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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

July 2010

Authoritative and validated Occupational health and safety information is essential. OSH UPDATE is here to help...

OSH UPDATE - arguably one of the world's best collections of full text and bibliographic health and safety information is continuously updated as new data is published.

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.

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Spot the Signs of Workplace Violence

Violence is a growing concern in the workplace, and while many may think of violence as only physical assault, it is a much broader problem. To help people recognize and report the signs, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed posters depicting various types of behaviours that are considered workplace violence.

"Workplace violence is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in his or her employment," says Jessie Callaghan, senior technical specialist at CCOHS, and expert in the areas of workplace violence and bullying. "It's not limited to incidents that occur within a traditional workplace. Work-related violence can occur at off-site business functions, at work social events, in clients' homes or away from work but resulting from work, such as a threatening telephone call to your home from a client."

Workplace bullying is a form of workplace violence that involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a person or group, or is an assertion of power through aggression. Each of these acts is considered a serious workplace problem and can cause undue stress, anxiety and low morale, ultimately affecting the individual, the employer and productivity as a whole for the organization.

For more information on violence and bullying and to download the free PDF posters, please visit the CCOHS website at

For those that suffer violence and aggression in libraries and information centres see:
Managing stress and conflict in Libraries by Sheila Pantry OBE

Mission in the Gulf of Mexico, from Dr John Howard, Director, NIOSH, USA

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig, caused by a blowout, killed eleven workers and ignited a fireball whose flames were visible from many miles away.

The resulting fire could not be extinguished. On April 22, 2010, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the drilled well gushing at the sea floor and causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, which continues to this day. See live video feed from remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) on the BP Web site (

In the aftermath of the explosion, fire, and continuing release of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a large response effort has been mounted under the direction of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The response effort is led by the U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is heavily engaged in several activities in support of the Deepwater Horizon Response.

First, NIOSH is rostering all response workers. To date, NIOSH has rostered over 20,000 response workers on the water and on the land. Response workers on the water are involved in activities at the source of the crude oil release, working on vessels involved with burning crude oil on the water and working on vessels applying dispersant on the surface of the water and booming and skimming oil from the surface. Response workers on the land are involved in shoreline cleanup, decontamination of equipment and wildlife, and management of the waste stream. More information about the rostering effort can be found at One of the lessons learned from the World Trade Center response was the necessity of having the basic contact, demographic, and job information of each response worker. Such documentation will aid in monitoring potential health effects over time.

Second, NIOSH is also conducting a series of health hazard evaluations of response workers. An interim report and updates to the Deepwater Horizon Hazard Evaluation are posted at

Third, NIOSH is conducting health surveillance through worker health and symptom surveys and by analyzing injury and illness data from cleanup contractors. Also, CDC is collecting and analyzing health surveillance data from poison control centers, healthcare facilities, and Gulf States health departments. Findings are posted at

Fourth, NIOSH, together with OSHA, has developed Interim Guidance for Protecting Deepwater Horizon Workers and Volunteers, a set of recommendations to be followed during the response, and will update those recommendations as more is learned at

Fifth, NIOSH plans scientific studies to (1) examine the toxicity of this particular type of crude oil, as well as the oil dispersants being used, and (2) evaluate exposure monitoring using air sampling and bio-monitoring measurements. NIOSH will also propose health effects studies that should be conducted in exposed workers.

I invite you to visit the NIOSH Web site to learn more about what NIOSH is doing as a part of the Deepwater Horizon Response or join the discussion on the NIOSH Science Blog

I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to each NIOSH employee who is involved in the Response. As we see from ongoing reports and news coverage, we and our federal, state, and local partners are serving a vital need in helping to protect the health and safety of those who are working hard in diverse response tasks on the water and on shore. As I hope our products demonstrate, we are committed to addressing this need with our benchmark values of scientific diligence, partnership, and technical expertise.

Mainstreaming occupational safety and health into university education

The European Occupational Safety and Health Agency new publication Mainstreaming OSH into university-level education: new report highlights challenges and opportunities asks the vital question "How do we ensure that young people are aware of OSH before they enter the world of employment"?

This 2010 report looks at the challenges of 'mainstreaming' or integrating OSH into university courses, and imaginative ways of meeting those challenges.

Do you have access to all the Fire information you need? Think again...

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FIREINF now has 17 databases - the last one added is the BRE Flair Database.

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The Full Text Collection has 5 databases and The Bibliographic Collection has 12 databases. Together these sources contain over 534,000 records with links to 32,000 full text documents 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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Disasters: learning the lessons for a safer world by David Eves, CB

Disasters: learning the lessons for a safer world is more than just a catalogue of catastrophes and mistakes. For each of the events recorded here, the author gives the background to what happened, a summary of the outcome and details of the lessons that were, or should have been, learnt. He also explores the politics of disaster and risk reduction. The book also goes beyond the stereotypical idea of what makes a 'disaster'. Fires, explosions, chemical and nuclear leaks, and structural collapses are all included, but so are events that are less high-profile but nevertheless offer important information for improving future risk management. Some, such as the Windsor Castle fire or the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, killed no-one but cost millions to put right. Others, such as asbestos, crept up on unsuspecting workers, causing fatal diseases many years after exposure. Covers: fires; explosions at fuel stores; environmental pollution; accidents with high explosives; shipwrecks; offshore oil disasters; air crashes; accidents in space; nuclear disasters; mining accidents; railway collisions; crowd crushes; stadium tragedies; human factor; structural collapses; floods; silent killers - carcinogens; public and animal health; reducing hazards and risks; politics of disaster; establishing a culture of safety.

