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News Archive

September 2014

The Goldilocks Approach: the UK HSE urges school leaders not to wrap kids in cotton wool

As the new school year begins, the UK the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is reminding school leaders to strike the right balance in their approach to health and safety.

Bans on children wearing frilly socks, hot drinks on school trips and supposed “dangerous footballs” from the playground, are just some of the cases HSE’s Mythbusters Challenge panel has ruled on, where schools have made over zealous and disproportionate decisions in the name of “health and safety” when it comes to dealing with risks to children.

HSE has published new web-based guidance designed to support school leaders to strike the right balance and encourage them to avoid being risk averse. Whilst children need to be kept safe, they also should be able to learn through experience and play conkers without wearing goggles!

Geoff Cox, Head of HSE’s Public Services Sector said:

“Our myth busting shows that schools sometimes go over the top in their efforts to get health and safety right – but in some cases they don’t go far enough.

“We want to encourage school managers to use this guidance to find their own Goldilocks approach – not too much, not too little, but just the right balance. Real risks need to be managed, but that doesn’t mean wrapping children in cotton wool.”

HSE’s Public Services Sector consulted with local government and education stakeholders, the teaching unions and schools health and safety managers to develop the guidance.

For more on common health and safety myths in schools and striking the right balance see:

WHO and TUC call for action on e-cigarettes

Unions should negotiate the same controls on electronic cigarettes as on smoking at work, the TUC has said. The union body repeated its call after the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for a ban on the use of “e-cigarettes” indoors – a move rejected immediately by the UK government – as well as a range of other restrictions on their sale and marketing.

The TUC says the sale of these products is unregulated and there is very little evidence as to their safety. It adds the ingredients and quality of electronic cigarettes can vary considerably. BBC’s Inside Out reported this week that one out of four liquid refills tested in a laboratory contained diacetyl, the chemical responsible for the potentially deadly condition “popcorn lung”, or bronchiolitis obliterans.

TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson, writing this week in the union body’s Stronger Unions blog, noted: “The TUC strongly recommends that unions should negotiate that electronic cigarettes are subject to the same general restrictions in the workplace as tobacco. They should not be used in any indoor place. This is not just because the risk to others is unknown, but also because it can be confusing if people are seen to be ‘smoking’ what can look like a cigarette. This undermines the smoking ban.” He said unions should welcome properly negotiated smoking cessation efforts by employers. “A pragmatic approach like this should hopefully satisfy those who do not want their colleagues ‘vaping’ next to them, and also hopefully support those who want to use e-cigarettes to help them kick tobacco,” he said.

Construction workers at risk of skin cancer

Construction union UCATT is warning that construction workers are at particular risk of developing skin cancer. The union alert came after new figures published by Public Health England (PHE) revealed the number of hospital admissions for skin cancer have increased by 41 per cent in just five years. The figures show that in 2007, 87,665 people were admitted to hospital suffering from skin cancer and by 2011 that figure had risen to 123,808.

PHE found a particular large increase of men in their 60’s suffering from skin cancer. UCATT says construction workers are at risk due to their regular exposure to the sun at work. It says workers should take straightforward measures to protect themselves against sun damage. These include always keeping a top on and always using sun cream, even if the sun does not appear to be strong.

UCATT also advises construction workers to check their skin regularly for unusual spots or moles that change size, shape or colour or that start bleeding. If a construction worker does spot anything of concern they should seek prompt medical advice, the union says.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Construction workers are exposed to the sun on a daily basis. It is vital that workers and employers put in place simple measures to ensure that they do not suffer skin damage which could cause skin cancer later in life.”

Fee for Intervention is effective and should stay, says UK report

A scheme designed to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses who break the law has proven effective and should stay, an independent report has concluded.

The report recognised that inspectors at the Health and Safety Executive have implemented “Fee for Intervention” consistently and fairly since it started in October 2012, and found no evidence to suggest that enforcement policy decisions had been influenced in any way by its introduction.

The independent panel which conducted the review was chaired by Alan Harding, professor of public policy at Liverpool University. Other participants were representatives of the GMB trade union, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Department for Work and Pensions.

According to the report’s authors, the professional approach adopted by HSE’s inspectors has ensured any challenges raised by the scheme during its first 18 months were minimised. The evidence suggests the concerns voiced about FFI have not manifested themselves to any significant or serious extent and that “generally inspectors and dutyholders continue to work together in improving health and safety management”.

Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE, said: “Both HSE and the Government believe it is right that those who fail to meet their legal health and safety obligations should pay our costs, and acceptance of this principle is growing. This review gives us confidence that FFI is working effectively and should be retained. We will continue to monitor the performance of Fee for Intervention to ensure it remains consistent and fair.”

The report, published by HSE today, along with associated research papers, concludes that “it [FFI] has proven effective in achieving the overarching policy aim of shifting the cost of health and safety regulation from the public purse to those businesses who break health and safety laws.”

It also concludes that:

The report can be found on HSE’s website:

Event: Safety and Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials (ENM)

10-12 November 2014 – Copenhagen Island Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark

Engineered nanomaterials offer enormous potential in many areas of technology. The safety of ENM is the key to the success of the industry, because without customers’ confidence, nanotechnology has no future.

Main Topics

Contact: Siv Jansson, Course coordinator, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki | Direct +358 30 474 2488 | Mobile +358 43 8241 696 | Email: |

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirms appointment of new chief executive

Richard Judge

Dr Richard Judge has been appointed Chief Executive of Britain’s workplace health and safety regulator. He will start at the Health and Safety Executive in November 2014.

Commenting on the appointment, Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Richard as our new chief executive and look forward to working with him. His valuable, considerable experience in both the public and private sector is a perfect fit for HSE, enabling us to take forward our commercial agenda whilst also ensuring we can build on our standing as a world-class regulator of workplace health and safety.”

Richard Judge said:

“This is a great opportunity to lead the executive of a renowned and respected regulator that will soon celebrate its 40th year. I look forward to working with my new HSE colleagues, and with everyone who has a stake in delivering further improvements in Britain’s health and safety performance.”

Richard is currently chief executive of the Insolvency Service. Prior to this he had a varied career in science and technology organisations spanning the nuclear, rail and environmental sectors. Richard has a professional background as a Chartered Engineer (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers), and is qualified as a Chartered Director.

He will take over from Kevin Myers, who has been acting chief executive since August 2013, when Geoffrey Podger stepped down after eight years in the role.

Celebrating 40 years of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Many organisations, including the British Safety Council, have published articles or held events to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) coming into force. The July 2014 edition of Safety Management Celebrating 40 years of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 included a series of sixteen articles reflecting the achievements of the last forty years and the considerable challenges, around health, that remain.

British Safety Council invites you to join their half day conference in Aberdeen on 18 September to explore the achievements of the last forty years and the significant risks still to be tackled.

Statement by US NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.: Labor Day 2014: August 28, 2014

NIOSH Update:

On Labor Day 2014, we reflect on the ways in which work sustains us as individuals, strengthens our families and communities, and enables our society to function smoothly and productively. We see this in our daily lives. On any given morning, as a working parent or caregiver, you may drop your child off at school or daycare, tend to the needs of an elderly mother or father, and drive through traffic to attend a crucial meeting on time. At work, you put in extra hours to make sure a project is completed on schedule. Later, you may stop to pick up groceries on the way home, and after dinner you may tackle additional work on the computer before bedtime.

In all, according to government statistics, 146,352,000 men and women are employed in the U.S. A critical factor in anyone’s ability to do a job well, and to effectively balance often hectic daily routines, is the confidence that workplaces are safe, healthy, and secure. This holds true whether it is your own workplace or your child’s daycare center, the neighborhood store and its suppliers, or the highway work zone that you pass at rush hour.

We in the occupational safety and health community have the responsibility and privilege of helping to make sure that working people, throughout their careers, enjoy lives free from pain, impairment, and potentially the risk of death associated with job-related injury and illness. Research of the kind performed and supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its diverse partners drives informed decision-making and produces new tools and practices to help realize that goal.

Our priorities reflect the realities of today’s working world, which is more diverse, innovative, and globalized than ever before:

This Labor Day, I encourage you to reflect on the importance of preventing job-related injury, illness, and death, and to consider ways in which you can support that national mission.

World Congress on Safety and Health at Work – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder: “Work claims more victims than war”

Guy Ryder announces ILO to renew efforts to get compliance for health and safety standards at work around the globe.

Calling for “a culture of intolerance towards risks at work,” International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder told nearly 4,000 participants at the XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work that safety and health will be an integral part of all the ILO’s work.

