News from around the World
- Pipeline explosion kills 100 - 12 September 2011
- OSH UPDATE and FIREINF: Essential access to worldwide authoritative and validated FIRE and OSH information that is user friendly and cost effective
- International Conference on Multiscale Approaches for Process Innovation (MAPI)
- Technical Analysis of Accident in Chemical Process Industry and Lessons Learnt
- A+A - 18-21 October 2011
- EU-OSHA launches landmark project to facilitate risk assessment in Europe's small enterprises
- EU-ECHA guidance on Labelling and Packaging in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 now available in 22 EU languages
- Tips on tackling 6 causes of work-related stress
- The EMEC Europa conference, 11 to 13 October 2011, will be held at the ICM Conference Centre of Munich Trade Fair in conjunction with inter airport Europe 2011 in Munich, Germany
- New reports from NIOSH, USA
- Employers advised of the benefits of workplace exercise
- Don't use myths as an excuse to cut back on workplace safety
- European Public Consultation on 20 potential Substances of Very High Concern
- ECHA Newsletter 4/2011 is now available
- USA: ITUC Calls on Verizon to Negotiate with Unions as 45,000 Workers Strike
- HR uses forensic experts for tribunal evidence
- Call for Papers: Safety in Workplaces Australia Limited invite you to apply to speak at West Australia Safety Conference 7th - 9th August, 2012, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
- News from Brazil Petrobras: High training standards for platform operators
- Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene (IIOSH) announces new areas of information on their website
- News from New Zealand: Tragedy leads to high hazards action
Pipeline explosion kills 100 - 12 September 2011
A petrol pipeline explosion 12 September 2011 has killed more than 100 people in Nairobi, Kenya, after locals scrambled for free fuel when the pipeline began leaking
The oil pipeline, which runs through the Sinai slum region situated between the city centre and the airport, ignited after a cigarette butt was thrown into an open sewer where the oil was collecting, reports have suggested.
Bodies were scattered up to 300 m away from the blast area and some nearby shacks were burned to the ground in the blaze.
According to BBC reports, bodies were also seen floating in a nearby river after those burned tried to douse themselves after catching on fire.
OSH UPDATE and FIREINF: Essential access to worldwide authoritative and validated FIRE and OSH information that is user friendly and cost effective
Keeping up with the latest worldwide OSH and fire information can be a time consuming exercise, but help is available if you subscribe to the ever growing OSH UPDATE collection of 20 databases and the FIREINF collection of 17 databases.
It is worth spending time checking out the latest reports and other guidance and advice that have recently produced from worldwide sources. You will find many such pieces of advice and guidance in OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and in FIREINF www.fireinf.com
The electronic services OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and FIREINF www.fireinf.com will help you and your organisation to keep up-to-date. These services continue to bring you the latest information on health, safety, environment, fire and other subjects that you will find useful in your daily work. OSH UPDATE contains over 817,000 records - including CISDOC database and FIREINF over 538,000 records.
OSH UPDATE and FIREINF services contain both full text and bibliographic information are continuously enlarged as new information is published. These services are used by organisations, universities, companies and some ILO CIS Health and Safety Information Centres worldwide.
International Conference on Multiscale Approaches for Process Innovation (MAPI)
25-27 January 2012
Technical Analysis of Accident in Chemical Process Industry and Lessons Learnt
A study of past accidents in the chemical process industry (CPI) has been carried out. It is found that the majority (73%) of the accidents were caused by technical and engineering failures. Based on the causes of accident and types of equipment failures, five common features of accident in the CPI were identified. The analysis reveals that the contribution of the design to accidents is significant and the advancement of knowledge/technology is not shared effectively by practitioners. Dependency on the add-on control strategy should be reduced and inherently safer or passive engineered must be considered as premier risk reduction strategy to lessen the safety load, for better design and to prevent accident effectively.
