News from around the World
- Big drop in UK HSE construction site inspections
- Focus: Exoskeletons in your workplace? Read on... You heard it here first!
- EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR)
- ECHA publication consultation – proposal for Harmonised Classification and Labelling (CLH) for three substances
- Event: Tunnel Safety and Fire Protection Summit
- Event: Aircraft Fire Hazards, Protection and Investigation
- Campaign partners get ready for the “Healthy Workplaces for All Ages” Campaign 2016-17
- EU-OHSA cooperation with EU institutions and other EU agencies
- Event: Counter Terrorism Conference 2016
- Get your Safety Climate Tool Survey off to the right start – UK Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)
- Event: Fire Sprinkler International 2016
- Event: Advanced Principles of Fire Dynamics Program
- UK Health and Safety Executive investigation has been launched following an explosion and building collapse at Didcot Power Station in Oxfordshire
- Lasers are “offensive weapons” says UK pilots’ union
- Train drivers also at risk from lasers
- Event: CHEMSS 2016 – Chemical Safety and Security Summit and CHEM-SAFETY-EXPO
- Latest UK Health and Safety Laboratory Research Reports
- Event: Leadership for Health and Safety – The Way Forward
- ECHA Evaluation Report 2015: Checking for key data gaps on substances of potential concern
- The Health & Safety Event
- Health and Wellbeing@Work 2016
- Hazards 26, Edinburgh, 24-26 May 2016
- UK Port health authorities in the dark over Zika
- Higher fines should spur safety improvements
Big drop in UK HSE construction site inspections
There has been a dramatic decline in the number of inspections the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertakes on construction sites, the union UCATT has revealed. The union said its Freedom of Information request had discovered the total number of HSE construction site inspections had fallen from 10,577 in 2012/13 to 9,656 in 2014/15, a reduction of 8.7 per cent. It said the decline in inspections came at a time when the construction industry was recovering from recession and activity was increasing.
The biggest reduction was in Scotland which saw a drop of 55.7 per cent in site inspections. Brian Rye, acting general secretary of UCATT, said: “This fall in inspection activity is deeply troubling. The prospect of an unexpected knock on the door by a construction inspector is what keeps many employers on their toes. If employers believe that their safety procedures are not going to be checked this will lead to slackness and corners being cut. Workers could pay with their lives.”
The union said construction was the most dangerous industry in the UK in 2014/15, with 35 construction workers suffering fatal injuries. UCATT leader Brian Rye added: “The HSE needs to explain what is behind the reduction in inspectors is this due to budget cuts or specific policies to reduce inspection activity? Construction workers deserve to be told the truth.”
Professor Andrew Watterson, who heads the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at Stirling University, said: “HSE has just launched a new and exceptionally weak GB strategy on health and safety based on a London bubble. Construction workers may well be amazed that HSE is so complacent about inspections and enforcement and seems to rely more and more on some alternative bland and neutered stakeholder approach. HSE increasingly looks and sounds like a toothless tiger – a lot of noise and increasingly little action.”
Focus: Exoskeletons in your workplace? Read on... You heard it here first!
Robotic-like suits which provide powered assist and increase human strength may conjure thoughts of sci-fi and superhero film genres. But these wearable exoskeleton devices are now a reality and the market for their applications in the workplace is projected to increase significantly in the next five years. As with any technologic innovation some of the pros and cons and barriers to adoption are not completely understood.
In this US NIOSH blog their objectives are to: (1) describe wearable exoskeletons in the context of workplace safety and health control strategies; (2) highlight current and projected trends related to industrial applications of these technologies; and (3) invite input from our stakeholders on workplace health and safety experiences, positive or negative, with these devices.
The wearable exoskeleton was defined by de Looze et al. (2015) as:
“…a wearable, external mechanical structure that enhances the power of a person. Exoskeletons can be classified as ‘active’ or ‘passive’. An active exoskeleton comprises one or more actuators that augments the human’s power and helps in actuating the human joints. … A strictly passive system does not use any type of actuator, but rather uses materials, springs or dampers with the ability to store energy harvested by human motion and to use this as required to support a posture or a motion.”
