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News Archive

August 2013

Priorities for occupational safety and health research in Europe: 2013–2020

As Europe experiences great economic, social and technological change, workplaces are also changing. Occupational safety and health (OSH) research is essential to address the gaps in knowledge of known, new or emerging risk factors to ensure safety, health and well-being in workplaces. This report by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work identifies the priorities for OSH research in the coming years in order to promote priority setting at national level and facilitate better coordination of research activities and more efficient allocation of resources. The focus is on four themes: demographic change; globalisation and the changing world of work; safe new technologies; and new or increasing occupational exposure to chemical and biological agents.

Priorities for occupational safety and health research in Europe: 2013–2020
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; L 2985; 26 June 2013; 104 pages; ISBN 9789292400682; ISSN 1831-9351

https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/priorities-for-occupational-safety-and-health-research-in-europe-2013-2020/view

DOI: 10.2802/25457

HSE chief to head up New Zealand’s workplace safety regulator

Geoffrey Podger is completing his contract as chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) two months early in order to take up the post of acting head of New Zealand’s imminent workplace regulatory body.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in Wellington announced today (30 July) that Mr Podger will be acting chief executive designate for WorkSafe New Zealand – a new standalone Crown agent to regulate workplace health and safety, which is due to begin operations in December this year.

He will start work on 16 September 2013 and his role will be to help the MBIE create the new entity, including embedding a new service-delivery model and implementing national office changes affecting the Health and Safety Group.

WorkSafe will give effect to the New Zealand government’s soon-to-be-announced package of reforms drawn up as a result of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety report.

Mr Podger will become acting chief executive in December and will continue in this role until 28 March 2014, by which time a permanent chief executive should be appointed and available to start.

He has been chief executive of the HSE in the UK since 2005 and, following his departure on 31 August, current deputy chief executive Kevin Myers will become acting chief executive. Gordon MacDonald, current director of hazardous installations, will take over as acting deputy chief executive.

The HSE says the appointments are being made on an interim basis as the Executive is currently the subject of a triennial review, and plans to recruit a new head need to take account of the review process.

Geoffrey Podger has been Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive since November 2005.

Since graduating from Oxford University in 1974, Geoffrey has worked for three Government Departments, two international organisations and three British agencies.

In particular he worked extensively on a range of issues for the Department of Health in London. He was chosen in 2000 to be the first Chief Executive of the UK Food Standards Agency and in 2003 as the first Director of the European Food Safety Authority.

Geoffrey was awarded the CB in 2003 and is both an Honorary Vice President of IOSH and an Honorary Fellow of IIRSM.

Book your place at the FPA 2013 Fire Sector Summit

23-24 October 2013, Whittlebury Hall, UK

Fire Sector Summit – the UK’s pre-eminent fire conference.

www.thefpa.co.uk/firesectorsummit

Statement from CSB Chairperson on Executive Order Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security

I applaud the issuance of the Executive Order entitled, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.” Increased coordination, communication, and data collection amongst federal, state, tribal, and local agencies should result in action and assist community members and emergency responders in helping to prevent and respond to chemical incidents.

Incidents the CSB has been investigating, such as the recent tragic explosion and fire in West, Texas, have revealed serious gaps in the prevention of accidents and in response preparations for major chemical releases by companies and government authorities, leaving Americans vulnerable.

The West accident showed a particularly glaring need for comprehensive regulation of reactive chemical hazards and in particular ammonium nitrate. The destruction I personally saw there – the obliteration of homes, schools, and businesses by an ammonium nitrate explosion – was almost beyond imagination. The loss of life was horrible. It is my hope that this Executive Order will spur development of regulation and enforcement for the safe handling of ammonium nitrate and other gaps in the coverage of reactive hazards that the CSB has previously identified to help prevent future incidents.

I am encouraged that the Executive Order calls for the revision and strengthening of EPA’s Risk Management Program and OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard. The CSB has long urged such improvements, specifically that reactive hazards – such as ammonium nitrate – be more comprehensively regulated under RMP and PSM.

The CSB looks forward to a discussion of the Memoranda of Understanding with various agencies. We trust that enhanced MOU’s would address site access for all, preservation of evidence for all, and sharing of information and testing results among all agencies, while protecting sensitive witness information so that all stakeholders and the public can learn what happened and work to prevent major incidents in the future.

For more information on the CSB’s investigation into the West Fertilizer explosion and fire, please click here: www.csb.gov/west-fertilizer-explosion-and-fire-

Did you know?

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Prevention of heat stress in workers is important.

Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented. See the NIOSH Heat Stress website (www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress) or download our fast facts for workers (www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-114/pdfs/2010-114.pdf) to help prevent heat stress.

Trade unions in Australia condemn new crackdown on refugees

In the last week there has been a massive increase in the level of repression against asylum seekers coming to Australia by sea to seek protection. The Labor government has announced that any new asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat will be immediately and permanently deported to Manus Island, an isolated island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The Australian government has promised money to the PNG government to get their cooperation. This new initiative was met with protests all over Australia, including unions who expressed their opposition to this increased repression.

There are some upcoming protests in Melbourne and Sydney.

Ireland’s Behaviour Based Safety Guide

This guide published by the Health and Safety Authority is informed by the field of Behaviour-Based Safety (BBS), which is often described as a bottom-up approach (frontline employees),with top-down support from safety leaders.

Behaviour Based Safety Guide
2013, 20 pages, ISBN 9781844961757

www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Safety_and_Health_Management/behaviour_based_safety_guide.html

UK Ministers urged to support “world class” regulator

Back the UK’s “world class” health and safety regulator with more resources, and rethink plans to exempt many workers from laws designed to protect them and others, urged a professional body today in response to a Government review.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has submitted written evidence to the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as part of a review by Ministers of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a non-departmental public body.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said: “Our submission strongly supports the continued need for HSE and its current delivery model, as ‘arm’s length’ from government Ministers, and emphasises the need for better resourcing.

