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News Archive

August 2014

A matter that concerns us all! Preventing workplace violence

The Canadian Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), in collaboration with Recherche sur les interrelations personnelles, organisationnelles et sociales du travail (or RIPOST, a research group on personal, organizational and social interrelations at work), is launching a Web site that offers a practical, proven process for sustainably preventing workplace violence in all types of organizations.

Based on the advancement of knowledge resulting from ten years of research on violence prevention, this site proposes a five-step process:

  1. Securing a commitment from the workplace;
  2. Identifying the risk factors;
  3. Developing an action plan;
  4. Implementing and monitoring the prevention measures;
  5. Evaluating the effects.

It provides possible courses of action, suggestions, tips, and downloadable tools for implementing measures or improving those already in place to ensure more effective violence prevention among people within a given organization. The information on the site allows the process to be adapted to any company’s size and activity sector and to the presence or absence of a union.

“Violence in the workplace is a tenacious phenomenon that concerns us all. Its impacts are felt at the level of worker and organizational health and are manifested in loss of productivity, absenteeism, and deterioration in the work atmosphere, among other things. To prevent this violence and achieve a successful, participatory process, employers, workers, and their representatives must pool their prevention efforts. The Web site offers answers derived from evidence-based data generated by the latest scientific research,” explains researcher Nathalie Jauvin of the RIPOST group.

Designed for human resources counsellors, preventionists, and union representatives, as well as employees and managers, the Web site can be consulted free of charge at

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

Heart-Smart Shift Working

Over 3.5 million people in the UK are employed as shift workers. Early morning and night shifts are known to disrupt sleep and our internal body clock (circadian rhythm), leading to fatigue, increased risk of accidents and reduced performance.

A recent review of working patterns revealed a 9% higher risk of developing type 2 Diabetes for all shift workers, and an even higher risk in male workers or those on rotating shifts when compared to fixed shifts.

Shift work has also been associated with a 23% increase in the risk of having a heart attack. A possible explanation for this is that shift workers tend to drink more coffee, snack more, exercise less, and smoke more cigarettes when compared to day-time workers – all of which can have a negative impact on heart health.

You may not be able to change your shift pattern but you can make changes to your lifestyle to support your heart all the more. Have a think about your habits at work and those times where unhealthy habits are at their worst, then look at ways to make them work best for you.

Here are some heart-smart ideas to keep you healthy with shift work:

Making some changes here and there will give your heart health a boost and have you sleeping better. Speak to your employers about providing healthier options in vending machines or in the canteen and about EU advice on health assessments for night-time shift workers.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact: Heart Research UK on 0113 297 6206 or email

Skin cancer and sun safety for outdoor workers

Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the U.S., with an annual cost of $8.1 billion.

Guest author Acting Surgeon General RADM Boris Lushniak discusses the importance of sun safety for outdoor workers and his Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.

Read more on the NIOSH Science Blog.

Chemical reaction hazards and the risk of thermal runaway INDG254 (rev1)

This leaflet from the UK Health and Safety Executive is for small and medium-sized companies in the chemical manufacturing industry, although the principles also apply to larger businesses.

It identifies the main hazards of carrying out chemical reactions, provides guidance on how you can ensure a safe operation, and identifies some sources of further information and advice.

This guidance has been reviewed in 2014. The advice it contains is unchanged but references have been updated.

CSB Emphasizes Existing Resources Available on Hot Work Safety

Safety Videos, Safety Bulletin and Accident Investigations Call Attention to the Hazards of Welding or Cutting Near Storage Tanks

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has announced the hot work safety resources available free of charge through the agency’s website at The Board previously released safety videos, a safety bulletin, and accident investigations all warning of the hazards of welding, cutting, grinding, and other hot work activities in and around storage tanks containing flammable materials.

Of particular interest is the CSB’s safety video entitled “Dangers of Hot Work,” which presents key lessons from the CSB’s hot work safety bulletin, released on March 4, 2010, in Wausau, Wisconsin, near the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) facility where three workers were killed in July 2008 during a hot work-related explosion.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The CSB has examined multiple deadly hot work accidents. Our call to industry is to follow effective hazard analysis and combustible gas monitoring procedures when welding and cutting in and around storage tanks. These simple steps will save many lives.”

Hot work is defined as burning, welding, or similar spark-producing operations that can ignite fires or explosions. The CSB has conducted numerous investigations into fatal hot work accidents, with final reports which are available at the following links:

E. I. DuPont De Nemours Co. Fatal Hot Work Explosion Partridge Raleigh Oilfield Explosion and Fire Bethune Point Wastewater Plant Explosion Motiva Enterprises Sulfuric Acid Tank Explosion

The CSB’s “Dangers of Hot work” safety video uses 3-D computer animations to depict three of the hot work accidents summarized in the bulletin – Partridge-Raleigh, an oil production site in Central Mississippi; the Bethune Waste Water Treatment Plant in Daytona Beach, Florida; and the Motiva Enterprises Refinery in Delaware City, Delaware.

Hot work accidents occur throughout many industries in the U.S., including food processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, oil production, fuel storage, and waste treatment.

CSB Investigations Supervisor Donald Holmstrom states in the video, “We typically hear about hot work accidents weekly. It has become one of the most significant types of incidents the CSB investigates, in terms of deaths, in terms of frequency.”

The CSB began investigating hot work hazards following a July 17, 2001, explosion at the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Delaware City, Delaware. A work crew had been repairing a catwalk above a sulfuric acid storage tank farm when a spark from their hot work ignited flammable vapours in one of the tanks. Following the July 29, 2008, accident at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) n Tomahawk, Wisconsin – which killed three maintenance workers and injured another – the CSB began systematically tracking hotwork incidents.

The CSB determined the 2008 explosion resulted from welding above an 80-foot-tall storage tank that contained highly flammable hydrogen gas – the product of bacterial decomposition of organic fiber waste inside the tank.

In the ten months following the explosion at Packaging Corporation, the CSB deployed investigators to five other sites where hot work ignited flammable gas or vapour, including an explosion at MAR Oil in La Rue, Ohio, that killed two contractors in October 2008; an explosion that killed one and injured another at EMC Used Oil in Miami, Florida, in December 2008; an explosion that killed a contract welder at ConAgra Foods in Boardman, Oregon, in February 2009; an explosion at A.V. Thomas Produce in Atwater, California, in March 2009 that severely burned two employees; and the explosion of a massive gasoline storage tank that killed three workers at a TEPPCO Partners fuel distribution facility in Garner, Arkansas, in May 2009.

In November of 2011 two contractors at the E. I. DuPont De Nemours Co. located in Buffalo, NY were performing welding atop a 10,000 gallon slurry tank when hot sparks ignited flammable vapours inside the tank, causing an explosion that killed one contractor and seriously injured another. The CSB’s final report and safety video entitled Hot Work: Hidden Hazards were released at an April 19, 2012, public meeting. The CSB said a primary cause of the blast was the failure of the company to require that the interior of storage tanks – on which hot work is to be performed – be monitored for flammable vapour. A proposed recommendation urges DuPont to require monitoring the inside of storage tanks – and the area around tanks – before performing any hot work, which is defined as welding, cutting, grinding, or other spark-producing activities.

Just last week there was a deadly accident in Moss Point, MS. According to media report one man was killed and three others injured while performing welding working on a tank that was supposed to be empty. The CSB is following up on this incident and is in the process of gathering additional information.

The CSB’s 2010 safety bulletin provides summaries of all the hot work incidents examined by the CSB and identifies seven key lessons aimed at preventing worker deaths during hot work in and around storage tanks containing flammable materials which include:

  1. Use Alternatives – Whenever possible, avoid hot work and consider alternative methods.
  2. Analyze the Hazards – Prior to the initiation of hot work, perform a hazard assessment that identifies the scope of the work, potential hazards, and methods of hazard control.
  3. Monitor the Atmosphere – Conduct effective gas monitoring in the work area using a properly calibrated combustible gas detector prior to and during hot work activities, even in areas where a flammable atmosphere is not anticipated.
  4. Test the Area – In work areas where flammable liquids and gases are stored or handled, drain and/or purge all equipment and piping before hot work is conducted. When welding on or in the vicinity of storage tanks and other containers, properly test and if necessary continuously monitor all surrounding tanks or adjacent spaces (not just the tank or container being worked on) for the presence of flammables and eliminate potential sources of flammables.
  5. Use Written Permits – Ensure that qualified personnel familiar with the specific site hazards review and authorize all hot work and issue permits specifically identifying the work to be conducted and the required precautions.
  6. Train Thoroughly – Train personnel on hot work policies/procedures, proper use and calibration of combustible gas detectors, safety equipment, and job specific hazards and controls in a language understood by the workforce.
  7. Supervise Contractors – Provide safety supervision for outside contractors conducting hot work. Inform contractors about site-specific hazards including the presence of flammable materials.