Technical Analysis of Accident in Chemical Process Industry and Lessons Learnt
By Kamarizan Kidam, Markku Hurme, Mimi H. Hassim, Helsinki University of Technology, Plant Design, Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology, P.O. Box 6100, FIN-02015 TKK, Finland, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, FKKKSA, 81310 UTM Skudai, Johor, Malaysia. 6 pages. www.aidic.it/CISAP4/webpapers/24Kidam.pdf
More Major Accidents and Incidents can be found in OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com. Ask for trial of this major resource of OSH information
A+A - 18-21 October 2011
Düsseldorf will be dedicated to prevention and safety topics from 18 to 21 October. These are the dates for the biannual A+A, the leading International Trade Fair with Congress for Safety and Health at Work.
At its inception in 1954, the trade fair was launched as a national event for "Occupational Safety + Occupational Medicine". Since then, A+A has developed into an authoritative international idea and market platform.
This year, with 1,580 exhibitors from 54 nations on 57,400 m² of booked exhibition area, it is posting new record numbers and presents itself as international as never before. Two thirds of the exhibitors come from abroad. After Germany (27,200 m²), the highest demand for display area comes from Italy (4,500 m²), China (3,200 m²), France (3,000 m²), Great Britain (2,800 m²) and the Netherlands (2,000 m²).
For further information on A+A 2011: www.AplusA.de
EU-OSHA launches landmark project to facilitate risk assessment in Europe's small enterprises
Officially launched on 12 September 2011 at the XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Istanbul, the Online interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) project marks the first initiative at EU level to facilitate workplace risk assessment. Developed by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the innovative tool will help Europe's 20 million micro and small enterprises to improve safety and health for their workers by assessing risks through an easy-to-use and cost-free web application.
"Experience shows that proper risk assessment is the key to healthy workplaces," explains Dr Jukka Takala, Director of EU-OSHA. "Yet carrying out risk assessments can be quite challenging, particularly for small enterprises as they lack adequate resources or the know-how to do so effectively. The reasons companies give for not carrying out checks are lack of expertise (41%), the belief that risk assessments are too expensive or that they are overly time consuming (38%). In OiRA, EU-OSHA is proud to offer a free online tool to overcome these challenges. OiRA contributes to eliminating or reducing the 168 000 work-related deaths, 7 million accidents and 20 million cases of work-related disease annually in the EU 27", says Dr Takala.
The vision of EU-OSHA's landmark project is to assist small enterprises in putting in place a step-by-step risk assessment process - starting with the identification and evaluation of workplace risks, through to the decision making on preventive action, identification of adequate measures, to continued monitoring and reporting. The aim is to reduce the burden for small enterprises of carrying out and documenting their risk assessments easily and quickly while maintaining accuracy.
"EU-OSHA is working closely with the authorities and social partners at EU and national level to put the OiRA tool generator at their disposal," continues Dr Takala. "In turn, these partners will develop their own sector-specific and fully customisable OiRA tools and offer them for free to small enterprises."
The collaboration with key social partners also encourages widespread take-up and use of the tool at enterprise level and leads to the development of an OiRA community to share knowledge and experience. The final tool is backed by support and full guidance services provided by EU-OSHA to the developers.
OiRA projects have been launched both at EU level and Member State level (Cyprus, Belgium and France), piloting the development and diffusion model and covering sectors such as hairdressing and transport.
Based on the successful Dutch Risk Inventory & Evaluation instrument, the OiRA tool sets out to replicate this success across Europe. Since the creation of the Dutch online tool (www.rie.nl), there have been a total of 1.6 million visits to the website. This is an impressive number given that the Netherlands is a relatively small country with approximately 800 000 companies in total. The tool is downloaded an average of 5 000 times per month.
- OiRA at the World OSH congress: https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-publications/oira
- More information on the OiRA project dedicated website: www.oiraproject.eu
EU-ECHA guidance on Labelling and Packaging in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 now available in 22 EU languages
The EU Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures, the so called CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 will gradually replace the Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC) and Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC). Both Directives will be repealed by 1 June 2015. The legislation introduces throughout the EU a new system for classifying and labelling chemicals, based on the United Nations' Globally Harmonised System (UN GHS).
CLP is about the hazards of chemical substances and mixtures and how to inform others about them. It is the task of industry to establish what are the hazards of substances and mixtures before these are placed on the market, and to classify them in line with the identified hazards.
In case a substance or a mixture is hazardous, it has to be labelled so that workers and consumers know about its effects before they handle it. Note that "mixture" means the same as the term "preparation" which has been used so far.
There are certain timelines for industry to classify and label their substances and mixtures in line with the CLP rules. Also, industry must notify hazardous substances and mixtures to a central inventory.
ECHA guidance documents have been developed with the participation of stakeholders from Industry, Member States and NGOs. The objective of these documents is to facilitate the implementation of REACH by describing good practice on how to fulfil the obligations.
Tips on tackling 6 causes of work-related stress
Addressing work-related stress doesn't have to cost the earth; often it's about identifying practical solutions after assessing the possible causes.
Based on the 6 risk factors included in the Management Standards, this document allows you to check if you're doing enough to address the causes of stress at work:
The EMEC Europa conference, 11 to 13 October 2011, will be held at the ICM Conference Centre of Munich Trade Fair in conjunction with inter airport Europe 2011 in Munich, Germany
The theme is 'Civil Protection is Emergency Management - a new profession'.
IAEM Europa invites all civil protection and emergency management professionals to take up the opportunity being offered to attend their profession's networking event of 2011. Organised by the International Association of Emergency Managers and experienced event organiser Mack Brooks Exhibitions, EMEC Europa is the new networking event for all involved in civil protection and emergency management.
New reports from NIOSH, USA
Three New Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Reports Now Available:
Indoor Environmental Quality Evaluation at a Health Clinic
HHE Program investigators evaluated symptoms that health clinic employees believed to be related to ongoing indoor environmental quality problems in the building. Investigators found that several employees reported having multiple symptoms when in the clinic, but many of these symptoms occurred when the building was being renovated. HHE Program investigators recommended that managers seal off areas of the building that are being renovated and notify employees about what they are doing to address employee concerns.
Evaluation of Exposures Associated with Cleaning and Maintaining Composting Toilets
HHE Program investigators evaluated concerns about employees' exposures during cleaning and maintaining pit and composting toilets at a national park. Investigators determined that ammonia concentrations were higher when the pit toilets were opened than when composting toilets were opened. Investigators also found thermophilic bacteria in the air when employees were working with composting toilets. Investigators recommended that the park start a voluntary vaccination program for hepatitis A virus, which maintenance crew employees may be exposed to when handling untreated human waste and trash, and hepatitis B virus for the trail and toilet maintenance crews, because they may be exposed to the virus while doing other job duties as first responders.
Assessment of Mold and Indoor Environmental Quality in a Middle School
HHE Program investigators evaluated a middle school, which they had evaluated a year prior, to reassess indoor environmental quality after mold remediation and remodeling had been completed. Investigators found that carbon dioxide levels in three classrooms were higher than recommended guidelines and found small amounts of mold growth under wood furniture and in the hallways. Investigators recommended that managers start an indoor environmental quality management program and provide at least the minimum recommended amount of outdoor air to classrooms and the library and follow current comfort guidelines for temperature and relative humidity.
Employers advised of the benefits of workplace exercise
Employers can improve health and wellbeing in their workplace by encouraging workers to exercise during breaks, according to leading physiotherapists.
The idea is part of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy's (CSP) Move for Health Campaign. Workout at Work Day takes place on 8 September to mark World Physical Therapy Day and aims to encourage staff to make use of their lunchtimes and breaks to get more active.
More than 150 physiotherapists have signed up to hold Workout at Work Day events, which range from lunchtime walks to exercise classes. The CSP is calling on employers to support the initiative and says there are a number of ways in which companies can get involved, including:
- encouraging staff to take regular breaks and engage in physical activity during lunchtimes;
- displaying leaflets and posters promoting health advice and activities for staff;
- encouraging company-sponsored participation in locally-run sports events, like 'walk-a-thons';
- creating links with local gyms and clubs;
- arranging and supporting activities that help to get staff active (e.g. lunchtime walking club);
- encouraging active travel to and from work (e.g. cycling, walking, running); and
- making use of the free resources developed by the cross-government Health, Work and Wellbeing initiative (www.dwp.gov.uk/health-work-and-well-being) to help employers improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.
CSP head of policy Ben Willmott explained that regular exercise is a good way of helping prevent mental and physical health problems in the workplace. He said: "Some employers might still question why they should play a role in supporting employee health and well-being, but the business case is extremely clear in terms of reduced levels of employee ill-health and absence.
"There is strong evidence showing that exercise can help manage and prevent common mental-health problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Recent research by Macmillan highlights the benefits of exercise for people with cancer."
He concluded: "There are plenty of low-cost and no-cost exercise-at-work initiatives which employers can support - for example, pedometer challenges, running groups, or netball and football sides. This is not about employers driving this; it is simply about employers supporting their staff in making healthy choices about exercise and lifestyle."
For more information on the Move for Health campaign visit www.csp.org.uk/moveforhealth
Don't use myths as an excuse to cut back on workplace safety
Commenting on the publication of a UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) list citing the most 'bizarre' reasons that organisations have used 'safety' concerns to cancel activities or events in the past year, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
"Health and safety law is all about preventing illness and injuries at work and controlling the workplace risks to employees. Every listing in the HSE top ten relates to public safety or insurance issues and has nothing to do with health and safety as it applies to workers.
"The failure to find one example from a workplace shows that the idea that the UK has an 'over-zealous' health and safety culture in Britain is a total myth. The opposite is in fact the case. Many employers fail to do even a basic safety risk assessment and so are putting the safety and well-being of their staff in jeopardy.
"Official statistics show that 1.2 million people currently at work have health problems caused by their jobs. The problem is not employers using health and safety as an excuse but the government using myths like this as a reason for cutting back on regulation, enforcement and guidance."
Health and safety legislation exists to protect people from real risks at, or connected with, work. But it can be hard to see this from some of the stories that are reported. Below are 10 of the most bizarre health bans or restrictions spotted in media coverage by HSE over the last year.
- Wimbledon officials citing health and safety as a reason to close Murray Mount when it was wet
Example media story: Daily Mail: 'Elf 'n' safety shuts Murray Mount: Fans might slip on the grass, warn officials', 21 June 2011
- Stopping dodgem cars from bumping into each other at Butlins in Skegness
Example media story: BBC News: 'Bosses at Butlins ban bumper cars over health and safety fears', 27 April 2011
- Banning Royal wedding street parties
Example media story: Daily Mail: 'Royal wedding street party? You'll need £5 m insurance, love...', 13 April 2011
- Removing an unwanted, bulky TV from a pensioner's home for recycling
Example media story: Daily Mail, 'Pensioner, 85, paid council to remove old TV...and was ordered to drag it outside herself so workmen didn't injure themselves', 7 June 2011
- Carnivals with fancy dress parades
Example media story: www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk
- Kite flying on a popular tourist beach in East Yorkshire
Example media story: Hull Daily Mail: 'Outrage at kite-flying ban on East Riding beaches', 10 June 2011
- Stopping pupils from using playground monkey bars unsupervised in Oxfordshire
Example media story: Daily Mail: 'Children banned from their own playground as health and safety officials decide monkey bars are too dangerous', 8 May 2011
- Using pins to secure commemorative poppies
Example media story: www.obantimes.co.uk
- Schoolyard football games banned - unless the ball is made of sponge
Example media story: BBC News: 'Huyton school leather football ban safety row', 24 February 2011
- Children no longer allowed to take part in a sack race at Sports Day
Example media story: Metro: 'Three-legged race is given the sack'
For more details of other health and safety myths and excuses visit Myth of the month
European Public Consultation on 20 potential Substances of Very High Concern
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published proposals to identify 20 chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and thus as possible candidates for authorisation. From the last publication six months ago, the number of dossiers has more than doubled. The detailed proposals are available on the ECHA website. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposals by 13 October 2011.
Several Member States and ECHA (at the request of the European Commission) have put forward proposals to identify 20 chemical substances as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). Anyone can comment on these proposals within the next 45 days. The names of the substances, the reasons for their proposal as SVHC and their uses are provided in the attached table.
Comments should focus primarily on the hazardous properties that qualify the chemicals as SVHCs and on the substance identity. In addition, interested parties can provide comments and further information on the uses, exposures and availability of safer alternative substances or techniques. They should be aware that these aspects will mainly be considered at the next stage of the process (i.e. selection of substances for authorisation), which includes a new round of public consultation.
The Member State Committee will review these comments when seeking an agreement on the identification of the proposed substances as SVHCs, and before ECHA includes the agreed substances on the Candidate List. Substances on the Candidate List may be selected for authorisation.
Nineteen substances are proposed because of their potentially serious effects on human health. They are classified as carcinogenic and/or toxic for reproduction. In addition, one substance is proposed to be identified as a substance of equivalent concern in accordance with Article 57(f) of the REACH Regulation because of its endocrine disrupting properties and potential for serious effects to the environment.
For two of the substances, Aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibres and Zirconia aluminosilicate refractory ceramic fibres, proposals to identify them as SVHC were submitted previously and they have been included in the Candidate List in January 2010. However, it turned out that the substance definitions in the Annex XV dossiers supporting the identification of these fibres as SVHC were too narrow to cover the composition of all types of refractory ceramic fibres on the European market. The new SVHC proposals for these fibres therefore provide a wider substance definition intended to cover all types of refractory ceramic fibres used in the EU.
There are already 53 substances on the Candidate List. Inclusion on the list imposes new information requirements on suppliers of preparations and articles containing the substances.
ECHA Newsletter 4/2011 is now available
European Chemicals Agency has issued its latest Newsletter.
In this issue amongst other topics:
- Start preparing for the REACH 2013 deadline now
- Nature of ECHA Guidance
- Public perception of labels
- According to 117 reports REACH and CLP are working
European Chemicals Agency, P.O. Box 400 FI-00121 Helsinki, Finland | http://echa.europa.eu
USA: ITUC Calls on Verizon to Negotiate with Unions as 45,000 Workers Strike
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has called on US communications giant Verizon to negotiate in good faith with the unions representing 45,000 striking workers to resolve the largest strike in the USA for several years.
Despite record profits, Verizon is demanding $1 billion in concessions from its workforce to slash sick days, eliminate benefits for workers who get hurt on the job and cut the healthcare benefits promised to retirees. It is refusing to bargain with the CWA www.cwa-union.org and IBEW www.ibew.org, unions which represent Verizon employees, and the strike is now in its 13th day.
In the last four years alone, Verizon has made more than $19 billion in profits, and its top five executives have received more than $250 million in compensation and benefits.
In a letter www.ituc-csi.org/letter-to-verizon.html to the Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam, the ITUC is urging the company to return to the bargaining table and uphold its code of conduct and 50-year history of collective bargaining.
"The strike by CWA and IBEW members is the biggest strike in recent US labour history, " said ITUC General Secretary Sharon Burrow. "At a time when working people in the US and elsewhere are paying a heavy price for decades of corporate excess, Verizon should be seeking ways to uphold the working and living standards of its employees, rather than refusing to negotiate in good faith with the CWA and IBEW."
The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 151 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.
HR uses forensic experts for tribunal evidence
Investigator stresses importance of retaining crucial information
Human Resource (Personnel) departments are increasingly using forensic experts to gather and analyse evidence in disciplinary cases and tribunals.
