Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

February 2013

Contents
  1. Towards WHO Global Action Plan on Non-communicable Diseases - Briefing for OH partners
  2. 18-23 May 2013 - The American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce)
  3. February - International and National Heart Month
  4. US NIOSH report - Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update: Evaluation of Radon Levels at a U.S. Government Facility
  5. Working under pressure... can you help NIOSH
  6. Over 78,500 children have started smoking since UK Government's consultation on standardised tobacco packaging ended
  7. Chainsaws at work INDG317 (rev2)
  8. Occupational Hygiene 2013: International Conference, 23-25 April 2013, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester, UK
  9. What information do you really need to do your job safely and healthily?
  10. New Research report from Canada - Presence, Intensity, and Temporal Changes in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Maintenance Factors in Workers Undergoing Rehabilitation for Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain
  11. NEBOSH Environmental Certificate goes international
  12. Health and safety in supply chains: New report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
  13. Eurofound launches the fieldwork for its 3rd European Company Survey: Surveying how European workplaces have managed in the economic downturn
  14. NEBOSH and CIWEM announce new partnership
  15. ECHA updates Practical Guidance on how to Report Robust Study Summaries
  16. DO you need to access the latest validated and authoritative information on all aspects of fire, health and safety at work?
  17. ECHA Publishes Best Practices for Qualitative Assessment of Human Health Risks
  18. Occupational Exposure Limit Values for Chemicals: French Safety Agency Issues Calls for Contributions from Stakeholders
  19. UK HPA issues Guidance on Reducing the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning over Winter
  20. Pregnant Women can still Face Workplace Discrimination and Health and Safety, According to the ILO
  21. New Research Explores Direct Effects of Low-To-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance
  22. Canadian Study Considers Development of a Procedure to Measure the Effectiveness of N95 Respirator Filters against Nanoparticles
  23. Six-Month Moratorium before the Second REACH Registration Deadline
  24. Promoting Healthy Work for Workers with Chronic Illnesses: A Guide to Good Practice

Towards WHO Global Action Plan on Non-communicable Diseases - Briefing for OH partners

As most of you are already aware the World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (2013-2020). This plan will serve as a road map for the implementation of the Political Declaration of the UN General Assembly from 2011 on non-communicable diseases.

WHO started a third round of informal consultations on the development of this global action plan. Member States, UN agencies, NGOs in official relations with WHO and other international partners are invited to submit comments. The draft action plan and instructions for submitting comments are available at www.who.int/nmh/events/2013/consultation_201303012/en

The NCDs action plan includes number of references to different occupational health aspects of non-communicable diseases, such as healthy workplaces, occupational and work-related non-communicable diseases, and linking occupational health services to primary care. Therefore, its implementation would be very important for your action on workers' health and the implementation of Resolution WHA 60.26 "Workers' Health: Global Plan of Action".

Ivan D. Ivanov, MD, PhD, Team Leader, Occupational Health Interventions for Healthy Environments, Department of Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization, 20, Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27 | Tel. direct: +41 22 791 5532 | Tel: +41 22 791 2111 | Fax: +41 22 791 3111 | E-mail: ivanovi@who.int | Website: www.who.int/occupational_health/en | www.who.int/en

18-23 May 2013 - The American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce)

Palais des congrès de Montréal, 1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montreal, Canada

This is considered the most important event of the year among EH&S professionals. More than 5,000 industrial hygiene and safety professionals are expected to convene in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for six days of education and networking.

Are travel restrictions, schedule conflicts, approvals or budget issues preventing you from joining us in Montreal for AIHce 2013? Registration is now open for the AIHce 2013 Virtual Conference, where you can participate in select education sessions from the comfort and convenience of your home or office. Gain access to world-class education and earn up to 26.5 CM credit hours and COCs - with zero travel costs! Register for just one day, or for all four. The Virtual Conference allows you to choose the sessions that work best for your schedule.

Registration includes access to 13 of the most fascinating and thought-provoking sessions at AIHce 2013 on topics including:

... and much more!

Plus, you'll have the opportunity to participate in live Q&A sessions with the presenters and attendees as if you were on-site in Montreal!

https://www.aiha.org

February - International and National Heart Month

February is now widely recognised as National Heart Month and here at Heart Research UK, we've come up with a simple "eight step plan" to make looking after your heart as easy as ABC. Why not see how many of the February tips you can implement into your daily healthy lifestyle routine.

Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre - make them into hearty soups or refreshing smoothies by chopping, dicing, slicing or shredding. However you choose to take them, you'll give your heart and body a colourful boost of antioxidants at the same time.

Exercise is here to stay - think of a more adventurous route on your walk to work, get off the bus a stop earlier or favour the stairs instead of the elevators.

Bike rides are an easy way to get around and research by the British Medical Association suggests that cycling just 20 miles a week is enough to reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 50%.

Remember your recommended limits for alcohol intake - drinking above the maximum will not only increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, but all those calories will add to your waist line.

Unveil some new cooking skills - why not try baking, grilling, poaching, or steaming for a healthier alternative to frying.

Add flavour from herbs and spices in place of salt which can lead to increased blood pressure. Buy them fresh or frozen from the supermarket or grow your own on the windowsill.

Rid your life of tobacco - think about the many health benefits of giving up fresher, clearer skin, more energy, improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure and healthier arteries as well as leaving yourself with extra cash in your pocket.

You time - do you ever think about some quiet time? Switch off your phone, television, and other distractions to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Take these simple February tips to heart throughout the whole of the year and give your heart and your health a beating chance for life.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK or email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk

US NIOSH report - Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update: Evaluation of Radon Levels at a U.S. Government Facility

HHE program investigators evaluated employee exposures to naturally occurring radon inside a government building. Investigators found that radon concentrations outdoors and in the occupied work area were below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Environmental Protection Agency exposure limits. Radon concentrations in the building's basement, which is typically unoccupied, were higher than in the work area or outdoors. Investigators recommended that the employer:

A link to this report can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

Working under pressure... can you help NIOSH

From the NIOSH Director's Desk - John Howard, M.D.

We often speak of "working under pressure" in a metaphoric sense. For workers employed in digging highway or rail tunnels underground, it can be a literal description. In projects where workers are enclosed in caissons or other protective structures, compressed air is used to increase the atmospheric pressure inside the structure to prevent water seepage or to stabilize the surrounding soil.

Working in high pressure exposes tunnel workers to the risks of decompression sickness, which can take the form of "the bends" and other painful and potentially fatal disorders unless the body properly decompresses in returning to normal outside pressure. Similar risks face deep-sea divers who return too quickly to the surface. The main occupational safety and health tool for preventing decompression sickness is the use of tables that set specific schedules for gradually decreasing pressure at varying time intervals. The first such tables were developed in 1908.

I am indebted to one of NIOSH's partners, Anita Johnson with Sound Transit Inc., in Seattle, Washington, for raising the issue of tunnel worker safety in a conversation not long ago at the Washington State Governor's Safety and Health Conference. Large tunneling projects are on the increase worldwide, given the availability of new tunnel boring machine technologies. In Seattle, for example, the expansion of the city's light rail system involves a tunneling project.

The conversation with Anita prompted NIOSH to do a little digging of its own into the question of whether current decompression tables are sufficiently protective.

NIOSH formed a workgroup to review the state of the science. It found that NIOSH had supported research by scientists Eric Kindwall and Peter Edel in the late 1970s and early 1980s to develop and test revised decompression tables. The revised tables were developed in response to research findings showing that the decompression tables used in Occupational Safety and Health Administration's underground construction standard (1926 Subpart S) were not sufficiently protective.

For example, research at the time found that seven of twenty one workers in a Milwaukee tunnel project had developed dysbaric osteonecrosis, a decompression illness resulting in the destruction of bone tissue.

The NIOSH-supported effort resulted in four new tables released in 1981. At that time, NIOSH transmitted the tables to OSHA. However, for general review, the tables have been available only on microfilm in the NIOSH archives.

Based on discussions with OSHA and others, NIOSH has decided to make these "Edel-Kindwall" tables more accessible. We created a new topic page called "Decompression Illness and Tunnel Workers" www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/decompression which describes the interesting history of this hazard and which provides the safety and health community and underground construction industry with direct access to the tables.

In addition, NIOSH also published a Federal Register notice in December 2012 inviting comments on decompression tables used for protecting tunneling (caisson) workers from developing decompression illnesses.

While we know that the Edel-Kindwall tables are more protective, we also know that they do not address pressures greater than 50 pounds per square inch, and that some modern projects involve such greater pressures. Consequently, there is a need for up-to-date decompression tables.

