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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

July 2014

Chemicals, dust and deaths mar fracking

US evidence of chemical related deaths, a soaring fatality rate and widespread over-exposure to lung wrecking, cancer-causing dust, has raised seriously unhealthy questions about the UK government’s reassurances on fracking safety.

‘Fracking boom’, a new online report from Hazards, warns that potentially deadly silica dust exposures, toxic chemicals already linked to four US worker deaths during ‘flowback’ operations, and many of the other hazards of more typical extractive industries present underestimated and serious safety and health risks. Hazards notes “for workers in the hydraulic fracturing industry that would smash the fuel out of ground, there is already evidence those fracking risks can be deadly.”

It points to a report from the US union federation AFL-CIO that correlates a sharp rise in oil industry fatalities with the creation of fracking boom towns. And US government workplace research agency NIOSH warned in May this year it had uncovered a series of worker deaths related to exposure to chemicals in fracking operations.

According to Hazards, the UK HSE’s “threadbare” fracking web pages suggest the regulator “seems worryingly oblivious to many of these risks.” Unite, the union that organises many of the construction, rig and transport workers on which fracking would rely, agreed at its July 2014 national conference to lobby for a moratorium on fracking.

Fracking boom, Hazards online report, July 2014.

Hand-arm vibration: A guide for employees

Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted into your hands and arms when you use this equipment. It can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

This pocket card is aimed at people who use handheld powered work equipment or workpieces which vibrate while being processed by powered machinery, such as pedestal grinders.

UK Explosives Regulations 2014: Guidance on Regulations – Safety Provisions: L150

The Explosives Regulations 2014 will come into force on 1 October 2014, and the Approved Code of Practice to the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 will be withdrawn.

The Approved Code of Practice and guidance in L139 Manufacture and storage of explosives. Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005. Approved Code of Practice and guidance applies up to and including 30 September 2014. You can download it for free or buy a printed version.

From 1 October 2014 when the Explosives Regulations 2014 come into effect, the guidance in L150 will apply. A draft version of L150 is available for download, or you can order a printed copy, which will be despatched after 1 October 2014. Please note that if you download a copy before 1 October 2014, the draft may be subject to further change before the Explosives Regulations come into effect.

About this guidance

This publication is for anyone who has duties under the safety provisions of the Explosives Regulations 2014, particularly employers, private individuals and other people manufacturing explosives, storing larger quantities of explosives or storing explosives that present higher hazards.

It provides overarching guidance on how the safety provisions of the Regulations should be met. It is supported by subsector guidance published over the summer. You should use the relevant subsector guidance to support and supplement this guidance.

L150 Safety provisions should be read alongside L151 Security provision (to be published shortly).

What has changed?

Full text:

New IOR umbrella scheme keeps recruiters dry in the UK

The IOR has teamed up with international law firm Eversheds to launch a brand new audit scheme ‘Safe Umbrella’. Safe Umbrella is designed to help recruiters choose a safe umbrella partner (a company that acts as employer to agency contractors working on a fixed-term contract assignment).

If a recruitment company works with an unaudited umbrella partner, it could be liable for unforeseen costs due to poor practices by the umbrella. Additionally, recruiters could put their contractors at risk of not being paid properly or on time.

The government (HMRC) wants to ensure umbrellas operate within the law, paying the right amount of tax, dealing with holiday and sick pay correctly and managing travel and subsistence expense claims compliantly.

The Safe Umbrella audit will assure recruiters that an umbrella carrying the new Safe Umbrella badge has been vetted in all aspects of the Umbrella PAYE model. This, says IOR director general, Azmat Mohammed, is “crucial in the midst of so much risky and poor practice undertaken by a number of umbrella companies.”

Mohammed adds, “This is a high-quality audit being introduced to the market that safeguards recruiters. Legislation is changing all the time and recruiters cannot be without risk if they use an umbrella that turns out to be adopting illegal or bad practices. You really don’t want to have to worry about liability from a third party’s actions so it’s better to be safe from the outset.”

Not using an audited umbrella could also put recruiters at financial risk. Many recruiters rely on umbrella companies to manage their contractors’ pay, on the assumption that everything is being done legally. If your umbrella is carrying out unlawful practices to maximise profits, this is, naturally, quite alarming.

One of the key advantages of the scheme is that there are no employees of umbrella companies involved in this scheme, so it’s truly independent. It’s also transparent in showing to recruiters what has been audited in detail.

One Click Umbrella is the first umbrella company to pass the audit and carry the new Safe Umbrella badge.

Mike Keeling of One Click Umbrella says, “We are often asked by recruitment agencies and clients if we have passed any form of third party audit so we researched the various schemes available in detail. We were attracted to the Safe Umbrella scheme as it is backed not only by the Institute of Recruiters but also by one of the largest and most respected firms of legal experts, Eversheds.”

Keeling adds, “We are proud to be the first umbrella company to pass the Safe Umbrella audit and would hope that many other compliant providers will follow our example.”

Gemma Hardiman, senior associate at Eversheds, says, “We are delighted to be involved in Safe Umbrella. Our expert employment and tax lawyers are ideally positioned to audit this scheme so as to ensure Umbrella companies comply and are seen to comply with their employment and tax obligations as audited.” Flexible working – the law changed on 30th June. All employees who have worked for an organisation for more than 26 weeks now have the right to request flexible working arrangements. This right previously only applied to parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. There are many forms of flexible working such as part-time working, flexitime, job sharing, shift working or working elsewhere such as home working. Acas has produced a Code of Practice and guidance for employers to help them understand the changes and how to handle requests in a reasonable manner. View the Acas new Flexible Working Code of Practice and Acas home working guidance which has been released to coincide with the launch of the new Flexible Working regulations.

We are also holding Acas flexible working training for employers which:

To become a Safe Umbrella or find out more visit

Fire Industry Manufacturers (FIM) Expo goes to Belfast

With up to 20 exhibitors, FIM Expo is for anyone working in this area, whether as an installer or maintainer of fire detection and alarm systems, a manager of such systems in commercial premises or as an architect or person specifying what type of fire protection systems should be installed in a building.

The event is a road-show that travels around the UK, providing an intimate forum for networking as well as finding out what’s new in fire detection. It is designed to give delegates access to all the key manufacturers in one location on one day.

FIM Expo is open from 09.00 to 16.00 on Wednesday 17 September 2014 and is free to attend.

For more information and to register visit

FIM Expo is a new industry event organised and run in association with the FIA by many of the UK’s leading fire industry manufacturers.

Further Details: Becky Reid | Tel: 020 3166 5002 | |

IOSH to showcase its work at World Health and Safety Congress in Germany between 24-27 August 2014

The UK based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) will be flying the flag for its members and researchers when it takes part in the 20th World Congress on Safety and Health at Work.

Over 4,000 delegates from across the globe are expected to attend the congress, which is set to be held in Frankfurt, Germany, between 24 - 27 August 2014.

IOSH also had a presence at the congress when it was last staged in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2011, where representatives networked, attended meetings and staged a symposium.

Three years on and the chartered body for health and safety professionals is planning a greater involvement in proceedings, including five speakers, displays about research projects and an exhibition stand spreading IOSH’s vision and values to the delegates.

Jane White, research and information services manager at IOSH, is among those set to speak at the congress.

She will update delegates on IOSH’s work to research and write a Prevention Culture Index on behalf of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Jane said: “We hear a lot about Safety Culture Indexes in health and safety, which companies adopt and follow to boost accident prevention rates.

“The ILO wants a Prevention Culture Index which uses the Safety Culture Index as a template, but focuses more at a societal level at what wider society can do to prevent accidents.”

IOSH will also use its place at the congress to present a poster which outlines the progress of its five-year research programme into the role of health and safety in a changing world.

The organisation has invested £1.4 million on six projects which explore the subject, with research being carried out with the help of the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, Cranfield University, the University of Reading and the University of Portsmouth.

Four years into the project, it aims to map OSH responses to changes in the industrial, political and social environment, and define the future role and skills of OSH practitioners.

Jane said: “The whole programme is about mapping health and safety in a changing world. It looks at how things are changing, and how people can change for a better future.

“We want to educate the world stage that IOSH is the leading body for health and safety in terms of our level of knowledge, education, research and understanding. We really want to wave our flag and shout about our work.

“We also want to learn from different cultures and how their OSH practitioners work around the world, so we can better know the needs of developing countries.”

The congress has been organised jointly by the ILO, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV).

The motto for this congress is ‘Sharing a Vision for Sustainable Prevention’, with proceedings centred around three main topics – Prevention Culture, Prevention Strategies and Vision Zero, Challenges in Occupational Health and Diversity in the World of Work.

