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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

April 2016

  1. UK Health and safety scientists given centre stage
  2. FOCUS: 28 April 2016 – Healthy Workplaces Memorial day
  3. ETUC backs EU on “Healthy Workplaces for all ages”
  4. Concern over recovery of missing Didcot workers
  5. Ecosystem Services and Chemical Risk Assessment
  6. UK Transport Minister gives evidence on drones
  7. Can new approach methods pave the way for better toxicology?
  8. Russian Federation Health and Safety Week
  9. ILO: Large gender gaps remain across broad spectrum of global labour market
  10. New US NIOSH Fact Sheet: Older Drivers in the Workplace – How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes
  11. News from the USA: Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update
  12. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions latest strategy and orientation
  13. Preventing trafficking of labour in Europe
  14. Science in emergencies: Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents inquiry launched
  15. New edition of EEMUA electrical ‘Ex’ handbook
  16. Event: Safer Cities – New Thinking Required
  17. Event: CFOA Smart City Briefing – The role of the Fire and Rescue Service in the Smart City
  18. Safety Workwear Shop invents Pro-Viro: Protection against viruses and polluted water
  19. Event: FIG UK Seminar “Mind the Gap in Fire Information: Update 2016”
  20. New Fire Code – Joint Code of Practice, 9th Edition
  21. UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Business Plan 2016/17
  22. News from the USA: Sleep Duration and Injury-Related Risk Behaviours among High School Students – United States, 2007–2013
  23. RoSPA award winners to help Great Britain work well
  24. Safety laws could be at risk from Brexit
  25. Event: Fundamentals of Process Safety Management
  26. Napo films – easy to browse and download
  27. Short Survey: Post-implementation review of BPC Regulations
  28. Event: Employee Health and Well-Being – Developing a Healthy and Resilient Workforce
  29. Event: Hazards Conference
  30. New Burners boost HSL’s Fire Testing Ability
  31. Europe: Worker participation makes work safer
  32. Europe: Ban glyphosate, get off the pesticide treadmill
  33. Event: IChemE Hazards 26 Conference, EPSC and Representatives to Attend
  34. News from Poland: XVII International Conference “Noise Control 2016”
  35. FIM Expo: Connecting those interested in Fire Detection & Alarm Systems
  36. It is time to address the problem of time – experiment needed on daylight savings
  37. US Effective Approaches for Hearing Loss Prevention
  38. US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) latest publications
  39. Northern Ireland Hair and beauty businesses presented with IOSH guides
  40. Abu Dhabi conference hears about occupational health risks
  41. UK RoSPA celebrates Fujitsu contract
  42. Fire Sprinkler International 2016
  43. Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) Annual Conference
  44. International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2016 – Get Involved!
  45. Health and Safety – What Brexit would mean: TUC
  46. Safety reps make unions bigger and better
  47. Unions say that helicopter tragedy must spur more improvements
  48. Pilots call for an end to mental health stigma
  49. Toxic cabin air legal cases rise sharply
  50. Britain’s big role in promoting asbestos
  51. Europe: Unions call for an end to work cancers
  52. India: Unilever settles with poisoned workers

UK Health and safety scientists given centre stage

At the heart of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there is a breadth of experience and extensive expertise in science and engineering that is working to help predict the safety and health challenges of the future.

At HSE’s headquarters in Bootle, Liverpool and its laboratory in Buxton, there are over 850 science experts, including psychologists, microbiologists and explosive specialists that are researching and testing innovative ways to make our workplaces safer and healthier.

This work has a positive impact, not only in enabling us to help Great Britain work well, but it leads the way in anticipating and tackling health and safety challenges around the world.

The annual science review PDF Document showcases a number of examples of the year’s research and how it will benefit workers, businesses and stakeholders.

Chief scientific adviser and director of research, Professor Andrew Curran, said: “HSE is a strongly scientific and evidence based organisation.

“Tragically 142 people lost their lives at work in 2014/15; our focus is to understand the root cause of these incidents. Our forensic approach helps us to secure justice, our experts testify in court every week.

“By learning from the past we hope to be able to support the present by transferring knowledge to others in the health and safety system and protect the future by better understanding the risks and challenges that social, economic and technical changes could bring.”

More information:

FOCUS: 28 April 2016 – Healthy Workplaces Memorial day

The European Agency for health and safety (EU-OSHA) launched its new two-year campaign on 14 April 2016 – Healthy Workplaces for All Ages.

It aims to promote sustainable working lives and healthy ageing.

The campaign obviously reflects demographic changes to the working age population, with higher numbers of older workers – by 2030 workers aged over 55 are expected to make up 30% of workers.

However this is a campaign for all ages: ‘fostering healthy working practices in young workers promotes sustainable work throughout their working lives.’

For more information see OSHWORLD FOCUS April 2016.

ETUC backs EU on “Healthy Workplaces for all ages”

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) – representing 45 million members from 89 trade union organisations in 39 European countries – is backing the “Healthy Workplaces for all ages” campaign coordinated by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and launched today by European Commissioner Thyssen.

EU-OSHA’s campaign aims to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of people’s working lives and will run through to 2017 with a series of events, activities and publications.

“Europe has an ageing workforce and longer working lives, and working conditions need to take this into consideration” said Peter Scherrer, Deputy General Secretary of the ETUC, “Trade unions and employers have an obvious common interest in helping people to stay healthily employed all through their longer working lives. The ETUC will actively support this campaign to improve risk assessment and promote good practice to workers, employers, researchers and other actors.”

“Workers must be provided with safe and healthy work throughout their working lives” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary. “The EU should be working on a broad approach that includes health, safety and wellbeing, through strong legislation and a smart OSH strategy in place. ““We need training to improve and update the skills of older workers. More attention should be paid to the gender dimension of health and safety.”

ETUC will contribute to EU-OSHA’s campaign and will regularly inform and encourage its members using the campaign as a preventive tool.

The ETUC’s health and safety legislative priorities include achieving binding workplace exposure limits for 50 of the common causes of occupational cancer (a substantial increase from the current 5 substances with workplace exposure limits), as well as regulation to deal with nanoparticles; psycho-social risks including stress, violence and harassment; and neck, back and elbow pain.

For more on the campaign see

Concern over recovery of missing Didcot workers

Unite union has expressed ‘increasing concern’ over the time it is taking to locate and recover the bodies of three missing men following the collapse of the UK Didcot power station on 23 February 2016.

The union said members across the industry were questioning whether the recovery team has had enough resources to complete the recovery in a safe and timely manner. Unite’s national construction committee is calling on the authorities “to ensure that construction workers’ families were never again put through the pain and heartbreak of weeks of uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones.”

Commenting on 5 April 2016, Unite national officer John Allott said: “The thoughts and sympathies of Unite members are with the families of the three men who are still missing and who after six weeks are still seeking closure. Our construction and demolition members are well aware that it could be their families suffering a similar experience, which is why they are growing increasingly concerned over the time it’s taking to recover the missing men.

They recognise that the recovery needs to be done in a safe manner, but would question the time it is taking and whether the recovery team has enough resources.” He added: “Money should be no object, which is why Unite’s national construction committee is urging the relevant authorities to deploy all the necessary resources to ensure that the missing men are returned to their families as quickly as possible. The authorities must also learn the lessons to ensure these tragic events are not allowed to happen again.”

