Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

April 2014

Contents
  1. New measures to protect seafarers from abandonment and cover claims for death and long-term disability
  2. CSB to hold Public Meeting
  3. Toxic, Corrosive and Hazardous: The UK government’s record on health and safety
  4. Updated Guidance for downstream users translated into 22 EU languages now available
  5. Work-related stress – EU-OSHA campaign calls on employers and workers to tackle it together
  6. Events: Interactive Driving Systems encourages you to utilise the excellent resources and events provided by road safety charity Brake
  7. Event: IOSH 2014
  8. Positive effects of steel workers’ direct participation in managing health, safety and psychosocial risks at the workplace
  9. Foam filled fakes prompt proposed changes to furniture fire safety regulations
  10. Event: Irish Chief Fire Officers AGM “Leading the Fire Service of the Future”
  11. Advice from the USA regarding Floods
  12. CSB Releases Analysis
  13. US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update
  14. US National Safety Council Celebrates 100 Years
  15. Get ready for 28 April – World Day for Safety and Health at Work: Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work
  16. Protecting workers and the environment
  17. More employers demanding professional level qualifications
  18. Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) proposes to strengthen the classification of bisphenol A
  19. Statement from Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso on the US Chemical Safety Board 2015 Budget Justification
  20. Interactive Driving Systems encourages business managers, researchers and policy makers to support the second Occupational Safety in Transport Conference 2014
  21. Event: Return to Work after Sickness Absence

New measures to protect seafarers from abandonment and cover claims for death and long-term disability

The international maritime community has adopted measures to protect abandoned seafarers, and to provide financial security for compensation in cases of death and long-term disability.

More than 300 representatives of seafarers, shipowners and governments, meeting at the International Labour Organization (ILO) recently, have taken concrete steps to protect abandoned seafarers and provide financial security for compensation in cases of death and long-term disability due to occupational injury or hazard. The new measures are also aimed at improving the world’s shipping industry.

The adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention in 2006 was an historical milestone that heralded a new era in the maritime sector,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “This latest step, building on international tripartite cooperation, is a very significant and inspiring example for other economic sectors.”

“When they come into force, these measures will ensure the welfare of the world’s seafarers and their families if the seafarers are abandoned, or if death or long-term disability occurs as the result of occupational injury, illness or hazard,” he said. “These steps will certainly help improve working and living conditions for seafarers, doing what is right for the women and men in this sector who play a central role in keeping the real economy going with some 90 per cent of world trade carried on ships.”

The measures come in the form of amendments to the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, which were adopted without opposition. They will now be sent to the ILO’s International Labour Conference in May for approval.

The amendments were developed over nearly a decade by a Joint Working Group established by the ILO and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1998 and will strengthen the 2006 Convention. They establish mandatory requirements that shipowners have financial security to cover abandonment, as well as death or long-term disability of seafarers due to occupational injury and hazard.

“These legal standards will provide relief and peace of mind to abandoned seafarers and their families wherever they may be,” said Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the ILO Labour Standards Department. “In addition, by adopting these amendments to the Convention, shipowners and governments are also strengthening its provisions aimed at ensuring a level-playing field for quality shipping around the world.”

Under the new provisions, ships will be required to carry certificates or other documents to establish that financial security exists to protect seafarers working on board. Failure to provide this protection may mean that a ship can be detained in a port.

The ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 came into force on 20 August 2013. To date, 57 ILO Member States representing more than 80 per cent of the world’s global shipping tonnage have ratified the Convention. As of March 2014, the ILO’s Abandonment of Seafarers Database listed 159 abandoned merchant ships, some dating back to 2006 and still unresolved.

“The new measures will guarantee that seafarers are not abandoned, alone and legally adrift for months on end, without pay, adequate food and water and away from home,” Ms. Doumbia-Henry said. “They also clearly make flag states responsible for ensuring that adequate financial security exists to cover the cost of abandonment, and claims for death and long-term disability due to occupational injury and hazards.”

CSB to hold Public Meeting

CSB to hold Public Meeting in West, Texas, USA on April 22, 2014 to announce preliminary findings from the CSB’s investigation team into the April 17, 2013, fire and massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Company/Adair Grain facility in West, Texas, USA that killed 14 people and injuring more than 250 neighbouring residents and emergency responders

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on April 22, 2014, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Southside Community Center, 205 Tokio Rd, West, TX 76691, USA. At the public meeting, the board will hear preliminary findings from the CSB’s investigation team into the April 17, 2013, fire and massive explosion which occurred at the West Fertilizer Company/Adair Grain facility in West, Texas, that killed 14 people and injuring more than 250 neighbouring residents and emergency responders. Twelve of the fatalities were volunteer firefighters and two were members of the public.

The sudden blast at the facility led to the widespread damage and the destruction of over 150 buildings including an apartment complex, three schools, a nursing home, and a hospital in the surrounding community.

This public meeting is intended to provide the residents of West, TX and other members of the public with information into how this incident occurred and how similar future incidents can be prevented or mitigated. The CSB has invited several stakeholders in the emergency response community to provide their insights into this incident.

Following the staff presentation and expert panel presentation the Board will hear comments from the public. All staff presentations are preliminary and are intended solely to allow the Board to consider in a public forum the issues and factors involved in this case. No factual analyses, conclusions, or findings presented by staff should be considered final.

Toxic, Corrosive and Hazardous: The UK government’s record on health and safety

In May 2010, after a general election that resulted in no party having an overall majority, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government. The programme for the new government was laid out in a coalition document agreed between the two parties. This document made only one reference to health and safety, and that was to make an unspecified change in relation to policing.

Health and safety had only a brief mention in the Conservative manifesto: the party said it would “amend the health and safety laws that stand in the way of common sense policing”, and this was reflected in the Coalition Agreement. There was no mention of health and safety in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Since then there has been enormous government attention on health and safety, and almost all of it has been negative. There have been significant cuts in funding, forced cuts in the levels of inspections, a major round of deregulation, and several reviews. All of these have proved very disruptive to the work of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

As a result, the consensus on health and safety that has existed almost unbroken since the 1937 Factories Act has begun to break down. Rather than seeing health and safety legislation as a necessary protection for workers, we have a government that claims it is a “burden on business”.

This TUC report looks at what has happened to our health and safety system in the past four years and the likely effect it will have on people at work.

It shows that since the election the government has:

The report also shows that these are having, and will continue to have, a significant effect on the health of workers.

The Government record on H&S [PDF]

Updated Guidance for downstream users translated into 22 EU languages now available

ECHA has published translations into 22 EU languages of the updated Guidance for downstream users.

The Guidance was recently revised to take into account and implement the experience and best practice developed and established since the original version was drafted in 2008. In particular, the update addresses the need to provide more and up to date guidance on (i) the application of scaling when checking whether a downstream user’s use of a substance is covered by the supplier’s exposure scenario, and (ii) the communication of information on the safe use of mixtures. The English version of the updated guidance had already been published immediately after finalisation of the consultation procedure in December 2013. The translations of the full updated guidance in the full range of EU official languages have now been published on the ECHA website.

In Brussels the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched a two year Europe-wide campaign: “Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress”. The prevalence of work-related stress in Europe is startling. EU-OSHA’s latest pan-European opinion poll revealed that 51% of workers find work-related stress to be common in their workplace and 4 in 10 workers think that stress is not handled well in their organisation.

However, together employers and workers can successfully manage and prevent work-related stress and psychosocial risks; the Healthy Workplaces Campaign aims to help companies do just that.

The campaign launch brought together EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor; Greek Deputy Minister for Labour, Social Security and Welfare, Vasilis Kegkeroglou, representing the Greek EU Council Presidency, and Director of EU-OSHA, Dr Christa Sedlatschek. They called on Europe’s enterprises (both private and public) to recognise the need to tackle work-related stress. By doing so, they will be protecting their workers’ health and their organisations’ productivity.

Commissioner Andor said: “Managing work-related stress is one of the cornerstones in ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of European workers. Workplaces cannot afford to ignore work-related stress, which increases absenteeism and lowers productivity. The forthcoming EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at work 2014-20 will underline that better protection of workers’ mental health is a key factor to prevent work-related diseases. The Framework will propose a range of actions, such as sharing good practices, for promoting mental health at work. A positive working environment is not only important for enabling employees to work longer, it is also important to ensure that when workers do retire, they are still in good health. I am convinced that the new EU-OSHA campaign on stress and psychosocial risks at work will greatly contribute to this objective”.

“The Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress Campaign 2014–15 is an excellent opportunity to promote the need for European workplaces to effectively tackle psychosocial risks and work-related stress,” added Mr Kegkeroglou. “The campaign provides the required support and guidance to employers, managers, workers and their representatives.”

Dr Sedlatschek spoke about the aims of the campaign: “Despite the increasing presence and costs of workplace stress, there is still significant misunderstanding and sensitivity around it – EU-OSHA’s ESENER survey found that over 40% of employers consider psychosocial risks more difficult to manage than ‘traditional’ occupational safety and health risks. With this campaign, we want to raise awareness of the problem and provide support to manage psychosocial risks. Work-related stress is an organisational issue and should be tackled as such by employers and workers working together.”

The Healthy Workplaces Campaign seeks to show how psychosocial risks can be handled in the same systematic way as any other occupational safety and health risk. It aims to promote the use of simple tools which can help organisations to effectively manage these risks and highlight the positive effects of doing so.

The campaign invites all organisations and individuals at local, national and European levels to take part. It will be coordinated at national level by EU-OSHA’s national focal points in more than 30 European countries, and supported by official campaign partners – pan-European and multinational organisations and the campaign media partners. The Healthy Workplaces Campaign is also backed by the EU Council Presidencies, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European social partners.

“Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress” will run for two years and will involve hundreds of organisations from across Europe, involving a range of activities such as training sessions, conferences and workshops, poster, film and photo competitions, quizzes, suggestion schemes, advertising campaigns and press conferences. A key activity in the campaign calendar is the European Good Practice Awards, to be launched on 15 April. Applications are encouraged from all European organisations who are successfully implementing measures to reduce and eliminate stress.

Read more in the Campaign Guide and visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign website to download all official campaign material in 25 languages and learn about campaign events happening across Europe.

Events: Interactive Driving Systems encourages you to utilise the excellent resources and events provided by road safety charity Brake

At Interactive Driving Systems we have worked closely with the road safety charity Brake since its formation in 1995. Developing such a corporate partnership with Brake can bring many benefits to organisations. We therefore encourage you to review the materials below, including:

Brake UK Fleet Safety Conference & Awards

Brake will be holding its annual Fleet Safety Conference and Awards in Birmingham in the UK on 5 June 2014 to promote and celebrate good practice.

To find out more about the conference and awards, and how to obtain the Interactive Driving Systems discounted participant fee go to www.virtualriskmanager.net/workshops or email Brake on professional@brake.org.uk quoting “Interactive Driving Systems”.

Road Safety Week 2014

Road Safety Week is coordinated by Brake in the UK and New Zealand, and by other agencies elsewhere around the globe.

New Zealand Road Safety Week is 19-26 May 2014 (www.brake.org.nz). The theme is: “Tune in to road safety”. Brake is urging road users to tune in to road safety and give it our full attention.

UK Road Safety Week is 17-23 November 2014 (www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk). The theme is: “Look out for each other on roads”. Brake is urging drivers to watch out for people on foot and bike, slow down to 20 mph in communities, look twice at junctions, and give people plenty of room.

Road safety Week is a great way to focus attention on road safety in your organisation and to structure initiatives around. Please review the Brake websites and get involved.

New Brake website providing road safety resources

The website, www.brakepro.org, is aimed at road safety practitioners, employers of at-work drivers, driver trainers, road and vehicle engineers, emergency and health workers, road safety academics and campaigners. Known as Brake Professional, the website gives easy access to events, research, guidance documents, tools and campaigns to help road safety professionals, fleet managers and others to implement successful road safety activities and campaigns.

Guide to road safety for small businesses

Brake has created a free comprehensive road safety guide aimed at smaller organisations. The guide, published with the support of the Department for Transport, outlines practical, low-cost steps for small organisations.

To request a free copy of the guide, go to www.brakepro.org

Working with Brake

www.brake.org.uk provides many more excellent resources, including: a road safety calendar of events, low cost workshops and good practice sessions, other conferences such as the 2014 Speed Congress, tools for engaging drivers, organisations and communities as well as a range of ways to fundraise for Brake.

Based on our experiences over almost 20 years, we believe that the charity offers something of value for all organisations and would strongly encourage you to take a look at the events, resources and other opportunities available.

Event: IOSH 2014

Excel, London, 17-18 June 2014

IOSH 2014 will bring together an extensive range of high-level speakers, thought-leaders, sector specialists and internationally renowned academics and practitioners, as well as an audience of over 700 health and safety professionals.

Operating in the manufacturing environment, timely planning and delivery of a safety and health strategy requires up to date information and awareness of the latest regulations, initiatives, models and success stories. Added to which, keeping the board on-side is essential.

IOSH 2014 kicks off with a breakfast briefing where you can listen to a panel of C-level professionals discussing why they think health and safety makes good business sense. This is your opportunity to find out how to keep board level executives engaged in your strategy by questioning:

Discussions with fellow delegates, speakers and suppliers will continue during lunch and refreshment breaks at Safety & Health Expo as well as into the evening at the networking reception in The Waterfront Rooms on 17 June 2014.