Passive systems require no external power and use springs, elastic cords, or other resilient elements to provide either a restoring moment that unloads the low back muscles, or additional vertical lift force to augment arm and shoulder muscles when supporting tools or materials. More complex active exoskeleton systems use electric servo-motors and powered actuators on an external frame with joints matched to those of the worker. The actuators augment the joint torque of the wearer so he or she can handle external loads with less effort than in their unassisted capability. These devices are often portrayed as modern or futuristic technology; however, they have a long history as a rehabilitation/assistive technology.
EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR)
Active Substance Non-Approval Implementing Decisions
The following active substances have been evaluated under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) and the EU Commission has decided not to approve them for use in biocidal product made available on the EU market.
It has also been decided not to approve
because all the participants have discontinued their participation from the biocides active substance review programme.
All affected companies are reminded that biocidal products containing these active substances, in the list product type,
- shall no longer be made available on the market after 16 February 2017; and
- use of existing stocks of the biocidal product may only continue until 16 August 2017.
Companies must manage the supply of the affected product to ensure there will be none remaining in the EU supply chain by 16 February 2017.
If the biocidal product was approved under the UK Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR), affected companies will receive a certificate to revoke the COPR approval in line with the above dates.
ECHA’s open invitations following withdrawal of support for citric acid for product type 1 and chlorine dioxide generated from tetrachlorodecaoxide complex (TCDO) by acidification for product type 1 from the biocides active substance review programme
The following active substance/product type combinations are no longer considered to be supported in the biocides active substance review programme:
- Citric acid (CAS 77-92-9) for product type 1; and
- Chlorine dioxide generated from Tetrachlorodecaoxide complex (TCDO) by acidification for product type 1.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published an open invitation, which allows interested companies to take over the role of participant for the above active substance/product type combinations.
Interested companies should complete the notification procedure in Article 17 of the Review Regulation by the 9 February 2017. Notifications should be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), via R4BP.
If no-one takes over the role of participant, these active substance/product type combinations will be subject to a non-approval decision and products containing them for the affected product types will have to be removed from the market.
Details of other open invitations where all participants have withdrawn their support or the active substance has been redefined can be found on the ECHA website.
ECHA’s open invitations for Redefined In-Situ Generated Biocides
Following the EU Commission stakeholder consultation in 2014, several in-situ generated active substances/precursor/product type combinations were redefined and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published an open invitation, which allows interested companies to take over the role of participant for the in-situ generated active substances/precursor/product type combinations by 27 April 2016.
Interested companies should complete the notification procedure in Article 17 of the Review Regulation by the 27 April 2016. Notifications should be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), via R4BP.
If no-one takes over the role of participant, these active substance/product type combinations will be subject to a non-approval decision and products containing them for the affected product types will have to be removed from the market.
ECHA Public consultations on two biocidal active substances as potential candidates for substitution
Under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR), if the evaluating Competent Authority concludes in its evaluation that an active substance meets the criteria for substitution of Article 10 (1) of EU BPR, before submitting its opinion to the Commission on the approval or renewal of the approval of an active substance, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will make publicly available information on the active substances identified as potential candidates for substitution.
Public consultations are now launched by ECHA for the following active substances:
- PHMB (CAS 27083-27-8 and CAS 32289-58-0) for product-type 5;
- Cyanamide (CAS 420-04-2) for product-type 3 and 18.
These consultations are open until 21 April 2016. The information received, if not confidential, will be published during these public consultations. Please respond direct to ECHA and not to HSE.
When the consultation period is over, ECHA will process the information received and will take account of the information when finalising the opinion on the above substances in the Biocidal Products Committee (BPC).
Further information on active substances that are candidates for substitution can be found on ECHA’s website.
Further information about the BPC can be found on ECHA’s website.
ECHA publication consultation – proposal for Harmonised Classification and Labelling (CLH) for the biocide Colecalciferol
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has invited interested parties to comment on a proposal for revised harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) for the biocidal active substance Colecalciferol, vitamin D3 used as a rodenticide (product type 14), and so you may wish to comment on this proposal.
The detailed proposal can be viewed on the ECHA website and the public consultation lasts for 45 days. Comments should be submitted to ECHA using the dedicated web form by 11 March 2016.
ECHA publication consultation – proposal for Harmonised Classification and Labelling (CLH) for three substances
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has invited interested parties to comment on a proposal for revised harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) for the following substance:
- 1-vinylimidazole (CAS 1072-63-5) which is an industrial monomer intended for the production of polymers used in different professional and consumer products.
- Potassium permanganate (CAS 7722-64-7) which is used as a laboratory reagent, as a chemical intermediate and in water treatment in agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
- Pentasodium (carboxylatomethyl)iminobis (ethylenenitrilo)tetraacetate (CAS 140-01-2) is used in industrial, professional and consumer products, including pulp and paper industries, washing and cleaning products and textiles.
The detailed proposal can be viewed on the ECHA website and the public consultation lasts for 45 days. Comments should be submitted to ECHA using the dedicated web form by 4 April 2016.
Event: Tunnel Safety and Fire Protection Summit
7-8 April 2016, Amsterdam Netherlands
Event: Aircraft Fire Hazards, Protection and Investigation
26-28 September 2016, Hotel Ibis Nanterre La Defense, near Paris 36/38 Avenue Des Champs Piereux 92000 Nanterre, France
A course presented by N. Albert Moussa, PhD, PE.
While commercial air transport is very safe, the advent of new technologies poses fire safety challenges that will be treated in this course. This offering draws upon Dr. Moussa’s work in this area since 1971 as well as related courses that BlazeTech has been teaching since 1998. Lectures will include Li and Li-ion battery fires, flammability of carbon fibre and glass fibre composites, emerging aviation fluids, engine fires, fuel tank fire/explosion, protection methods, aircraft accident investigation, and fire/explosion pattern recognition.
For each type of fire, this course will provide a cohesive integrated presentation of fundamentals, small- and large-scale testing, computer modelling, standards and specifications, and real accident investigation – as outlined in the course brochure. This integrated approach will enable you to address safety issues related to current and new systems and circumstances, and to investigate one of a kind fire and explosion accidents. The course will benefit professionals who are responsible for commercial aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles including design, equipment selection, test, operation, maintenance, safety management system, hazard/risk assessment, and accident investigation.
This course is also offered at the client site as well as customized courses on fire and explosion in other areas.
If you have any questions, contact: Albert Moussa, Ph.D., P.E. BlazeTech Corporation 29B Montvale Ave. Woburn, MA 01801-7021, USA | Tel +1 781-759-0700 x 200 | Fax +1 781-759-0703 | www.blazetech.com | email@example.com
Campaign partners get ready for the “Healthy Workplaces for All Ages” Campaign 2016-17
In the run-up to official launch of the 2016-17 Healthy Workplaces Campaign, EU-OSHA’s EU Partnership meeting on 16 March 2016 in Brussels brings together current and potential campaign partners such as companies, social partners, OSH professionals and media partners.
The meeting is an opportunity to explore the 2016-17 campaign partnership offer, to network and to exchange experiences.
The event sees the contributions of leading European businesses, workers’ and employers’ organisations, and the support of key decision-makers at the European level.
EU-OHSA cooperation with EU institutions and other EU agencies
EU-OSHA works closely with the EU institutions as well as with other EU Agencies on a variety of projects and events.
Take a look at the new sections on the EU-OHSA website to learn more about our active cooperation with the EU institutions, other EU Agencies and the partnership with the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
Event: Counter Terrorism Conference 2016
25 May 2016, University of Salford
There are still some places remaining on this conference which is open to Emergency Services, Ambulance Services, Fire Brigades, Neighbourhood Commanders, Policy Advisors, Resilience Officers, Academia, Youth Workers, Prison/Probation Services, Community Cohesion Teams, Police, members the MOD and the Armed Forces, Local Authorities, Local Government, Border Control and Immigration, Transport services, University staff.
Topics to be covered include:
- Government legislation around counter-terrorism
- Effects of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill
- Aims of the Counter-Extremism Strategy
- Impact of recent terrorist activity on attitudes towards the Investigatory Powers Bill
- Concerns surrounding the ‘Trojan Horse’ of immigration
- Preventing the radicalisation of British nationals
- Spike in hate crime towards members of the Muslim community
- Promoting integration and countering extremist ideologies
More information and the learning objectives can be found on the conference page: www.salford.ac.uk/onecpd/courses/counter-terrorism-conference-2016
Contact: Eleanor Leach, Salford Professional Development ONECPD, University of Salford, Adelphi House, University of Salford, Salford M3 6EQ, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 161 295 0115 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.salford.ac.uk/onecpd
Get your Safety Climate Tool Survey off to the right start – UK Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)
A good foundation is essential to any successful safety culture improvement programme: time and effort spent planning and communicating will help you get off to the best possible start.