Ecosystem Services and Chemical Risk Assessment

ECETOC task force investigates the applicability of the EFSA framework for developing specific protection goals for a wide range of chemicals

In a nutshell:

Ecosystem goods and services are the benefits we (humans) get from nature. They include provisioning services, e.g. from crops that provide food and fibre, regulating services, e.g. the plants growing in river basins that retain water and thereby reduce flooding, supporting services, e.g. the microbial communities involved in nutrient cycling and soil formation and cultural services, e.g. the aspects of ecosystems that provide spiritual, recreational and educational benefits.

Environmental landscapes are multifunctional but the range of services they provide is largely dependent on how they are managed. Managing for some services limits the delivery of others, e.g. draining land to increase agricultural yields increases food production but reduces flood alleviation. Understanding how ecosystems provide services and the trade-offs between them helps authorities decide where and how the ecosystem services needed to benefit society can be provisioned.

In addition to helping manage landscapes and communicate the benefits people gain from the environment, the ecosystem services concept also has relevance for how we assess the potential impacts of commercial chemicals that are released into the environment. It means that we can focus our assessments of potential impacts on the types of plants and animals providing the services in each type of habitat. For example, the most important species to protect in agricultural land used to grow crops would include the crop species themselves, species that control pests and diseases, microbes that breakdown organic matter to form soil or recycle nutrients, and so on.

A different list of key species would come from woodlands where, although trees may be harvested for timber, they are also important in regulating water, air quality and climate. Insects, birds and mammals involved in pollination, seed dispersal and pest and disease control are all important in maintaining a thriving woodland. In principle, these spatial differences in service-providing species means we could change our basis for making chemical risk assessments from protecting all species everywhere at all times, which is the most common approach in current chemical regulation, to a more environmentally representative assessment based on types of land and water body use.

Recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) developed a framework to identify ecosystem services potentially affected by (agro)chemicals, such as pesticides, for setting specific protection goals and guiding environmental risk assessment.

An ECETOC Task Force has investigated the applicability of the EFSA framework for developing habitat-specific protection goals for a wide range of other chemicals using four case studies spanning a range of different emission scenarios and habitats. The selected case studies were: i) oil refinery wastewater exposure in estuarine environments; (ii) oil dispersant exposure in marine environments; (iii) chemicals in consumer products (home and personal care and pharmaceuticals) discharged via sewers to expose a wide range of ecosystems (terrestrial and aquatic); (iv) persistent organic pollutant exposure in remote (pristine) environments.

The case studies demonstrated that, with some modifications and development, the EFSA framework could be used to identify and prioritise ecosystems and services that are most at risk from a broad range of chemical exposure scenarios. Prioritised habitats with their associated plants and animals could then form the focus for further risk assessment and/or investigation to assess if control measures are adequate.

The document has been published as ECETOC Technical Report no. 125: Chemical Risk Assessment – Ecosystem Services.

The Executive Summary and free PDF of the report are available at

UK Transport Minister gives evidence on drones

On Thursday, 21 April 2016, the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee took evidence on drone safety concerns following up on its previous inquiry into drones, entitled the Civilian Use of Drones in the EU from Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State, Department for Transport.

More information:

Can new approach methods pave the way for better toxicology?

The new approach methods are being developed to make the use of chemicals safer and to reduce the need for animal testing. Their use was discussed at ECHA’s topical scientific workshop on 19-20 April 2016.

New approach methods are on the agenda of toxicological research worldwide. They include a variety of new testing tools, such as “high-throughput screening” and “high-content methods”, like genomics, proteomics or metabolomics. Their aim is to improve the understanding of the toxic effects of chemicals. They can also help to address frequently occurring knowledge gaps when assessing the hazards of chemicals while not relying on animal testing.

ECHA’s topical scientific workshops foster discussion among academia, regulators, industry and other stakeholders on the possible regulatory impacts of the latest scientific developments. This workshop will promote the use of new approach methods for assessing long-term toxicological effects of chemical substances for regulatory purposes. Specifically, it will explore how data from new approach methods can support read-across justifications and how it can be used for the screening and prioritisation of substances for regulatory action.

Geert Dancet, ECHA’s Executive Director, says: “ECHA promotes alternatives to animal testing by exploring the use of new approach methods for regulatory purposes. To that effect, we cooperate actively with key research institutions and regulators worldwide.”

The workshop programme and relevant case studies have been developed together with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, EU research programmes SEURAT-1 (safety evaluation ultimately replacing animal testing) and EU-ToxRisk, and other international partners. Dr Draghia-Akli, Director of the Health Directorate, Research DG of the European Commission, highlights the importance of international cooperation: “As a flagship EU initiative, EU-ToxRisk will be an international driver in innovative approaches for better human safety assessment, and is also expected to deliver practical solutions suitable to regulatory needs.”

More information:

Russian Federation Health and Safety Week

ILO calls for strengthened investment in workers’ safety and health

The International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights the need to scale up prevention to ensure a safe and healthy workplace and fight the HIV epidemic.

“The best way to ensure a safe and healthy working environment is to take action before accidents or illnesses occur – the magical key word being prevention,” Ms Alice Ouédraogo, Director of the ILO’s HIV/AIDS and the World of Work Branch (ILOAIDS) said at a major international conference.

Addressing the plenary session of the second All-Russia Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Week in Sochi, Ouédraogo, reminded the audience that every 15 seconds a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease at the global level.

According to the ILO, every year more than 2.3 million workers die at work, while another 317 million workers suffer from work-related accidents. The economic burden of poor OSH practices in workplaces has been estimated to represent 4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product each year.

More information:

ILO: Large gender gaps remain across broad spectrum of global labour market

New ILO report highlights the enormous challenges women continue to face in finding and keeping decent jobs around the world.

Despite some modest gains in some regions in the world, millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work, according to a new report prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the ILO’s Women at Work Centenary Initiative.

“The report shows the enormous challenges women continue to face in finding and keeping decent jobs,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

“Our actions must be immediate, effective and far-reaching. There is no time to waste. The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to pool our efforts and develop coherent, mutually supporting policies for gender equality.”

The report, Women at Work: Trends 2016 examined data for up to 178 countries and concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market. What’s more, the report shows that over the last two decades, significant progress made by women in education hasn’t translated into comparable improvements in their position at work.

At the global level, the employment gender gap has closed by only 0.6 percentage points since 1995, with an employment-to-population ratio of 46 per cent for women and almost 72 per cent for men in 2015.

New US NIOSH Fact Sheet: Older Drivers in the Workplace – How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety released a new fact sheet to provide information on how changes associated with aging may affect older workers’ driving and ability to recover from a crash injury.

Use the provided checklists of action steps and resources to help you, your co-workers, and your employees continue driving safely.

Older drivers at work bring extensive skills, knowledge, and experience built over the course of a lifespan.

Research shows that older drivers are more likely than their younger counterparts to adopt safe behaviours such as wearing a seat belt and complying with speed limits. However, those age 55 and older have twice the risk of dying in a work-related crash than younger workers do. One possible reason is that older persons are more likely to be injured if they are in a crash, and more likely to die if they are injured.

This fact sheet gives employers and workers information on age-related physical and mental changes that may affect older workers’ driving. It is important to accommodate these changes so older workers may continue to contribute their expertise to the workplace under the safest conditions possible

News from the USA: Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Eye Irritation and Sore Throat in Employees Processing Garlic

US National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) latest news on finding diallyl disulfide and other compounds that can cause eye and respiratory irritation in the garlic chopping and cooking areas, HHE Program investigators made these recommendations:

More information:

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions latest strategy and orientation

Every four years Eurofound reviews its strategy and the orientation to be given to its work and after widespread consultation prepares a four-year rolling programme. Within the context of the four-year programme, a detailed annual programme of work is prepared and proposed for adoption by the Governing Board.