Why else should you attend?

Over 250 organisations have already booked to attend – join them now by registering online or calling +44 (0)1462 499 675.

www.ioshconference.co.uk

Positive effects of steel workers’ direct participation in managing health, safety and psychosocial risks at the workplace

Direct involvement of all workers within an organisation with a view to achieving a culture of openness regarding psychosocial constraints at the workplace is one of the main challenges for the steel sector, according to Eurofound’s latest report on “Industrial relations practices related to psychosocial constraints at work in the steel sector”. Encouraging people to talk about their problems at work, especially psychosocial problems, is a key element in tackling the issue of the effectiveness of prevention strategies.

The report looks at industrial relations practices regarding health and safety strategies in the European steel sector by analysing company practices in three case studies: ArcelorMittal in France, Rautaruukki in Finland and Salzgitter AG in Germany. The report compares the main findings on the role of social dialogue and company practices regarding prevention. It also highlights some specific company and sectoral features triggering psychosocial risks and their prevention.

Although the three companies studied operate in different contexts (global, European, national, local), they are all confronted with psychosocial constraints at work. Issues such as stress, mental health and well-being are perceived as being not only detrimental to the health of workers, but as also having an economic impact on employers and civil society.

The negative impacts of psychosocial problems arising at the workplace occur on economic performance (productivity) and human capital. For this reason, the three companies initiated a psychosocial risk assessment and subsequently compiled prevention measures. These took place in a wide variety of contexts, for example on the initiative of management, in the light of demographic change or following restructuring, but were part of the companies’ general policy and were supported by management.

The report shows that the three companies have developed specific actions to deal with, reduce or prevent the incidence and negative impact of psychosocial constraints on both workers and the company. Real investments are therefore being made to implement awareness-raising programmes, train managers and prevent detrimental outcomes.

The companies involve all workers, especially management, in addressing the issue. Triggering a collective behavioural change and involving all stakeholders within the organisation is therefore considered to constitute the key element and main on-going challenge. Existing formal and informal social dialogue channels represent an asset as they offer a place for an increased exchange of views between workers and employers.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite European Union Agency, whose role is to provide knowledge in the area of social and work-related policies. Eurofound was established in 1975 by Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1365/75.

http://eurofound.europa.eu/news/news-articles/other/news-release-8-april-2014

Foam filled fakes prompt proposed changes to furniture fire safety regulations

The UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills has announced it is beginning a consultation process over changes to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 in light of recent reports of a rise in the number of products failing to meet the standards.

Following an investigation by the BBC’s Fake Britain programme, the latest edition of FIRE Magazine saw CFOA President Paul Fuller highlight his concerns over the “truly outrageous finding” that eight out of 10 sofas and four out of 10 mattresses do not meet the standards.

Further reading: Foam filled fakes

Now BIS has said they intend to propose changes to the match and cigarette tests of the FFRs. Subject to approval by government Ministers, these proposals will be put out to full public consultation around Spring 2014.

These proposals include:

BIS say such changes will provide a possible reduction in flame retardant chemical usage for the match test by 30-50% along with a improvement in the safety and ‘greenness’ of UK furniture.

However, leading fire sector figures including the Fire Protection Association believe there are several flaws in the current proposals pointing to the lack of evidence that the reductions are feasible.

“In our opinion, substantial FR additive reduction and a test that is easier to pass are synonymous with reduced resistance to ignition, with any real life source greater than 20 sec BS flame, and potentially inferior post-ignition performance,” added a spokesman.

There will be a workshop to discuss the proposals to be held at UCLAN on the 17 April. All members of the sector are encouraged to attend and details can be found here: www.uclan.ac.uk/about_us/case_studies/frt_2014.php

Event: Irish Chief Fire Officers AGM “Leading the Fire Service of the Future”

Kildare, Ireland

The Irish Chief Fire Officers Association has announced it will host its annual Conference and Fire Technology Exhibition in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland on 7-8 May 2014.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan will join Fire Officers, Academics, industry experts and Government and Local Government officials from Ireland and overseas for the annual showcase event for Ireland’s Fire and Emergency Services sector.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Leading the Fire Service of the Future”.

CFOA Chairperson Seamus Murphy said: “The aim of the conference and accompanying exhibition is to afford all involved in the fire and rescue area the opportunity to debate current issues and to see the latest developments in fire service appliances and equipment, and to explore the newest technology in fire service operations and fire prevention.