When it comes to running your survey, support from employees at all levels is vital for obtaining optimal response rates: so don’t leave your communications to chance.
UK Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) new Safety Climate Tool Starter Pack contains a wealth of useful resources to help you communicate effectively and get that all important buy-in.
- ‘Making the Case’ PowerPoint presentation – to gain management buy-in
- Information on steering groups and their rules of engagement
- Safety briefing / toolbox talk guidance
- Generic and customisable posters and flyers
- Planning guidance, including Gantt chart
- Line manager briefing email and email communications to employees
- FAQs for workforce and safety champions
- Customizable content for Intranet pages
- Electronic copy of HSE Vital Statistics Poster
Event: Fire Sprinkler International 2016
19-20 April 2016, Holiday Inn, Munich, Germany
Fire Sprinkler International 2016 is the premier event in the sprinkler calendar and the only conference in Europe wholly dedicated to sprinkler and water mist technology and the wider use of water-based fire suppression. The conference is being jointly hosted by the Bundesverband Technischer Brandschutz (BVFA) and the European Fire Sprinkler Network (EFSN). The conference will be a uniquely rich experience; connecting, enthusing, inspiring and informing the professionals engaged in the fire sprinkler industry around the world.
All presentations during Fire Sprinkler International will be delivered in English and German simultaneously by a team of expert translators.
Event: Advanced Principles of Fire Dynamics Program
31 May – 2 June 2016, BRE Academy, Bucknalls Lane, Garston, WD25 9XX, Hertfordshire
Gulf Coast Fire Investigation, Research, and Education, LLC, in partnership with Dr James G. Quintiere and Fire Investigations (UK) LLP are proud to announce the scheduled delivery of their Advanced Principles of Fire Dynamics training program at the BRE Academy. The curriculum was developed utilising a tiered learning approach with the objective of taking students from a fundamental knowledge and understanding of fire dynamics through to its comprehension and application.
To book your place at this event contact: Fire Investigations (UK) LLP, PO Box 49727, London N20 0YP, UK | Tel: 08444 747 007 | Fax: 020 8361 0944 | Email: email@example.com
More information: www.gcfireinvestigation.com/upcoming-events.html
UK Health and Safety Executive investigation has been launched following an explosion and building collapse at Didcot Power Station in Oxfordshire
It is reported that one person has died, five are being treated for injuries and three are still missing, following the blast at 16:00 GMT on 23 February 2016 evening. More than 40 people were treated for smoke inhalation.
A major search operation is now under way to find the three people still missing. Rescuers using sniffer dogs have been at the Didcot A Power Station site in the UK since a major incident was declared.
The BBC has reported that a rubble pile up to 30 ft in height is being searched by specialist teams.
Thames Valley Fire Control Service said the collapse was a “very severe incident”.
The five people needing hospital treatment, were taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. A spokesman for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Four of the men are in a stable and non-life threatening condition, while one man is in a serious but not life-threatening condition.”
Emergency crews said two drone aircraft were also being used in the search at the site, where a 100 m cordon is in place.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has command of the incident, supported by South Central Ambulance Service and Thames Valley Police.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis said:
“It is with great sadness that I have to confirm one person has died during this incident. Our priority now is to find the three missing people.
“The search will be a considerable undertaken due to the instability of the site. We expect the search will continue through the night and possibly into the coming days.
“There is Specialist Rescue and Command Support Units, and Urban Search and Rescue Units from Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and West Midlands at the scene, including search dogs. The fire service is being supported by South Central Ambulance Service and Thames Valley Police.
“Dust from the collapse covered a considerable area but I would like to reassure the public there were no hazardous materials within the building, but we would advise local residents to remain inside, keeping doors and windows closed.
“Anyone concerned about dust inhalation should call NHS on 111.
“I would like to confirm that this is not believed to be a terrorist incident.”
A joint statement by the emergency services said the building, which is 300 m-long and 10-storeys high, was due to be demolished in the coming weeks.