With a burgeoning amount of digital information in the workplace, including e-mail, telephone and mobile phone use, internet history and social media activity, practitioners are finding they need external help to pick through the evidence available when confronted with allegations against a staff member. As well as investigating alleged crimes, forensic experts are assisting in a wide variety of cases where employee behaviour may end in litigation, from dishonest absence to misuse of company equipment.
But many HR professionals are unaware of the need to preserve evidence in such cases, according to Clive Carmichael-Jones, head of digital and document forensics at LGC Forensics.
"There needs to be an awareness of all the potential sources of evidence. In the office environment, you have phones and e-mail but there are dozens of other sources of information, and if you don't preserve them you never know when you might have needed to rely on them later," said Carmichael-Jones. "For example, if there is an allegation that something has happened and an employee admits it, you might think that is the end of the story and that you do not need to retain the evidence. But often what is admitted might just be the tip of the iceberg. Forensics will look at the wider picture and secure all the evidence that could help get to the truth."
Organisations would do well to review both their IT policies, which govern how long data is stored in e-mail mailboxes and on back-up servers, and HR policies covering areas such as control of company mobile phones, added Carmichael-Jones. Orderly storage of paper documents and CCTV tapes should also not be neglected.
"The circumstances surrounding an investigation vary widely, but involvement of the HR team and other relevant individuals early in the process greatly increases the likelihood of a successful result from the investigation," he concluded.
Public sector employers and their suppliers have been pushed to adopt a more rigorous attitude to data by a clause in the government's security policy framework that was published in May this year. It called for employers to have a "forensic readiness policy, that will maximise the ability to preserve and analyse data generated by an ICT system," where such data could be used for security and legal purposes.
Call for Papers: Safety in Workplaces Australia Limited invite you to apply to speak at West Australia Safety Conference 7th - 9th August, 2012, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Building on the successes of 2008 and 2010, Safety in Workplaces Australia (SIWA Limited) is pleased to again bring you another professional Safety Conference opportunity. As a leading occupational safety and health organisation, SIWA Ltd is again helping delegates maximise and enhance their career investment through this internationally promoted Safety & Health conference, to explore challenges around safety law, issue solutions, audit & event analysis, research and training experiences enhancing sustainability in businesses through the real life experience of practitioners and professionals.
The following themes are being promoted for this three-day conference:
Safety at Law - enforcement directions and good governance
Implementing Harmonisation and its cross jurisdictional management.
ASX principals and recommendations for good governance
Legal cases and their impact on businesses, communities & individuals
Enforcement from a regulators perspective, successes & failures
Lawyers, directors, executives, managers, regulators & Safety professionals
Safety in Practice - In the workplace
Case studies; techniques & processes, innovations - hazard & risk management in practice - performance management, communications, workplace culture, manual handling etc for general workplace practices
General, supervisors, safety practitioners & HSRs
Road and Transport Safety - workplaces on the move
Issues and impact of motor vehicle design & road construction on commercial and public users. - Road / rail & air transport intermodal issues - Dangerous & hazardous goods transport & Security. Competencies, laws and practice.
Civil Contractors, logistics, consultants, regulators
Contract & Contractor Management
Law related to contracts and contractors - audits & auditing for safety - risks - the value adding role of OSH practitioners and professionals in National and International company management
Lawyers, executives, managers, supervisor, engineers & consultants
Occupational Health & fitness
Pre-employment medicals - health & health ownership - bullying & dealing with difficult people - BBS/Culture & Leadership in Safety, Physiological & psychological fitness for work, issue Ageing in the workforce & gender balance issues
Safety & Human Resource & Injury Managers, Return to Work coordinators
Future Safety - education, research training & knowledge
Critical Incidents case study/management for future prevention or amelioration - Investigation Techniques - Research - Design, instructions, training and education case studies. Making OSH a recognised profession.
