie" community association, in cooperation with the ILO. Children and local civic leaders gathered around a football goal to "go for the goal against child labour" and show the "Red card against child labour".

A special themed issue of Science for Environment Policy focusing on the combined toxic effects of chemicals

Is now available to download, free, from:

Beyond the laboratory, humans, animals and plants are never subject to single chemicals in set doses. In the real world we are all exposed to an intricate cocktail of chemicals and other stressors which can interact to produce toxic effects that are difficult to predict. This thematic issue explores research which will help decision makers overcome some of the challenges associated with assessing the combination effects of chemicals.

The articles offer easy-to-read summaries of key studies in the field, to give a comprehensive view of the latest developments. They explore topics including:

Current regulatory approaches to assessing chemicals usually evaluate single substances, chemical by chemical. However, there are concerns that this approach is insufficient and that the combination effects of chemicals should be addressed in a more systematic way. The Council of the EU adopted conclusions on combination effects in December 2009, which acknowledge these concerns and invites the European Commission to assess how and whether this problem is addressed by existing legislation.

Science for Environment Policy is a free news service designed to strengthen links between environmental research and policy. Combination Effects of Chemicals is the twenty-first in a series of special Thematic Issues which take an in-depth look at issues high on the policy agenda. It is guest-edited by Dr Hans Løkke of Aarhus University, Denmark.

In addition to monthly special issues, subscribers to Science for Environment Policy receive a weekly news alert by email covering a range of environmental research. All news alert articles and Thematic Issues can be viewed on the service's website:

Two new studies from NIOSH, USA

New Screening Tool to Protect Workers from Skin Allergies

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Scientists and colleagues reported the development of a simple, rapid, inexpensive test for chemicals that can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The new test has potential for use as a preliminary screening tool to determine whether chemicals used in consumer products and at workplaces might cause skin allergies in people. The full article is available at

Asthma and Asthma-Like Symptoms Among Soy Processing Workers

Workers at a soy processing plant showed a higher-than-expected rate of asthma and asthma-like symptoms compared with the general population, a study by NIOSH researchers found. Asthma outcomes were significantly associated with immune reactivity to soy.

The findings strengthen the association found in past studies between workplace exposures in soy processing and risk of occupational asthma and asthma-like effects and suggest that a precautionary approach should be followed in controlling exposures. The article was published online April 22 before print by the European Respiratory Journal.

13-16 March 2011 - 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, Chicago, IL, USA

The largest gathering of process safety professionals in the world, the Global Congress on Process Safety, presented by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and the AIChE Safety & Health Division, is currently looking for proposals to present.

This annual event - the primary forum for practitioners to share practical and technological advances in all aspects of process safety - is comprised of the coordinated sessions of the CCPS International Conference, the Loss Prevention Symposium (LPS) and the Process Plant Safety Symposium (PPSS).

In 2011, the 7th Global Congress on Process Safety focuses on Inherently Safer Design (ISD) - an approach to process safety that focuses on eliminating or reducing hazards.

As a concept and philosophy, Inherently Safer Design serves as part of an iterative decision-making process aimed at risk reduction. ISD is ongoing and continuous throughout the lifecycle of a material or process and across the entire footprint of the process - from supply, to processing, through final material disposition.

The abstract deadline is September 15, 2010.

Check out the web site for full details:

19-20 October 2010 - 7th Conference on Flat Bottom Tanks to be held in Munich, Germany

As in the past, latest developments with regards to the implementation of new standards and regulations will be in the focus of this year's Conference.

Furthermore we intend to provide technical presentations on environmental an industrial safety regulations, pollution control, international case studies and field reports. However, we are looking forward to additional topics.

Especially speakers from abroad are invited to give presentations at the 7th Conference on Flat Bottom Tanks. All German presentations will be simultaneously translated into English.


The Conference addresses:

  1. Agencies responsible for environmental protection, water conservation and building legislation
  2. Operators from the chemical and mineral oil industry as well as from power suppliers
  3. Constructors of plants with flat bottom tanks
  4. Manufacturers of flat bottom tanks
  5. Specialized companies and suppliers for flat bottom tanks
  6. Experts


Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Peter Szalata, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH | Tel: +49 89 5791-1896 | Email:

Factsheet 88: Safe maintenance - safe workers

Maintenance is carried out in every workplace and in all industry sectors. It is included in the everyday duties of most workers, not just maintenance technicians and engineers. Workers involved in maintenance operations are exposed to many hazards; therefore the employer must conduct a risk assessment for the operation, and involve workers in this process. The results of the risk assessment should be communicated to everybody concerned. Safe systems of work need to be followed even when there is time pressure. This European Agency for Safety and Health at Work factsheet gives guidance and advice.

Factsheet 88: Safe maintenance - safe workers
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; L 2985; 2010; 2 pages; ISSN 1681-2123

Tank Storage Asia 2010 to be held on 10-11 November 2010

Maya Hotel, Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia

This year's Tank Storage Asia expo & conference has moved from the traditional storage hub of Singapore to the up and coming region of Malaysia.

Singapore may be one of the largest oil refining and trading hubs in the world, with total storage capacity standing at close to 10 million m³ and annual oil trade registering around $300 billion's worth, but it has no natural resources and is rapidly running out of space.

Ever increasing land prices are causing companies to look to Malaysia as a supplementary storage centre, and significant new terminal storage capacity is expected to come on line in the next few years, in particular along the Johor coast near Singapore.

The estimated storage capacity by 2020 in Malaysia is expected to be around 25 million m³, primarily in that region.

The first phase of European trader Trafigura's 400,000 m³ Tanjung Langsat oil storage terminal in Johor has just been completed, global oil trader Vitol is planning its own terminal at Tanjung Bin and Vopak is conducting a feasibility study to develop a storage facility in Pengerang.

Other plans for the region include Malaysia's privately held Merapoh Resources, which has signed a MoU for a proposed $10 billion (€6.7 billion) refinery in Yan, Kedah, northern Malaysia; Malaysia's Pristine Oil, which is building tanks to hold up to 1.5 million barrels of oil and Malaysia's Trans-Peninsula Petroleum, which is working on a $7 billion oil pipeline across the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia.

OSH in figures: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the EU - Facts and figures

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain the most common occupational disease in the European Union and workers in all sectors and occupations can be affected. A report from The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work gives recent figures, and also demonstrates an increasing impact of musculoskeletal disorders on costs.

This latest report, following on from the Agency's previous research, aims to give an updated overview of the current European situation as regards musculoskeletal disorders, the trends over the years since the first campaign in 2000, and a detailed insight into the causes and circumstances behind MSDs. The report highlights the main issues and aims to provide a well-founded evidence base, helping policy makers, actors at enterprise and sector level, as well as researchers and those who record, prevent and compensate occupational diseases in the European Union to set the agenda for the next years.

OSH in figures: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the EU - Facts and figures
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Source Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; L 2985; TERO09009ENC, 4 May 2010; 180 pages; ISBN -13 9789291912612; Series European Risk Observatory
For full report: