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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

April 2013

28 April 2013 - World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The 2013 International Labour Office (ILO) World Day for Safety and Health at Work theme for this year is: The Prevention of occupational diseases.

Worldwide, occupational diseases continue to be the leading cause of work-related deaths. According to ILO estimates, out of 2.34 million occupational fatalities every year, only 321,000 are due to accidents. The remaining 2.02 million deaths are caused by various types of work-related diseases, which correspond to a daily average of more than 5,500 deaths. This is an unacceptable Decent Work deficit.

The inadequate prevention of occupational diseases has profound negative effects not only on workers and their families but also on society at large due to the tremendous costs that it generates; particularly, in terms of loss of productivity and burdening of social security systems. Prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation.

Occupational diseases cause huge suffering and loss in the world of work. While much progress has been made in addressing the challenges of occupational diseases, there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity for their prevention in national OSH systems.

With the collaborative effort of governments and employers' and workers' organisations, the fight against this hidden epidemic will have to feature prominently in new global and national agendas for safety and health.

The ILO report for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2013 outlines the current situation concerning occupational diseases and presents proposals for addressing this serious Decent Work deficit.

2013 ILO World Day for Safety and Health at Work publications are:

  1. Poster
  2. Postcard
  3. PowerPoint presentation
  4. Report: "The Prevention of Occupational Diseases"

All countries can take concrete steps now to improve their capacity for preventing occupational diseases.

The ILO calls on governments, employers, workers and their organisations to collaborate in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies aimed at preventing occupational and work-related diseases.

The ILO celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on the 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

The celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the ILO and promotes the creation of a global preventative safety and health culture involving all stakeholders.

In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers' organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this date.

Find out more on this year's campaign:

See also this month's Focus.

Statement of CSB Chairperson Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso on Court Decision in Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Investigation Case

In April 2013 The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) learned that a Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas has upheld the CSB's legal authority to investigate the tragic April 2010 blowout and explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Federal District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal issued an Order that denied a motion by Transocean Deepwater Drilling, Inc. to block the CSB's access to information pertinent to the CSB's investigation.

A number of other companies have cooperated with the CSB's ongoing investigation; Transocean, however, had raised a number of legal arguments and has not provided the CSB with key information even as the accident approaches its third anniversary.

The Court found that "In sum, the CSB has shown that it has jurisdiction to investigate the Macondo incident. The subpoenas the CSB issued are within its authority. Because Transocean raised no challenge to the subpoenas other than the argument that the CSB exceeded its statutory authority, the motion to dismiss or to quash the subpoenas must be denied."

The Court's ruling follows an extensive litigation effort by the CSB and our colleagues in the United States Attorney's Office in Houston. This ruling greatly supports the CSB's ongoing investigation and will enable CSB investigators to access critical information that might have otherwise been unavailable.

The CSB's investigation has been taking a broad look at the causes of the Gulf tragedy. The issues include how the industry and the regulating agencies learned or did not learn from previous incidents. The report also examines the lack of human factors guidance for offshore production, the reliance on manual safety controls instead of automated systems, and organizational issues that can impair effective engineering decisions. We are also examining the implementation of effective corporate governance and sustainability standards to address safety and environmental risk.

The Court's decision affirms what we always believed - that the CSB has the legal authority and, indeed, the duty to thoroughly investigate the Gulf tragedy.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The Agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

ACGIH Webinar - Practical Heat Stress Management Using the ACGIH TLV for Heat Stress and Strain

LIVE on June 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

Presented by Thomas E. Bernard, PhD, CIH of the ACGIH TLVs for Physical Agents Committee.

The ACGIH TLV for heat stress and strain is an excellent starting point for the evaluation and management of occupational heat stress. The evaluation scheme includes the effects of environment, work demands and clothing. The evaluation scheme also provides a basis for planning exposures and recovery. In addition, the TLV provides guidance on general and job specific controls. This webinar will demonstrate the use of the evaluation scheme that includes the trade-offs among wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT), work demands and clothing requirements. The general controls including emergency response will be described along with the rationale. The range of engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protection will be placed in context for heat stress management. Among the job specific controls, there will be an emphasis on administrative controls that deal with exposure planning and recovery allowances.

To attend this webinar, you must first register for it. Once you have registered, you will receive an email message confirming your enrolment status and information that you need to join the event.

This webinar contains 2.5 hours of instruction and may be eligible for ABIH CM credit. See ABIH website for CM criteria. This webinar qualifies for .15 BCSP (SP) Continuance of Certification (COC) Point for Certified Safety Professionals. Participants seeking confirmation of attendance for the webinar from ACGIH must attend the live webinar or view the archive and submit a final exam and evaluation. Certificates of Completion will be issued in a timely manner after receipt and completion of these items.

Contact: ACGIH, 1330 Kemper Meadow Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45240 | Customer Service Tel +1 513 742 2020 | |

Researching Violence at Work - Trends, Attention and Responses

12-14 June 2013, Balingsholm, Huddinge (Stockholm area), Sweden

Course leader: Dr. Sofia Wikman, Stockholm University

How can organizations identify, prevent and manage the potential for trickle down workplace violence by building in ethical management practices, policies and procedures and how can trends in exposure to violence at work be understood and what are the measures to combat the problem?

The aim of the course is to summarize current scientific knowledge and thinking with respect to an improved understanding of the emergence of work-related violence as a social problem. During the course, what is meant - and what is to be covered - by the term "workplace violence" is discussed, and the question of why workplace violence occurs is taken up.

Keynote speaker: Vaughan Bowie, Adjunct Fellow University of Western Sydney Australia and Adjunct Senior Instructor in Psychiatry University of Rochester Medical School, NY, USA


The course is organised in the picturesque Balingsholm conference centre just outside of Stockholm, Sweden.

NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A 00250 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 | Email: |

Are "green jobs" safe?

With pressure to reduce carbon emissions, reduce waste, increase energy efficiency and the proportion of renewable energy, the EU is set for a rapid growth in the number of "green jobs" - jobs which help to protect or restore the environment. But with new technologies and processes being introduced in the green economy, what are the implications for workers' health and safety? With the publication of a new Foresight report, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) turns the spotlight on the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks of green jobs.

The Foresight project attempts to identify new or emerging risks in this important area. It works by identifying a number of possible future scenarios looking at how work is likely to develop in green jobs by 2020 and what future OSH challenges this may bring, given advances in green technologies, and a variety of different social and economic conditions.

As EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek says, "the scenarios developed through our Foresight project are powerful tools, which will provide policymakers in the EU with insights on how to shape the green economy of tomorrow to keep Europe's workers safe and healthy. If they are to be truly sustainable, and if they are to contribute to the EU2020 Strategy's objectives of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, we need to make sure that green jobs provide safe, healthy and decent working conditions. They need to be good for workers, as well as good for the environment."

The EU is committed to balancing economic growth with efforts to protect the environment, and has set a number of challenging targets for reductions in carbon emissions and waste, and increases in energy efficiency and in the proportion of renewable energy. Meeting these targets will result in a rapid expansion in the green economy. But there is already evidence that the "greening" of the economy in the EU has resulted in workers being put at greater risk.

New technologies and processes call for new combinations of skills to deal with them, but the rapid growth in this area of the economy, together with economic and political pressure, could lead to skills gaps, with workers being dangerously inexperienced and untrained in the work they are doing.

There are also a number of "old" risks, found in different situations and combinations equally requiring new specific skills. The installation of photovoltaic elements on roofs, for example, combines traditional construction risks together with electrical risks: workers therefore need specific training to perform this job. Some of the epoxy resins used in the manufacture of wind turbines are associated with allergies. And the introduction of new legislation can have unintended effects: new laws reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills, for example, has resulted in higher-than-average rates of work-related accidents and illness among workers in the waste treatment sector.

The report and a summary, entitled Green jobs and occupational safety and health: Foresight on new and emerging risks associated with new technologies by 2020, are available from EU-OSHA's new website area dedicated to OSH risks in the green economy.

The Foresight project involves looking beyond those workplace risks that are currently "emerging", to try to anticipate change in the longer term. It involves developing scenarios in certain subject areas, looking at what might happen given certain technological developments or changes in society, and the implications for OSH, which decision-makers can act on. The first Foresight project is looking at "green" jobs; those which involve technology or practices which are designed to reduce environmental impact.

A report identifying the key drivers of change in the area and another on the key technologies in this area that may affect workplace health and safety were published in 2011.

Agreement on EU Directive to protect workers in contact with Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)

The Irish Presidency has secured an important agreement on a Directive protecting workers from potential risks associated with electromagnetic fields. The adoption of this Directive is a high priority for the Irish Presidency in the area of labour law and forms part of the Presidency programme.

Agreement was reached at a trilogue between the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission on Tuesday, 26th March. The updated Directive provides for health and safety requirements in relation to the possible exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields.

Ministers had previously agreed the general policy approach in Council last October under the Cyprus Presidency. As Presidency, Ireland is leading the final negotiations with the European Parliament and the EU Commission on the final shape and content of the Directive.

The Directive contains technical annexes setting out the Exposure Limit Values. Member States have the option of maintaining or adopting more favourable provisions for the protection of workers, in particular the fixing of lower values for the "Action Levels" or the "Exposure Limit Values" for electromagnetic fields. The Directive addresses the protection of workers exposed to electromagnetic fields and the carrying out of effective and efficient risk assessments, proportional to the situation encountered at the workplace. In addition, it also defines a protection system that graduates the level of risk in a simple and easily understandable way and commits the European Commission to producing practical guidelines to assist employers in meeting their obligations under the Directive.

The technical detail in this replacement Directive adopts the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for exposure limit values.

After the entry into force of the previous EMF Directive in 2004 serious concerns were expressed by stakeholders, in particular from the medical community, as to the potential impact of the implementation of that Directive on the use of medical procedures based on medical imaging (e.g. MRI scanning). Concerns were also expressed as to the impact of the Directive on certain industrial activities. The present Directive addresses those concerns in a balanced way and is intended not only to ensure the health and safety of each worker on an individual basis, but also to create a minimum basis of protection for all EU workers, while reducing possible distortions of competition.

The next step is for the Directive to be examined to ensure that its legal texts are harmonised with the existing EU Workplace Health & Safety legislation. It is hoped that the Directive will be transposed into national law by all Member States by July 2016 at the latest.

Note: This Directive, which augments the existing overarching "Framework" Directive on Worker Health & Safety, includes specific provisions relating to:

The Directives technical Annexes address:

Moving to a bigger vehicle or driving a van for the first time

As the population ages, the workforce changes and organisations need to take on new recruits, young people and apprentices, we are seeing an increasing number of employees needing to trade up from driving a car to a bigger commercial vehicle or engineer's van. This is a recurring road safety theme for many of the organisations we work with, and provides several management challenges, which the following guidance is aimed to address.

If you are recruiting and managing such drivers, you and your organisation should benefit from the information below.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone driving on business:

A key area is to coach drivers on the many differences between driving a car and van, as well as to prepare them before they begin using their new vehicle. Drivers should:

  1. Listen carefully to any advice and explanations when they collect their new vehicle.
  2. Adjust mirrors to provide maximum vision and minimise blind spots.
  3. Understand how to adjust head restraints and seat for comfort and safety.
  4. Be encouraged to wear their seat belt at all times while driving.
  5. Make sure the rear or side cargo doors are locked securely before each trip.
  6. Become familiar and comfortable with the size and responsiveness of the vehicle by initially driving in an area with little traffic.
  7. Be in complete control of the vehicle at all times.
  8. Understand the size and height of the vehicle, including the importance of taking extra caution when approaching bridges and canopies and when driving under overhanging trees.
  9. Take into consideration that vans need extra room to turn corners, particularly due to the length of the vehicle and the position of the rear when manoeuvring.
  10. Be coached to make use of the increased visibility from the higher driving position and remember to use exterior mirrors more often.
  11. Take tight bends slowly as tall vehicles can tip more easily due to their height and increased centre of gravity.
  12. Control their speed and not following other vehicles too closely. Larger vehicles require a much longer braking distance than cars, especially when carrying a load or in poor weather.
  13. Pay extra attention when reversing or parking and safely asking a competent person to guide them if their vehicle has blind spots.
  14. Be extra careful when changing lanes, paying particular attention to two wheelers and pedestrians.
  15. Understand the road handling characteristics between the van when full and empty.