Disasters: learning the lessons for a safer world by David Eves, CB
Published by the Institution of Safety and Health, 2010, 256 pages
ISBN 978 0 901357 46 5

Noise generated by vuvuzelas during the world football championship

According to recent measurements by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), noise generated by vuvuzelas as frequently used at the moment related to the world football championship can affect the hearing.

Noise levels measured by IFA at a distance of half a meter were at levels up to 100 Decibel (A). At a distance of 10 cm levels were even higher: 125 bis 130 Decibel (A), close to aircraft noise.

The IFA experts concluded that the use of vuvuzelas could lead to permanent damage for hearing for amateurs and workers in sports areas, and other places where they are used. They also recommended the use of hearing protection, for example adequate and appropriate ear plugs, and for workers to keep a distance of five meters when not wearing hearing protection.

Also Read EU-OSHA´s information on noise at work:

EU-OSHA 2009 Annual Report: spending on health and safety is an investment not a cost

"Spending on workplace health and safety should be seen as an investment and not a cost", according to the Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

Along with the publication of the Agency's Annual Report for 2009, Jukka Takala warned against organisations "abandoning long term benefits for short term gains, by reducing their health and safety budgets in difficult times. With 80% of European managers reporting workplace accidents as the main concern, we cannot afford to make cuts in workplace health and safety."

Full annual report:

Slip, trip and fall prevention

Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention provides an understanding of the advantages and limitations of each method, allowing education choices of approved methods. Contains checklists, guides, handouts, and case studies put easy to use tools into safety managers hands. Includes extensive illustrations of preferred design dimensions. Delineates the concepts and pitfalls in developing management controls for effectively reducing accidents. Identifies key exposures for facilities most susceptible to losses from slip, trip, and fall accidents. More than one million people suffer from a slip, trip, or fall each year and 17,700 died as a result of falls in 2005. They are the number one preventable cause of loss in the workplace and the leading cause of injury in public places. Completely revised, Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention: A Practical Handbook, Second Edition demonstrates how, with proper design and maintenance, many of these events can be prevented.

This well-illustrated and carefully researched volume covers standards and best practices for facility design, effective management control programs, test methods and standards relating to pedestrian safety, and slip resistance methods in the U.S. and abroad. It includes checklists, handouts, case studies, rich online resources, and an extensive bibliography. New in the Second Edition: Enhanced photographs and tables, profiles of online resources, updated examples, case studies, and sidebars. A new chapter on the unique hazards and controls to protect staff and patrons in food service. A new chapter on known parameters and causes of patient falls, assessment methods, and methods for reduction of staff falls. Discussion of flooring and floor maintenance, cleaning products and methods, outsourcing, and maintenance.

Coverage of management controls, a holistic approach to integrating slip/fall prevention controls into existing functions, hazard mapping, and electronic inspection systems. Physical aspects of rubber walkways surfaces, expanded floor mats, new stairway statistics, visibility, and design. Roughness measurements, perception of slipperiness, overseas standards, profiles of high risk industries, and accident investigation. Contrary to popular belief, most slips and falls are not due to carelessness. This Handbook examines the many options available in the design and maintenance of facilities that can reduce or eliminate the potential for slips and falls.

Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention
by Steven Di Pilla
CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group), July 2009, 480 pages
ISBN 9781420082340

Safe Maintenance

This new report from the European Occupational Safety and Health Agency shows the main hazards, risks, health problems and accidents that maintenance workers in Europe are exposed to and suggests appropriate prevention measures. 10-15% of all fatal workplace accidents are related to maintenance operations. EU-OSHA's new campaign on Safe Maintenance raises awareness of the importance of proper maintenance work.

22-26 August 2010 - The tri-annual meeting of the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety 2010, Oslo, Norway

Organised by the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety - the 2010 meeting details can be found on

How to Deal with High Summer Temperatures in the Office

The UK Chartered Institution of Building Engineers' (CIBSE) Keeping cool in a heatwave briefing sheets have been updated to include even more top tips for Facilities Managers and building users to ensure they stay comfortable while in the office this summer.

The briefing sheets provide practical advice on keeping cool in the workplace, helping Facilities Managers to communicate with building users and take action in key areas such as reducing internal gains and checking the effectiveness of windows, blinds and ventilation. Building users can access tips on keeping themselves and their workspaces cool, with extra guidance for managers.

The briefing sheets are based on information contained in the upcoming CIBSE publication KS16: How to manage overheating in buildings - a practice guide to improving summertime comfort in buildings, produced in conjunction with the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Keeping cool in a heatwave: Top tips for facilities managers

Keeping cool in a heatwave: Top tips for building users