Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

October 2012

Contents
  1. 10 October 2012 - World Mental Health Day
  2. Looking for OSH and FIRE validated and authoritative Information? What information do you really need to do your job safely and healthily?
  3. BOHS successful in bid to bring IOHA International Scientific Conference to London in 2015
  4. UK HSE begins fee for intervention
  5. EU-OSHA Healthy Workplaces Film Award puts working conditions in the spotlight
  6. Clearer role for social partners in building tomorrow's Europe
  7. Working together for risk prevention through Leadership and Worker Participation
  8. 20,000th NEBOSH IGC candidate receives award
  9. Companies warned to ensure hot and cold water systems are not a legionella risk
  10. Future EU agenda for health and safety at work
  11. News from Canada: Physical activity and healthy habits in the workplace benefit workers, employers
  12. Australia: Insecure work is making work less safe
  13. Dealing with psychosocial risks: Success factors and obstacles
  14. NIOSH Update on Industrial Hygiene Practices
  15. Historical RoSPA safety posters, postcards and greeting cards - A perfect Christmas gift
  16. China and US Sign Partnership on Smoke-Free Workplaces
  17. LIFELINES ONLINE September 2012 issue available
  18. Milestone ratifications of seafarers' labour rights charter
  19. NEBOSH - Overseas exam entries now exceed those from UK
  20. New ECETOC report explores the effects of chemical co-exposures at doses relevant for human safety assessments
  21. Recent Research Reports from the UK Health and Safety Laboratory
  22. Cartoon hero Napo brings knowledge of safety and health to primary classrooms

10 October 2012 - World Mental Health Day

European Agency for Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) presents good practices on health promotion at the workplace on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2012 that is designed to raise public awareness about mental health issues by promoting open discussion and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services.

EU-OSHA has published a report that provides good practices on mental health promotion (MHP) at the workplace. The report informs on how to integrate MHP into a comprehensive approach to enhancing and promoting the health, safety and wellbeing of employees at work.

More good practice information on mental health promotion at the workplace is available at:

Looking for OSH and FIRE validated and authoritative Information? What information do you really need to do your job safely and healthily?

Want to know the latest fire, health, safety and environmental information without too much effort? Limited budget? Short of time? Not many experts around you? In this fast moving world it is essential to have quick access to validated, authoritative and constantly updated information collections. Much time is spent these days searching the Internet for validated and authoritative information often resulting in out-of-date sources being retrieved.

Then these Health, Safety, Environment and Fire information collections OSH UPDATE www.oshupdate.com and FIREINF www.fireinf.com brought together and maintained by information specialists are one sure way of getting good quality data.

As new research and new ways of working, with the attendant alterations in products, services and technology developments means that no-one, especially those responsible for fire, emergencies and preparedness in workplaces of all kinds, should be without the latest information.

These long established sources of information are offered by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd from the UK and are used daily by organisations, universities and individuals worldwide.

Why are you waiting? Join these users of OSH UPDATE and FIREINF that renew their subscriptions year on year.

Searchers should also be aware that the myth abounding in the world that "everything is published on the Internet and is free" is just NOT true!

Request a free of charge 15 day trial at www.sheilapantry.com/interest and check out for yourselves.

BOHS successful in bid to bring IOHA International Scientific Conference to London in 2015

This prestigious conference and exhibition is set to take place over 4-5 days in April 2015 at the Hilton London Metropole, and is expected to attract around 1000 leading occupational hygiene experts from around the world.

British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) Chief Executive, Steve Perkins, says "It is an honour for BOHS to be hosting this conference in the UK. We are looking forward to welcoming the global occupational hygiene community to London, for what we anticipate will be a truly memorable event which will deliver some real steps forward for the science and the profession of occupational hygiene".

The IOHA is made up of 29 occupational hygiene organisations from around the world and through its members, aims to improve, promote and develop occupational hygiene worldwide. Its flagship international conference takes place every 2-3 years, with previous host nations including Malaysia, (2012) and Italy (2010).

The programme for London will include keynotes from a range of international speakers, workshop sessions and poster sessions, and the exhibition running alongside the conference will provide a platform for suppliers to showcase their products and services to a global audience.

Information about the conference and opportunities to get involved will be made available through the BOHS website www.bohs.org

UK HSE begins fee for intervention

The UK Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) new cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), will come into force on Monday, 1 October 2012.

Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE's related costs, including, inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

The many businesses that comply with their legal obligations will continue to pay nothing.

Detailed guidance for businesses and organisations is available on HSE's website. Developed in consultation with representatives from industry, it explains how the scheme works and includes examples of how it will be applied.

Geoffrey Podger, HSE's Chief Executive, said:

The most basic safety mistakes in the workplace can devastate lives and result in real costs to industry.

It is right that those who fail to meet their legal obligations should pay HSE's costs rather than the public purse having to do so.

Fee for Intervention provides a further incentive for businesses to manage health and safety effectively and to operate within the law. It should also help level the playing field between those who comply and those who don't.

Employers can find practical advice, tools and case studies for controlling common risks and ensuring compliance with health and safety law on HSE's website at: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/index.htm

A full guide to the Fee for Intervention scheme is available on HSE's website at www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/index.htm

Costs will be recovered where there has been a material breach of health and safety law. A material breach is where a business or organisation has broken the law and the inspector judges it serious enough to notify them in writing.

HSE has produced information on the most basic of safety mistakes in the workplace, which is available to view at www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/basic-safety-mistakes/index.htm

The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 can be found in full at www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1652/contents/made

EU-OSHA Healthy Workplaces Film Award puts working conditions in the spotlight

Nominations have been announced for the fourth edition of the Healthy Workplaces Film Award. The European Agency for Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) presents its prize for the best work-related documentary, at the 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (DOK Leipzig) in November. The ten nominated films cover a variety of work-related topics to highlight the importance of safety and health in the workplace.

From apprentices in the car manufacturing industry to a retired miner, the nominated films explore the everyday routines of people at all stages of their working lives. The films all raise questions on the physical and psychosocial experiences in the workplace, and their impact on the health and safety of the workers documented.

EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek said: 'The nominated films reflect the variety of working environments found across both Europe and internationally, focusing on the experiences of workers involved in both large scale production and small enterprises. As film and multimedia tools are increasingly used to share knowledge and communicate, the Agency recognises this as an important channel to spread its message of working together for safer, healthier and more productive workplaces in Europe. We are pleased to announce the fourth edition of the Healthy Workplaces Film Award.'

The films nominated for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award were picked from more than 2,850 documentaries submitted to DOK Leipzig this year. The winning film will be selected by an international jury which includes film and occupational health and safety experts and will be announced at an award ceremony in Leipzig on 3rd November 2012. In addition to the €8,000 prize fund, as an added reward, 1,000 copies of the winning film will be produced in a selection of eight EU languages by EU-OSHA and distributed across Europe.

Nominations for the 2012 Healthy Workplaces Film Award

  1. Mama Illegal, Ed Moschitz, Austria
  2. Arbeit Heimat Opel, Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken, Germany
  3. The Great Fallacy, Dirk Heth and Olaf Winkler, Germany
  4. San Agustin - Low Tide in the Plastic Sea, Alexander Hick, Gudrun Gruber, Michael Schmitt, Germany
  5. Pablo's Winter, Chico Pereira, UK
  6. Sofia's Last Ambulance, Ilian Metev, Bulgaria, Germany, Croatia
  7. White Night, Irit Gal, Israel
  8. Cloudy Mountain, Zhu Yu, China
  9. Downeast David Redmon, Ashley Sabin, USA
  10. Drivers Wanted, Joshua Z Weinstein, USA

Clearer role for social partners in building tomorrow's Europe

Closer social partner collaboration and clearer roles for policymakers representing the interests of workers, employers and governments, in creating tomorrow's labour market, were the ambitions outlined out by Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, during his visit to Eurofound on Monday 1 October 2012.

On the International Day of Older Persons 1 October, Làszló Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, visited Dublin to attend the 'Third Age' conference together with Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound's Director. The presentation to the conference in Dublin was followed by a visit to Eurofound.

The visit to Eurofound was an opportunity for Lucinda Creighton, Irish Minister of State for European Affairs to meet for bilateral discussions with the Commissioner and Eurofound's Director.

Addressing representatives of Irish workers and employers in additional bilateral discussions, the EU Commissioner emphasised that progress of EU integration cannot only be about the development of a banking union, but that social pillars have to be included in the process as well. David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and Brendan McGinty, Director, and Eamonn McCoy, of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) were told during the meeting that social partners ought to be given a clearer role in the political governance of Europe in the future.

'Social dialogue is clearly a key to this new model of EU governance that Commissioner Andor proposes, giving the social partners a relevant role in the process. Eurofound is happy to contribute to the making of this,' commented Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound's Director, after the visit.

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, Eurofound's media manager, on email (mailto:mma@eurofound.europa.eu) | Tel: +353-1-204 3124 | Mobile: +353-876-593 507.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) www.eurofound.europa.eu is a tripartite EU Agency which provides social partners, governments and EU decision makers with relevant, timely and unbiased research results so that the lives of European citizens can be improved.

Working together for risk prevention through Leadership and Worker Participation

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work campaign across Europe see www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en

Addressing safety and health should not be seen as a regulatory burden because it also creates significant opportunities. These have been analysed in a recent European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) commissioned by EU-OSHA.

Benefits can include:

Conversely, the cost of poor management and lack of leadership can cause reputational and financial damage as well as contributing to poor operational and financial performance. For example, DuPont has calculated each incident that results in one or more days off from work costs about £20,000 (approximately €22,800).

The true financial cost was calculated by factoring in:

More information on the section dedicated to Management Leadership on the EU-OSHA website.

Worker Participation in safety and health

Worker participation is an important part of managing health and safety. Managers do not have the solutions to all health and safety problems, while workers and their representatives have the detailed knowledge and experience of how the job is done and how it affects them. Therefore workers and managers need to work together closely to find joint solutions to common problems.

More information see: https://osha.europa.eu/en/themes/leadership-and-worker-participation

20,000th NEBOSH IGC candidate receives award

National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) formed in 1979 has presented an award to the 20,000th person to achieve the International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (IGC).

Moideen Kasim Kallatra received a salver from NEBOSH Chief Executive Teresa Budworth at the 8th HSE Forum in Energy event in Doha, Qatar. Moideen passed his qualification earlier this year with distinction.

Following its launch in 2005, the International General Certificate has grown to become NEBOSH's most popular qualification. This follows rapid growth in recent years in NEBOSH candidates from across the world. More than half of registrations for NEBOSH exams now come from outside of the UK, compared to a third just over a year ago.

Moideen Kasim Kallatra, 27, is from Kumbala in India but now works in Qatar as a Business Development Manager for Accord Engineering. He studied for his NEBOSH International General Certificate with NIST Institute Private Limited, based in Chennai at a course they ran in Cochin, Kerala.

Although safety is not his primary responsibility, Moideen took the NEBOSH International General Certificate because he "recognised its importance for any management professional".

He explained: "Taking care of employees and preventing loss for the company is vital. I am very proud to have passed the qualification, even though I do not have a safety background, and also to be the 20,000th person to have passed."

NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth, commented: "Moideen is to be congratulated on his achievement, as are all who have achieved and will achieve our International General Certificate.

"More and more employers throughout the world are beginning to understand that employees who are qualified in safety not only help ensure the welfare of others, but demonstrate better standards of quality management."

For more information about NEBOSH qualifications, visit www.nebosh.org.uk/Qualifications

Companies warned to ensure hot and cold water systems are not a legionella risk

Leisure centres with spa pools and care homes are among the businesses being urged to do more to protect workers and members of the public from legionella risks.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued a safety notice targeting companies and organisations that use hot and cold water systems for bathing and washing or in manufacturing processes.

It follows the publication of a separate notice in July aimed at companies with cooling towers and evaporative condensers. These were identified as the most common source of significant outbreaks based on an HSE review of data going back 10 years.

The latest notice stresses the need for measures to be in place to control identified legionella risks and that these are reviewed regularly.

HSE's legionella expert Paul McDermott said:

Companies and businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure they're doing all they can to protect workers and the public.

While the numbers of people potentially affected by poorly maintained water systems and spa pools are likely to be smaller than poorly maintained cooling towers, there can still be fatal consequences. These can't be ignored.

The information and guidance on managing legionella risks is well-established and readily available. Control measures should be in place and under regular review.

The safety notice is not asking employers to do anything more than they should be doing already.

Following the HSE review of outbreaks commissioned in 2011, HSE and local authorities are developing a range of initiatives to promote better control of legionella risks.

These will include ongoing work with industry to bring about sustained improvement in standards, advice and information events. It will also include some compliance checks as a follow up to the safety notices where the impact of poorly managed legionella risks could be greatest.

Future EU agenda for health and safety at work

The framing of a new European strategy on occupational health and safety (OHS) was the focus of discussions of the ETUI's annual meeting on health and safety at work attended by more than 60 trade unionists from EU Member States and candidate countries in early September 2012 in Malta.

How should we work together across the European Union, to protect people at work from injury and ill health? Now is the time to be thinking about this, as the EU Strategy on Health and Safety for 2007 to 2012 comes to an end, and we look both at what it has achieved, and what still needs to be done in the years ahead.

We recently got an indication of the European Commission's thinking on these points, in a speech given by László Andor, the Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Speaking at a conference in Copenhagen, Commissioner Andor said that the EU needs a health and safety Strategy, and that a new Strategy after 2012 is justified.

Though it's too early to tell whether the old Strategy has achieved its goal of reducing workplace accidents across the EU by 25%, according to Commissioner Andor the signs were that the accident rate would be significantly lower in 2012 than it was five years ago. The Strategy, Commissioner Andor said, had succeeded in providing a framework for co-ordinating health and safety across the EU, providing a clear sense of where we're going.

Making the case for a new Strategy, Commissioner Andor argued that there is a clear role for EU-led action to tackle occupational health and safety risks, since those risks are broadly the same across all the EU Member States. But it isn't enough just to have comprehensive EU legislation on workplace health and safety - what we need is to exchange experience and good practice, undertake joint initiatives, and have a common strategic approach to our shared problems.

According to Commissioner Andor, a new Strategy should focus on a smaller number of priorities. And in each of the priority areas that he mentions, we at the Agency are already working on various projects.

He mentions the need for 'tackling health issues and preventing work-related health problems' for example, singling out work-related psycho-social risks as a growing problem in the EU. Our next Healthy Workplaces Campaign (2014-15) is on psychosocial risks, while our European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks looked particularly at the ways in which psychosocial risks are currently being managed in European enterprises.

Commissioner Andor mentioned the need for 'more effective implementation of EU legislation' - OiRA, our Online interactive Risk Assessment tool (which makes it easier to comply with risk assessment rules, especially for SMEs) is a good example of how we're helping with this.

Finally, Commissioner Andor mentioned the need for a 'special effort over the next few years to make working life sustainable.' For some time now, we at the Agency have been looking at the changing demographics of the EU - the fact that people in Europe are living longer. We have given our support to the European Year for Active Ageing, emphasising the importance of occupational safety and health in helping older people to stay in work. And we will continue to focus on the health and safety implications of having an ageing population, as this issue becomes increasingly important.

We'll be working closely with the Commission as they assess the old Strategy and consult on the shape of any new one for the years after 2013.