Speaking in Frankfurt, Germany to occupational safety experts, politicians and scientists from 141 countries at the world’s largest occupational safety event, Ryder said the ILO would focus on producing a greater impact on the global culture related to safety and health at work and on the ground in workplaces.

“Ebola and the tragedies it is causing are in the daily headlines – which is right. But work-related deaths are not. So, the task ahead is to establish a permanent culture of consciousness,” said Ryder.

Ryder made clear the failure to ensure a safe and healthy workplace constitutes an unacceptable form of work: “This puts safety and health alongside forced labour, child labour, freedom of association and discrimination, which were recognized in the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.”

He added that safety and health will be an integral part of all of the ILO’s work, including a spotlight on invisible and vulnerable categories of workers in the informal economy, rural economy and migrant workers.

Sparing human lives, saving money

“The challenge we face is a daunting one. Work claims more victims around the globe than does war: an estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational accidents and diseases,” said Ryder.

He also referred to the direct or indirect cost of occupational illness and accidents at work which the ILO estimates at US$ 2.8 trillion worldwide. He pointed out that investing in occupational safety and health is also good business. “Every dollar that is invested pays in.”

Ryder also underlined the critical need for good data: “We live in the Information Age where policy-makers have access to data on most issues. But in relation to occupational safety and health we lack data to design and implement evidence-based policies and programmes. That’s a failure – also of political will.”

However, the head of the ILO also sees some encouraging signs. “The importance of efficient labour protection is moving up on global political agendas. At the G20 Leaders Summit held in St. Petersburg in 2013, leaders directed the G20 Task Force on Employment to partner with the ILO to consider how the G20 might contribute to safer workplaces.”

International Media Festival for Prevention (IMFP): Media wins with emotion

Film and Multimedia productions from nine different countries were awarded prizes in the International Media Festival for Prevention (IMFP) at the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Frankfurt, Germany in August 2014.

“We had a record number of films and multimedia products this year – over 290 media productions from 33 countries including 220 films, a record number!”, said Peter Rimmer, Chair of the International Media Festival.

“We were impressed by the quality, the many innovative and imaginative productions, and the high standard of the entries. In particular, the increasing use of short films and animation, TV spots and social media, and the use of strong emotion in the storytelling.”

The international jury of the Media Festival awarded the following prizes:

Film category

An award was made to Vale, a global mining company in Brazil employing 136,000 workers across five continents, for their film ‘How would you feel if a loved one did not come home?’ The jury was impressed with the emotion and powerful montage of real people telling their own stories in their own words. A black and white film with a beautiful rhythm and a very strong emotional impact which was highly commended by the jury.

The Social Security Organisation (SOC SO), Malaysia received an award for their film ‘Imagine’, a light comedy that shows the importance of keeping vehicles maintained. The story is told in a humorous way with an engaging dialogue between the car mechanic and the customer, and the jury recognised that safe maintenance is important in all fields of OSH.

Father Christmas won an award for ‘Der Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus)’, a short film produced by DGUV, Germany. Santa does his work in the traditional way distributing gifts throughout the world. For some time now he isn´t happy. In an interview he expresses his dissatisfaction and explains that he wants some variety in his work. The jury was attracted by the use of the familiar, old character of Santa Claus to address stress, monotony, burnout and dissatisfaction, and commended the film for its humour and high production values.

LHS Foundation, Italy won an award for their film ‘What comes first’ which portrays the events that unfold onsite between two working teams feeling both the pressure of organisational production, and the self-generated target of impressing others. The content is rich in its demonstration of both positive and negative working and leadership styles. The key message is that workplace safety within an organisation can only be guaranteed when safety has to become part of the culture. The jury was impressed by the authentic approach to implement a safety culture in a large company, the strong storyline and good acting.

A short, dramatic TV spot ‘Video greeting’ from Denmark features a young employee in a restaurant kitchen making a ‘video selfie’ for her mother when she suffers a serious accident. This short film seeks to attract the attention of young employees and make them aware of the increased risk of them being injured at work using contemporary media.

The Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC), Singapore was awarded a prize for their film ‘This could be you’. The short TV spot reminds us that we cannot assume that safety will be taken care of by somebody else. Those who take shortcuts may end up paying the price. The jury liked the very clear message, and the way the film caught the attention of the audience with its dramatic images.

Multimedia category

Three awards were made in the Multimedia category:

An award was made to the Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety FCOS in Switzerland for their FCOS or EKAS Box. Designed for managers and employees in an office environment, the jury liked the attention-grabbing animations, and the imaginative and humorous clips, while at the same time reinforcing a serious health and safety message.

A second award was made to the Engagement Game by TNO in The Netherlands which addresses workload and stress in a positive and fun way. The jury was convinced by the power of the game as a learning tool providing a number of possibilities and advantages over traditional teaching and training methods.

A third winning award went to the Working Environment Guide of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, an e-learning tool using film, animations and interviews with Inspectors, and a “tool box” with links to the different themes of the regulations. The jury was impressed with the balanced use of multimedia and the ease of navigation.

Media Festival on the internet

Products submitted to the International Media Festival for Prevention 2014 can be viewed online. They are available at

Latest UK Health and Safety Laboratories Research Reports

RR1008 – National survey of the burden of sickness absence in the waste and recycling industry

The aim of the project was to provide HSE and the industry with reliable estimates of rates of sickness absence for specific categories of ill health and for key work tasks undertaken by workers.

RR1011 – Pilot project to research the need to update HSE on the occupational health risks in the woodworking industry

This report presents the findings of a pilot project to research the need to update HSE’s evidence base for wood dust exposure risks in GB manufacturing and construction industries.

RR1007 – A review on efficacy of hand cleaning products in industrial use as alternatives to hand washing

The aim of the project was to review the efficacy of alternative hand cleaning products to soap and water for the removal of contamination typical of that experienced in a range of outdoor activities, workplaces and related environments.

RR1005 – Work aggravated asthma: A review of reviews

Seven percent of the adult population have asthma, a condition commonly made worse by inhaling irritant exposures at work; termed work-aggravated asthma (WAA). Very little GB data exists about interventions to reduce the associated burdens to the individual and the workplace.

RR1004 – Factors in the design of order picking systems that influence manual handling practices

A variety of order picking systems are used in warehouses and distribution centres. The choice of system determines the amount and type of manual handling that occurs within those locations. In order to understand the factors that influence the design of order picking systems a review was undertaken and interviews conducted with six industry stakeholders.

RR998 – Further work for the development of an inspection tool for risk assessment of pushing and pulling force exertion

This work was commissioned to examine more closely the nature of the forces exerted during manual pushing and pulling operations and to provide a pushing and pulling risk assessment tool that aids identification of key workplace risk factors and measures for control of the risks that they present.

Crete: The cradle of European Civilization, the Hawaii of Europe and ICCE-23

To be held on 12-18 July 2015 in Crete Greece

Your professional work may be of interest to many participants of ICCE-23, July 12-18, 2015 in Crete, Greece.

The ICCE-23 requires detailed two-page short paper, each page two-columns, with graphs to show results. Participants who plan to attend ICCE-23 should submit paper titles immediately. The ICCE rule is no two-page short paper, no presentation. After the conference, selected high impact “full-length” papers will be reviewed for possible publications in Composites B journal, among other journals.

The on-site reception will start Sunday July 12, 2015, technical session starts early Monday morning July 13, 2015, and continues till Saturday noon July 18, 2015. Registration form and hotel venue information will be sent to you as soon as possible. The pre-registration fee before May 1, 2015 is USD 400.00, higher after this date.

Contact: David Hui, Chair ICCE-23 Crete, Greece | |

Working environment through the work life – Celebrating 60 years of Nordic work environment

Reykjavík, 7 October 2014

This year the Nordic Countries have worked closely together for 60 years to ensure a better working environment, and better occupational health and safety for workers. This task is a never ending task that needs constant attention, and reminders about what we have done in the past and what we shall do in the future. At this meeting we plan to celebrate these 60 years of co-operation. We plan to discuss the evolution of our model, the work environment we are faced with through the lifespan, the changes, gender, age and economy, as well as return to work after spells of ill health and factors associated with labour mobility.

The meeting is organized as part of the Icelandic programme within the Nordic Council in 2014, in co-operation with The Nordic Institute for Advanced Training in Occupational Health (NIVA) and we would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in this event.

The language at the meeting is English. The programme is free of charge thanks to our sponsors, but participants need to cover cost for travel and accommodation.

Please note that prior registration to the event is obligatory and the seats are limited.

Last registration date is 25 September 2014.