NIOSH thus requests information on:

  1. Types of projects where the Edel-Kindwall Tables have been used,
  2. Published and unpublished reports and findings relating to the use of the Edel-Kindwall Tables, including information on possible health effects or lack of observed health effects in tunnel/caisson workers who were decompressed with data from the Edel-Kindwall Tables,
  3. Information on related control measures (e.g., engineering controls, work practices, personal protective equipment) in use in workplaces where decompression is required, and
  4. Information on alternative tables and approaches being used to protect tunneling workers from pressures greater than 50 psi.

In addition, NIOSH has submitted official comments in response to OSHA's request for information on our partner agency's Standards Improvement Project - Phase IV. In our comments, we recommended that OSHA replace the outdated decompression tables in 29 CFR part 1926 subpart S with the Edel-Kindwall tables.

NIOSH's review has presented an interesting case of legacy hazard meeting emerging issue. It also touches on the value of research, the importance of making research accessible to our stakeholders and other interested parties, and the long timelines sometimes needed to make a difference. The docket is open until March 29, 2013 - please share any comments you have.

Over 78,500 children have started smoking since UK Government's consultation on standardised tobacco packaging ended

This Valentine's Day the UK Smokefree Action Coalition [1] is calling on the UK Government to take action and "have a heart" by committing to legislation to make all tobacco packaging standard. Today is the tenth anniversary of the implementation of the ban on tobacco advertising and the seventh anniversary of the Commons vote for smokefree legislation. Valentine's Day is therefore an ideal date for the Government to make its decision known.

The clock is ticking. Since the consultation on the legislation ended just over six months ago, it is estimated that 78,500 children will have started smoking in the UK, a number which grows by 430 every day. Now the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of over 190 health organisations including the BMA, medical royal colleges, public health bodies, academic institutions and health charities, is calling on the Government to publish the results of its consultation and announce that it will go ahead with legislation.

Currently in the UK, there are no restrictions on the way tobacco multinationals are allowed to promote their brands through packaging. The packs are now the principal form of tobacco promotion and are designed to attract existing and potential consumers with colourful and eye-catching imagery.

Further information: http://ashwales.org.uk/en/whats-new/smokefree-action-coalition-calls-for-decision-over-standard-packs-for-tobacco

Chainsaws at work INDG317 (rev2)

This leaflet from the UK Health and Safety Executive gives guidance on using portable, hand-held, petrol-engine chainsaws at work. It is aimed at employers, the self-employed and those who control the use of work equipment. It includes basic information on safe working practices for operators to follow.

It gives guidance on controlling the risks, consulting employees, fitness to operate a chainsaw, new workers, young workers, health risks, providing information, instruction and training, selecting a chainsaw, maintaining a chainsaw, personal protective equipment, lone workers, first aid, working with chainsaws, manual handling, tree felling, and working with chainsaws off the ground.

Supersedes 2006 edition.

Chainsaws at work
INDG317 (rev2), Health and Safety Executive, HSE Books, 2013, 16 pages
ISBN: 9780717665297

www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg317.pdf

Occupational Hygiene 2013: International Conference, 23-25 April 2013, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester, UK

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) Annual Conference is a major international conference promoting the science and practice of addressing health hazards in the workplace. The Conference brings together researchers, practitioners, regulators and business leaders from around the world to discuss issues - current and on the horizon - that affect health at work.

Time to celebrate! The BOHS Annual Conference in 2013 will be particularly significant as this will be BOHS' 60th anniversary year!

BOHS plan to mark this special occasion with a momentous event which celebrates the achievements of BOHS and its members over the past 60 years.

BOHS welcome members, non-members, special guests, speakers, partners, exhibitors and sponsors to join them in Manchester for what is anticipated to be an event to remember.

www.bohs.org/conferences-events

What information do you really need to do your job safely and healthily?

Using validated and authoritative information in OSH UPDATE and FIREINF electronic online services will ensure that you have the correct guidance and advice... find out more

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.

New Research report from Canada - Presence, Intensity, and Temporal Changes in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Maintenance Factors in Workers Undergoing Rehabilitation for Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain

The aim of this study was to enhance understanding of the nature of the anxiety symptoms exhibited by workers with a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) that had resulted in a work absence of more than 12 weeks, during their participation in a work rehabilitation program.

The primary objective was to document the presence, intensity, and temporal changes in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and its maintenance factors. These factors are intolerance of uncertainty, worries, negative problem orientation, and beliefs about the usefulness of worrying, cognitive avoidance, and depression.

In addition, this study sought, on an exploratory basis, to document the relationships between the component factors of a GAD model and the main biopsychosocial factors associated with work disability, as well as their correlations with a return to work.