News from Canada: Physical activity and healthy habits in the workplace benefit workers, employers

With memories of fun-filled summer vacations fading away, fall typically ushers in a 'back to business' mentality in the workplace and in the home. With it, comes shorter days of sunshine, longer days of work, less time for physical activity and the potential for work-life balance conflicts. Employers can play a critical role in addressing these concerns, with benefits for both the workers and bottom-line results to the organization.

"The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recognizes that fall can be a very busy time for Canadian workers, who may become vulnerable to stress, burnout and illness," says Steve Horvath, President and CEO at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. "However, studies have shown that employees who work in an environment where healthy habits and physical activity during the workday are encouraged, report higher levels of health and well-being, increased job satisfaction and productivity, better relations with co-workers, and reduced absenteeism."

A healthy workplace results when corporate policies and procedures are enhanced and strengthened by a management team that actively promotes a culture of healthy living and creates opportunities for physical activity to take place at work. For example:

For a number of free resources to help promote health in the workplace, visit www.ccohs.ca/keytopics/healthy_wplaces.html

Contacts:

Australia: Insecure work is making work less safe

The rise of insecure work in Australia over the past few decades has made employees less able to speak up for their rights and workplaces less safe, Australia's top union body has warned. ACTU president Ged Kearney said a constantly changing workforce often meant safe systems of work were not fully-implemented, and casual, contract and labour hire workers were also less likely to speak up if they thought something was unsafe because they feared the sack.

Speaking at the annual United Mineworkers Federation Memorial Day, Ms Kearney said one aspect of a secure job had to be a healthy and safe workplace. 'The creeping rise of insecure work is a threat to mine safety,' Ms Kearney said. 'I am talking about labour hire, casualisation and contracting out, along with fly-in/fly-out or drive-in/drive-out. A lasting safety culture cannot be created with a mobile, temporary workforce. And it is well known that a lack of job security makes it more difficult for people to speak up for their rights, particularly about occupational health and safety. Industry studies point to a link between a lack of safety in mines and the growth of contract employment in the industry.'

The union leader said through the ACTU's 'secure jobs, better future' campaign, 'we intend to ensure that contract and labour hire workers have the same health and safety protections as other workers. Because one of the fundamentals of a secure job is a healthy and safe working environment.'

www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2012/the-growth-of-insecure-work-is-making-australian-workplaces-less-safe-warn-unions

Dealing with psychosocial risks: Success factors and obstacles

Two new European Agency for Occupational Safety and Health ( EU-OSHA) reports look at the reasons why 74% of European businesses still do not have procedures in place to deal with workplace stress and other psychosocial risks, despite the increasing threat that they pose to Europe's workers.

NIOSH Update on Industrial Hygiene Practices

Dr John Howard, Director, NIOSH writes:

Industrial hygienists rely on accurate sampling and analytical methods and devices. These are basic tools for detecting potentially dangerous gases and vapors in workplaces and for determining whether concentrations are at levels that could threaten workers' health. This is so fundamental a need in safeguarding workers from harm that the Occupational Safety and Health Act tasked NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with developing and evaluating such methods. The two agencies jointly undertook this charge in 1974, and NIOSH followed with an updated protocol in 1995. I am pleased to note that a new resource is available that reflects NIOSH's continued leadership in supporting this critical aspect of industrial hygiene practice.

NIOSH has released new guidance, Components for Evaluation of Direct-Reading Monitors for Gases and Vapors (www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-162), along with an associated addendum, Hazard Detection in First Responder Environments (www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-163). These documents are part of the Direct-Reading Exposure Assessment Methods (DREAM) initiative on direct-reading methods and monitors (www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/drm), which NIOSH began in 2008 to advance the development and use of twenty-first century technologies to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control, and confirm safe levels of occupational exposure to hazards in time-sensitive ways.

The unique requirements and applications of direct-reading methods to support public and worker health in both routine occupational activities and emergency preparedness require improved laboratory and field test capabilities to ensure method or instrument performance and accurate interpretation of their results. A key goal of the DREAM initiative was to develop a guidance document on performance testing of direct-reading monitors for gases and vapors.