Contact the course coordinator Katja Pekkarinen | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 | Email: |

US EPA Releases

Three Final Chemical Risk Assessments / Agency identifies health concern from chemical used in paint strippers

The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released three final risk assessments for specific uses of three chemicals found in common household products. The risk assessment for Dichloromethane (DCM), which is widely used in paint stripping products, indicates health risks to both workers and consumers who use these products, and to bystanders in workplaces and residences where DCM is used. EPA estimates that more than 230,000 workers nationwide are directly exposed to DCM from DCM-containing paint strippers.

“While EPA continues to support much needed reform of this country’s chemicals management legislation, we are also using our current authorities as effectively as we can, which includes conducting risk assessments on chemicals to determine if they are safe for the public,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our review indicates that the use of DCM in paint strippers pose risks to human health, so EPA is beginning an effort to determine options for addressing the concern.”

Risk assessments for the other two chemicals did not show concerns. The other two looked at ecological risks of antimony trioxide (ATO) used as a synergist in halogenated flame retardants and 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8,-hexamethylcyclopenta-[ã]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) used as a fragrance ingredient in commercial and consumer products.

These final assessments and the recently released TCE risk assessment, which identified concerns for certain uses, were developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. The risk assessments are based on the best available information and were finalized after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessments.

For DCM, EPA is considering a range of possible voluntary and regulatory actions to address concerns and anticipates conducting a workshop in late fall to engage key stakeholders and the public on potential alternatives and risk reduction approaches.

In the meantime, EPA recommends that consumers check the label to determine if the product contains Dichloromethane or Methylene Chloride. If so, EPA recommends taking precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment.

EPA is also currently evaluating risks of another chemical in paint strippers called N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP). EPA released a draft risk assessment for NMP which identified risks associated with use of NMP-containing paint strippers. EPA does not expect the final risk assessment to significantly change this conclusion, and therefore recommends that those using NMP-containing paint strippers also take measures to minimize exposure.

Additional information on these final risk assessments and other TSCA Work Plan chemicals can be found at:

World of Work: Journalists “are increasingly targets” in conflict zones

The journalists’ union NUJ has joined the international community in expressing shock at the video showing the murder last week of US freelance journalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria in 2012. US authorities confirmed the video, titled “A message to America”, is authentic. Another captive, identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff, taken hostage in 2013, was shown at the end, with the threat that his fate depended upon the actions of US president Barack Obama.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “It is deeply alarming to see that journalists are becoming direct targets and their lives are being put at risk.” She said UN figures showed two journalists a week “are killed for bringing news and information to the public,” noting: “With broadcasters shutting foreign bureaus and making cuts to their staff, it has been increasingly the freelance journalists who have been reporting these events. Newspapers and broadcasting organisations must have a responsibility in ensuring that the people who work for them are properly briefed and trained in safety measures. The NUJ and the IFJ provides such training.”

The union leader added: “The NUJ has also called on the international community to expose the shameful failure of governments to properly investigate and prosecute the killers of journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice. It is a simple fact that freedom of the press and free expression are not possible where journalists face extreme violence for doing their job.”

A world without work fatalities is possible

A world without fatal or serious occupational injuries is possible, a major international conference has heard. Nearly 4,000 occupational safety experts, politicians and scientists from 139 countries gathered this last week at the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany. The event is co-organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

According to the ILO, 2.3 million people worldwide die each year as a result of occupational illnesses and injuries. The global labour standards body puts the annual direct or indirect cost of occupational illness and injuries at US$ 2.8 trillion worldwide. “These figures are unacceptable and yet these daily tragedies often fail to show up on the global radar. Clearly, there is still much to be done. Serious occupational accidents are, firstly, human tragedies but economies and society also pay a high price,” said ILO director-general Guy Ryder. “The right to a safe and healthy workplace is a basic human right – a right to be respected at every level of development and in different economic conditions. Respecting this human right is an obligation – as well as a condition for sustainable economic development. Prevention is possible, it is necessary and it pays.”

“Investment in risk prevention has led to remarkable socioeconomic benefits,” declared ISSA President Errol Frank Stoové, referring to a recent ISSA study that calculates the return on investments in prevention as averaging more than twice the amount invested. However, with a dramatically changing world of work, the health and well-being of workers remain a concern, in particular due to mental and ergonomic strain. This requires that we develop new, integrated strategies for prevention, which connect the safety, health and well-being of the individual.”

“Vision Zero is no ivory tower idea. It’s feasible,” is the view of Dr Joachim Breuer. The Managing Director of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) pointed to the occupational accident statistics for DGUV. “A hundred years ago in Germany there were 10,000 deaths a year at work. Last year the figure was less than 500 deaths for the first time.” The number of reportable accidents had been halved in the past 20 years alone. “This success is not just specific to Germany – it’s repeatable. Experience and many examples from our international cooperation efforts have shown us this,” Dr Breuer stated.

Dr Walter Eichendorf, President of the 2014 World Congress, added: “Solutions to occupational safety problems are being developed worldwide. There are examples of best practice, with measures being tested and evaluated in the most diverse of countries. The exchange of ideas at the World Congress prevents anyone from having to start again from zero.”

Fire and Blast Information Group (FABIG) – Final Programme for “Structural Materials for Weight Saving on Offshore Topsides”

Held on 17 September 2014 in Aberdeen and 18 September 2014 in London & via Webcast

FABIG’s forthcoming event will be a half day Technical Meeting covering “Structural Materials for Weight Saving on Offshore Topsides”. It will be held on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 in Aberdeen and on Thursday 18 September 2014 in London & via Webcast.

Please go to for the full schedule & registration.

Preliminary Field Studies on Worker exposures to volatile chemical during Oil and Gas Extraction Flowback and Production Testing Operations

Eric J. Esswein, MSPH, CIH, John Snawder, PhD, DABT, Bradley King, MPH, CIH, Michael Breitenstein, BS, and Marissa Alexander-Scott, DVM, MS, MPH.

This blog describes USA National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluations of worker exposures to specific chemicals during oil and gas extraction flowback and production testing activities.

These activities occur after well stimulation and are necessary to bring the well into production. Included are descriptions of initial exposure assessments, findings and recommendations to reduce worker exposures to potential hazards.

Further details about these assessments can be read in a recently published peer-reviewed journal article, “Evaluation of Some Potential Chemical Exposure Risks during Flowback Operations in Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction: Preliminary Results”.

Protecting Temporary Workers

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are aware of numerous preventable deaths and disabling injuries of temporary workers. One example is the death of a 27-year-old employed through a staffing agency to work as an equipment cleaner at a food manufacturing plant. While cleaning a piece of machinery, he came into contact with rotating parts and was pulled into the machine, sustaining fatal injuries. The manufacturing plant’s procedures for cleaning the equipment were unsafe, including steps in which cleaners worked near the machine while it was energized and parts were moving. Additionally, while the company’s permanent maintenance employees were provided with training on procedures to ensure workers were not exposed to energized equipment during maintenance or cleaning, this training was not provided to cleaners employed through the staffing agency.

Workers employed through staffing agencies are generally called temporary or supplied workers. For the purposes of these recommended practices, “temporary workers” are those supplied to a host employer and paid by a staffing agency, whether or not the job is actually temporary. Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. The staffing agency and the staffing agency’s client (the host employer) are joint employers of temporary workers and, therefore, both are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe work environment for those workers.

OSHwiki goes live: A new web platform to connect the occupational safety and health community

OSHwiki is the first web platform which allows users to create, collaborate and share knowledge on occupational safety and health (OSH) in all languages. It’s a new way to network online with the OSH community, aiming to support government, industry and employee organisations in ensuring safe and healthy workplaces. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched OSHwiki at the XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA calls on OSH professionals to become part of OSHwiki and add to the body of OSH knowledge already available on the platform.

On the occasion of the OSHwiki launch, Dr Sedlatschek said: “The platform is an important step in the drive to improve health and safety in European workplaces and brings added value to those involved on both a professional and a personal level. OSHwiki allows experts to share their work with each other in one easy and convenient place, they can gain recognition from the global OSH community for their expertise, and benefit from having their work peer-reviewed by a wider audience.”

OSHwiki is a reliable source of OSH information where accredited authors can create and edit content quickly and easily. Contributors include many national organisations for occupational safety and health as well as leading research institutes. With nearly 300 articles already uploaded by OSH experts, topics found on the platform cover areas such as OSH management and organisation, dangerous substances, ergonomics, psychosocial issues and groups at risk. As a one-stop shop for OSH content, OSHwiki aims to be the go-to resource on health and safety for the OSH community and beyond.

Discover the OSHwiki content and community by visiting the platform at and follow developments on Twitter @EU_OSHA.