“This year’s conference will host expert speakers within the Emergency Services Sector and the Fire Technology/Industry from Ireland, UK, USA, Netherlands and Estonia who with their experience, knowledge and wisdom in different aspects of the Fire Service will attempt to provide innovative thoughts and ideas about how the Fire and Rescue Service can adapt to meet these challenges.”

The conference will see addresses by the likes of John Power (Director General, Engineers Ireland), CFOA UK president Paul Fuller, Tony O’Brien (Deputy Executive Director of European Emergency Number Association) and Professor Daniel Boatright (Senior Associate Dean, University of Oklahoma, USA).

Celina Barrett, Conference Secretary and Kildare Chief Fire Officer, added: “Kildare Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to be able to host this year’s event, which takes place at an interesting time for the Irish Fire Service.

“The sector which has had to adapt and be competent to meet current and future challenges against a background of budget and service constraints, changing personnel demography, greater scrutiny and wider demands on the service it delivers to the community. Technology is rapidly advancing with information being readily available and expectations are more demanding for an instant solution.”

Advice from the USA regarding Floods

Floods, big or small, can have devastating effects on your home and your family. You can take steps to reduce the harm caused by flooding.

Learn how to prepare for a flood, stay safe during a flood, and protect your health when you return home after a flood.

See a range of advice on http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/floods

CSB Releases Analysis

CSB Releases Analysis Showing Cause of Rupture and Hydrogen Blast in 2009 Silver Eagle Refinery Accident in Woods Cross, Utah; Pipe Walls Thinned due to Corrosion that went Uninspected for Years

A massive explosion and fire at the Silver Eagle Refinery on 4 November 2009, in Woods Cross, Utah, which damaged homes in a nearby neighborhood, was caused by a rupture in a pipe that had become dangerously thin from corrosion, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) reported today. The CSB has released a detailed expert metallurgical report that was commissioned in the course of its ongoing investigation of the incident.

The catastrophic rupture occurred in a ten-inch pipe at the bottom of a reactor in the mobil distillate dewaxing unit. It led to a massive release of hydrogen, which caught fire immediately and exploded, sending a blast wave across the refinery into a subdivision. The blast wave damaged over 100 homes, many with shattered glass. Two of the homes were severely damaged, including one which was displaced off its foundation.

There were four workers near the process unit at the time of the explosion. They were blown to the ground but were not seriously injured. Another worker had been taking readings next to the pipe that failed just one to two minutes before the release.

The metallurgical failure study and analysis performed for the CSB by Exponent – a Texas-based engineering and scientific consulting company – details findings from laboratory examination of pipe segments recovered after the incident. The report also examines the history of the pipe that ruptured, determining that the component that failed had no record of ever being inspected for corrosion as it thinned over the years.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The findings in the Exponent report are all too familiar:

Mechanical integrity programs at refineries repeatedly primarily emphasize inspection strategies rather than the use of inherently safer design to control the damage mechanisms that ultimately cause major process safety incidents. This is the same syndrome we found in the Bay Area Chevron refinery fire of 2012 and the Tesoro refinery explosion and fire that killed seven in Anacortes, Washington, in 2010. Fortunately, there were no fatalities resulting from the explosion and it was only by chance no one was in the immediate area. But many lives were disrupted as residents in Woods Cross, just north of Salt Lake City, had to move out of homes pending repairs.”

CSB Investigation Lead Dan Tillema said, “The metallurgical analysis details the same kind of sulfidation corrosion at the Silver Eagle Refinery that we found in the Chevron accident; sulfur compounds in the process stream corroded a steel piping segment, causing the pipe walls to become severely thin. This incident is also similar to Chevron in that, while sulfidation is a well-known damage mechanism at refineries that requires regular inspection and monitoring, the segment that failed has no record of ever being inspected.”

The CSB investigation team notes that the examination of the ruptured pipe segment and adjacent piping clearly indicated wall thinning had occurred in the piping component. The elbow adjacent to the pipe segment that failed was noted to have an original thickness of 0.719-inch. A 2007 thickness measurement of the elbow indicated a wall thickness of 0.483-inch, indicating years of thinning had taken place. The adjacent straight-run segment that failed was found to have a wall thickness as low as 0.039-inch and there were no records of any previous inspection. The CSB’s investigation previously noted records indicating other serious wide spread mechanical integrity deficiencies and gaps across the refinery at the time of the incident and will address these issues in the final report.

Dr. Moure-Eraso said, “This is an investigation where we have had to delay its completion due to, ironically, a pressing series of accidents in the oil production and refining sector. However, I want people to know that work has been continuing as this report shows, and that the CSB is working hard to assure refineries and indeed all chemical operations are operated more safely.”

The November explosion was the second accident at the refinery that year. On the evening of January 12, 2009, two refinery operators and two contractors suffered serious burns resulting from a flash fire. The accident occurred when a large flammable vapor cloud was released from an atmospheric storage tank which contained an estimated 440,000 gallons of light naphtha. The vapor cloud found an ignition source and the ensuing flash fire spread up to 230 feet west of the tank farm.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial 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.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

www.csb.gov

US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Two new reports are:

Evaluation of Coccidioides Exposures and Coccidioidomycosis Infections among Prison Employees

The HHE Program was asked to determine the incidence of coccidioidomycosis among prison employees and assess ways to reduce potential employee exposures. In June 2013, investigators evaluated employee exposures to the fungus Coccidioides at two state prisons. Both prisons were in areas where Coccidioides naturally occurs. NIOSH investigators looked at work and occupational health policies and practices; reviewed state surveillance, medical, and work information for the coccidioidomycosis cases among employees; privately interviewed employees; and looked at the ventilation systems in some buildings. Over a 4½-year period, the state’s records showed 103 employees with a confirmed case of coccidioidomycosis. We do not know if these cases were due to an exposure at work or outside of work. Employees are likely exposed to Coccidioides in the outdoor and indoor work environment, as well as outside of work. HHE Program investigators recommended:

Final report: www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html

Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Traumatic Injuries among Employees at a Poultry Processing Plant

The HHE Program was asked by managers of a poultry processing facility to identify the potential for increases in musculoskeletal and upper extremity trauma due to a planned evisceration line speed increase. The request was required by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service to obtain an evisceration line speed waiver as part of the facility’s participation in the Salmonella Initiative Program. NIOSH investigators evaluated musculoskeletal disorders and traumatic injuries among employees before (baseline) and after (follow-up) an increase in evisceration line speed. After the baseline evaluation, two evisceration lines were combined into one; this resulted in a similar number of birds processed by most employees daily. At baseline, 41% of participants were performing jobs above the ACGIH TLV for hand activity and force, and 42% had evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. The prevalence of hand or wrist symptoms (pain, burning, numbness, or tingling) was similar at baseline and follow-up. HHE Program investigators recommended:

Final report: www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html

US National Safety Council Celebrates 100 Years

As part of its 100-year anniversary celebration, the National Safety Council has developed a virtual special issue of the Journal of Safety Research, showcasing a sample of research that has made an impact in the safety arena since the journal’s inception in 1969. The articles were endorsed by readers, authors, the editorial board, and the editors. The National Safety Council said they are some of the most referenced and downloaded articles to date. Articles included in the special issue include successful occupational safety programs and committees, alcohol safety action projects (including raising the legal minimum drinking age), seat belt use, incentives/feedback to enhance workplace safety, speed limit, older drivers, safety climate, workplace self-protective behaviour, teenage drivers, and distracted driving.

To view the issue for free go to the National Safety Council 100-year anniversary issue. The issue will be available through September 2014.

Get ready for 28 April – World Day for Safety and Health at Work: Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work

The theme for the 2014 World Day for Safety and Health at Work is Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work. Chemicals are key to modern life, and will continue to be produced and used in workplaces. With concerted efforts, governments, employers, and workers and their organizations can achieve the sound management of chemicals for an appropriate balance between the benefits of chemical use and the preventive and control measures of potential adverse impacts on workers, workplaces, communities and the environment.

Why are chemicals important in the workplace?

The production and use of chemicals in workplaces around the world present one of the most significant challenges in workplace protection programmes. Chemicals are essential to life, and their benefits are widespread and well-recognized. From pesticides that improve the extent and quality of food production, to pharmaceuticals that cure illnesses, and cleaning products that help establish hygienic living conditions, chemicals are key to healthy living and modern convenience. Chemicals are also a critical part of many industrial processes to develop products that are important to global standards of living. However, controlling exposures to these chemicals in the workplace, as well as limiting emissions to the environment, are tasks that governments, employers, and workers, continue to struggle to address.

What creates the dilemma are the risks associated with exposure to these chemicals. Chemicals pose a broad range of potential adverse effects, from health hazards such as carcinogenicity, and physical hazards like flammability, to environmental hazards such as widespread contamination and toxicity to aquatic life. Many fires, explosions, and other disasters result from inadequate control of their physical hazards.