The programmes are the outcome of detailed deliberations of the groups making up the Governing Board as well as with the Institutions of the Union.

The current four-year programme 2013–2016 From crisis to recovery: Better informed policies for a competitive and fair Europe was adopted in June 2012. The Annual work programme 2016 was published in December 2015.

Preventing trafficking of labour in Europe

New data on the highly topical issue of preventing trafficking of labour will be presented to MEPs at a working lunch in Brussels on 27 April 2016, with the launch of a new report from Eurofound.

The report seeks to contribute to the development of a best practice guide for public authorities on regulating labour market intermediaries (LMI) so as to prevent trafficking and exploitation. Mobility and migration in the EU contribute to well-functioning labour markets, resulting in greater productivity, competitiveness and growth.

The report, Regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of social partners in preventing trafficking of labour, will be made available on Eurofound’s website on 27 April 2016.

Science in emergencies: Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents inquiry launched

The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee is undertaking an inquiry into science advice in relation to planning for and responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.


CBRN emergencies include events such as industrial fires, chemical contamination and nuclear accidents. The inquiry follows previous Committee reports on Scientific advice and evidence in emergencies in 2011 and Science in Emergencies: UK lessons from Ebola in January 2016. The inquiry coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

Send written submissions

The Committee welcomes written submissions by Friday, 20 May 2016 on the following issues:

CBRN incidents may also occur as a result of terrorism. In this context, the Committee will be focusing on scientific advice in assessing the possible consequences of incidents and in formulating the necessary response. The Committee does not intend to examine counter-terrorism strategies or the assessment of the likelihood of terrorism-related incidents.

Send a written submission via the Science in emergencies: chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents inquiry page

New edition of EEMUA electrical ‘Ex’ handbook

EEMUA, the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users Association, has published the seventh edition of EEMUA Publication 186 – A practitioner’s handbook for potentially explosive atmospheres.

EEMUA 186 offers guidance for safe installation, inspection and maintenance work in potentially explosive atmospheres, in such areas as petroleum and petrochemical plants, processing industries, power plants, fuel filling stations and more, when the failure to adopt safe working practices could result in the ignition of flammable gases or combustible dusts.

The new edition has been updated to align with the latest versions of the relevant standards, in particular the fifth editions of IEC 60079-14 and 60079-17. The chapters on equipment, installation and inspection in particular have been revised extensively, including EEMUA’s recommendations on barrier gland selection.

EEMUA 186 is closely associated with the CompEx® training and competency assessment scheme which provides trainees with essential knowledge and practical skills for safe working in potentially explosive atmospheres.

EEMUA 186 is available to purchase directly from EEMUA through its online shop at Alternatively, orders can be placed by emailing, or by contacting the Sales Department on +44 (0)207 488 0801.

Event: Safer Cities – New Thinking Required

27 April 2016, 13:00 - 17:00, The Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PX

As global urban cities grow in population numbers, the strain on the national infrastructure continues to be tested. Businesses will begin to feel the strain as more pressure is placed on transportation, accommodation, office space, capital costs and emergency response. More people requiring more resource provision may well reveal infrastructure vulnerabilities and resilience and security concerns that will affect us all. This briefing identifies some of the most critical aspects of city growth and focuses on how this will impact on businesses in the UK and beyond. Whether it be the provision of skills, supply chain resilience, technological innovation, security planning, new threat challenges or critical partnerships; new thinking is required.

More information:

Event: CFOA Smart City Briefing – The role of the Fire and Rescue Service in the Smart City

11 May 2016, Greater Manchester Fire Training Centre, Manchester, UK

In the latest in a series of topical briefings, this looks at the Smart City and considers why fire and rescue service leaders should be looking seriously at opportunities to influence developments which will have a long term impact on the delivery of services in the future.

The Smart City is part of a transformative change that is taking place in cities across the world. There is no one accepted definition, but the UK Government notes that the Smart City is a process, a series of steps by which cities become more liveable and resilient; and as a result are able to respond quicker to new challenges.

This is a citizen-centric approach, with service delivery improved through a strong emphasis on digital with the development of an intelligent physical infrastructure known as the Internet of Things (IOT). Transparency and openness, particularly around data are fundamental to the Smart City.

Against this backdrop, it is easy to see how fire and rescue services must be involved in this process (and indeed already are, but perhaps without the smart label being attributed) and influencing from the front, not following in its wake.

More information:

Safety Workwear Shop invents Pro-Viro: Protection against viruses and polluted water

In the Summer of 2015 German Sailor Erik Heil made the news when he got infected by flesh-eating bacteria in Rio. Safety Workwear Shop supplies Showa grip gloves to many Olympic Sailors but this was the first time that this PPE distributor came across this new type of hazards in sports.

Invention Pro-Viro

Based on the experience in manufacturing and distributing medical gloves, Safety Workwear Shop invented a product that meets the needs of Sailors in Rio.

The new invention, the Pro-Viro Suit, is a disposable suit covering the entire body without a zip. It is made from nitrile because latex causes allergies. Nitrile should have a low modulus feature which makes it as elastic and strong and comfortable as latex. It should provide chemical splash protection further to EN374 and AQL 1.5 virus protection further to EN455.

More information:

Event: FIG UK Seminar “Mind the Gap in Fire Information: Update 2016”

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 starting at 13.15, Imperial Hotel, Senate Room, Russell Square, London

Important date for your diary

This seminar is kindly sponsored by Lane, Jefferies & Associates Ltd and Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


12.30 – 13.15


13.15 – 13.25

Introduction by Chair Sheila Pantry OBE

“Updating Mind the Gap in Fire Information”

Setting the scene – FIG UK and fire information worldwide

13.25 – 14.00

Jon Pagan Director of Fire Services IFC

Vested interest also where to keep up to date in information

14.00 – 14.35

Recent research on mass evacuation

Speaker to be confirmed

14.35 – 14.50


14.50 – 15.35

Fire research into practice in 2016 and beyond… robots in the fire scene… also where to keep up to date in information.

Speaker from Fire Protection Association

15.35 – 16.05

Trends in fires and also 150 years of LFB

Speaker to be confirmed

16.05 – 16.35

Martin Shipp – President Elect IFE

16.35 – 16.45

Q&A. Summing up – Chairman

17.00 – 18.00

Refreshments and Networking in The Imperial 1st Floor Bar

To book a place or for any further information:

Contact: Sheila Pantry OBE, Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1909 771024 | Email: |

New Fire Code – Joint Code of Practice, 9th Edition

Following the recent changes to the CDM Regulations, the “Joint Code of Practice on the Protection of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation” (“the Fire Code”) has been updated and republished as the new 9th Edition.

In addition to changes to bring the new 9th Edition in line with the new CDM Regulations, the authors have also used the opportunity to include further updates so that it also now requires:

The Fire Code is widely recognised and highly regarded, the document applies to activities carried out prior to and during the procurement, construction and design process. It is commonly referred to in insurance contracts and is recognised as “best practice”.

The Code can be purchased from Construction Industry Publications on 0870 078 4400 or via the CIP website Copies cost £25 each plus p&p. There is a special combo edition which includes an updated fire prevention checklist designed to be used in conjunction with Joint Code of Practice 9th Edition. The checklist converts the joint code in to a series of questions which should be asked to establish whether or not fire precautions on site are comprehensive and adequate. The combined version costs £35 each plus p&p.

Who should purchase the new Fire Code?