Leadership and supervision are key to driver management, particularly for new, young and inexperienced colleagues driving a larger vehicle than they are normally used to. For this reason a management coaching session on work-related road safety can be found at:

A RiskCOACH guidance document on good practice for managing young and inexperienced drivers is freely available by contacting

Dr Will Murray, Research Director, Interactive Driving Systems® | Direct dial: + 44 (0) 115 846 2994 | Tel: + 44 (0) 1484 551060 | Mobile: +44 (0) 7713 415454 | Email: | | Fleet Safety Benchmarking:

Working and Caring at Different Stages of Life

1-4 October 2013, Hanasaari, Espoo (near Helsinki), Finland

Course leaders: adjunct professor Kaisa Kauppinen and team leader Salla Toppinen-Tanner, FIOH

A good work-life balance can be a significant resource for both individual employees and families. A growing body of research is focusing on the work-family interface during the life-course, as participation in working life and longer work careers have become important for well-being and sustainability on national level. This means that caring for those who need to be cared for, whether it be children, elderly parents or other loved ones, needs to be taken into account as an integral part of participation in working life.

Main topics

Siv Jansson, Course coordinator | Direct +358 30 474 2488 | Fax +358 30 474 2497 | Mobile +358 43 8241 696 |

Contact: NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A 00250 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 |

Taking into Account Employee Health and Well-being during Organizational Changes

28-30 October 2013, Vilvorde Course Centre, Charlottenlund (near Copenhagen), Denmark

Course leader: Professor Karina Nielsen, University of East Anglia, UK

Main Topics


This course focuses on the links between organizational change and employee health and well-being and on the possible avenues for managing organizational change processes in a way that prevent deterioration in employee health and well-being.

Concrete cases will be presented, and different methods on how to manage organizational change taking into account employee health and well-being at the individual, group, leader and organizational level will be discussed. The small, interactive nature of the course will ensure that there is time for discussion and active participation. Participants will have the opportunity to present their own experiences.

Researchers, representatives from companies, occupational health consultants, and representatives from the social partners will be brought together to discuss the challenges of managing organizational change in a way that ensures employee health and well-being.

Target group

Human resource managers, occupational health professionals and researchers.

Contact: NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A 00250 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +358 30 474 2498

New FABIG Technical Note: "Vapour Cloud Development in Over-filling Incidents"

The new FABIG Technical Note 12 covering Vapour Cloud Development in Over-filling Incidents has now been released.

This FABIG Technical Note describes an assessment method for calculating the rate at which the volume of a vapour cloud increases during an overfilling incident. The assessment method also gives the concentration of hydrocarbons within the cloud and provides some guidance on the extent of cloud spread in relatively flat sites with the kind of obstructions that would be normal in and around a fuel depot tank farm.

The scope of the HSE VCA method (see HSE Research Report RR908) on which this Technical Note is based has been extended to allow vapour cloud assessment for a range of fuels and solvents that are commonly stored in large volumes. It also gives preliminary guidance on extending the assessment to low (non-zero) wind speeds and to calculate the rate at which a cloud may accumulate in the case of spray releases (e.g. flange failure or pipe rupture).

FABIG Members can download it from the FABIG website, and Non-Members can contact FABIG in order to purchase it.

Needlestick injuries cause psychiatric trauma

Needlestick or "sharps" injuries are resulting in persistent and substantial psychiatric illness or depression in workers in a wide range of industries, a new study has found. Research published this month in the journal Occupational Medicine found that those affected suffered psychiatric trauma that is similar in severity to trauma caused by other events such as road traffic accidents. This had a major impact on work attendance, family relationships and sexual health. The duration of the psychiatric symptoms were linked to the length of time the person injured by the sharp had to wait for blood test results, the study found.

Although sharps injuries mostly occur in healthcare settings, many other employees are also at risk including prison and police officers, park wardens, street cleaners and refuse collectors, tattoo artists and others who may come across discarded hypodermic needles. A sharp contaminated with infected blood can transmit more than 20 diseases including hepatitis B and C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This transmission risk causes worry and stress to the estimated 100,000 people who experience a needlestick accident every year.