This exploratory study is one of the first to document workers' GAD-type and kinesiophobia-related anxiety symptoms during a rehabilitation program. Regarding GAD factors, the comparison of this study's results with empirical and normative data also allowed the researchers to interpret and better understand the difficulties experienced by workers with a work disability.

To download the document, please visit: www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-presence-intensity-and-temporal-changes-in-generalized-anxiety-disorder-maintenance-factors-in-workers-undergoing-rehabilitation-for-persistent-musculoskeletal-pain-r-767.html

A French version of the report is also available.

NEBOSH Environmental Certificate goes international

NEBOSH has made changes to its popular National Certificate in Environmental Management to suit its growing international audience.

The revised qualification, which builds on the success of the original qualification launched in 2009, will be show-cased at the Intersec safety and security event in Dubai in January, and will be known as the NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management.

"Environmental management is a global issue and it is important that our qualifications are suitable for a worldwide audience," said NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth.

NEBOSH's reputation has grown significantly outside of the United Kingdom in recent years. More than half of all registrations to take NEBOSH examinations now come from outside of the UK, compared to fewer than on third in 2010.

"NEBOSH research has shown that around two-thirds of health and safety management positions feature responsibility for environmental management. So, combining a NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management with other NEBOSH qualifications can help with career progression. The qualification can also be a useful stepping stone towards gaining our professional level Environmental Diploma," said Teresa Budworth.

The syllabus for the new NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management is flexible to suit the location in which the qualification is studied, allowing the inclusion of local legislation and guidance.

The NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management is accepted by CIWEM - The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management - to meet the requirements for Technician Membership (TechCIWEM).

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.

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 in nearly 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 The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Contact: Julia Whiting, Communications and Marketing Manager, NEBOSH | Tel: 0116 263 4724 | Email: julia.whiting@nebosh.org.uk

Health and safety in supply chains: New report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)

Increasingly, businesses are outsourcing their activities and processes. But what implications does the growing importance of supply chains have for working conditions? A new report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) sheds light on occupational safety and health (OSH) within these complex networks of suppliers and service providers.

The report, Promoting occupational safety and health through the supply chain, analyses existing literature on the subject, as well as government policies and case studies, to provide an overview of how OSH can be managed and promoted through the supply chain, and which incentives and instruments exist for companies to encourage good OSH practices among their suppliers and contractors.

Promoting occupational safety and health through supply chains is a good example of how workers can be safeguarded when organisations co-operate - this is the subject of EU-OSHA's current Healthy Workplaces Campaign.

As EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek puts it:

Our Working together for risk prevention campaign is based on the idea that OSH is not just the responsibility of some people in the workplace, but that we create the safest working conditions when we are all involved. Nothing better illustrates this than businesses working with their supply chains, to help keep workers safe.

The report shows that companies are affected by many different pressures in working with their supply chains to improve OSH: as well as market-based business considerations and sustainability and corporate social responsibility agendas, there are also external pressures, such as legal demands and the concerns of stakeholders, consumer groups and other pressure groups. Though there are considerable differences between sectors and between companies of different sizes, the report shows that successful attempts to influence businesses in promoting OSH throughout their supply chains often involve a mixture of regulation and market-based measures and initiatives.

Companies who are looking to hold their suppliers to high OSH standards need to be involved at many different stages of the contracting process, from choosing safe contractors at the pre-contract stage, to supervising work as it is being carried out, and reviewing the OSH performance of contractors when the contract ends. The report shows that the most successful initiatives use a combination of approaches, with clear rewards for environmental and socially responsible behaviour.

The report highlights the importance of safety certification schemes, in particular, as a way of promoting OSH in the supply chain: the national governing bodies of the different national schemes are currently examining how they could adopt a common, EU-wide approach, which would help in working with contractors from outside Europe.

Apart from procurement strategies and safety certification schemes, the report also looks at other approaches that can be used to diminish work accidents and ill health in the supply chain, and which could be taken up more widely in Europe. These approaches focus on issues such as clarifying contractual responsibilities, improving communication, cooperation and training, and putting in place joint control procedures.

Links

Eurofound launches the fieldwork for its 3rd European Company Survey: Surveying how European workplaces have managed in the economic downturn

In 2009, more than 60% of employees in Europe were covered by a trade union or a works council at the workplace, according to the European Company Survey. At the same time, four out of five workplaces were found to have good work climate. This week across 32 countries, Eurofound launches the fieldwork for the new edition of European Company Survey, aimed at providing insights to changes in workplace and human resource management practices, employee participation and social dialogue at the workplace, and performance, since the inset of the economic downturn.

