Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

November 2010

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9 December 2010 - Croner Hawksmere 6th Annual Health and Safety Conference, London, UK

Now in its sixth year, this extremely popular conference will take a very close look the major health and safety topics and help you move ahead to face the health and safety challenges in your organisation in these austere times.

It will give guidance and advice at what will constitute a successful occupational safety and health year in 2011.

This practical one-day conference, organised and chaired by Sheila Pantry OBE will help delegates in their everyday work in their organisations. The eminent speakers will highlight the priorities and essential topics that should be on the delegates' 2011 Health and Safety Agenda.

This conference will help you to:

Benefits of attending

The aims of this very practical conference will help you to:

Who should attend?

All Occupational Safety and Health Directors and Managers aiming to be as up-to-date as possible as they begin their work in 2011

Contact: www.kaplanhawksmere.co.uk/hsconference

Essential occupational health and safety information! OSH UPDATE is here to help - easy to use and very subscription friendly - why pay more?

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Send your request at www.sheilapantry.com/interest.html

Contact: Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0) 1909 772829 | Email: sp@sheilapantry.com
Websites: www.sheilapantry.com | www.oshworld.com | www.shebuyersguide.com | www.oshupdate.com | www.fireinf.com

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Evaluation of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010-2011 Website

Main findings of the User Panel survey:

Full report: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/evaluation_reports

PEROSH seminar: Research in Action - Removing the gap between research and practical prevention

The seminar will take place on 25 November 2010 (13:30 - 17:45) in Brussels and will invite leading European researchers and policy makers to discuss the major drivers and policy challenges to progress and ensure the ongoing interaction between working life research and practical prevention.

The quality of future work and workplaces will be crucial in ensuring a healthy, competitive and productive society with a high level of social progress. As has been stated in the EU2020 Strategy, the ambition for Europe is to lead as a knowledge based and inclusive society. To understand the complexity of today's world of work and to remain resilient, a multidisciplinary approach and successful association of academic knowledge and practical implementation will be necessary.

Through the presentation of strong case examples (noise, musculoskeletal disorders, return to work, mental health), the seminar will look into the possibilities for improving the interaction and communication between the different stakeholders. Moreover, it will consider the possibilities for improvement of the efficiency and cost-benefit of OSH interventions at workplace level via evidence-based research.

Please note that registration is free but places are limited and reservation is needed. Please register before 12 November via the PEROSH website.

We would appreciate if you could forward the invitation to colleagues potentially interested in participating in the Seminar.

Contact: Nele Roskams, European Affairs Coordinator, Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health (PEROSH), c/o Prevent, Rue Gachard 88/4, B-1050 Brussels | Tel: +32 (0)2 643 44 62 | Fax: +32 (0)2 643 44 40 | Email: nele.roskams@perosh.eu | www.perosh.eu

Spanish study highlights the real cost of cigarettes

Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) estimate that each pack of cigarettes really costs €107 for men and €75 for women, when premature death is taken into account. These figures confirm previous studies, and are of key importance in the cost-benefit analysis of smoking-prevention policies.

According to the study, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is not in fact €3-4, but €107 for male smokers and €75 for female smokers.

The study questions the axiom of classic economics on "consumer sovereignty," saying that those who smoke do not do so because the pleasure of smoking is greater than its cost, but rather because of the addictive power of nicotine and their failure to understand its true cost.

In order to determine the mortality cost associated with tobacco consumption in Spain, the experts used the so-called Vale of a Statistical Life (VSL), in other words the amount that people are prepared to pay in order to reduce their risk of death. The VSL estimates the average price to be €2.91 million.

The team also handled the information on workers in the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) for the 1996-2001 period, and the results of the Ministry of Labour and Immigration Survey on Occupational Accidents.

Understanding the costs helps to prevent smoking.

"The estimated cost of premature death from a pack of cigarettes is a key element in the cost-benefit analysis of policies designed to prevent and control smoking," the researchers say.