CSB videos, investigations reports and safety bulletins are available at

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

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

Shiftwork linked to type 2 diabetes

Shiftwork is associated with a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, a review of the evidence has found. The research, published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, examined 12 studies involving more than 225,000 people, of whom almost 15,000 had diabetes.

Compared with normal office hours, working shifts carries a 9 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes, the study found. This heightened risk rose to 37 per cent for men, after further analysis to look at the potential effects of gender, study design, study location, job, shift schedule, body mass index (BMI), family history of diabetes and physical activity levels. Most shift patterns, except mixed and evening shifts, were associated with a heightened risk of the disease compared with those working normal office hours. And rotating shifts, in which people work different parts of the 24 hour cycle on a regular basis, rather than a fixed pattern, were associated with the highest risk, with a 42 per cent excess.

“Shiftwork is associated with a significantly increased risk of diabetes mellitus (DM), especially in men and groups with rotating shifts,” the researchers stated. “Given the increasing prevalence of shiftwork worldwide and the heavy economic burden of DM, the results of our study provide practical and valuable clues for the prevention of DM and a study of its aetiology.” In the UK, about 2.9 million people have diabetes, with about 90 per cent of cases being type 2. There are also thought to be around 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.

USA: Over 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers have cancer

A growing number of Ground Zero first responders and rescuers are seeking compensation for their illnesses, and more than 2,500 of them have contracted cancer. That toll has climbed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year, according to the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. The programme has counted 1,655 affected responders, out of the 37,000 police, sanitation workers and other city employees and volunteers it monitors. And when firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are added, the total rises to 2,518.

The city’s Fire Department has its own World Trade Center program, and notes there are 863 members with cancers that have been certified for 9/11 treatment. The latest findings are more than twice the number of reported cancer cases up to September of last year, when epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some 1,140 people suffered from WTC-related cancers. “There are more cases out there, because we just know of the people in our government-funded medical programmes, not those who have been treated by their private doctors,” said Dr Jim Melius, who oversees health programmes for 9/11 first responders at the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 60,270 people are said to be at risk of deadly diseases after inhaling dust and fumes from the World Trade Centers’ lower columns and from benzene in leaking jet fuel. Other toxins include lead from 50,000 shattered computers and mercury from thousands of light bulbs that were pulverized when the buildings came down. According to epidemiologists, 9/11 workers have developed cancers such as prostate, thyroid, leukaemia, and multiple myeloma at higher rates than other populations.

India: Union anger after shipyard ‘homicides’

The union at the world’s largest shipbreaking yard has organised a mass meeting of safety inspectors following an incident on 28 June in which five workers died. Eight others were injured in the gas explosion at the Alang Shipbreaking Yard in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, India. All were migrant workers. ASSRGWA, an affiliate of the global union federation IndustriALL, called the 21 July meeting of Alang’s safety officials, under the supervision of the government port officer, factory inspector and assistant labour commissioner.

Attended by 167 safety officers, safety supervisors and mukadams – field supervisors – at the yard, participants discussed the recent fatalities, and how to prevent a recurrence. The June tragedy occurred while workers were breaking up the chemical tanker D.V Perin for shipbreaking company Paras Steel Corporation.

Following pressure from the union, a fatal accident inquiry has been set up by government authorities. The union has insisted that the yard is kept closed until the investigation is completed. VV Rane, coordinator of IndustriALL’s shipbreaking project, was among the first to visit the scene. “Gross negligence and a lack of commitment towards safety by the Paras Steel Corporation, together with indifference from regulating and enforcement authorities has led to the industrial homicide of five workmen, causing irreparable damage to their families,” said Rane.

ASSRGWA is seeking compensation for the families of the deceased, as well as the injured workers. The union says there have been 15 fatalities at the Alang shipbreaking yard since January.

Zimbabwe: WHO requests asbestos false claims correction

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Zimbabwe’s pro-asbestos government to correct a dangerous misrepresentation of its position on asbestos. It follows the release in May of a position paper from the Zimbabwean authorities claiming WHO supports “controlled use” of chrysotile asbestos. The global health agency in fact says asbestos cannot be used safely and has called for all use of chrysotile asbestos to stop.