Adrian Redhead, who lives about a quarter of a mile away, said he had just got home from work on Tuesday afternoon when he heard a “massive noise”.
He said: “It sounded like a train had come off the rails. Sirens were all over the place. I looked outside and saw all the dust. There were loads of emergency vehicles. A load of dust came over the house.”
The following number has been set up for concerned relatives 0121 3252424.
Lasers are “offensive weapons” says UK pilots’ union
Lasers should be classed as “offensive weapons” and banned in the UK, the pilots’ union BALPA has said. The union was speaking out after a New York-bound plane was forced to turn back to London Heathrow Airport after a laser beam hit the cockpit after take off, causing a “medical issue” for one of the pilots. It is illegal to shine a light at a plane “so as to dazzle the pilot”, but not an offence to own or carry a laser.
The union says they are “incredibly dangerous”, and could blind pilots. Virgin Atlantic flight VS025 turned back after it was struck by the laser on the evening of Sunday 14 February, about six or seven miles west of Heathrow.
Jim McAuslan, general secretary of BALPA, said: “This is not an isolated incident. Aircraft are attacked with lasers at an alarming rate and with lasers with ever-increasing strength. It is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Shining a laser at an aircraft puts that aircraft, its crew and all the passengers on board at completely unnecessary risk.” He added: “Modern lasers have the power to blind, and certainly to act as a huge distraction and to dazzle the pilots during critical phases of flight.”
The union leader said: “We repeat our call to the government to classify lasers as offensive weapons which would give the police more power to arrest people for possessing them if they had no good reason to have them. This incident shows why this is becoming more-and-more urgent. Pilots across the world know how dangerous laser attacks are and therefore will join with me in commending the actions of the crew of VS25 who put their passengers’ safety first and took the decision to return to Heathrow.”
In November 2015 it was reported that the eye of a British Airways pilot was damaged after a “military” strength laser was shone into his aircraft. Between January 2009 and June 2015 more than 8,998 laser incidents across the country were reported to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said ministers intended meet with CAA and airline officials to “determine what more can be done to protect the public from the potential dangers of certain laser products”.
Train drivers also at risk from lasers
UK Rail union RMT has warned that the risks from illegally wielded lasers are a threat to rail as well as aircraft safety. The union said any review in the wake of the Virgin Atlantic incident must include the impact of the ready availability of high-powered lasers on the wider transport industry.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The threat of lasers being shone into the eyes of train drivers is an issue that the government and the authorities must start taking seriously as the broader issue of the availability of these devices hits the headlines. Pilots work in pairs and at least have some back up whereas train drivers work alone and a laser in the eyes before approaching a signal could have a catastrophic impact.
It is also a lot easier to target trains with these devices from alongside and above the tracks. De-staffing our railways, and cutting back on inspections, just opens the door for those with criminal intent.”
The union leader added: “RMT wants to see the threat to our members, and the services they operate, from the widespread availability of these high-powered laser devices figuring as a priority in the safety considerations that we are being told are now underway.”
Event: CHEMSS 2016 – Chemical Safety and Security Summit and CHEM-SAFETY-EXPO
18-20 April 2016, Kielce, Poland
The Global Chemical Safety and Security Summit as well as the accompanying Fair of Chemical Safety will be the first global multi-stakeholder event dedicated to addressing chemical safety and security solutions in the supply chain of raw materials, production, infrastructure, transport and use of chemicals in all areas of chemical activity.
As a Summit, it will bring together leaders and practitioners in all the various disciplines of chemical safety and security and from all stakeholders communities, inter alia, government, industry, academia and civil society. It will be the first time in Europe.
For further information contact:
- ul. Leszno 8/1, 01-192 Warszawa | Tel: +48 22 436 20 44 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Targi Kielce SA, ul. Zakładowa 1, 25-672 Kielce | Email: email@example.com
Latest UK Health and Safety Laboratory Research Reports
RR1053 – Development of an intervention toolbox for common health problems in the workplace
The aim of the research was to look at the feasibility of developing a toolbox for the management of common health problems in the workplace. Reliable and valid evidence identifies the two most common health problems at work as musculoskeletal disorders and psychological ill-health (stress, anxiety and depression).