Professor Ben Green, who undertook the research, said: "The psychological aspects of needlestick injuries are often overlooked. The chances of physical damage - infection and so on - are what are focused on by society, but these risks are in reality very small. The main health implication of needlestick incidents is probably psychiatric injury caused by fear and worry." Dr Richard Heron, president of the Society of Occupational Medicine, commented: "We need to reduce the incidence of needlestick injuries by raising awareness, education and making safer equipment available but we also need to ensure that people have rapid access to post-exposure support - including psychological help if needed."

B. Green and EC Griffiths. Psychiatric consequences of needlestick injury, Occupational Medicine volume 63, pages 183-188, 2013.

News from the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America

The April issue of LIFELINES ONLINE (Vol. IX, No. 11) is available at the LHSFNA website. These are the headlines:

Also, please note that back issues of LIFELINES ONLINE - as well as our print magazine, LIFELINES - are posted for online viewing. The LIFELINES ONLINE archive and LIFELINES archive are fully searchable, so you can find the articles that relate to your topic of interest.

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

New Book: Saved from the Flames

A History of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire (SPLF) by Roger Willoughby and John Wilson

There have been earlier accounts of the SPLF and its history but none as complete as Saved from the Flames, by Roger Willoughby and John Wilson. It provides a detailed description of the establishment and development of the Society and the characters involved but its particular strength is its account of the various types of the Society's medals and the long listings of their recipients.

The Society has had a long and varied history since 1836:

Indeed, the Society's Trustees will soon be considering Case No. 26,919! They applaud the publication of Saved from the Flames, they are delighted that it documents so well the Society's story, and they congratulate the authors on their 7 years' research and diligence.

In 2013 the Society is more determined than ever to pursue its principal objective, the recognition of individuals who perform acts of bravery - spontaneous heroism - in rescuing others from fire. It is pleased to record that, in the year to November 2012, the SPLF made awards to 68 fire rescue heroes.

Saved from the Flames
A History of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire
A4 format, printed cover on boards, pp. xii + 412, 144 tone illustrations, 6 tables. Price £45.00

Saved from the Flames is available from Token Publishing, Orchard House, Duchy Road, Heathpark, Honiton, Devon EX14 1YD |

The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire
Established 1836. Registered Charity No. 207820
c/o 15 Mallow Close, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 5GA | Tel: 01403 258889 | Email: |




Section I. The Society, its origins and history

  1. Fire-fighting and fire rescues
  2. The initial formation of the Society
  3. Reorganisation of the Society
  4. The greatest conductor
  5. The years of growth
  6. Farewell to the conductors
  7. Trying to regroup
  8. Making a modern humane society

Section II. The recognition of bravery

  1. The Society's awards
  2. Medals
  3. Watches
  4. Testimonials and certificates
  5. Pecuniary awards

Section III. Roll of principal awards (medals and watches)


  1. Known medals
  2. Conductors
  3. Rules for conductors (February 1864)
  4. Fire-escape stations (January 1867)
  5. The Society's archives
  6. References
  7. Indexes



Petition to defend the safety management code

A petition to the government is calling on the government to retain and improve a crucial safety management code, rather than follow through with plans to ditch it. The call, on the government's e-petitions website, is headed "Save the 'code' to protect workers, businesses and the economy".

According the petition to defend the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) to the management regulations: "This ACoP helps employers prevent serious work-related injuries, illness and death. Removal implies this is less important - potentially costing life and limb, as well as damaging businesses and the economy."

The petition created by Gerard Hand, who is the president of safety professionals' organisation IOSH: adds: "Employers rely on the authoritative 'special legal' status and assurance of the ACoP to ensure they are legally compliant. Removal could cause confusion and uncertainty."

The petition points out that reviews for the government by Lord Young and Professor Löfstedt did not recommend its withdrawal. The petition concludes: "Replacing the ACoP with non-approved guidance would NOT provide the same authority, assurance or convenience as a single reference. The government should work with stakeholders to improve the ACoP and its high-level guidance. We urge the Government to IMPROVE and RETAIN the 'Management of Health and Safety at Work Approved Code of Practice' for the benefit of all concerned."