Clients, developers, professionals, contractors and sub-contractors insurance policies will often require compliance with the Fire Code. Accordingly anyone not fully conversant and complying with it where required runs the risk of having their insurance policy voided.

Accordingly it is strongly recommend that the following obtain a copy to ensure they are fully up-to-date with its requirements: Insurers; Brokers; Clients; Developers; Professionals; Contractors; Sub-contractors and anyone else involved on construction projects where the Fire Code applies.

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Business Plan 2016/17

Great Britain has a health and safety record we can be proud of which means we are one of the safest countries in the world to work in. But there is still room for improvement. We want to continue to lead the way and establish a 21st-century, world-class occupational health and safety system. That is why we have talked to stakeholders across the system to develop real ownership of the “Helping Great Britain work well” strategy, so everyone involved can play their part.

HSE will continue to take its responsibility as the prime mover, working with co-regulators, colleagues across government and other stakeholders to deliver healthier, safer workplaces. This plan outlines what HSE, in our role as the national regulator and catalyst in the system, will deliver in 2016/17.

We are committed to:

In delivering this plan, we are committed to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer by reducing our reliance on government funding, while continuing to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. Our clear strategic intent is to continue to be a modern, independent and effective regulator.

Full text

Most high school students do not get sufficient sleep, which may put them at increased risk for unintentional injuries. Among 50,370 U.S. high school students, the likelihood of each of five injury-related risk behaviours was significantly higher for students sleeping ≤7 hours on an average school night. Three of these risk behaviours – infrequent seatbelt use, riding with a drinking driver, and drinking and driving – were also more likely for students sleeping ≥10 hours compared to 9 hours on an average school night. Although insufficient sleep directly contributes to injury risk, these results suggest that some of the increased risk associated with insufficient sleep might be due to engaging in injury-related risk behaviours. Intervention efforts aimed at these behaviours might help reduce injuries resulting from sleepiness and provide opportunities for increasing awareness of the importance of sleep.

RoSPA award winners to help Great Britain work well

An Awards Excellence Forum is being launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to raise awareness and standards in workplaces across the globe.

To coincide with the new Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) strategy, titled Helping Great Britain work well, and in response to a consultation exercise undertaken by RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee, the Awards Excellence Forum is being set up to formalise the network of higher performing organisations.

It will act as a research and reference facility for generating opinions on key health and safety topics and messages as well as current health and safety news and changes.

Members of the forum will also help RoSPA with occupational health and safety policy formulation and shaping future strategy.

Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s occupational health and safety policy adviser, said:

“Sharing success has been central to RoSPA’s Health and Safety Awards for the last 60 years.

“Working with and through higher performing organisations is a familiar position for RoSPA. This forum will represent a considerable hub of commitment, expertise and experience which can be channelled to help raise awareness and standards in workplaces throughout the RoSPA Awards community and its associated supply chain.

“Our award winners have demonstrated an appetite to get more involved. An example of this is our recent consultation on the health and safety needs of apprentices which sought the opinion of 60 top RoSPA Award winners.”

The RoSPA Awards Excellence Forum will be one of RoSPA’s contributions towards achieving the aims of the new HSE strategy.

All organisations successful in this year’s RoSPA Health and Safety Awards will be eligible to participate.

Safety laws could be at risk from Brexit

Years of uncertainty for workers and employers could be the result of a UK vote to leave the European Union, a top labour law expert has warned. The independent legal opinion, commissioned by the TUC from Michael Ford QC of Old Square Chambers, identifies the dangers of Britain leaving the EU for working people and their rights at work. Among rights that would be most at risk of being diluted or scrapped after Brexit are health and safety protections, his report notes.

“All the social rights in employment currently required by EU law would be potentially vulnerable”, it says. It concludes the rights most at risk post-Brexit from a government with a deregulatory agenda include rights to properly-paid holidays, protections for agency workers, health and safety protections and protections from some forms of employer discrimination – such as compensation rates, and protections for pregnant workers and older workers.

In the opinion, Michael Ford QC further comments: “It is easy to contemplate a complete reversal of the gradual increase in social regulation protecting workers which has taken place since the 1960s”.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady commented: “The biggest cheerleaders for Brexit think that your protections at work are just red tape to be binned. Bad bosses will be rubbing their hands with glee if Brexit gives them the chance to cut workers’ hard-won protections.”

Event: Fundamentals of Process Safety Management

9-13 May 2016, Boksburg, South Africa

An intensive course providing an understanding of the key principles of process safety and its management. Revised for 2016 and structured around the IChemE Safety Centre framework.

Napo films – easy to browse and download

As part of the new Napo website, the European Agency for Safety and Health has developed a download centre.

You can now browse all Napo’s films, adding entire films or just scenes of films into your “download basket”.

When you are ready, you can then simply download all saved items at once. This new feature will make watching and downloading Napo’s films quicker and simpler. It is now even easier for you to use and enjoy Napo!

Napo for teachers brings safety and health to school

With the aim of introducing occupational safety and health topics to primary school children, Napo for teachers is an online toolkit for delivering educational yet fun and imaginative lessons using Napo films. Key messages and learning objectives, creative activity ideas and flexible lesson plans are provided in resource packs, and all are designed to fit alongside current curricula. The programme was developed by EU-OSHA, together with the Napo Consortium.

Discover Napo and find out more about Napo for teachers and how you can incorporate Napo into your lessons.

Short Survey: Post-implementation review of BPC Regulations

This is an opportunity to answer a short survey about the Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 (BPC), in particular looking at the aspects related to biocidal products.

The questions can be found in SurveyMonkey. The survey is open until 21 April 2016.

Biocidal products control harmful or unwanted organisms through chemical or biological means. They are used in a wide variety of industries to control organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and animals. Common examples include rodenticides, disinfectants, wood preservatives and insect repellents.

BPC came into force on 1 September 2013 to support the direct-acting EU Regulation 528/2012, known as the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), i.e. in relation to the appointment of UK competent authorities and enforcement arrangements. BPR sets the standards for safety assessment and approval of biocidal products and includes important safeguards to ensure that biocides can be used without causing unnecessary harm to people, the environment, or animals.

A full Statutory Review of BPC is not due until August 2018. It was agreed to conduct an earlier, partial post-implementation review (PIR) of BPC on those aspects relating to biocidal products, because BPC may well need updating to reflect EU amendments to BPR and a new EU review regulation and address any wider enforcement issues or simplification ideas.

The original policy objectives for BPC are set out in the final impact assessment. Broadly these included meeting the requirements in three EU Regulations, consolidating these requirements and making biocides fees provisions transparent. Because this is a partial review, the objectives relating to Prior Informed Consent (PIC), classification, labelling and packaging for substances and mixtures (CLP) and biocides fees are outside the scope of this PIR. The biocides fee provisions were detached, dealt with in a separate S.I. and have since been incorporated into the Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2015.

Event: Employee Health and Well-Being – Developing a Healthy and Resilient Workforce

19 May 2016, Limerick, Ireland

The Irish Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar is preparing a new campaign to get workplaces more active by encouraging the public sector which employs 288,561 people to develop healthy workplace policies.

Many private sector companies already offer similar initiatives and will be encouraged to get involved, share their experience or develop their own policies as part of the new approach. The move is being steered by the Healthy Ireland initiative which aims to improve the nation’s physical and mental health. A proposed Health and Wellbeing Bill was signed off at cabinet in June 2015.

This seminar will outline a holistic approach for developing healthy workplace initiatives to EHS Managers, HR Managers, Occupational Health Professionals and EA Professionals.

Event: Hazards Conference

29-31 July 2016, Keele

Book your place now the national Hazards conference, the country’s biggest annual gathering of grassroots safety and union reps.