Trainers & Educators RTO's
Risk Management - insurance and business continuity
Emergency events and corporate recovery - Workplaces and their business from an Insurer Perspective - Value adding from your Insurer - Mine disaster, cyclones, tsunami, flooding, bushfires, and volcanic ash and more
Corporate Risk Managers
Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation
Applying & managing Workers Compensation, rehabilitation and return to work. Effective therapies and practices - Protecting and promoting both the employer & employee, after injury and back to full capacity return to work.
Medical practitioners, HR, Injury Managers, Work coordinators
Occupational Health assessment, risk and management. Effects & illness attributable to physical and psychological workplace factors. Personal & community health impacting. Health Ownership across community and workplace boundaries
Managers, Health practitioners, community supporters
If you wish to present a paper, please submit an abstract in no more than 150 words & noting your preferred stream to Gavin.Waugh@siwa.org.au by 20th December 2011.
News from Brazil Petrobras: High training standards for platform operators
Petrobras intends to establish high training standards for platform operators in all its plants across Brazil and is evaluating the IPAF course. It is one of the largest companies in Latin America in terms of market capitalisation and revenue.
The operator course was delivered by IPAF-approved training centre Mills Rental. On the day of the training, Romina Vanzi, IPAF's representative in Latin America, visited the Petrobras plant together with Marcelo Yamane, technical manager of Mills Rental.
"Oil refineries are another important work at height sector, where safety and best practice are paramount," said Romina Vanzi. "We are pleased that Petrobras recognises the high quality of the IPAF operator training programme and that it is raising the standard for operator training across all its plants."
Those who successfully complete the IPAF training receive a PAL Card (Powered Access Licence), which is valid for five years. The PAL Card is proof of training and shows the machine categories that the holder has been trained to operate.
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is a not-for-profit members' organisation that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. Members include rental companies, manufacturers, distributors and equipment owners.
More information is at www.ipaf.org
Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene (IIOSH) announces new areas of information on their website
The following new sections have been made during the last few months on the IIOSH website www.osh.org.il and will be of interest to readers.
- New site section on Biological Safety and Health, jointly with the Israel Biological Safety Association
- New site section Safety and Health of Workers with Disabilities, including an interactive guide for employers and OSH specialists
- New image gallery Vintage Health and Safety Posters, by Joseph Bau,
a renowned Israeli artist:
- Upgraded site section on Electrical Safety, now containing over 500 articles, books, presentations etc.
- New Facebook page and updated YouTube video channel, targeting a wide -
mainly young - audience:
www.facebook.com/safeworkil and https://www.youtube.com/user/safeworkil
IIOSH is also working on additional web features, like producing a series of OSH podcasts, upgrading the daily OSH News web channel, adjusting the web content for mobile media, and building a new IIOSH website in English.
News from New Zealand: Tragedy leads to high hazards action
Unions in New Zealand have welcomed the creation of a new High Hazards Unit in the official health and safety enforcement agency, focusing on petroleum production and mining industries. The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) saying a beefed up inspectorate is absolutely necessary, as has been evident from the first phase of the official inquiry into the November 2010 explosion at Pike River in which 29 miners died.
But CTU president Helen Kelly added that the real concern, inadequate regulation and the absence of worker inspectors in mines, remained to be addressed. She added 'in the first phase of the inquiry it was plain to all except perhaps the minister that the regulation of mining is inadequate and the removal of standard practices such as check inspectors had been a major error. Having a site inspector for the purpose of enabling inspections to be carried out at a coal operation on behalf of the people at work at the coal operation is a core part of good mining regulations and these inspectors will always be more available, more alert and are completely complementary to Labour Department inspectors.'
She said CTU had been calling for improvements to mining regulations and inspection since well before the explosion at Pike River. The CTU leader added 'we can't wait and risk another disaster when we already know that other measures are also necessary, we need to do everything we can to make sure this does not happen again.' The unit will be created with a NZ$ 15 million (£761,000) annual funding boost to the official safety inspectorate.