Over the years, chemical safety has been one of the areas in which more work has been carried out in the field of occupational safety and health. However, even if significant progress has been made in recent years concerning the regulation and management of chemicals; and governments, employers and workers continue their efforts to minimize the negative effects of the use of hazardous substances both at national and international levels, it is still insufficient. Serious incidents continue to happen and there are still negative impacts on both human health and the environment. Workers who are directly exposed to hazardous substances should have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, to be properly informed, trained and protected.

Protecting workers and the environment

As every year, the ILO has prepared a report which calls on governments, employers, workers and their organizations to collaborate in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies aimed at safety and health in the use of chemicals at work. The ILO acknowledges that for an appropriate balance between the benefits of chemical use, and the preventive and control measures of potential adverse impacts on workers, workplaces, communities and the environment the sound management of chemicals is necessary and can be achieved with concerted efforts by governments, employers, and workers and their organizations.

This report for the 2014 celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work reviews the current situation regarding the use of chemicals and their impact in workplaces and the environment, including various national, regional, and international efforts to address them. The report also presents the elements for establishing national and enterprise level programmes that contribute to ensure the sound management of chemicals at work.

The way ahead

Chemicals are key to modern life, and will continue to be produced and used in workplaces. With concerted efforts governments, employers, and workers and their organizations can achieve the sound management of chemicals for an appropriate balance between the benefits of chemical use, and the preventive and control measures of potential adverse impacts on workers, workplaces, communities and the environment.

A coherent global response to the continuous scientific and technological progress, global growth in chemicals production and changes in the organization of work is necessary. Likewise, it is important to continue developing new tools to make information about chemical hazards and associated protective measures more readily available, as well as to organize and use that information to structure a systematic approach to safety and health in the use of chemicals at work.

Partners

Further information

Chemical safety and the environment

More employers demanding professional level qualifications

The level of qualification expected by employers from health and safety managers is rising, according to a new study.

The UK based NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) said its 2014 Jobs Barometer research revealed that more employers were requiring health and safety managers to hold at least a degree equivalent NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health.

NEBOSH Chief Executive Teresa Budworth explained: “Last year, slightly more than a third of all job adverts for health and safety management roles called for applicants to hold our Diploma. This year this has risen to almost half at 48%.

“We also have seen a similar rise in demand for higher level professional status in job applicants.”

The study showed that Chartered Membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH) is now required in 31% of advertised roles, compared to 23% last year.

This year’s NEBOSH Jobs Barometer also revealed that some form of NEBOSH health and safety qualification and/or Technician Membership of IOSH or higher was specified in 88% of job advertisements.

“I believe employers now see health and safety management as more of a strategic role.” said Teresa Budworth. “As such, more of them are demanding professional level qualifications and status.

“Interestingly, over 80% of people who now take a NEBOSH Certificate level qualification are employed in roles whose primary function is not health and safety, from operational managers to finance managers. While Certificate level qualifications remain an important stepping stone to a career as a health and safety specialist, more and more employers see them as core qualifications for general management.”

Once again, responsibility for environmental management featured strongly in health and safety job adverts, mentioned in two thirds of available positions. Responsibility for quality assurance was mentioned in 20% of roles.

The average top-end salary advertised was £42,000 per annum, down slightly from £46,000 in 2013. The average top-end salary for jobs where a NEBOSH Diploma and CMIOSH were specified was higher at £52,000 per annum. More than half (57%) of the vacancies were in London and the South East, with 26% in the Midlands and North West and the remainder spread throughout the UK.

Between 11 February and 12 March 2014, NEBOSH examined one hundred nationally advertised jobs for health and safety managers or advisors.

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 and Marketing Manager, NEBOSH | Tel: +44 (0)116 263 4724 | Mob: +44 (0)7850 204072 | Email: julia.whiting@nebosh.org.uk

Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) proposes to strengthen the classification of bisphenol A

The French proposal to classify bisphenol A (BPA) as a presumed human reproductive toxicant which may damage fertility has been unanimously supported by RAC.

The Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has adopted an opinion to strengthen the existing harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) of BPA from a category 2 reproductive toxicant to a category 1B reproductive toxicant regarding the adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in line with a proposal from the French competent authority.

BPA already has a harmonised classification in Annex VI to the CLP Regulation as a substance suspected to damage fertility, that may cause respiratory irritation and allergic skin reaction, and as a substance that causes serious eye damage. The RAC opinion solely covers the adverse effects on sexual function and fertility as only these types of main reproductive toxic effects were proposed for revision by France.

RAC adopted its opinion by consensus after comparing the available evidence with the CLP criteria. The studies performed according to standard test guidelines were given the most weight. RAC concluded that there were adverse effects on reproductive capacity (functional fertility) following oral exposure to BPA in a multi-generation guideline study in mice and in rats. Impaired female reproductive capacity was also observed in several supplementary non-guideline studies. In addition, toxic effects in reproductive organs were observed in several of the studies.