The Components document expands the historical NIOSH methods for monitor development and evaluation testing released in 1995 to include

The document is intended for laboratory users, consensus standard-setting bodies, and manufacturers of direct-reading instrumentation. New monitoring technologies beyond those described in the Components document are being developed every day, and the principles of evaluation should be very similar for any emerging methods intended for use in occupational settings.

The addendum on Hazard Detection in First Responder Environments expands the applicability of the Components document by presenting

Two case studies that illustrate the hostile environmental conditions encountered by first responders are presented in Appendix A of the addendum. These case studies offer insights into the harsh and challenging conditions that should be represented when testing direct-reading monitors for first responders.

The Components document and the addendum present the scientific background, the evaluation criteria, and the statistical methods needed for evaluation of direct-reading instruments. These two documents provide a useful summary of current knowledge for the successful evaluation and selection of monitors for effective assessment of gas and vapor hazards in occupational and emergency settings. As technologies continue to change and as we and our partners learn from ongoing practice, NIOSH will continue its efforts in direct-reading by developing new methods and monitors and by enhancing the guidance for their use and interpretation by inclusion in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods.

I invite you to visit our new resources and to watch our Web page for other updates and announcements as they occur.

www.cdc.gov/niosh/enews/enewsV10N5.html

Historical RoSPA safety posters, postcards and greeting cards - A perfect Christmas gift

A recently discovered collection of historical safety posters from the archive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) are now available to own as a print, postcard and Christmas greeting card - with stocking filler options of a printed mug and fridge magnet also available.

It was during a clear out of RoSPA's old warehouse in 2011, when the discovery of more than 700 historical posters and artwork for posters was made. Forty iconic posters dating from the 1930s to the 1970s covering all aspects of safety - occupational, road, home and leisure - were chosen to go on public display earlier this year and are now available to buy as high quality framed and unframed art prints and canvases through RoSPA's print-on-demand service at www.rospaprints.com.

A perfect Christmas gift, the poster of your choice is also available as a pack of eight postcards and four greeting cards. It is possible to customise the posters on the website by cropping the image and choosing from landscape and portrait options. And for those looking for some stocking fillers, a printed mug and fridge magnet of an iconic poster may fit the bill.

Among the famous artists who produced artwork for RoSPA during this period were Tom Eckersley, Leonard Cusden and the cartoonist George Smith, better known as Gus. Their messages are just as valid today as they were when they were created decades ago.

Tom Eckersley's Christmas stocking design was a Christmas message and New Year wish from RoSPA to its members in 1951. Other popular RoSPA poster designs include the 1950s Warm the Child, But Guard the Fire, the 1960s winter weather clothing warning and the 1963 Accidents Keep You Out of Things, all of which could make an eye-catching festive gift for the home, office or community setting.

RoSPA, a charity which has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for more than 95 years, has produced a video about the discovery of the posters and artwork. See www.rospa.com/resources/posters for details.

Janice Cave, RoSPA's history project manager, said: "We were astonished at the wide variety of styles used by the different artists and the high calibre of their work. These posters are a striking visual reminder of the development of RoSPA's safety messages over the years, which at times, touch on appropriate humour to help bring the messages alive. These beautiful illustrations will make a wonderful Christmas gift and are a nostalgic reminder of RoSPA's safety and accident prevention work which is still relevant today."

Graphic design history expert Dr Paul Rennie, of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, who is working with RoSPA on its historical poster project, said: "It is amazing to be able to share this artwork with a wider public - the work is testimony to a long and continuous effort to improve the quality of working and everyday life for ordinary people; and the discovery of these posters allows us to build a more complete history of RoSPA at a time when poster messages were at the forefront of RoSPA's activities."

China and US Sign Partnership on Smoke-Free Workplaces

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and China's Ministry of Health have signed agreed to launch the China-United States Partnership on Smoke-free Workplaces, the two agencies announced in a joint statement Aug. 17.