European companies play a crucial role in getting out if the crisis and in reaching the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable, inclusive and smart growth. The European Company Survey (ECS) gives an overview of workplace practices and how they are negotiated in European establishments. It is based on the views of both managers and employee representatives, and it is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy.

First carried out in 2004, and the second edition in 2009, the fieldwork for the third edition of the European Company Survey (3ECS) starts this week. The fieldwork will be carried out simultaneously in 32 countries (27 EU Member States and Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey), targeting 29,950 companies and establishments, ranging from 300 to 1650 depending on the size of the country. Interviews are carried out with a manager responsible for human resources and an employee representative at workplace level.

The main focus of the 3ECS is work organisation, workplace innovation, employee participation and social dialogue. The survey will map a number of practices used in European workplaces, as well as how they are discussed and negotiated at workplace level as well as some of their outcomes. The questionnaire was prepared in cooperation with Eurofound's tripartite stakeholders and experts in the relevant fields.

Information and research data from the 2nd European Company Survey (2ECS) are available at http://eurofound.europa.eu/surveys/ecs/2009/european-company-survey-2009. First results from the 3ECS are anticipated at the end of the year.

More information: http://eurofound.europa.eu/surveys/ecs/2013/european-company-survey-2013

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.

Contact Måns Mårtensson, Eurofound's media manager, Eurofound, Loughlinstown House, Wyattville Road, Dublin, Ireland D18 | email: mma@eurofound.europa.eu | Tel: +353-1-204 3124 | Mobile: +353-876-593 507

NEBOSH and CIWEM announce new partnership

NEBOSH environmental management qualifications are now being accepted by CIWEM (The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) as meeting its membership requirements.

The partnership was announced in January at a reception in Dubai by NEBOSH Chief Executive Teresa Budworth and CIWEM President Paul Hillman.

The NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management will be accepted for its new Technician Membership grade entitling the use of post-nominal designation (TechCIWEM). The NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management fulfils the qualification requirements for non-chartered Member of CIWEM (MCIWEM). Progression on to chartered membership is a further opportunity.

NEBOSH's Teresa Budworth said: "CIWEM has a longstanding history of working in environmental management which dates back more than 100 years. We're extremely proud that our environmental qualifications have been recognised by the CIWEM as a sign of knowledge and professionalism in this field."

Speaking in Dubai, CIWEM President Paul Hillman added: "I hope that those who successfully complete these qualifications use this CIWEM recognition to expand their professional careers with membership of the Institution. There is a warm welcome awaiting them within CIWEM and support for their onward professional development."

CIWEM's members are employed throughout the environment sector in senior management, engineering and scientific positions within the public and private sectors. It supports thousands of members worldwide through information, training and professional development opportunities.

NEBOSH also officially launched its revised Certificate in Environmental Management at the evening reception in Dubai. The syllabus is now more flexible to suit the location in which the exam is taken, responding to international interest in the qualification.

Further information about NEBOSH qualifications 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 in nearly 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 The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

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

ECHA updates Practical Guidance on how to Report Robust Study Summaries

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published an update to the Practical Guide 3: How to report robust study summaries.

Section three for physicochemical endpoints of the Practical Guide was modified to reflect the updated sub-chapter R.7.1 Physicochemical properties within the Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment R.7a: Endpoint specific guidance.

Sections four and five for the environmental and human health endpoints of the Practical Guide were updated with new and revised OECD Test Guidelines (TG), e.g. OECD TG 305 Bioaccumulation in Fish: Aqueous and Dietary Exposure, OECD TG 443 Extended One-Generation Reproductive Toxicity Study and OECD TG 405 Acute Eye Irritation/Corrosion.

Further information on the practical guides: http://echa.europa.eu/practical-guides

DO you need to access the latest validated and authoritative information on all aspects of fire, health and safety at work?

Then use OSH UPDATE and FIREINF online services - these electronic services will ensure that you have the correct guidance and advice... find out more...

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.

ECHA Publishes Best Practices for Qualitative Assessment of Human Health Risks

ECHA has issued Practical Guide 15 on How to perform a qualitative human health assessment and report it in a Chemical Safety Report. It is intended for REACH registrants, particularly those who are preparing for the REACH 2013 deadline.