The theme this year for the Hazards Campaign-organised event is “Building resistance to support safety reps”.

The 2016 event will have top UK and international speakers and workshops, and will be held from
29-31 July 2016 at Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent.

New Burners boost HSL’s Fire Testing Ability

In order to improve an already impressive line-up of fire testing and fire certification facilities at the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) – they have just commissioned three brand new and state-of-the art burners.

These comprise one Propane and two Kerosene fuelled burners, including a “NexGen” burner designed by the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The testing capabilities our new burners provide are of value to organisations in the Aerospace and other transport sectors, allowing manufacturers and their supply chains to test and gain certification for components and materials.

HSL has provided expert, bespoke fire testing to ISO 2685 and AC20-135 standards for more than ten years. Visit their website for more information.

To discuss your requirements for fire resistance testing, fire proof testing and certification please call Nigel Moss on +44 (0)1298 218443 or email

Europe: Worker participation makes work safer

Firms across Europe are far less likely to undertake risk assessments where there is an absence of effective worker participation, a survey has found.

The findings come in the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2), for which almost 50,000 establishments from 36 European countries were interviewed in 2014.

EU-OSHA director Christa Sedlatschek said the findings highlighted the importance of worker participation in managing occupational health and safety. “The second enterprise survey has confirmed the findings of the first: worker participation is vital in implementing safety and health measures at work – 85 per cent of establishments with formal employee representation carry out risk assessments, but this worryingly drops to only 64 per cent of establishments without such representation.”

The survey found levels of psychosocial risks in European workplaces are high, with 77 per cent of establishments reporting at least one psychosocial risk factor in the workplace. The importance of effective regulation and enforcement of workplace health and safety was highlighted by the survey. The most commonly reported reason for addressing occupational health and safety issues was to fulfil legal obligations, reported by 85 per cent of establishments.

Europe: Ban glyphosate, get off the pesticide treadmill

Campaigners have said the European Commission must be stopped from proceeding with the renewed authorisation in the European Union of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the world’s most widely-used herbicide. The demand from the global food and farming union IUF and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, comes as renewed authorisation is being pushed through despite an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warning last year that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans and other evidence of the impact of glyphosate on food and health. IUF and PAN International are calling for a deluge of messages to be sent to the European Commission and its relevant bodies “urging them to ban glyphosate in the EU and to provide comprehensive support for a safer, saner food system which does not put agricultural workers in the front lines of exposure and inject massive quantities of toxic chemicals into the environment.”

Event: IChemE Hazards 26 Conference, EPSC and Representatives to Attend

24-26 May 2016, Edinburgh, UK

European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) is a long standing supporter of the Hazard conference series and the 26th conference being held this year is no exception. The final programme for Hazards 26 has been revealed, detailing sessions, presentations and events throughout the three day conference.

Taking place from the 24th to 26th of May, the 2016 event is to be held in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and features workshops ranging from ISC/Mary Kay O’Connor on the Future of Process Safety to Baker Risk on Incident Investigation.

The main conference features the Trevor Kletz Hazards lecture, keynote speakers including BP’s Cheryl Grounds and conference sessions ranging from Assurance and Systems & Procedures to Engineering & Design and Human Factors.

EPSC regularly attends the Hazards conferences as an exhibitor and contributes presentations based on recent EPSC work. Safety culture within an organisation has been a theme of some significant interest through the past year, notably with the EU technical working group on Seveso inspections, and this is reflected in what they are bringing to the event. They will offer a presentation on the influences that steer organisational culture, and their impact on process safety performance. In addition, EPSC staff will chair two sessions, on Process Safety Culture, and on Human Factors in Process Safety.

Full programme and all other details:

News from Poland: XVII International Conference “Noise Control 2016”

22-25 May 2016, Castle of Gniew, Poland

XVII International Conference Noise Control 2016 will be held in the Castle of Gniew, Poland. The conference is addressed to those involved in the problems of noise and vibration control in research and development, training, occupational safety and health management, protection of the working and natural environment.

This conference is under the honorary patronage of: the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, Minister of Environment, Chief Labour Inspectorate, Chief Environmental Protection Inspectorate and Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship.

The organizers are: the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB) and Acoustic Committee of the Polish Academy of Science. The Scientific Committee with the honorary Chair prof. Danuta Koradecka and the chair prof. Adam Lipowczan, consists of experts from several countries.

An exhibition will be also held during XVII International Conference Noise Control 2016, featuring: innovative equipment, PPE and collective protective equipment for protection against noise and vibrations, including: materials, products and panel absorbers, instrumentation and software, silencers, components and sound insulating casings.

Presentations during the conference will be held in Polish and English, and Polish-English and English-Polish interpretation will be provided. All papers will be published in the conference proceedings and in scientific journals with an impact factor – the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (JOSE) and Archives of Acoustics, after they have been accepted for publication by the respective Editorial Boards.

The conference venue – the Gniew Castle is presently the best preserved Teutonic castle in the Pomeranian region, and one of the most interesting in Poland. Built in the end of 13th century by the order of the Teutonic commander Dietrich von Spira, it was the largest and strongest fortress on the left side of the Vistula. It had several owners and functions, but now it is home of the Archaeology Museum in Gdansk (division), Knights’ Reenactment Group and the Schola Cantorum Gamevensis Choir.

Barbara Szczepanowska, Scientific and Documentation Centre, CIOP-PIB, Warsaw, Poland

More information:

FIM Expo: Connecting those interested in Fire Detection & Alarm Systems

It is now only a few weeks until FIM Expo at the Leeds United Football Club, Elland Road, on Wednesday, 27 April 2016.

Organised by the Fire Industry Association (FIA), FIM Expo features many of the UK’s leading fire detection and alarm manufacturers and focuses on showcasing the latest products and developments in this sector of the industry.

With 25 exhibitors confirmed so far, FIM Expo is for anyone working in this area, whether as an installer or maintainer of fire detection and alarm systems, a manager of such systems in commercial premises or as an architect or person specifying what type of fire protection systems should be installed in a building.

The FIA will also be hosting two free seminars at the Expo on the key topic affecting FD&A world.

More information: FIM Expo website

It is time to address the problem of time – experiment needed on daylight savings

The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is calling for an experiment which it believes will show year-round lighter evenings will save lives.

Ahead of the clock change on Sunday, 27 March 2016, RoSPA asked for the Government to consider implementing Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) for a set trial period so that its potentially life-saving effects can be properly and accurately assessed.

Road accident data from the Department for Transport shows a consistent trend, in that more pedestrians are killed and injured in the winter months after the clocks go back. Equally, fewer are injured in road accidents after the clocks are put forward in the spring.

In 2014, the latest statistics available, there were 590 more pedestrian casualties in November (2,486) compared to September (1,878), and of those 37 more people were killed (66 compared to 29), and 113 more seriously injured (543 compared to 430).

RoSPA believes that this is down to the onset of darker evenings, and can be simply solved with a move to SDST, when the clocks are an hour ahead all year round – GMT+1 in the winter, and GMT+2 in the summer – and wants to see an experiment implemented for the collection of up-to-date, objective data on the benefits.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive, said:

“RoSPA has long advocated a change to SDST, but it is met with a lack of political will and prejudice from some quarters that is based mainly on outdated data.

“The last time anything like an experiment was conducted was in 1968-71, when society, the environment and road use were very different. But even then, when GMT+1 was employed all year round, around 2,500 deaths and serious injuries were prevented for each year of the trial period.

“We firmly believe that if we can collect objective data to show the benefits of SDST to road accidents, we can change the minds of even the staunchest objectors.”

In the meantime, with Sunday’s clock change coming during the Easter weekend, RoSPA is asking people to be careful when taking to the road.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety for RoSPA, said:

“There will be a lot of the people on the road this weekend either heading to or returning from holidays, so drivers should take the hour’s less sleep into account when planning the journey as tiredness behind the wheel can lead to serious accidents.”

US Effective Approaches for Hearing Loss Prevention

Hearing loss cannot be prevented using only tools and approaches from the 1980s. New approaches pay off.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related conditions. Many workplaces comply with requirements and do recommended interventions to prevent work-related hearing loss. Finding documentation that shows how effective these actions are can be hard, though. In recent years, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) used both research and awards to assess effective interventions are and promote efforts to prevent workers from suffering noise-induced hearing loss.

NIOSH has used the Safe-In-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award to identify and honour excellent real-world examples of noise control and other hearing loss prevention practices and innovations…

Read more

US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) latest publications

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Programme Update

Evaluation of Erionite Exposure During Forestry Activities

HHE Program investigators found erionite mineral fibres on air samples collected on employees doing forest management work. Investigators recommended against repairing roads with aggregate that contained erionite. Investigators also recommended controlling dust exposures with ventilated vehicle cabs, wet methods, and other work practices.

Ventilation Recommendations for a Facility with Aircraft Restoration Hangers

HHE Program investigators found poor airflow in hangers used to maintain, repair, and restore active and historic aircraft. They recommended adjusting the ventilation systems to meet design specifications, repairing inoperable fans, and evaluating employee exposures after ventilation changes have been made.

Occupational exposure to heat

NIOSH is pleased to announce the release of the updated Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments. Occupational exposure to heat can result in injuries, illnesses, reduced productivity, and death.

To address this hazard, NIOSH has evaluated the scientific literature on heat and hot environments, and the Institute has updated the criteria document, which was last revised in 1986.

New NIOSH/OSHA Hazard Alert for Oil and Gas Workers

A new joint NIOSH and OSHA hazard alert identifies health and safety risks to oil and gas industry workers who manually gauge or sample fluids on production and flowback tanks. Health and Safety Risks for Workers Involved in Manual Tank Gauging and Sampling at Oil and Gas Extraction Sites PDF Document specifically recommends how employers can protect workers from hazards that occur when tank hatches are opened to manually gauge or sample hydrocarbon levels.

Northern Ireland Hair and beauty businesses presented with IOSH guides

Safety and health guides have been distributed to owners of hairdressers, beauty salons and barber shops in part of Northern Ireland.

The Safe Start Up guides, produced by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), are aimed at people who are setting up a new business or those with an already-established business who want to ensure they are meeting requirements.

They provide generic cross-industry information on safety and health responsibilities, as well as sector-specific details.

Owners of 38 hair and beauty businesses were recently presented with the relevant guides for their firms at an event at the School of Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy and Early Years at the North West Regional College in Derry, Northern Ireland. Some other guides were given to the college for use by its lecturers.

Paul Rafferty, environmental health officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, oversaw the distribution of the guides to businesses in the authority’s area.

He said:

“I was aware that within the hair and beauty industry there were gaps in people’s knowledge of the law on health and safety.

“I felt that the IOSH Safe Start Up guides were an excellent way of raising awareness of these issues and we organised the event at the local college. We had 38 business owners, as well as lecturers from the college. The guides were very well received.

“They provide health and safety information that is very specific to the industry that these people are working in. I am confident that they will further help to protect people who work in or visit hairdressers, barbers shops and beauty salons.”

The IOSH guides are also available for other sectors – floristry, building, landscape gardening, catering and home care. There are also guides about business property and working alone.

All publications contain generic safety and health information, such as managing risks and providing training.

The hairdressing, barber and complementary and beauty therapy guides cover issues such as skin problems and aches and pains, as well as using and storing chemicals (for hairdressers and beauticians) and using tools and equipment (barbers).

Shelley Frost, executive director – policy at IOSH, said:

“Start-ups have a challenge at the outset to identify and understand all of the regulations relevant to their business.

“These guides pull together the health and safety requirements into a single place and, with practical advice, are a great way to help start-ups take the first steps to ensuring their business protects the health and safety of its workforce.”

For more information on the guides, visit

Abu Dhabi conference hears about occupational health risks

IOSH president Karen McDonnell spoke about occupational health risks at a major conference in Abu Dhabi.

During a presentation at the Occupational Safety and Health Middle East (OSHME) conference, she examined risks such as mental health problems, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss and occupational diseases.

She also spoke about the risk of occupational cancer and the work IOSH is doing on the issue with its No Time to Lose campaign.

The biennial OSHME event is one of the region’s largest conferences and exhibitions dedicated to safety and health issues.

After her presentation, on Wednesday, 16 March 2016, Karen said:

“Workers across the world face health risks as they go about their business. It is important that controls are put in place by organisations to protect the health of their employees.

“Forward-thinking organisations are making the health of workers as much of a priority as their safety.

“Having people off work through ill health costs organisations a huge amount of money. By investing in measures designed to protect employees, organisations experience improved reputation, resilience and results.”

Karen added:

“Among the health risks is exposure to carcinogens which can cause cancer. IOSH is providing guidance and resources for organisations across the world on how to ensure that staff return home at the end of each day in the same state of health as they were at the start of their shift.”

The conference, which took place from 15-17 March, was organised by the UAE Ministry of Interior and Reed Exhibitions. It was seventh such conference and was expected to be the largest yet.

There were a number of other presentations by safety and health experts. These were followed by a panel discussion involving Karen, which looked at occupational health services in Abu Dhabi. She was joined on the panel by IOSH’s UAE branch chair Ahmed El Hadidi.

UK RoSPA celebrates Fujitsu contract

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is celebrating winning another new large contract, after agreeing a deal with Fujitsu UK to develop a web application that will assess the company’s fleet drivers.

RoSPA Fleet Safety will be developing its current Driver Profiler application into a bespoke tool for Fujitsu, which will work with and alongside its existing learning management system.

Driver Profiler is RoSPA’s leading-edge online psychometric risk assessment tool, which measures the user’s attitudes towards driving, providing insights into the risk they pose and allowing managers and trainers to decide on appropriate training.

The tool takes into account demographic risk factors and the results of the user’s psychometric test to give them a risk rating, telling them which areas of their driving are high-risk and need improving.

Once integrated with Fujitsu’s current learning management system, through making it SCORM-compliant, the software will risk assess the company’s drivers before providing them with the appropriate e-learning training. This will mitigate their risk, and help the company to meet its health and safety objectives and best practice.

Frances Richardson, director of operations for RoSPA, said:

“We are very excited by this new contract, as it is an innovation for RoSPA, enabling our already popular driver assessor software content to be used by a much more significant number of people.

“It is particularly good to be helping a world-class company like Fujitsu, which is so committed to responsible business operations, to make their drivers safer.”

Simon Head, head of health and safety at Fujitsu, said:

“We are proud to form a partnership with RoSPA to further develop our Managing Occupational Road Risk and overall health and safety processes.

“Health and safety is a fundamental part of Fujitsu and its responsible business programme and we are continually looking to develop our best practice processes.”

Fujitsu has been named Responsible Business of the Year at Business in the Community’s 2015 Annual Responsible Business Gala in London. The award recognises Fujitsu’s role in effectively influencing others to collaborate and create the conditions for long-term sustainable change. The organisation was commended for embedding sustainability into its business strategy, displayed exceptional leadership and reach within and beyond its own sector to help build the wider movement of responsible business.

SCORM-compliant packages for Driver Profiler are available. Call 0121 248 2233 or email

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.

Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) Annual Conference

8-11 June 2016

Registration is now open for the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) Annual Conference to be held June 8-11, 2016 at American University in Washington, DC, USA. The dedicated theme for 2016 is Science, Empathy, Collaboration and Sustainability.

The annual conference brings an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues in an academic setting. This is a collegial approach where ideas are shared in small, informal sessions that are panel, paper, and presentation based and include roundtable discussions at meals. Students, professors, and government and industry professionals alike participate in lively and interactive sessions that cover topics across the conference theme. The conference also provides the opportunity to learn about tools, resources, and the host city through exhibitions and field trips.

There will be workshops on “Health and Sustainability”, risk assessment, and other health-related topics.

International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2016 – Get Involved!

International Workers Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year. It is the day we remember those that have been killed, maimed, injured and made ill by work and the day we renew our pledge to fight...

Read the full article at:

Health and Safety – What Brexit would mean: TUC

Since Britain joined the EU in 1973 European regulation has played an important role in protecting working people from exploitation and combating discrimination. The biggest change in respect of health and safety was the 1989 Health and Safety Framework Directive which establishes broad-based obligations for employers to evaluate, avoid and reduce workplace risks.

A range of related other directives cover the management of specific workplace risks such as musculoskeletal disorders, noise, work at height or machinery, as well as the protection of specific groups of workers (such as new or expectant mothers, young people and temporary workers). Specific regulations cover areas such as construction work, asbestos, chemicals, off-shore work, etc.

41 out of the 65 new health and safety regulations introduced between 1997 and 2009 originated in the EU. However, there has been a considerable reduction in pace as the European Commission has adopted a more anti-regulatory approach, in part due to pressure from successive UK Governments. The number of new directives has halved in the past five years and this trend seems set to continue, as the European Commission’s most recent Work Programme abandoned 80 health and safety proposals and introduced just 23.

Benefits of EU Membership

It is difficult to state exactly how many lives have been saved, or how many illnesses have been prevented because of EU legislation. In the year that the Framework Directive and six-pack came into force there were 368 worker fatalities in the UK. Last year there were 142. What is noticeable is that the decline in deaths has plateaued since 2010. The same is true of occupational illnesses. This is the period during which there has been a reduction in the level of regulatory activity from the European Commission, although it also corresponds with a decline in inspection activity in the UK.

A European Commission review of all the 24 main Directives on health and safety conducted in 2015 concluded that the EU framework is coherent with few overlaps. The regulations have also been transposed into national states with very few problems. Overall the effect is good, especially for workers’ health and safety, and there is no evidence of the regulations being what the Government calls a “burden”, or cost, and instead are a benefit to business. These regulations cover many of the most important sectors or risk factors that lead to death injury and ill-health in the workplace such as chemical safety, carcinogens and musculoskeletal disorders. They also cover machinery safety and personal protective equipment which means that there are minimum and understandable standards that exist across Europe and which have helped prevent the importation and use of substandard or dangerous equipment.

If the UK withdraws from the EU

It is unclear what the situation will be if the UK votes to leave the EU. The UK has however indicated that it wants to reduce existing EU protection including repealing a number of directives or parts of directives and removing the requirement for employers to provide eyesight tests for display screen equipment users, and the need for small, low risk businesses to make a written risk assessment.

The Governments current deregulatory proposals were written in the context of remaining within the EU. If Britain were to leave, depending on any agreement with the EU, then further reductions are certainly likely.


In recent years, EU-led improvements in health and safety protection have been more limited than in the past, but the overall contribution of EU regulations on health and safety to the UK workforce is substantial. As shown by the recent evaluation of EU regulations, the overall package of directives is practical, fit for purpose, and, more importantly, effective. It is clear that EU membership continues to deliver wide-ranging protections to UK workers, and the UK Government should, not only continue to be part of the European process, but should more actively engage and support an improved and revitalised package of measured aimed at tackling the huge burden of occupational illnesses that are being experienced both in Britain and across the EU.

For more information on issues around the EU referendum go to

More information:

Safety reps make unions bigger and better

New guidance to help recruit more union members and encourage more existing union members to become health and safety reps has been launched by the TUC. The guide says the UK’s current network of 100,000 union safety reps work hard to reduce injuries and ill-health at work. The TUC trains around 10,000 safety reps every year, who focus on finding and resolving potential problems at work.

The report says it was union reps first highlighted risks including asbestos, violence at work, RSI, the effects of passive smoking and stress. The benefits are felt across society, the report indicates, noting prevention of workplace injuries and work-related ill-health as a result of the ‘union safety effect’ saves the economy the equivalent of £219m – £725m a year at 2014 prices. The TUC warns that the government’s Trade Union Bill may seriously affect health and safety at work, if it limits union rights and time to do perform union work, restricting the ability of union safety reps to deliver these improvements.

The new TUC guide, published in partnership with Hazards magazine, is intended to help unions attract new members and to encourage existing members to become more involved with health and safety issues. It notes that health and safety is a good way of recruiting members as concerns about workplace safety are one of the main reasons that people join a trade union.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Union health and safety reps are unsung heroes, working tirelessly to look after people at work and saving the economy millions. Staff who are worried about health and safety issues in their workplace are more likely to consider joining a union to protect themselves. It is vital that unions take the chance to encourage workers to sign up and to become more involved.” She added: “Good employers recognise the importance of working with unions to ensure their shops, offices and factories are safe. It’s a shame the government is putting this good work at risk with its ill-conceived Trade Union Bill.”

Unions say that helicopter tragedy must spur more improvements

Unions have said lessons from the 2013 North Sea helicopter crash that claimed four lives must lead to further safety improvements. The unions were commenting on the publication of the final Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the incident where a CHC Super Puma plunged into the sea on its approach to Sumburgh in August 2013. Rig workers Sarah Darnley, Gary McCrossan, Duncan Munro and George Allison lost their lives in the crash. Fourteen people were rescued. A total of 28 safety recommendations have been made but the report said many of them have already been implemented. These include helicopters not being allowed to fly offshore in severe sea conditions, passengers having to be seated next to emergency exits, and a size limit for those on board. The report confirmed the findings of an initial AAIB report that found the crew failed to notice the helicopter’s air speed dropping until it was too late.

A statement from the UK pilots’ union BALPA said: “The Sumburgh incident was a tragedy for all those involved. Any accident, especially those resulting in loss of life, needs to be examined extremely carefully so that all the lessons can be learnt and similar accidents avoided in the future.” It continued: “Many safety improvements have already been made to helicopter operations since this tragic accident but pilots and safety experts will be examining the report to identify what more can be done to avoid a repeat. The challenge will be to drive up industry-wide standards at a time when the drive to reduce contract prices puts those standards under pressure.”

The Union Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG), which includes the unions BALPA, GMB, Nautilus, RMT and Unite, welcomed the AAIB findings. Speaking on behalf of OCG, STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said: “The circumstances of this tragic accident have already led to significant improvements in the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the UK sector and the trade unions have played a part in the drive for continuous improvement.” He added: “The trade unions continue to work with the aircraft operators, the aircraft manufacturers, the regulators and the offshore industry to avoid any repeat of the circumstances involved in the Sumburgh tragedy. That effort will not diminish and during these testing times for the industry the OCG will be ever more vigilant in this respect.”

Pilots call for an end to mental health stigma

UK pilots’ union BALPA has said pilots must not be discouraged from revealing any mental health problems as this could lead to more incidents like the March 2015 Germanwings crash that killed all 150 people onboard.

The union was commenting on the publication of the final report by the French crash investigation agency, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA), which found that neither Germanwings or its parent company Lufthansa could have done anything to stop Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who crashed the passenger plane into the Alps. Lubitz was urged by a doctor to attend psychiatric hospital weeks before he crashed the plane on 24 March 2015, but his employer was never alerted, the final BEA report says. Investigators believe Lubitz brought down the plane deliberately. The 27-year-old had also been signed off work sick by two doctors and given anti-depressants. Neither medic informed Lufthansa he was not fit to fly. BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “A year ago pilots were shocked that this could occur.

Today our thoughts are still with the Captain who lived our worst nightmare – being locked out of the cockpit and trying to get in to save the plane and its passengers.” He added: “The worst thing that could happen as a result of this accident and investigation is that the awful actions of one lone individual could drive mental health issues underground and stigmatise the very real issue of mental health.

One-in-four people in the UK suffers mental health issues at some point in their lives. With support and treatment almost all can get better. Our industry, and society at large, need to get better at understanding and dealing with these issues, and bringing them out into the open.” McAuslan said: “Evidence shows that ‘peer support’ programmes where fellow pilots and family members can report any concerns are the best way to identify and treat an individual. BALPA will continue to work with industry and regulators to see these programmes prioritised and implanted in every airline.”

The number of legal cases against UK airlines on behalf of cabin crew exposed to ‘toxic cabin air’ has increased dramatically. Unite says concern has been mounting over ‘fume events’ and exposure to contaminated aircraft cabin air, with the number of legal cases being pursued the union increasing from 17 to 61 in recent months.

Unite is also supporting the family of Matthew Bass, a Unite member, was a cabin crew member for 15-years before his sudden death in January 2014. Matthew was found to have died from ‘chronic exposure to organophosphates.’

In most modern aircraft unfiltered ‘bleed air’ from jet engines is used to supply the cabin, but faults with engine seals and seepage can lead to ‘fume events’ where toxins such organophosphates enter the cabin air. In more serious cases, ‘aerotoxic syndrome’ is suspected to have caused the death of both pilots and cabin crew.

Speaking ahead of a 17 March 2016 House of Commons debate, Howard Beckett, Unite’s executive director for legal affairs, said: “The issue of toxic cabin air is so serious that our cabin crew members are likening it to the impact of asbestos in the building industry. Increasing numbers of our members have come forward, seeking help and advice since we set up our toxic air helpline a few months ago.

Some have been involved in one-off ‘fume events’ while others fear they have suffered long-term exposure to contaminated cabin air.” He added: “Continuing to brush it under the carpet will not wash, which is why this parliamentary debate is so important and a fuller public inquiry is needed.

Unite believes in a safety first approach and is also calling on airlines to monitor cabin air quality and for aircraft manufacturers to fit detectors and filters and ‘design out’ the use of bleed air, therefore reducing the risk of fume events. We will not have passengers and our members put at risk and will not rest until the industry acts to eliminate the risk of aerotoxicity and justice is achieved for those whose lives have been blighted by contaminated cabin air.”

Britain’s big role in promoting asbestos

UK-based scientists are playing a prominent role in promoting the continued use of asbestos around the world, according to a new investigative report. Friendly fibre? notes that while Britain has the highest death rates from asbestos cancers in the world, it is also home to some of the industry’s more turned-to experts. It alleges these have shown a ‘remarkable willingness’ to defend chrysotile, the most common and last remaining form of asbestos in commercial use.

The report, published in the latest edition of Hazards magazine, presents evidence of UK-based scientists authoring scientific papers claiming chrysotile is safe or playing down the risks without declaring their links to the asbestos industry. Named in the report are Fred Pooley, an emeritus professor at the University of Cardiff, Allen Gibbs, an NHS pathologist from the University of Wales College of Medicine, Ken Donaldson, a particle toxicologist with a long association with the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Royal Society of Chemistry fellow John Hoskins. Hoskins’ recent activities have also included presentations at International Chrysotile Association (ICA) promotional seminars in India and Vietnam. Hoskins and Gibbs were also among the authors of ‘Chrysotile revisited’, an ICA-funded defence of chrysotile. This was used by the industry in its successful campaign to block tighter global rules on chrysotile exports and to defeat planned national bans, including an officially proposed prohibition in Pakistan.

The Hazards report notes: “Supporting those selling chrysotile asbestos in the developing world isn’t a crime. Neither is producing industry-sponsored research to order. Nor is authoring papers that defy the ‘overwhelming’ scientific opinion on a carcinogen like chrysotile. But neglecting to mention those industry affiliations is a big deal. So is producing science that omits inconvenient evidence and that crosses over from plain scientific fact into clear product defence.” It concludes: “Maybe, just maybe, in the face of what is already the largest industry-created health catastrophe in history, there’s a reason to wonder if this combination of commissions and omissions really does cross the line.”

Europe: Unions call for an end to work cancers

Unions are warning that occupational cancer kills 100,000 people every year in the European Union (EU) and are calling for an end to this preventable waste of life. Europe-wide union federation ETUC says occupational cancer is the most common work-related cause of death, with between 8 and 16 per cent of all cancers in Europe the result of exposures at work.

Criticising the EU’s do-nothing workplace health and safety strategy, Esther Lynch, confederal secretary of the ETUC, said: “Occupational cancer is the ignored epidemic. Workers are dying, literally in the thousands every year, and for 12 long years the EU has done nothing about it. These deaths are the result of preventable workplace exposures.” She added: “Trade unionists demand binding workplace exposure limits now for these predictable causes of cancer. The Commission needs to stop stalling, delaying until 2020 is irresponsible and unacceptable. The EU should aim for zero workplace cancer. Workers who have been exposed to cancer-causing substances or processes should get regular health checks during and after their employment.”

The ETUC’s list of 50 targeted causes of occupational cancer includes diesel engine exhaust, leather dust, formaldehyde, refractory ceramic fibres, respiratory crystalline silica, cadmium and cadmium compounds, benzo(a)pyrene, chromium VI compounds, ethylene oxide and trichloroethylene. A new report from ETUC’s research wing, ETUI, identifies more than 70 carcinogenic substances for which it says binding limit values for exposure of workers at the workplace should be set at the EU level.

India: Unilever settles with poisoned workers

A 15-year struggle to secure compensation for hundreds of mercury poisoned former employees of Hindustan Unilever in India has ended in victory. The settlement between the company, part of the UK-headquartered multinational Unilever, and 591 former mercury workers from its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal was described by activists as an ‘unprecedented victory’ in a campaign that has attracted international support.

The campaigners say the decision by Unilever to settle is the result of “public outrage, not corporate responsibility.” They say millions of people shared the viral music video ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’, and more than 150,000 people in over 100 countries took to social media to call on Unilever’s global chief Paul Polman to act. “The much-delayed settlement is great news, but Unilever still has unfinished business in Kodaikanal. You can expect a high-decibel global campaign in the coming months to ensure that Unilever cleans up its mercury contaminated site in Kodaikanal to international standards,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a Chennai-based writer and activist.

The mercury thermometer factory operated by Hindustan Unilever in the south Indian hilltown of Kodaikanal was shut down by state regulators in 2001 after the company was discovered dumping toxic mercury-contaminated waste in a densely populated part of town. An Indian government study published in November 2011 concluded many former Hindustan Unilever workers suffered from illnesses caused by workplace exposure to mercury.