“IOSH does not believe that any part of the HSE’s work could be better delivered elsewhere. It has built up significant expertise, experience and competence over many years and its world-wide reputation is testimony to its excellence in these functions. It is a world-class organisation.”

The Institution – the UK’s largest professional body in health and safety – also called for a single enforcement agency, to improve quality, consistency and efficient use of resources. This would end the current arrangement in which HSE inspectors and local authority enforcement officers both perform this function separately.

IOSH has previously raised concerns about the Government’s programme of health and safety deregulation following the publication of an independent report by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt.

Mr Jones said: “We also expressed concern in our response at the speed, scale and nature of change post-Löfstedt, including the proposed exemption of certain self-employed from health and safety law and the loss of important approved codes of practice.

“Additionally, we called on Government to do more to promote the many benefits of good health and safety regulation and to recognise the positive regard in which HSE is held both in the UK and abroad.”

This DWP review was launched to assess the continuing need for HSE’s functions, the best delivery model and whether HSE governance complies with good practice principles.

LIFELINES ONLINE August 2013 Issue

The August issue of LIFELINES ONLINE (Vol. X, No. 3) 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.

As always, we look forward to your feedback and comments on our website and LIFELINES ONLINE.

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

NIOSH Releases Nail Gun Safety Comic

US NIOSH’s first safety comic, Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety, is now available in English and Spanish. The comic provides critical safety information for potential and new pneumatic nail gun operators working in the residential building industry. The comic uses the theme of hands-on safety training by telling a story of a young worker getting advice about nail gun safety from a more experienced worker.

NIOSH researchers Jim Albers, Steve Hudock, and Brian Lowe collaborated with cartoonist/illustrator Nick Thorkelson (http://nickthorkelson.com) to develop the comic to accurately represent nail gun use on new building sites. Residential building stakeholder demand for the printed comic is high with nearly 80% of the English (21,000) and 55% of the Spanish (15,000) comics having been ordered in advance. View the document or request copies at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-149

NIOSH/OSHA Release 1-Bromopropane 1-BP Alert

1-Bromopropane (1-BP), also known as n-propyl bromide (nPB), is an organic solvent used in a number of commercial and industrial applications, including degreasing operations, adhesive spray applications, dry cleaning operations, and some aerosol spray products.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and NIOSH recently released a hazard alert that will be a useful source of current information related to 1-BP workplace exposure and appropriate protections. www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-150

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Potential Employee Exposures at a Medical Examiner’s Office

HHE Program investigators evaluated exposures to volatile organic compounds, mold, airborne particles, and formaldehyde in the autopsy suite, histology laboratory, and toxicology laboratory of a medical examiner’s office. Formaldehyde exposures in the autopsy suite were below occupational exposure limits and exposures to volatile organic compounds in the histology and toxicology laboratories were very low. Chronic water damage was found throughout the building, with mold growth and deteriorating duct lining present in ductwork that served several floors of the building. HHE Program investigators recommended

Evaluation of Work-Related Health Concerns at a Tire Manufacturing Plant

The HHE Program evaluated employee concerns about exposures and health problems at a tire manufacturing plant. The company’s comprehensive database tracked exposures to chemicals and monitored the effectiveness of exposure controls. However, some employees did not feel they had sufficient information about their exposures and possible health effects. HHE Program investigators recommended

The link to these final reports is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html

OSHA announces new National Emphasis Program for occupational exposure to isocyanates

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a new National Emphasis Program to protect workers from the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths.

“Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this program, OSHA will strengthen protections for workers exposed to isocyanates.”

Isocyanates are chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer. Deaths have occurred due to both asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyanates exposure. Respiratory illnesses also can be caused by isocyanates exposure to the skin. Isocyanates are used in materials including paints, varnishes, auto body repair, and building insulation. Jobs that involve exposure to isocyanates include spray-on polyurethane manufacturing, products such as mattresses and car seats and protective coatings for truck beds, boats, and decks.

OSHA’s Web page on Isocyanates provides additional information on recognizing potential hazards, as well as OSHA standards that address isocyanates in the general, construction and maritime industries.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

More information: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=24273

New Canadian Report – Method of Measuring Nanoparticle Penetration through Protective Glove Materials under Conditions Simulating Workplace Use

The Canadian IRSST has just published a method of measuring nanoparticles penetration through protective gloves. With the exponential growth in industrial applications of nanotechnologies and the corresponding increased risk of occupational exposure to nanomaterials, adoption of the precautionary principle is advisable. To apply this principle, personal protective equipment against nanoparticles must be made available, even though it should be regarded only as a last line of defence in an overall risk control strategy.

In an effort to address the current lack of tools and knowledge in this area, the IRSST developed a method to measure the penetration of nanoparticles through protective glove materials under conditions simulating workplace use.

Preliminary tests were performed using this method to measure the resistance of four models of protective gloves of different thicknesses made of nitrile, latex, neoprene and butyl rubber to the penetration of commercial TiO2 nanoparticles in powder form or colloidal solution.

The results appear to indicate that nanoparticles may penetrate through some types of gloves, particularly when the gloves are subjected to repeated mechanical deformations and the nanoparticles are in colloidal solution form. This method could also prove useful for studying the penetration of NPs through the textiles used in protective clothing.

To download the document, visit: www.irsst.qc.ca/en/-irsst-publication-development-of-a-method-of-measuring-nanoparticle-penetration-through-protective-glove-materials-under-conditions-simulating-workplace-use-r-785.html

French version is available: www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-methode-de-mesure-de-la-penetration-des-nanoparticules-a-travers-les-gants-r-734.html