The guide supports registrants in performing a qualitative risk characterisation for human health effects where a threshold cannot be established. It describes the methodologies and tools that can be applied, how the appropriate risk management measures can be selected and how the qualitative assessment can be documented in a chemical safety report. These aspects are illustrated by examples from typical occupational settings.

A well-founded qualitative assessment should establish conditions for the safe use of chemicals, using risk management measures that are appropriate and proportionate. The key information from the chemical safety report is summarised in the extended safety data sheets. By generating reliable information on how to use chemicals safely, registrants will comply with their legal requirements and contribute to achieving a primary aim of REACH, namely, to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

The Practical Guide is based on Part E (Risk Characterisation) of the Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/echa-publishes-best-practices-for-qualitative-assessment-of-human-health-risks

Occupational Exposure Limit Values for Chemicals: French Safety Agency Issues Calls for Contributions from Stakeholders

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) has been entrusted by the Ministry of Labour to conduct scientific assessments prior to the setting of occupational exposure limits (OELs) for certain chemicals. In order to contribute to the setting of these values, the Agency is issuing calls for contributions prior to and following the collective expert assessment work. Seven pre-assessment consultations and five post-assessment consultations have been launched via ANSES's website.

The aim of this consultation phase is to gather any scientific data that has not yet been published or which is considered useful by the Agency for conducting its expertise work for OEL recommendations.

As part of its commitment to broad stakeholder involvement in expertise work, ANSES has set up two types of calls for contributions, pre-expertise and post-expertise.

Ten pre-expertise consultations are currently open, with closing dates between 20 December and 18 March 2013.

Substances: dusts without specific effects; octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, cobalt combined with tungsten carbide, oxygen (to recommend a minimum value for oxygen in the workplace, for the prevention of hypoxia), crystalline silica, hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI), diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI), isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI),

Post-expertise consultations:

www.anses.fr

UK HPA issues Guidance on Reducing the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning over Winter

The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) is advising people to have their fossil fuel and wood burning appliances - such as boilers, heaters and cookers - checked by an appropriately registered engineer as the winter sets in.

The latest figures show that there are around 40 accidental deaths a year from carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales.

The HPA recommends that people have these appliances and their flues checked before the start of winter. Rooms in which appliances are used must also be adequately ventilated.

The Agency also recommends that people should fit an audible CO alarm which meets European Standards EN 50291, in their homes. The installation of an alarm, which can be bought from most DIY retailers, should not, however, replace regular inspections by a registered engineer.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is difficult to detect. At high levels CO poisoning can cause sudden collapse, loss of consciousness and death. Other symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, chest pains, nausea and vomiting.

A study estimated that around 4,000 people attend accident and emergency departments in England each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although most of the 4,000 people were not sick enough to be admitted to hospital, it is known that long term exposure is associated with neurological effects - such as having difficulties in concentrating.

Although carbon monoxide is difficult to detect, there are sometimes indicators that may suggest a fault with domestic appliances or flues. The signs of trouble are black sooty marks on the radiants - the clay bars above the gas flames - of gas fires, sooty marks on the wall around stoves, boilers or fires, and smoke accumulating in rooms due to faulty flues.

In addition, yellow instead of blue flames from gas appliances is another sign that there may be a fault with the appliance - although this does not apply to 'fuel-effect', 'living-flame' or 'decorative-flame' gas fires as they are designed to look like flames from solid fuel appliances.

If you see any of these signs, turn off the appliance, open your windows and have an appropriately registered engineer service the appliance as soon as possible.

Further information on carbon monoxide can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carbon-monoxide-properties-incident-management-and-toxicology

Pregnant Women can still Face Workplace Discrimination and Health and Safety, According to the ILO

While many countries have ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on maternity protection, it has been revealed that pregnant women still face workplace discrimination. The ILO has now published guidelines on how to implement maternity protection policies.

Around 70 countries have ratified at least one of three ILO conventions relating to maternity protection, but the reality is that many pregnant women and new mothers are still vulnerable in the workplace.

Indeed, a UK study found that 22,000 women said they had been disadvantaged at work because they were pregnant or took maternity leave.

Such discrimination is happening in rich, poor and middle income nations, and it has worsened with the global economic crisis, according to the ILO's Maternity Specialist.

ILO research has uncovered cases of women being harassed and sacked after becoming pregnant, women being made to sign pledges that they will not become pregnant, being forced to undergo pregnancy tests by their employers and being denied paid maternity leave. In some parts of the world, pregnant workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals which could harm the foetus or they have to stand all day and work night shifts because no special provisions are made for them.