The Xinhua news agency reported the agreement, and the HHS Office of Global Affairs posted the statement: www.globalhealth.gov/world-regions/asia-and-pacific/Joint%20Statement%20on%20China-United%20States%20Partnership.html

The statement says the partnership is a bilateral public-private partnership between health and business leaders to protect employees from second-hand smoke. The two agencies held a launch ceremony for the partnership on 7 September 2012 in Beijing.

The statement cites a recent Ministry of Health report that tobacco kills more than one million people in China annually and also an estimate that it causes 443,000 deaths in the United States, including deaths resulting from second-hand smoke.

LIFELINES ONLINE September 2012 issue available

The September issue of LIFELINES ONLINE (Vol. IX, No. 4) is available at the Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) Website.

These are the headlines:

Steve Clark, Communications Manager, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America, 905 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA | www.lhsfna.org

Milestone ratifications of seafarers' labour rights charter

The ILO's Maritime Labour Convention has now been ratified by 30 countries, meaning it will go into effect in a year's time. The charter sets out the labour rights of the world's 1.2 million seafarers.

The ILO has received the 30th ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) fulfilling the last condition for the first global standard that spans continents and oceans to go into effect in a year's time.

"This is great news for the world's more than 1.2 million seafarers," said ILO Director General Juan Somavia. "It was a dream of the ILO as early as 1920, and I pay tribute to the international maritime community for having made it a reality."

The MLC, 2006 was adopted unanimously in 2006 but there were two requirements still to be met before it could come into force. The ratification by Russia and the Philippines fulfils the requirement that at least 30 ILO member countries ratify the Convention. The other requirement - that ratifying countries represent 33 percent of the world's gross shipping tonnage - was met in 2009.

The 30 countries represent nearly 60 percent of the shipping tonnage. This means that seafarers working on more than 50 per cent of the world's international shipping will be covered by the new Convention. "This is a remarkable achievement," Somavia said. "Not only are these first 30 ratifications drawn from almost every region of the world, but the tonnage level is nearly double the required amount."

The MLC, 2006 establishes minimum requirements for almost all aspects of working conditions for seafarers including conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.

"Each State is tasked not only with ensuring that ships flying its flag meet the 'decent work' requirements set out in the Convention, but also with certifying that those ships comply with the requirements relating to labour conditions." said Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the ILO's International Labour Standards Department.

This certification will also facilitate inspections of ships. The Convention places great reliance on the system allowing for inspections to be carried out by other countries, known as port State control. There is also a mechanism which records seafarers' complaints, as well as a reporting mechanism which spots failures no matter where a ship travels.

"The maritime labour inspection and certification system is a big step forward by the ILO in taking concrete and specific action to address the very serious problems that arise because of international ownership of ships and the inability of some countries to ensure that their ships meet international standards for quality shipping," Doumbia-Henry said. She added that the industry has been active in implementing the MLC ever since it was adopted and often well ahead of the legal process for national ratification.

The following countries have ratified MLC, 2006:

Liberia, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Panama, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Benin, Singapore, Denmark, Antigua and Barbuda, Latvia, Luxembourg, Kiribati, Netherlands, Australia, St Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu, Togo, Poland, Palau, Sweden, Cyprus, Russian Federation, Philippines.

NEBOSH - Overseas exam entries now exceed those from UK

More than half of all registrations for NEBOSH examinations now come from outside of the United Kingdom, it has emerged.

Health, safety and environmental qualifications body NEBOSH revealed that over a 12 month period to the end of May 2012, 51% of examination entries came from overseas.

Figures to the end of June 2012 showed that growth in overseas registrations for NEBOSH exams was continuing, with the 12 month rolling percentage rising to 54%.

NEBOSH recently highlighted how its globally focussed International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety was now its most popular qualification, having overtaken the UK equivalent National Certificate for the first time.

"NEBOSH is a name that is recognised throughout the world now for our health, safety and environmental vocational qualifications," said Teresa Budworth, NEBOSH Chief Executive.

"This shift in having more examination entries from overseas than from here in the UK is a landmark in our development as an organisation. We are committed to ensuring that our qualifications meet the needs of organisations and are relevant to the risk profile and cultural needs of a worldwide audience. Simply put; we seek to help more people around the world to achieve healthy and safe working conditions."

Teresa added: "Clearly the UK remains our most significant market overall and we remain fully committed to that. However, the potential for growth almost anywhere in the world is now being realised.

"With our network of approved course providers growing and expanding into new territories, and our move towards delivering examinations in more foreign languages, we expect to see the level of international NEBOSH students continue to rise as we move ahead."

Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications are offered by around 500 course providers in more than 100 countries around the world.

Further information about NEBOSH courses can be found at www.nebosh.org.uk/Qualifications.

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) was formed in 1979 and is an independent examining board and awarding body with charitable status. NEBOSH offers a comprehensive range of globally-recognised, vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet the health, safety, environmental and risk management needs of all places of work in both the private and public sectors.

Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract around 35,000 candidates annually and are offered by around 500 course providers around the world. NEBOSH examinations have been taken in over 100 countries. NEBOSH qualifications are recognised by the relevant professional membership bodies including the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).

Contact: Julia Whiting, Communications Co-ordinator, NEBOSH | Tel: + 44 (0)116 263 4724 | Mob: +44 (0)7850 204072 | Email: julia.whiting@nebosh.org.uk

New ECETOC report explores the effects of chemical co-exposures at doses relevant for human safety assessments

Chemical regulation is mainly based on single substances, but exposure is to complex mixtures, which raises the question of whether the regulatory framework is adequate and protective. There has long been an interest in the toxicology of mixtures, but most studies have been conducted at effect levels for the components of a mixture.

This review focuses specifically on studies where a mixture has been tested at doses which are at or below the NO(A)EL for every component of the mixture. This is the only dose region in which mixture toxicity could threaten regulatory safety margins. A thorough literature review was conducted using this selection criterion and others, for example only studies using models of mammalian systems were considered.

Recent Research Reports from the UK Health and Safety Laboratory

RR924 - Load security on double-deck trailers
This research has considered good practice in the safe use of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with more than one load bed and has identified measures that operators can take to reduce the risks inherent in using double-deck trailers.

RR937 - Flammable vapour cloud risks from tank overfilling incidents
This report documents research undertaken in 2007 and 2008 to examine the important factors affecting the production of flammable vapour in incidents where large storage tanks of volatile liquids are overfilled.

RR936 - Buncefield investigation: Liquid flow and vapour production
Blast and fire damage at Buncefield followed ignition of an extensive low-lying cloud rich in hydrocarbons. This cloud developed during overfilling of a tank with unleaded petrol. The purpose of this report is to explain the connection between the loss of containment and the generation of a combustible cloud.

RR923 - Investigation of relationship between saturated vapour concentration and real exposure to vapour
This study was designed to provide information to better assess levels of risk and the potential for human exposure to low volatility chemical substances.

RR926 - On-tool controls to reduce exposure to respirable dusts in the construction industry: A review
Many processes in the construction industry create large quantities of inhalable and respirable dust. Such emissions must be adequately controlled to reduce exposure to below the occupational exposure limit. One of the most effective controls is the application of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to control emissions at source. This research reviews and summarises the current research.

Cartoon hero Napo brings knowledge of safety and health to primary classrooms

'Napo for Teachers', an exciting new project introducing basic safety and health concepts to primary school children, has been developed by EU-OSHA, together with the Napo Consortium. The initiative makes a variety of educational aids available to teachers online.

Aimed at children aged between 7 and 11, the resources are based on the cartoon character Napo, who helps to spread the message of workplace safety and health in a light and engaging way.

The free, downloadable lesson plans cover topics that primary school children are likely to encounter at home and at school, including safety signs, risks to the skin and back and the identification of risks and hazards. The toolkit is available in seven language versions.