In this sense, the study indicates that the taxes and smoking restrictions imposed in public places strengthen smokers' self-control mechanisms. According to the study, "smoking prevention and control policies could generate considerable social benefits, since the wellbeing losses associated with tobacco consumption are much greater than suggested by the external costs."

"Despite the law on healthcare measures to combat smoking having come into effect in 2006, more can still be done in Spain on measures to control tobacco consumption," the experts conclude.

"El coste de la mortalidad asociado al consumo de tabaco en España", Revista Española de Salud Pública 84(3): 271-280, 2010"

M Belén Cobacho Tornel, Ángel López Nicolás, José María Ramos Parreño.

US NIOSH Researchers Developed a Novel Training Tool that Simulates the Effects of Noise Exposure on Hearing Loss

Job-induced hearing loss is a big problem in today's work settings, affecting workers in industry sectors such as manufacturing, construction, mining, transportation, agriculture, and the military. Approximately 22 million workers are exposed on the job to noise levels that could harm their hearing.

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed the NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator, a software training and communication tool that demonstrates the effects of noise exposure on a worker's hearing without exposing the person to harmful noise levels or toxic materials. The software considers several factors including age, gender, level of exposure, and years of exposure, and then simulates human speech that is degraded to reflect the estimated hearing loss.
For more details www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-160

E-Fact 53 - Risk assessment for biological agents

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work E-Fact 53 covers a brief introduction to biological agents and the hazards generated by these agents and includes sections on 'How to do a Risk Assessment' and 'How to use a Checklist'. A checklist is presented to help identify the hazards potentially posed by biological agents. An extensive list of 'proposed solutions and examples of preventive measures' is then considered in the light of some of the questions raised in the general checklist. An example of risk assessment relating to legionella is then presented. Finally, sources of further information are presented at the end of the e-fact.

https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/e-facts/efact53/view

Common Sense Common Safety

A report by Lord Young of Graffham to the UK Prime Minister following a Whitehall-wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture.

The aim is to free businesses from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and the fear of having to pay out unjustified damages claims and legal fees. Above all it means applying common sense not just to compensation but to everyday decisions once again. The UK 1974 Health and Safety at Work etc Act has provided an effective framework for businesses and individuals for almost 40 years. Today we have the lowest number of non-fatal accidents and the second lowest number of fatal accidents at work in Europe. In my review of the workings of this Act, none of my recommendations applies to hazardous occupations where the present system, although probably overly bureaucratic, is nevertheless effective in reducing accidents at work.

Despite the success of the Act, the standing of health and safety in the eyes of the public has never been lower, and there is a growing fear among business owners of having to pay out for even the most unreasonable claims. Press articles recounting stories where health and safety rules have been applied in the most absurd manner, or disproportionate compensation claims have been awarded for trivial reasons, are a daily feature of our newspapers.

All this is largely the result of the way in which sensible health and safety rules that apply to hazardous occupations have been applied across all occupations. Part of the responsibility lies with the European Union (EU) where the Framework Directive of 1989 has made risk assessments compulsory across all occupations, whether hazardous or not, and part to the enthusiasm with which often unqualified health and safety consultants have tried to eliminate all risk rather than apply the test in the Act of a reasonably practicable approach.

Businesses now operate their health and safety policies in a climate of fear. The advent of no win, no fee claims and the all-pervasive advertising by claims management companies have significantly added to the belief that there is a nationwide compensation culture. The no win, no fee system gives rise to the perception that there is no financial risk to starting litigation; indeed some individuals are given financial enticements to make claims by claims management companies who are in turn paid ever-increasing fees by solicitors.

Ultimately, all these costs are met by insurance companies who then increase premiums. However, any employer not covered by accident insurance faces bankruptcy, which encourages them to follow every recommendation of their health and safety consultant, no matter how absurd. The system for claiming compensation is a growing industry in itself.

Common Sense Common Safety: A report by Lord Young of Graffham to the UK Prime Minister following a Whitehall-wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture.
Cabinet Office, October 2010, 58 pages
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/402906_CommonSense_acc.pdf