WHO confirmed that it has asked the Zimbabwe government, which has indicated it wants to reopen its asbestos mines, to correct the misinformation. In a letter to human rights campaigner Kathleen Ruff of RightOnCanada, a WHO official notes: “We are confident that action to correct the inaccurate statement regarding WHO’s position will be taken as soon as possible.”

As part of its tactics to sell asbestos, the asbestos industry has falsely and repeatedly claimed that WHO supports the industry’s position that chrysotile asbestos can be “safely used”. As well as misrepresenting the WHO position, Zimbabwe’s asbestos taskforce and government have also misrepresented the position of the ILO, stating: “The ILO embraces the concept of controlled-use in chrysotile asbestos.” Like WHO, the position of the ILO is that chrysotile asbestos cannot be safely used and that all use of chrysotile asbestos should stop.

New books

Control of Batch Processes by Cecil L. Smith

Approaching batch processing from the process perspective, with emphasis on the advantages of using structured logic in the automation of all but the simplest batch processes, this book provides engineers with real-world insight into analyzing control requirements, developing control logic to meet these requirements, and troubleshooting controls in batch processes.

Control of Batch Processes
Cecil L Smith
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE), June 2014, 323 pages, ISBN 9780470381991

Guidelines for Determining the Probability of Ignition of a Released Flammable Mass by American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE)

Complemented by an estimating tool spreadsheet based on a fixed set of chemicals to assist in risk estimations, Probability of Ignition of a Released Flammable Mass converts a “best guess” to a calculated value based on available information and current technology. The text documents and explains the science and background of the technology-based approach. The tool, when populated with appropriate data, yields an estimate of the probability that a defined release of a flammable material will ignite if exposed to an ignition source. This information can be used to make risk assessments with a higher degree of confidence than estimates made before and it provides valuable information for use in the development of a facility’s Emergency Response Plan.

Guidelines for Determining the Probability of Ignition of a Released Flammable Mass
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE), June 2014, 264 pages, ISBN 9781118230534

Cybersecurity for Executives: A Practical Guide by C. Joseph Touhill and Gregory J. V Touhill

This essential cybersecurity text for executives in all sectors and at all levels provides practical advice that equips executives with the knowledge they need to make the right cybersecurity decisions. In plain language, you’ll learn how to recognize and act on threats to you and your business, along with how to act decisively to mitigate and recover from cyber incidents.

Cybersecurity for Executives: A Practical Guide
C. Joseph Touhill and Gregory J. V Touhill
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE), June 2014, 386 pages, ISBN 9781118888148

XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2014: Global Forum for Prevention

24–27 August 2014, Frankfurt, Germany

Sharing a vision for sustainable prevention – Germany plays host to the world’s largest conference on occupational safety and health. Your presence counts. Join us in shaping a world which embodies safety and health at work – sustainably. Experience the 2014 World Congress for yourself. Join the discussion of key OSH topics, network with experts from around the world – and be inspired to produce new solutions.

For full details visit

Judith Hackitt – UK’s Health and Safety Executive Chair on the 40th Anniversary of the Act

This year will mark 40 years since Health and Safety at Work etc Act received Royal Assent. Arguably it is one of the best pieces of legislation on the statute books – although we know it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. It has protected millions of British workers, and driven sharp reductions in incidents of occupational death, serious injury and ill health.

In 1974, fatalities to employees covered by the legislation in place then stood at 651. The latest figure for 2012/13 was down to 148 for employees and self employed combined. The actual reduction is probably more than this as data for sectors not covered by health and safety law pre 1974 was not collected. In the same time frame (and with the same caveat) non-fatal injuries have dropped by more than 75 percent. There is still room for improvement clearly, but the change in the last 40 years is quite remarkable.

Before the 1974 Act there was a host of different regulations – some industries swamped with prescriptive rules and others with little or no regulation at all. Something needed to be done.

The 1972 Robens Report concluded there were too many regulations and that what was needed was a regulatory regime that set broad, non-prescriptive goals for dutyholders, underpinned by a fundamental principle: ‘those that create risk are best placed to manage it’.

The Act that emerged from his review swept away detailed and prescriptive industry regulations; it created a flexible system where regulations describe goals and principles, supported by codes of practice and guidance. Based on consultation and engagement, the new regime was designed to deliver a proportionate, targeted and risk-based approach.

Forty years on this approach still applies. Despite having diversified away from an economy based predominantly on heavy industry and manufacturing, much of the original vision and framework of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 remains relevant. The principles have been applied time and again to new and emerging technologies and sectors. The legacy is a safety record envied around the world.

Much of our current reform agenda is aimed at: stripping out unnecessary or duplicated regulation and helping smaller businesses to understand how to take a proportionate approach to managing their risks – but the basic principles remain the same.

Forty years on the Health and Safety at Work Act has demonstrated it can be applied to new responsibilities and new demands, creating the framework for people to come home safe and well from a day’s work in any sector of the economy.

TUC celebrates 40th anniversary of the UK Health and Safety Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work Act is one of the most important and successful pieces of workplace legislation ever, said the TUC to mark the 40th anniversary of the UK Act, which received royal assent on 31 July 1974.

In the 40 years since the Act was passed, the number of fatalities in the workplace has fallen by 85 per cent while the number of injuries at work has fallen by 77 per cent.

However, the TUC is concerned that the government is seeking to remove a key part of what made the Act so effective – its universal coverage and its simplicity – by removing most self-employed workers from its protection.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Few pieces of legislation can be seen to have been as effective as this Act. We should be celebrating its 40th birthday and thanking those who drafted it.

“Unfortunately the present government is hell-bent on chipping away at the Act by removing large numbers of self-employed from its coverage. Ministers are planning to replace its universal coverage with complex new rules about which self-employed workers are covered and which are not. The will create huge challenges for employers, workers and regulators.

“While the Act has been successful in bringing down deaths and injuries in the workplace it has been less effective at preventing occupational diseases such as cancers, asthmas, dermatitis, back pain and lung diseases. This is still a massive problem and I hope that the Act will be used much more vigorously to address this challenge in the years to come.”

EU-OSHA Campaign tools help organisations manage stress at work

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) Healthy Campaign website offers plenty of practical tools to help companies and their employees manage work-related stress. By collecting all national tools in one place, companies saves time and effort in tracking down useful resources.

In the Healthy Campaign website, you will find plenty of practical tools to help companies and their employees manage work-related stress. Being able to recognise the causes of workplace stress in advance and dealing with them is a much more effective way of managing stress than waiting until it strikes. That’s why sharing these tools in one place is such a huge advantage.

There are tools online in almost 25 languages, most of which are free, that cover numerous aspects of assessing psychosocial risks at work. For example, want to know how your employees rate their working conditions? Then there’s a questionnaire provided by the Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors to help you assess it. Or is your company about to go through a restructuring and you’re worried how your staff will cope with the change? You can refer to the factsheet from the PSYRES Consortium which deals with preserving the well-being of staff in offices undergoing restructuring.

As well as the European and international practical tools, the national focal points have also made their resources available on the website. By collecting all national tools on one site, the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign saves companies a great amount of time and effort in tracking down useful resources.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK focal point, has several free tools to help organisations recognise stress in their workplace. For example, the HSE has developed a set of Management Standards aimed at identifying and tackling organisational stress by providing a process for gathering information from staff and then analysing that data which provides guidance to develop an action plan that employers can take and adapt to their specific sector or use in training.

In place for 10 years now, the Management Standards were created to raise awareness among employers in the context of rising rates of sickness absence, of which stress is a major cause. Their free availability and application in workplaces have since done a lot to help employers reduce sickness absence while improving staff retention and productivity.

The HSE Stress team said, ‘Stress had traditionally been seen as an issue for individuals rather than a reaction to poorly managed or poorly designed jobs which is why other tools, such as the Management Competency Indicator Tool, were developed in partnership with the CIPD, a professional body for HR and people development. It allows line-managers to assess their own management their own management styles and how it impacts on their staff’.

These tools show that work-related stress can be managed like any other OSH risk. And in October an e-guide on psychosocial risks will be added to the resources, yet another tool to increase understanding of this common workplace issue.

British workplaces among safest in the world

Figures at a record low on the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act

The number of people who lose their lives at work has dropped sharply by 85 per cent over the past forty years, from over 650 every year in 1974 to a record low of 133 today, new figures reveal.