The ILO, in collaboration with a number of other UN agencies, has now published guidelines, http://mprp.itcilo.org/pages/en/index.html, to help organisations, government ministries, workers and employers organizations strengthen and extend maternity protection to women at work.

The aim of such protection is to preserve the health of the mother and her new baby and to provide economic security for the women and their families. This can be achieved through maternity leave, cash and medical benefits, health protection in the workplace, employment protection and non-discrimination, and breastfeeding at work.

However, this is not just about helping individuals. Maternity protection has a significant impact on development, and research shows that it is of benefit to employers as well as employees because it will enable companies and organizations retain valuable staff.

ILO conventions relating to maternity protection: www.ilo.org/global/standards/subjects-covered-by-international-labour-standards/maternity-protection/lang--en/index.htm

New Research Explores Direct Effects of Low-To-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance

Background: Associations of higher indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations with impaired work performance, increased health symptoms, and poorer perceived air quality have been attributed to correlation of indoor CO2 with concentrations of other indoor air pollutants that are also influenced by rates of outdoor-air ventilation.

Researchers assessed direct effects of increased CO2, within the range of indoor concentrations, on decision making.

Method: Twenty-two participants were exposed to CO2 at 600, 1,000, and 2,500 ppm in an office-like chamber, in six groups. Each group was exposed to these conditions in three 2.5-hr sessions, all on 1 day, with exposure order balanced across groups. At 600 ppm, CO2 came from outdoor air and participants' respiration. Higher concentrations were achieved by injecting ultrapure CO2. Ventilation rate and temperature were constant. Under each condition, participants completed a computer-based test of decision-making performance as well as questionnaires on health symptoms and perceived air quality. Participants and the person administering the decision-making test were blinded to CO2 level. Data were analyzed with analysis of variance models.

Results: Relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, moderate and statistically significant decrements occurred in six of nine scales of decision-making performance. At 2,500 ppm, large and statistically significant reductions occurred in seven scales of decision-making performance (raw score ratios, 0.06-0.56), but performance on the focused activity scale increased.

The researchers concluded that direct adverse effects of CO2 on human performance may be economically important and may limit energy-saving reductions in outdoor air ventilation per person in buildings. Confirmation of these findings is needed.

Usha Satish, Mark J. Mendell, Krishnamurthy Shekhar, Toshifumi Hotchi, Douglas Sullivan, Siegfried Streufert, and William J. Fisk. Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance Environ Health Perspect 120:1671-1677 (2012).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104789

Canadian Study Considers Development of a Procedure to Measure the Effectiveness of N95 Respirator Filters against Nanoparticles

A new study on the effectiveness of N95 respirator filters against nanoparticles has been undertaken by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST).

There is an increasing concern about the potential health hazards posed to workers exposed to inhalation of nanoparticles (NPs). Common sources of nanoparticles in working environments include fumes and exhausts from different processes like laser ablation and milling. Nanoparticles have potential toxic properties: a high particle surface area, number concentration, and surface reactivity. Inhalation, the most common route of nanoparticle exposure, has been shown to cause adverse effects on pulmonary functions, and the deposited particles in the lung can be transferred to the blood system by passing through the pulmonary protection barriers.

Filtration is the simplest and most common method of aerosol control. It is widely used in mechanical ventilation and respiratory protection. However, concerns have been raised regarding the effectiveness of filters for capturing nanoparticles.

In order to reach a certified level of health protection from exposure to NPs, filtering face-piece respirators are widely used by workers. N, R and P Series are three classes of such respirators approved and certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The N95 face-piece respirator is one of the most commonly used masks. Serving a broad range of industries, N95 face piece respirators are known for their disposability, low cost, suitability, etc. According to NIOSH standards, N95 respirators are approved to remove at least 95% of 300 nm particles under an airflow rate of 85 litres/min. NIOSH uses the average particle size of 300 nm for the approval tests, because they correspond to the most penetrating particle size (MPPS) on mechanical filters. However, previous studies demonstrated that the MPPS shifts to smaller particle sizes for electrostatic charged filters. However, a lot of information is lacking to characterize the performance of respiratory filters for nanoparticles in the different situations encountered in the working environment.

Examples include the effect of temperature, humidity and respiratory flow rates.

In this study, the performance of one model of N95 NIOSH approved filtering face-piece respirator (FFR) was characterized against poly-dispersed and mono-dispersed NPs using two different experimental set-ups. With poly-dispersed NPs, a methodology was developed to measure the performance of the N95 respirators against NaCl aerosols in the size range of 15 to 200 nm in three scenarios. First, the initial particle penetration through N95 respirator was examined at four constant airflow rates: 85, 135, 270 and 360 litres/min. Second, the effect of time on the particle loading was investigated for duration of five hours. Third, the effect of the relative humidity (RH) (10, 30 and 70%) on the particle penetration was assessed at 85 litres/min.

In addition, the FFR performance was also characterized at 85 litres/min against twelve monosized NaCl aerosols with sizes ranging from 20 to 200 nm. The results were compared with the initial penetrations of the corresponding particle size on the FFR tested against poly-dispersed aerosols.

Using the poly-dispersed aerosols test (PAT) method, the results demonstrated that the initial particle penetration was significantly enhanced with the increased airflows and a shift toward smaller particle size was observed for the most penetrating particle. The particle penetration decreased with further loading, while a gradual increase in penetration was observed for the larger particle sizes. The MPPS was also found to shift toward the larger sized particles; from 41 to 66 nm. In addition, for the particles below 100 nm, the particle penetration augmented slightly as the RH increased. However, for the larger size particles, penetration was similar at RH of 10 and 30%; and subsequently increased as RH elevated to 70%.

The mono-dispersed aerosol test (MAT) method was performed at 85 litres/min constant flow rate; the initial particle penetration at the MPPS was below 5% NIOSH certification criterion.

Moreover, the initial particle penetration value, measured with MAT method was higher than the one measured with PAT method at each corresponding particle size.

Development of a Procedure to Measure the Effectiveness of N95 Respirator Filters against Nanoparticles

www.irsst.qc.ca/media/documents/PubIRSST/R-754.pdf

Six-Month Moratorium before the Second REACH Registration Deadline

To allow registrants to concentrate on preparing dossiers for the next REACH registration deadline, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has placed a six-month moratorium on Guidance and IT-tool updates starting on 1 December 2012 and ending on 31 May 2013. There will be additional support available for industry in the coming months.

The deadline for industry to register all substances manufactured in or imported into the EU at amounts of 100 - 1000 tonnes a year is 31 May 2013. With a new version of REACH-IT now installed, ECHA will have fulfilled its commitment to stabilise the guidance, IT tools, manuals and Q&As for registrants preparing for the upcoming deadline. These instructions and tools can all be found on ECHA's website. Industry should not expect further changes unless these would be agreed by the Directors' Contact Group.

Although the formal registration tools and guidance are now frozen until the deadline, ECHA is still working on a number of new webinars to assist lead and member registrants. Additionally, the national helpdesks and ECHA Helpdesk will provide support to registrants during the coming months.

Closer to the deadline, ECHA will announce its last-minute direct support service to member registrants. Before that, registrants will be invited to the next Stakeholders' Day taking place on 26 March 2013 in Helsinki with the opportunity for one-to-one sessions and hands-on training.

www.echa.europa.eu

Promoting Healthy Work for Workers with Chronic Illnesses: A Guide to Good Practice

The European Network for Workplace Health Promotion (ENWHP) has published a guide to good practice, which is primarily aimed at employers and managers who are faced with the challenges and opportunities of managing workers with chronic illness and supporting them to stay at work, or to assist in the process of returning to work after a period of absence. Many workers who develop and present with chronic illnesses have a valuable contribution to make to the European workforce which should not be overlooked.

A campaign targeting European companies will disseminate the good practice guidelines, to convince companies to incorporate policies into their overall health and human resources management strategies.

The pH Work project is EU-funded and intended to contribute to effective workplace policies at enterprise level, aimed at retaining and encouraging the return-to-work (RTW) of chronically ill workers. Comprehensive workplace health management and promotion (WHP) offers an effective approach combining individual and organisational interventions supporting employees with chronic conditions. Ultimately this may lead to a better quality of life and functioning, and an improvement of social and economic outcomes. The ENWHP Secretariat coordinating this initiative is hosted by Prevent, Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, located in Brussels.

Promoting healthy work for workers with chronic illness: A guide to good practice, is easy to read and discusses the following topics:

The guide to good practice also contains a list of the project's participants, useful links to websites, references and a check list on manager support for return to work.

www.enwhp.org/enwhp-initiatives/9th-initiative-ph-work/european-guide-to-good-practice-guidelines.html