RR1072 – Investigations into the immediate and underlying causes of failures of offshore riser emergency shutdown valves
Riser emergency shutdown valve (RESDV) failures, whether arising from a test or a real demand, are reportable to HSE under RIDDOR and a preliminary survey found approximately 180 cases of failure. Given the criticality of RESDVs to offshore safety, it was determined that the reasons for these occurrences should be investigated.
RR1062 – Health and safety in schools: exploring the perceptions of HSE’s communications to promote and support sensible risk management
This research was commissioned to explore the viewpoints of school staff responsible for managing day-to-day health and safety in schools. This study explored what guidance schools use to support their management of health and safety and, in particular, examined how HSE’s education-specific materials were used.
Event: Leadership for Health and Safety – The Way Forward
22nd March 2016, Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport
HSL are running a one day event on leadership, with the aim to equip delegates with some of the latest theory and research on key health and safety leadership styles.
- What does it mean to lead?
- What does it take to be an effective, inspirational and competent leader for health and safety?
- How can you reflect on your own leadership style and move your organisation towards becoming an exemplar?
There are a variety of terms that are used to describe the best leadership style: transactional, transformational, mindful, and resonant, to name a few. But what do these terms mean and which is the best?
This interactive event will introduce you to HSL’s own models for H&S leadership, encompassing health, wellbeing and safety. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership style and consider ways in which you can drive a leadership strategy forward in your own organisation. Delegates will leave with an individual and organisational action plan for how they intend to improve their own and others leadership capabilities.
ECHA Evaluation Report 2015: Checking for key data gaps on substances of potential concern
In 2015, ECHA focused its dossier evaluation activities on substances that matter the most for human health and the environment. In the majority of the cases, data on one or more key endpoints was missing to conclude whether the substance is of concern or not. ECHA encourages registrants to read and follow the recommendations of its report to improve their dossiers.
In 2015, ECHA followed its new compliance check strategy to prioritise and select substances that raise potential concern. The focus was on checking high-tonnage registration dossiers with human health and environmental data gaps and with a high potential for worker, consumer or environmental exposure.
Dossiers of 107 such substances were assessed, covering 853 (eco)toxicology endpoints. In 88 cases, relevant data was missing mostly due to poorly justified waiving of standard tests. For these, ECHA issued draft decisions requesting the registrants to provide the standard information or an adaptation complying with the requirements. Most of the requests were related to pre-natal developmental toxicity and mutagenicity endpoints.
Altogether, ECHA concluded 183 compliance check evaluations and took 144 compliance check decisions. To encourage registrants to update their dossiers in advance, the Agency started publishing a list of substances potentially subject to compliance check.
ECHA’s Executive Director Geert Dancet says: “Our compliance check strategy targets the substances with the greatest impact on people and the environment. The checks have shown that crucial data is missing in many of the registrations we targeted. I encourage industry associations to motivate their members to fill the knowledge gaps in order not to delay the conclusion on whether their substances are of concern or not.”
Regarding testing proposals, ECHA concluded the examination of 184 cases and took 194 decisions. To promote the use of alternative methods, ECHA started requesting and publishing the registrant’s considerations on alternatives to their proposed vertebrate testing. This information is published as part of the public consultation on testing proposals.
A large majority of registrants comply with ECHA’s decisions on compliance checks and testing proposals. The Agency conducted 300 follow-up evaluations in 2015, examining whether the registrants had provided the information requested in ECHA’s decisions. In 86 % of the cases, the registrant had complied. In 44 cases, ECHA informed the Member State authorities to enable national enforcement actions.
In substance evaluation, Member States evaluated 50 substances in 2014 and concluded that 39 required further information from the registrants to clarify the suspected concerns. ECHA took 29 decisions based on earlier rounds of substance evaluation.
The report gives specific recommendations for both future registrants for the 2018 deadline and existing registrants who may need to update their dossiers. The recommendations cover the following topics:
- Testing on animals must only be undertaken as a last resort.
- Familiarity with the read-across assessment framework (RAAF) is essential for building a successful read-across case.
- Maintain efficient communication and planning throughout the substance evaluation process.
- Accurate substance identification is vital.
Further information: http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/56/10162/22235816
The Health & Safety Event
22-24 March 2016, NEC Birmingham
Why not come along and meet some of the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) experts at the UK’s fastest-growing event for safety and health practitioners?
HSL will be taking part in the Safety Dialogues at The Health and Safety Event, talking about Safety Culture and about the control and management of noise in the workplace.
They will be at Stand E70 where you can find out more about HSL’s range of health and safety products, services and training courses.
Health and Wellbeing@Work 2016
Come and meet the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) at Health and Wellbeing@Work on the 8-9 March 2016 on Stand 37 at the NEC, Birmingham.
This is the UK’s leading event for occupational health, HR and other healthcare and management professionals responsible for improving the health, safety, wellbeing and performance of work-aged people.
HSL’s experts will be speaking on a range of topics at this year’s conference in the areas of worker health and managing risk, including fatigue, manual handling, noise and vibration and more.
Look out for HSL talks on How to Measure Safety Climate and How to Manage Stress in your Organisation taking place in the event’s live theatres.
You’ll have the chance to meet our speakers to chat about their presentations and work - they’ll also be happy to answer any questions you may have - so come and see them at Stand 37.
Hazards 26, Edinburgh, 24-26 May 2016
Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) once again attend IChemE’s annual Hazards event this year.
Drawing on some of the world’s leading experts in process safety, Hazards 26 is solely designed to prevent disasters and to help you manage risk more effectively.
HSL’s risk management and process safety specialists will be deliver talks on a diversity of subjects including toxic, fire and explosion hazards, human factors and COMAH requirements. You’ll also be able to meet and chat to them at HSL’s stand; watch this space for further details.
Hazards 26 will be held at the EICC, Edinburgh on the 24-26 May.
UK Port health authorities in the dark over Zika
Most port health officers have not been told what they should do if they suspect air crew and travellers coming into the country have the Zika virus, the Association of Port Health Authorities has warned.
Lynnette Crossley, a senior port health officer and APHA committee member, said Public Health England (PHE) had not yet circulated any guidance to ports other than those receiving direct passenger flights from the affected areas. “I believe that Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester have been in discussions with PHE, but apart from what is available through the media, we have received no specific guidance. The same thing happened with Ebola. It was some weeks before we got anything concrete from them. I am particularly concerned because there are indirect passenger flights and cargo flights from affected areas coming into the UK. There are South American, Central American and Caribbean air crew and seafarers, and seafarers who have recently visited ports in those areas. We want to be able to give them comprehensive, accurate and complete information.”
Laurence Dettman, a chief port health officer and APHA committee chair, said authorities with airports were eagerly awaiting guidance from PHE. “The fear is that with Ebola there was a very long delay in issuing proper guidance to port health authorities. And here we are with the next one along Zika and fear the same thing is going to be repeated,” he said. Between January 2014 and 5 February 2016, a total of 33 countries have reported circulation of the Zika virus. There is indirect evidence of transmission in six additional countries.
Higher fines should spur safety improvements
New UK sentencing guidelines recommending much higher fines on firms that break health and safety laws (should increase the pressure on unsafe employers “to clean up their act”, the TUC has said.
TUC Head of Safety Hugh Robertson said to make the system work better, there should also be more resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to cover the costs of bringing more cases to court. He said fines historically have been low for criminal safety offences, even after a death. “Last year there were 682 convictions with an average fine of £27,860,” he notes in the TUC’s Stronger Unions blog.
The new Sentencing Council guidelines followed a consultation last year, with a TUC submission saying any fines must recognise that health and safety offences are criminal acts to be treated no differently to other crimes involving violence. He said however that a “major omission” in the guidelines is advice on when the courts should disqualify directors for their criminal safety offences. “Hitting irresponsible directors is one of the biggest deterrents going,” he noted. He added that while he had little sympathy with most of the complaints from the law firms acting for employers about the fines hike, he did share a concern “that more defendants will plead not guilty and fight charges or will appeal fines.”
But he said the prospect of HSE facing a drain on resources preparing for these cases could be addressed by “increased resources for the HSE and for the HSE to be better at demanding that they get all their costs back, rather than an argument against the sentencing guidelines.” Robertson concluded: “We have had precious little good news about health and safety over the past five or six years, so let’s celebrate those few successes that we do get, and if courts do adhere to these guidelines properly they will act as a real incentive to employers to clean up their act.”