E-petition: Save the 'code' to protect workers, businesses and the economy

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Fire Information Group (FIG UK)

Seminar - "Mind the Gap in Fire Information" on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 starting at 13.15

Location: Imperial Hotel, Tudor Room, Russell Square, London


12.30 - 13.15


13.15 - 13.20

Introduction by Chair Sheila Pantry OBE

13.20 - 13.40

"Mind the Gap" - Setting the scene - FIG UK and fire information worldwide
Sheila Pantry OBE

13.40 - 14.05

FRSUG - Fire Statistics User Group
Kirsty Bosley, Chair FRSUG
What it is and what it does and the links

14.05 - 14.30

Fire safety information requirements of firefighters
Dave Sibert, Fire Brigades Union Fire Safety Advisor

14.30 - 15.00

Fire research into practice
Dr James Glockling, Technical Director Fire Protection Association

15.00 - 15.15


15.15 - 15.40

All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group
Secretary Jim Fitzpatrick MP
What it is and what it does

15.40 - 16.05

Fire investigation and training and information needs
Dr Roger Berrett

16.05 - 16.30

What happens after a disaster?
Dr Chris Foster, Burgoynes
What are the stages - where does information and statistics come in?


Summing up - Chair

Refreshments and Networking

To book a free of charge place or for any further information, contact:

Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP
Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd,
85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024
Fax: +44 (0) 1909 772829

EVENT - Applications of Toxicology in Occupational Health

To be held on 16-19 September 2013, Naantali Spa, Naantali, Finland

Assessment of health risks of chemicals is one of the most challenging tasks for experts involved in chemical safety assessment in companies and in occupational health care. The aim of the course is to give the participants an overview of the toxicological principles and the understanding of toxicological mechanisms of chemicals relevant at workplaces. The participants will also learn how to apply this information for risk analysis at workplaces and to strengthen their own skills for daily practice. A poster session on participants' own cases will be included in the course.

Course leaders

Please, check for more details and the programme.

The course will be held at Naantali Spa Hotel in Naantali. NIVA has reserved accommodation for the participants at the hotel. For more information on the course venue, please visit:

The registration fee is 500 Euros (including teaching and course material).

For further information contact: Annika Bärlund, Course coordinator, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a, 00250 Helsinki, Finland | Tel: +358 30 474 2333 | Email:

Health and Safety Reform: Striking the Right Balance

18th April 2013, The Barbican, London

Delegates will receive advice on how to:

Confirmed Speakers include:

Professor Ragnar Lofstedt
Director of the King's Centre for Risk Management, King's College, London
Lofstedt progress report
Alison Fryatt
Team Leader, Health and Safety Stewardship Team, Department for Work and Pensions
Neal Stone
Director of Policy and Communications, British Safety Council
Subash Ludhra
President, IOSH
Professor David Ball
Professor of Risk Management, Middlesex University

At Health and Safety Reform: Striking the Right Balance expert speakers will explore the impact of the recent recommendations and reforms to help ensure that your organisation is effectively managing risks in an effective and sensible way.

New ECETOC Report Addresses Dermal Exposure to Chemicals

Exposure to chemicals can occur through the mouth, nose or the skin. While a lot of work has been done studying health risks of chemicals taken up through the mouth and nose, less has been done on health risks caused by chemicals getting into the body through the skin. Chemical legislation, most notably REACH, does however require information on possible health risks from dermal exposures. This ECETOC Report has therefore been developed to provide a step-wise approach for assessing and understanding health risks of substances that get onto the skin either as a solid, a liquid or when sprayed as an aerosol.

Used by both experienced and less experienced scientists to provide relatively simple, or if necessary refined, estimates of health risk. Several examples are provided guiding the reader through the step-wise approach. While the document is mainly for skin exposures occurring in the work place, it can also be used by those scientists interested in assessing risks from skin exposures in other settings.