IOSH will also be attending meetings held by ENSHPO (European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations) and INSHPO (International Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations), and have a shared exhibition stand with the New Accession Countries working party.

Call to protect footballers from concussion risk

Decisions on whether a footballer can return to the pitch after a head injury should be taken by an independent doctor, and not the player or coach, a top medical journal has concluded. An editorial in The Lancet Neurology says these decisions should not be made “by those with a vested interest.” The editorial came as German players celebrated their World Cup victory, but with midfielder Christoph Kramer admitting he cannot remember his performance in the final against Argentina, because of the concussion he suffered during the game.

FIFPro, the world players’ union, has called for an investigation into concussion protocols. Kramer’s injury was one of a number of incidents at the event that led to controversy, including the case of Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira, who continued playing after suffering concussion in a group match against England.

The Lancet Neurology editorial noted: “Because signs and symptoms of concussion can be delayed, removing an athlete when there is any suspicion of injury would seem to be the safest approach.” Football’s global governing body Fifa has been criticised for failing to deal with the incidents safely, by ensuring that the players were immediately taken off the pitch and removed from the game. The long-term consequences of mild traumatic brain injuries can include dementia and other neurological degenerative diseases. Headaches and dizziness can appear in the short-term

Tackling the sports-related concussion crisis, The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 8, page 747, August 2014. – 7th International Conference

30 September – 3 October 2014, The Westerwood Hotel, Scotland, UK

The 7th International Conference is an unmissable opportunity to learn and network with fellow health and safety researchers, academics, practitioners and internationally renowned experts.

The conference will feature eight high–profile speakers, eighteen themed technical sessions (including industry sector case study sessions on healthcare, agriculture and fisheries, construction, hazardous industries and power generation) and an exciting Scottish inspired social programme. Meet with your peers from a broad spectrum of leading academic institutions, societies and businesses.

Contact: Louise Appleby, WOS2014 Project Co-ordinator | Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK | Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3100 (IOSH main reception) | Fax: +44 (0)116 257 3101 (IOSH main fax) | Direct Email: | Direct Tel: +44 (0)116 257 3387 | Direct Fax: +44 (0)116 257 9287 | Website: |

Spinning a serve for heart health

Whilst the World Cup rumbles on, two other key sporting events are on hand to inspire young and old to get a bit fitter and include some all-important exercise in their everyday routine. Whether you’re a Wimbledon fan or a keen follower of cycling, and especially as the Tour De France is pedalling off from the UK this year, and from Heart Research UK’s home City of Leeds, now is the perfect time to get those rackets and bikes in action. There is a direct link between being physically inactive and premature death so bear that in mind when you’re sitting watching TV and all those athletes being active.

The Chief Medical Officers recommend that under 5s who can walk unaided should be moving around for at least 3 hours during the day; young children and teenagers should aim for at least one hour a day and adults should achieve 150 minutes of moderate activity over the week, (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity). There are so many benefits to be reaped from including activity in your day that gets you feeling warm and slightly out of breath and raises your heart rate; regular exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, promotes healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and keeps your muscles toned. It can also help you to sleep better, manage depression and relieve stress.

Here are some ideas for getting tennis and cycling into your family’s weekly diary:

Cycling is a great way of getting outside, spending time with your family and enjoying some scenery, it is great for toning your legs and bum whilst increasing your fitness level and also helps to control your weight and increase fitness levels. If you struggle on a bike outside why not go to a studio cycling class at your local leisure centre, they are great fun and you will get the same health benefits.

According to the British Medical Association, cycling 20 miles a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 50%.

So whether it’s tennis or cycling you’re into, and to keep your heart as healthy as your sporting heroes, organise your own local Tour De Quartier, (tour of your neighbourhood), or a family and friends Grand Slam to find a winning ace.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK on +44 (0)113 297 6206 or email

NEBOSH worldwide Diploma Graduates Celebrate their Success

Over 200 NEBOSH Diploma students came together on Monday 23rd June 2014 to celebrate their success at a graduation ceremony held at Warwick University. This annual event recognises the achievement of students who have recently passed either the NEBOSH Environmental Diploma or the National or International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.

The ceremony was a truly international event. Diploma holders had travelled from countries such as Egypt, India, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates to attend; as well as all parts of the United Kingdom.

NEBOSH Chair Sir Bill Callaghan welcomed those who attended the ceremony; including families and friends of graduates.