Classification focuses on the intrinsic properties of the substance and does not take human exposure levels into account. Relevant adverse effects on reproduction can be sufficient to justify the classification as a reproductive toxicant also at high doses.

BPA is a monomer mainly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and is also currently being discussed in the context of other EU processes. ECHA has received a proposal to restrict the use of BPA in thermal paper. In addition, a substance evaluation of BPA was carried out by the German competent authority in 2012 and, as a result of this evaluation, ECHA issued a decision in December 2013 to request further data on BPA in the areas of skin absorption and environmental exposure. At the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), a public consultation on the draft opinion on bisphenol A (BPA) – Assessment of human health risks ended on 13 March 2014.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/rac-proposes-to-strengthen-the-classification-of-bisphenol-a/

Statement from Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso on the US Chemical Safety Board 2015 Budget Justification

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) budget justification requests $12.25 million for fiscal year 2015. The requested funds will continue to allow the CSB to investigate high consequence chemical accidents, perform chemical safety studies, and advocate for effective safety recommendations.

I thank the administration for its support of this request. Funding the Board at its full requested level will also enable the agency to hire additional investigators, help complete ongoing cases, and take on new investigations into other fatal accidents that continue to occur throughout the country every year.

The 2015 budget justification highlights a number of important successes for the CSB over the past year including a detailed report and recommendations released in April 2013, on the August 6, 2012, fire and explosion at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Other accomplishments include the release of a final report on an explosion at a fireworks storage facility near Honolulu, Hawaii; a public meeting to release the CSB’s report on a combustible dust accident that killed two workers at the Carbide Industries facility located outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and a public meeting to release the final report on a large explosion at the NDK America Inc. plant which launched debris 300 yards fatally injuring a member of the public.

In 2013, the CSB deployed to a number of high consequence accidents including the fire and explosion at West Fertilizer in West, Texas, that fatally injured twelve emergency responders and at least two members of the public. And most recently the agency launched an investigation into the release of thousands of gallons of chemicals from a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston, West Virginia, which impacted the water supply to hundreds of thousands of residents.

The CSB plans to complete many of its open accident investigations and hold a number of public meetings in 2014. The board anticipates a highly productive year and looks forward to working with its stakeholders across the country.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial 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.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

For more information, contact Hillary Cohen, Communications Manager | Tel: 202.446.8094 | www.csb.gov

Interactive Driving Systems encourages business managers, researchers and policy makers to support the second Occupational Safety in Transport Conference 2014

Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) recently announced the second international conference on Occupational Safety in Transport, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia 18-19 September 2014.

Conference organiser, Darren Wishart Research Fellow – Fleet Safety at CARRS-Q said: “Given the success of the 2012 conference, this conference will again be a multi-disciplinary event featuring representatives from all facets of transport safety, including road safety, aviation and watercraft, defence, rail, fleets and associated fields”.

Themes will be varied and cover topics such as:

Ed Dubens, CEO at global risk management organisation Interactive Driving Systems said: “The first OSIT event in 2014 was excellent, bringing together a range of industry experts to focus on good practices. We are again encouraging business managers, researchers and policy makers to support this second OSIT event by submitting papers and through attendance”.

Submissions for academic and industry presentations are now open with abstracts due by 24 March 2014.

Details and guidelines at:

Event: Return to Work after Sickness Absence

8-10 October 2014

Venue: Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland

This course looks at the successes and obstacles in reducing sickness absence and increasing successful return to work will be of scope. The purpose is to give up-to-date information on the issue by leading practitioners/researcher in the field. This course will focus on practical solutions and tool kits for employers and practitioners within the health care or social system working on rehabilitation, management of sickness absence and return to work.

Main Topics

Occupational health – Prevention at the workplace

How to approach the topic of sickness absence and return to work?

Workshops

Course leader: Ásta Snorradóttir, MA, BS, Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, Iceland

Ásta Snorradóttir is a researcher and project manager for psychosocial risk factors at the Administration for Occupational Safety and Health in Iceland. She is currently doing a research on the health and well-being during organisational changes among bank employees in Iceland. She is a lecturer at the University of Iceland and teaches courses on psychosocial work environment.

Target group

Practitioners in rehabilitation, employers, human resource managers, occupational health and safety experts and other professionals or researchers with interest in return to work and sickness absence

The language of the course is English.

www.niva.org/courses