The document is published as ECETOC Technical Report 119: Evaluation of Systemic Health Effects Following Dermal Exposure to Chemicals, and can be freely downloaded

London Fire Brigade Calls for Safer Fridges and Freezers

Modern fridges and freezers are the "most dangerous household appliance when involved in a fire", according to a new report from the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

The report looks at fires that were started by electricity or in electrical appliances and follows a fire in Neasden last year that was started by a chest freezer and which resulted in the deaths of six people. Fridges and freezers are of particular concern to LFB because they contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which can cause big fires that spread quickly. This insulation also produces highly toxic gases when involved in a fire.

According to the report the way fridges and freezers are built and the materials used to make them have changed over recent years to include more plastic. These changes have increased the risk to people if a fire starts because the highly flammable insulation is not separated from parts of the fridge or freezer where a fire can start. If this insulation catches light a fire can develop quickly.

The report goes on to say that when fires involving fridges or freezers in the UK are compared with those in the USA, where standards are different, it is more likely that people in the UK will be injured. According to LFB estimates, in the USA there is an average of one injury for every 25 fires involving fridges, freezers or fridge freezers. However, in the UK, according to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, one in every five fires in fridges or freezers result in someone being injured. In the UK, there is an average of 336 fires involving fridges or freezers each year, injuring 69 people.

Tougher safety standards mean that in the US, the flammable insulation in fridges and freezers is far less likely to be involved in a fire. However, UK safety standards mean the highly flammable insulation does not have to be protected by a fire proof material.

London Fire Brigade wants to see tougher standards so that the highly flammable insulation used in fridges and freezers is made safer from fire. This could involve separating the insulation from the electrical parts with a fire proof material and, in case a fire starts outside of the fridge or freezer and spreads to it, totally encasing the insulation. The Brigade says that this will reduce the number of injuries, and potentially deaths, caused by fires involving fridges and freezers.

Rita Dexter, Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said:

"Almost every home in Britain has a fridge or freezer and the chances are, it will be plugged in and working safely for years. Unfortunately, on rare occasions problems do occur and the result can be a big fire with potentially tragic consequences. This is why it's so important to make sure that if a fire involving a fridge or freezer does start, it doesn't spread.

"London Fire Brigade wants to see tougher standards so that the highly flammable insulation in fridges and freezers is better protected from fire. In the meantime, our advice is that if people notice any strange noises coming from their fridge or freezer, they should call the manufacturer or an electrical repair expert immediately."

Faults in appliances could also be due to misuse or bad maintenance, or a malfunction in an appliance.

Comparisons between US and UK based on a five year average of fires involving fridge/freezers and resultant injuries between 2005 and 2009 using figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government in the UK and the National Fire Protection Agency in the USA (Home Structure Fires Involving Kitchen Equipment Other Than Cooking Equipment by John Hall Jr.)

You feel overloaded at work and they changed your shift schedule again without warning. You can't get work off of your mind and are having trouble sleeping. To top it off, your stomach is acting up and those nagging headaches are back. You are likely one of the thirty percent of workers who have chronic work-related stress, which, if left unchecked, could lead to serious health issues. Learn the causes of work-related stress and what steps can be taken to minimize the risk.

New global chemicals regime is needed

A new comprehensive global chemicals agreement is needed to safeguard people and the environment, a report has concluded. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) said existing global agreements for chemicals management fall short, with only 22 hazardous chemicals currently managed throughout their lifecycle at the global level.

Their report, 'Paths to global chemical safety: The 2020 goal and beyond', says the four principal international agreements in force - the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) - are not adequate, even if fully implemented, to protect human health and the environment from the risks of dangerous chemicals.

'A comprehensive chemicals regime is necessary at the global level to ensure present and future generations enjoy the right to a healthy environment,' said Baskut Tuncak, staff attorney at CIEL and author of the report. 'The current piecemeal approach of ensuring chemical safety is grossly inadequate to protect people and the environment, and cannot provide a level playing field for businesses operating in a globalised marketplace.'

SSNC president Dr Mikael Karlsson said Europe had taken a lead on laws governing chemical use, but added: 'A comprehensive chemicals convention would establish global standards and enable countries to enact legislation to this effect.'

CIEL news release and report: Paths to global chemical safety: The 2020 goal and beyond