He told them: “Qualified health, safety and environmental practitioners make an invaluable contribution to the workplace, and to wider society. Our occupation helps to protect people’s health in workplaces worldwide. You have gained one of the world’s most respected health and safety or environmental qualifications. That’s what we are celebrating today; so be proud of your achievement.”

Health and Safety Executive Chair, Judith Hackitt CBE was Guest of Honour at the ceremony; and personally congratulated every graduate. Judith also presented special awards to the students who had gained the highest marks in NEBOSH Certificate and Diploma examinations in the last year.

NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth commented: “Achieving a NEBOSH diploma level qualification takes a great deal of hard work and dedication. The NEBOSH graduation ceremony gives our students the opportunity to mark their achievement and celebrate their success.”

Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications are offered by over 600 course providers in more than 110 countries around the world.

Further information about NEBOSH courses can be found at:

Contact: Zoe Goodwin, Communications and Marketing Officer, NEBOSH, Dominus Way, Meridian Business Park, LEICESTER LE19 1QW | Tel: +44 (0)116 263 4730 | Fax: +44 (0) 116 282 4000 | |

New UK History of Occupational Health and Safety website

The new UK History of Occupational Safety and Health website was launched on 28 April 2014 to coincide with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which is also Workers’ Memorial Day.

The website sets out developments in workplaces in the UK from the 1802 Factory Act to recent regulation changes is an initiative of the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents National Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

The website which provides a wealth of information tracking the development of occupational safety and health and includes:

Full text documents, including some that are more than 180 years old, can be accessed via the website.

More information will continually be added to further expand the information already available.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the website and thanks especially to Sheila Pantry OBE who has led the “History of OSH” project and produced this very valuable resource.

Anyone wishing to send information to be added to the website please contact Sheila Pantry, email:

Carcinogenic Substances – Exposure Profile of Quebec, Canada Workers

The IRSST has just published the first report that estimates Quebec workers’ exposure to carcinogens. This document is a significant contribution to knowledge in this area, and the findings should be of use to anyone interested in this problem.

Exposure estimates were compiled for 38 carcinogenic substances listed in Schedule I of the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety (designation C1, C2 or C3) and in the known or probable carcinogens list published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (groups 1 and 2A). The number of workers potentially exposed to each carcinogen was obtained by applying the percentages of exposed workers in a given industry, calculated from various data sources, to the number of people working in that industry in Québec according to the 2006 census data. The information on exposure was based on laboratory tests performed by the IRSST for the Réseau public de la santé au travail, the results from a number of special projects carried out by the IRSST, data from Santé-Québec’s survey on health and wellbeing (Enquête sociale et de santé 1998), Health Canada data on occupational radiation exposure, and exposure data compiled as part of the CAREX Canada project conducted by the University of British Columbia. For some carcinogens, the exposure data came from two French sources: the SUMER survey of occupational physicians by France’s Ministère du travail, and the MATGÉNÉ job exposure matrices developed by the Institut de veille sanitaire.

According to these calculations, the ten substances or conditions to which the greatest number of Québec workers are exposed are as follows: solar radiation (6.6%), night work or rotating shifts including night work (6.0%), diesel exhaust (4.4%), wood dust (2.9%), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (excluding diesel exhaust) (2.0%), benzene (1.7%), silica (1.5%), lead (1.3%), artificial ultraviolet rays (1.1%) and mineral oils (1.0%).

In several industries, over 20 different carcinogens are present; these industries include manufacturing, construction, other services except public administration, utilities, professional, scientific and technical services, and administrative, support, waste management and remediation services. Among the manufacturing industries with exposure to multiple carcinogens are non-metallic mineral products, transportation equipment, primary metals, chemicals and paper.

Based on these percentages, it is estimated that at least 230,300 Quebecers are exposed to solar radiation and more than 150,000 to diesel exhaust in their jobs. Over 50,000 are exposed to carcinogens in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, and health care and social assistance.

Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), diesel exhaust, benzene and solar radiation affects most of the industries with a young labour force, including retailing, arts, entertainment and recreation, and accommodation and food services.

A breakdown of the data according to sex shows that more women are exposed to carcinogens in health care and social assistance (ionizing radiation, night work, artificial UV rays and solar radiation). Men are present in greater proportions in agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, mineral extraction, oil and gas, construction, utilities, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing; these industries are characterized by exposure to solar radiation, wood dust, night work, silica, diesel exhaust, mineral oils and lead.

Despite their limitations, the estimates are useful indicators of the extent of Québec workers’ potential exposure to carcinogenic substances, mainly because this is the first portrait of its type based on data aggregated from various sources.

Because cancers take several years to develop and it can be difficult to establish a link between a cancer and a given occupational exposure, the best strategy is prevention. The preventive approach for exposure to carcinogens is the same as for any occupational hazard: anticipation, identification, assessment and control (through elimination at source, substitution and reduction of exposure), as well as informing and educating employers and workers about carcinogenic substances.

Download the report:

Contact: Maura Tomi, M. Sc. Communication advisor, Communications and Knowledge Transfer Division, IRSST, Quebec, Canada | Tel: +1 514-288-1551 ext. 302 | Email:

Regulating chemicals makes economic sense

Better regulation of hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer, reproductive problems and other ill-effects could deliver massive cost savings, a new report has concluded. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) says exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be costing up to €31 billion (£24.8 billion) per year across the European Union (EU). The calculation draws on a list of diseases and conditions that experts involved in EDC research have identified as “endocrine-related”. The report warns rates for many of these conditions, which include breast cancer, are increasing rapidly.

A 2012 Stirling University study found working in a “toxic soup” of these common industrial chemicals can double a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. High risk jobs identified included those in agriculture, plastics, food packaging, metal manufacture and the bar and gambling industry.

HEAL executive director, Genon K Jensen, commenting on the new report, said: “A proportion of the spiralling rates of endocrine-related health problems seen in Europe today are probably caused by exposure to synthetic chemicals that end up in our bodies and disrupt our hormones. The EU should put health first and phase out these substances. Swift action could avoid massive human suffering and perhaps as much as €31 billion in health costs and lost productivity each year.” HEAL said the EU should set out a specific timetable by which EDCs must be identified and replaced with safer alternatives. “A year ago, we were expecting the European Commission to propose a package of EDC policies, including a new strategy for tackling EDCs,” Genon Jensen said. “We were also expecting a proposal for identification criteria so that the EU pesticide and biocide laws which prohibit EDCs could begin to work. We are still waiting for the package.”

Global: Investors must get the truth from Rio Tinto

IndustriALL has urged investors in mining and metals giant Rio Tinto to demand the truth about aggressive management practices that are dangerously undermining safety, employment and environmental standards. The global manufacturing union federation made the call this week, ahead of a meeting between 25 analysts and investors and Rio Tinto in North America.

“Rio Tinto has established a pattern of conflict with key stakeholders at its operations in North America and around the world,” said IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan. He points to IndustriALL’s new report, Unsustainable: The ugly truth about Rio Tinto, which documents Rio Tinto’s failure to live up to its own sustainability claims. This documents how Rio Tinto has alienated a broad array of stakeholders through uranium spills, worker deaths, environmental violations and a lack of respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Rio Tinto claims it has a zero harm culture, the IndustriALL report says, but in 2013 a total of 40 workers were killed at operations fully- or partially-owned by the company. In Indonesia, where a disaster accounted for 28 of these deaths, a national human rights commission found the tragedy could have been avoided. “Rio Tinto brands itself as sustainable in order to maintain access to profitable opportunities. Its failure to live up to its own sustainability claims potentially jeopardises that access and is of material concern to the investment community,” said Kemal Özkan. IndustriALL’s affiliated unions represent thousands of workers employed by Rio Tinto in 19 countries.

South Africa: Alarming level of TB among miners

For every worker who dies each year as a result of an accident in a South African mine, nine more die of tuberculosis, the country’s health minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said. “There are 41,810 cases of active TB in South African mines every year. It is 8 per cent of the national total, and 1 per cent of the population, very unfortunately,” he told parliament. “It is the highest incidence of TB in any working population in the world. It affects 500,000 mineworkers, their 230,000 partners, and 700,000 children.” High rates in miners are linked to working in dusty environments, with silicotuberculosis a recognised occupational disease.

The minister said in 2009, there were 167 mining fatalities. “But, in the same year, there were 24,590 cases of TB, which resulted in 1,598 TB fatalities.” Gold mines were the worst affected, he said, with 17,591 TB cases and 1,143 deaths in 2009. “So for every death of a mineworker due to accident, there are nine who die of TB,” Motsoaledi said. Health screening and new primary care teams were targeting the problem, he told MPs.