The number of injuries at work has also reduced considerably by 77 per cent over the same time period, from 336,701 to 78,222. The statistics illustrate the enormous impact of an act that created a flexible, proportionate and world class regulatory system.

The 1974 Act paved the way for the creation of the Health and Safety Commission and the establishment of the Health and Safety Executive as we know it today – which regulates health and safety law working with industry to help them manage their health and safety risks effectively and also bringing irresponsible employers to justice.

Minister of State for Health and Safety Mark Harper said: “Britain has come an incredibly long way over the past forty years in protecting its workforce. Our workplace safety record is now the envy of the world, with businesses and governments queuing up to tap into our expertise.

“Any death at work is a death too many. But few can dispute that the reduction in fatalities and injuries over the past 40 years is a significant step forward. Britain is now officially one of the safest places in Europe – and the world – to work.

“So, while we all rightly curse false health and safety excuses, it’s worth thinking how fortunate we are today that we can go out to do a hard day’s work safe in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”

Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE, said: “Our health and safety law places responsibility on those who create risk to manage that risk in a proportionate practical way. It sets standards in terms of outcomes to be achieved, not by straitjacketing dutyholders and business into doing things in a particular way according to prescriptive rules.

“This means that it is universally applicable – regardless of whether you’re farming, fracking for shale gas or working with nano-materials in an ultra high-tech laboratory. The Health and Safety at Work Act may be 40 years old but it – and our regulatory system – are world class.”

Last year (2013) there were 27 fatal injuries to agriculture workers, 42 in construction and four in waste and recycling, all lower than the average over the past few year

For more information on the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act visit

Injury and ill health statistics can be found at

Green Jobs, new risks? New and emerging risks to occupational safety and health in the electricity sector

This European Agency for Safety and Health at Work report describes a workshop, based on the EU-OSHA Foresight project, held in Brussels on 20 March 2014 for the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC) Electricity. The objectives were:

  1. To engage in a discussion on new and emerging risks in the electricity sector with the members of the SSDC Electricity building on the EU-OSHA Foresight project;
  2. To stimulate their interest in the findings of the project relevant to their sector; and
  3. To demonstrate how scenarios can be used to anticipate new and emerging risks and to explore policy options to address these.

Full report:

Cooperatives’ considerable clout in the fight against child labour

The coop economy, worth around US$ 2.5 trillion, plays its part in helping to eliminate child labour – a problem that, although in decline, still affects 168 million children worldwide.

Around 60 per cent of all child labourers work in farming or a related industry, a sector where cooperatives hold a significant market share.

Given that the total size of the cooperative economy worldwide is something over two and half trillion US dollars, cooperatives have considerable clout when it comes to making a difference,” says Simel Esim, head of the Cooperatives Unit for the ILO.

Cooperatives, as democratic member-led businesses, can help bring about changes in the way work is organized and how wealth is distributed – both important steps in helping bring about an end to child labour.

Nevertheless, the fact that so many millions of children are still spending their childhood years at work, suggests that much more still needs to be done. “There’s a particular opportunity, and indeed a responsibility, for cooperatives and their associations to look at their supply chains and ensure that they are not inadvertently contributing to the problem,” says Esim.

The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) supports governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in seeking the progressive elimination of child labour. IPEC has worked with the International Co-operative Alliance and the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit to identify and strengthen the role of cooperatives. The 2009 report, Cooperating out of child labour, highlights good practices by cooperative enterprises.

According to Simon Steyne, Head of IPEC’s Social Dialogue and Partnerships Unit, partnering with national trade union centres and employers’ organizations and with agricultural or, for example, mineworkers’ unions, is crucial to achieve positive results.

“A stronger collective voice for small producers helps promote supply chain reform and a fairer sharing of the cake,” he says. “Support for cooperatism is one of the services that unions can and do offer to members. Employers’ organizations too can play a similar supportive role.”

As Steyne points out, cooperatives may also be employers and should engage in proper labour relations with unions representing their workforce.

“One of the key causes of child labour is inadequate and insecure incomes and a lack of social protection for families. Cooperatives, as social and solidarity economy enterprises, can be important vehicles for a fairer distribution of wealth and an extension of basic social security,” he says.

“And where the key public services children need are lacking, such as education or health care, cooperatives can help communities organize to contribute to the delivery of such services, and have a louder collective voice in bargaining with the public authorities,” he adds.

One of many examples

Registered in 2008, the Cooperative Agricole Kavokiva du Haut Sassandra (CAKHS) in Côte d’Ivoire, is a cocoa and coffee marketing cooperative made up of 5,817 members. Since 2010, CAKHS has been involved in the fight against child labour in the informal and rural economy. With the support of the ILO-IPEC West Africa Project, it has prevented or withdrawn 1,800 children (aged 5 to 17) from hazardous child labour and provided them with basic education and vocational training.

It has also set up five kindergarten centres and school facilities hosting 100 children withdrawn from hazardous child labour. Through CAKHS action, 80 cocoa growing families have been economically empowered to take care of their children at risk of or already engaged in child labour.

The international community has identified the elimination of child labour as a fundamental human right at work. Governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, through the ILO, adopted the Prohibition and Immediate Action on the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182) in 1999. This complements the earlier Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No 138), in setting out clearly the agreed international standards.

The latest ILO estimates show that between 2008 and 2012, the global number of child labourers fell from 215 to 168 million. And the number of children in hazardous work fell from 115 to 85 million.

Despite this headway, the target date of 2016 set by the international community for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour is unlikely to be met. Nonetheless, the good news is that the rapid progress during 2008-2012, demonstrates that governments and social partners know what works in eliminating child labour. The challenge now is to accelerate action.

CD272 – The Offshore Safety Directive

Consultation on the implementation of Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC, and on the review of offshore Approved Codes of Practice and the updating of UK onshore oil and gas safety legislation to cover emerging energy technologies

This consultation document (CD) seeks your views on the UK’s proposed approach to implement the offshore safety Directive, and includes proposals on amendments to existing legislation, new requirements, new administrative procedures, and the establishment of an offshore competent authority. It also seeks your views on HSE’s proposals to update onshore oil and gas health and safety legislation to take account of emerging energy technologies and the review of two Approved Codes of Practice: Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response on Offshore Installations (PFEER); and Health Care and First Aid on Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works.

This consultation document is large, but it has been published in clear sections so that respondents can easily identify and respond to the topics of most relevance or interest to them and HSE and DECC welcome views and comments on any of the topics discussed.

As the Directive contains requirements relating to licensing, safety and environmental protection and emergency response, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly leading the transposition with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Transport and the devolved administrations.

View and respond to the consultation:

This consultation began on 28 July and ends on 21 September 2014.

Responses should be sent by 21 September 2014 to: Offshore Directive Policy Team, Health and Safety Executive, 5S2 Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle L20 7HS | Email:

Smoking rates among children in England fall to record low

Regular smoking among 11-15 year olds in England has fallen to a record low level of 3% – the lowest since the annual survey began in 1982. Ten years ago (2003), 9% of schoolchildren were regular smokers. Also, over the past decade, the proportion of young people who have tried smoking has halved from 42% in 2003 to 22% in 2013. Smoking among 15-year olds has fallen to 8% – well below the Government target of 12% by 2015, set in the Tobacco Control Plan for England published in March 2011.

Commenting on the findings, Deborah Arnott chief executive of health charity ASH said: “The Government target was to get smoking in 15 year olds down to 12% by 2015 – already by 2013 it’s only two thirds of that amount. What made the difference? Government action including banning tobacco advertising, putting large health warnings on packs and making all enclosed public places smoke-free. But more needs to be done and plain standardised tobacco packs are the obvious next step. Parliament and public back the policy, now the Government must resist pressure from the tobacco industry and its front groups and make it happen. Every day’s delay means hundreds more children start smoking taking the first step towards addiction and premature death.

She went on to say: “Some people have been worried that electronic cigarettes could be a gateway into smoking for young people. These figures show that has not happened so far. But we need to keep monitoring use in young people, and make sure advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes doesn’t glamorise their use.”

Contact: Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health, 6th Floor, New House, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8JY | Tel: 020 7404 0242 |

SHO 2015 – International Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene

12-13 February 2015, Guimarães, Portugal

This international symposium is organized by the Portuguese Society for Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SPOSHO) and co-organised by the School of Engineering of the University of Minho, the Engineering Faculty of University of Porto, Faculty of Human Kinetics of the Technical University of Lisbon, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain (UPC), and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).

For more information about the event and how to submit a paper for presentation, visit: