News from around the World
- Event: Workshop on Socio-economic analysis in applications for authorisation and restriction under REACH
- UK Home-working up by a fifth over the last decade, TUC analysis reveals
- Major UK frozen food manufacturer fined £800,000 for safety failings
- Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Limited Company in the UK fined after worker is fatally crushed in trench
- Climate Change news from the USA
- Cancer victory for European workers
- Brexit equals 1 million more working too long
- Too much dust disease, too little action
- Six African Unions call on EU to halt glyphosate approval
- Pesticides linked to deadly nerve disease
- USA: Unions essential to public health
- Unfairness at work can be bad for your health
- Low wages are an occupational health hazard
- Improving Workers’ Health across the Globe: Advancing the Global Plan of Action for Workers’ Health
- World’s largest campaign launched to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing for all
- International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) May Day Statement – 2016
- Event: The new world of work. The impacts of digitalisation and robotisation
- Event: IOSH Annual Conference
- News from European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Can new approach methods pave the way for better toxicology?
- UK Health and Safety Laboratory RR1073 – The provision of breathing gas to divers in emergency situations
- New Eurofound report stresses need for stronger monitoring of labour market agencies to prevent trafficking of workers
- Good ventilation needed for desktop 3D printers
- News from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): More information to be published from REACH registrations
- NASC has launched a new website
- US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update – 2 new reports
- Event: Health Promoting Leadership
- REACH 2018: Work together to share data and its costs
- Working time developments in the 21st century
- European Court of Justice rules Tobacco Products Directive is lawful – gives backing to UK’s policy on standardised packaging
- Event: Safety and Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials (ENM)
- Brexit could put millions of people at greater risk of accident or injury at work, says TUC
- Workers Memorial Day 2016: Message from US NIOSH Director John Howard
- UK Department for Work and Pensions has appointed Martin Temple as Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- Events: Ensuring the Adequacy of CFD Modelling In Safety Engineering
- All you need to know about Hazards at Work
- Warnings as UK fire deaths rise sharply
- Asia: Justice call three years after factory collapse
- Europe: Anger at EC inaction on nanomaterials
- Potential cause of dementia to be investigated with £1m grant
- Event: Level 1 Certificate in Energy Management Essentials
- Nicotine without smoke – why electronic cigarettes can improve public health. ASH comment on RCP report
- Nanomaterials: Commission ignores wishes of Parliament, Council and trade unions
- Chernobyl, 30 years on
Event: Workshop on Socio-economic analysis in applications for authorisation and restriction under REACH
29 June 2016, 09:00-17:00 – Auditorium, Breyel Buildings, Brussels
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission (Directorates-General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Environment) will organise a workshop on socio-economic analysis in applications for authorisation and restriction under REACH on 29 June 2016.
This event aims to clarify the role of socio-economic analysis (SEA) under REACH and is aimed at Member States, European Parliament and stakeholders.
To develop the programme for the workshop ECHA is conducting a survey on SEA. Anyone involved in the REACH authorisation and restriction processes are invited to complete the survey.
More information: http://echa.europa.eu/news-and-events/events/event-details/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_DR2i/title/workshop-on-socio-economic-analysis-in-applications-for-authorisation-and-restrictions-under-reach
UK Home-working up by a fifth over the last decade, TUC analysis reveals
The number of UK employees who say they usually work from home has increased by a fifth (19%) over the past decade according to new analysis published by the TUC on Friday 20 May 2016 to mark National Work From Home Day.
The analysis shows that nearly a quarter of a million (241,000) more people work from home than 10 years ago. The biggest growth in regular home working has been among women employees, with 35% (157,000) more working from home in 2015 than in 2005. However, men still account for the majority of homeworkers, with 912,000 regularly working from home in 2015, compared to 609,000 women. Older employees are more likely to work from home, with 454,000 in their forties and 414,000 in their fifties home-working.
Major UK frozen food manufacturer fined £800,000 for safety failings
A major frozen food manufacturer based in Whittlesey, near Peterborough, UK has been fined £800,000 for safety failings after an employee nearly lost his arm.
Peterborough Crown Court heard how a 34-year-old employee was attempting to check the condition of the head roller on a bypass conveyor. While doing this his arm became entangled in the machinery and his arm was almost severed. Although his arm was saved, he now has limited movement in his hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on the 21 August 2014, found that the conveyor did not have the correct guards fitted. A risk assessment of the machine by the company failed to recognise the danger.
Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Limited Company in the UK fined after worker is fatally crushed in trench
A company has been fined £2.6 million after an employee was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him in Lancashire.
James Sim, a 32-year-old worker, from Barry, South Wales, a sub-contractor working on behalf of Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Limited. On the 14 April 2010, Mr Sim was working in a trench, laying ducting for new cable for an offshore windfarm that was being built off the coast by Heysham, Lancashire. The trench was dug to a depth of 2.4 metres, without any shoring. Mr Sim was killed when he became trapped in the trench after it collapsed on him.
Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Limited pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Court heard that Balfour Beatty failed to adequately risk assess the works or control the way in which the excavation took place.
Climate Change news from the USA
On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a new assessment of the growing public health threat of climate change. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” identified the many ways in which climate change is already threatening the health of all Americans and the significant public health challenges it is expected to create. The health threats covered by the report were identified as increases in human risk related to temperature-related death and illness; air quality impacts; extreme events such as droughts, floods, and wildfires; vector-borne disease; water-related illnesses; food safety, nutrition, and distribution; and mental health and well-being. One key feature of the report was the identification of individuals and groups, including workers, most likely to experience the effects of climate change on their health and well-being.
US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) contributed to the development of the report as part of a coordinated effort by more than 100 experts from eight federal agencies with different but complementary roles under this mandate. The impacts that climate change will have on workers were highlighted throughout the report and in a special section describing vulnerable occupational groups.
More information: www.cdc.gov/niosh/enews/enewsV14N1.html
Cancer victory for European workers
The European Commission is expected to announce ‘binding occupational exposure limits’ for 13 cancer-causing substances.
This is important news for the health of workers across Europe,” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, “and a hard-won victory for workers and their trade unions. Although some of the exposure limits are inadequate, and some substances are not included, this is a significant step forward. After 12 years of inaction the European Commission has finally listened to demands to protect workers better from work-related cancer. I am expecting the Commission to put forward exposure limits for at least 15 more substances by the end of the year.”
Exposure limits do not replace employers’ obligation to eliminate and substitute toxic substances in the workplace.
More information: https://www.etuc.org/press/cancer-victory-workers
Brexit equals 1 million more working too long
One million more employees are at high risk of being forced to work excessive hours if the UK votes to leave the EU, a TUC analysis of official figures has found. Working time protections have been targeted openly by Brexit campaigners who claim it is ‘red tape’ that should be scrapped.
But the TUC say the EU Working Time Directive has protected UK workers since 1998. It says the directive’s rules have deterred many bosses from forcing UK workers into an average working week longer than 48 hours. The union body says the rules have delivered improvements in work-life balance and health and safety. Regularly working excessive hours is associated with an increased risk of health problems including heart disease, stress, depression and diabetes.
The TUC adds public safety has benefited too, pointing out workers in health, transport and other sectors with public safety demands are more likely to make dangerous, perhaps fatal, mistakes if they are over-worked and too tired.
Too much dust disease, too little action
The contribution of exposures to dust and fumes at work to a major lung disease killer is higher than previously estimated, top occupational health researchers have warned. They add that the idea that some exposures at work are ‘nuisance dust’ (Risks 623) suggests widespread complacency about the occupational risks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the bronchitis and emphysema linked to thousands of work-related deaths in the UK alone each year.
Paul Blanc of the University of California San Francisco and Kjell Torén of the University of Gothenburg note that while it is commonly reported that 15 per cent of COPD is related work, many exposures and industries have never been adequately studied and among non-smokers “the occupational contribution to COPD is substantially greater even than the 15 per cent value seen overall.”
Writing in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, they note “the central priority” must be prevention of the occupational exposures responsible for COPD. “We must rely on governmental regulation for appropriately protective standard setting and effective enforcement. Unfortunately, this process often comes up short.”
Six African Unions call on EU to halt glyphosate approval
Plantation and farming unions in six African countries – Cameroon, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia – have lent their support to the campaign to halt glyphosate reauthorisation in the European Union.
In communications to EU heads of state and the relevant EU authorities, the unions have pointed to the risks from agrochemicals their members confront on a daily basis, often in situations where there is no protective clothing, no proper chemical labelling, no training and no labour inspection. The unions, affiliates of the global plough-to-plate union federation IUF, said their efforts over years to persuade employers and governments to reduce pesticide use have had a “meagre” impact.
Pesticides linked to deadly nerve disease
Exposure to pesticides could affect the chances that a person will develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, new research has found. There is no cure for this rapidly progressive motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those afflicted eventually lose their strength and ability to move their arms, legs and body.
As part of a larger study on environmental risk factors for ALS, University of Michigan researchers this week published in JAMA Neurology their work on pesticide and other environmental exposures. Co-senior author Eva Feldman said the most frequent question she was asked by affected patients was “why me?” She added: “I want to answer that question for my patients.” Feldman’s team studied 156 people with ALS and 128 people without the condition. All described their exposure to pollutants at work and at home, with a focus on occupational exposure. The researchers also measured toxic persistent environmental pollutants in blood to gain a more comprehensive assessment of environmental exposures. “We found these toxic chemicals in individuals both with and without ALS,” said co-first author Stephen Goutman. “We are likely all exposed without our own knowledge, from the air, water and our diet, as these chemicals can last decades in the environment. However, persons with ALS, overall, had higher concentrations of these chemicals, especially in regards to pesticides.”
USA: Unions essential to public health
Any decline in union power is a threat to public health, according to a paper in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health. Mike Wright, director of health and safety with the steelworkers’ union USW, notes unions can improve health and safety by negotiating better working conditions and access to health care, improving pay rates and benefits, and protecting workers from discrimination and unfair treatment.
“All are important determinants of health,” he notes, with occupational health and safety and environment protection also key areas of union influence. Wright concludes: “Promoting the health and prosperity of American workers and their families will take a much closer relationship between unions and public health practitioners. It will take a sustained effort to increase the size and strength of unions, and to build a powerful movement aimed at reversing economic inequality and providing safe, secure jobs with adequate compensation and benefits for all.”
Unfairness at work can be bad for your health
Employees’ experiences of fairness at work can impact on their health, according to a new study involving the UK University of East Anglia (UEA). The researchers investigated whether perceptions of what they call ‘procedural justice’, such as the processes in place to decide on rewards, pay, promotion and assignments, are related to employees’ health. They found that when perceptions of fairness changed, the self-rated health of employees also changed, with those who experienced more fairness on average over the period studied reported better health.
The study, which focused on more than 5,800 people working in Sweden, was conducted by Dr Constanze Eib, a lecturer in organisational behaviour at UEA’s Norwich Business School, and researchers from Stockholm University. The findings are published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. Dr Eib said: “Our study provides a thorough examination of how fairness at the workplace and health of employees is related over time. The findings can help raise awareness among employers and authorities that fairness at work but also health is important to consider to increase satisfaction, well-being and productivity in the workplace and wider society.” She added: “It is important to know about these issues as there may be things that can be done to improve perceptions of fairness at work. For example, making sure people feel their views are considered, they are consulted about changes and that decisions are made in an unbiased way.”
Low wages are an occupational health hazard
Low wages should be recognised as a genuine occupational health threat, US researchers have concluded. “Workers earning low wages may be at greater risk for disease and injury than workers earning high wages,” note J Paul Leigh and Roberto De Vogli of the University of California Davis School of Medicine.
In an editorial in the May edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine they say that low wages should be considered among the psychosocial factors – such as long work hours and high job strain – identified as occupational risks to health. They note “at least part of the correlation between wages and health can be attributed to low wages resulting in poor health or health behaviours rather than vice versa.”
Improving Workers’ Health across the Globe: Advancing the Global Plan of Action for Workers’ Health
This booklet is jointly published by NIOSH and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), which are both World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health. The booklet illustrates the shared goal of NIOSH, FIOH, and the Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health: to enhance international workplace safety and health through global collaborations.
In 2014, WHO reviewed accomplishments of the WHO Global Network of Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health during 2006–2012. The review reported the network generated 150 products and trainings during this period. Many of these are in the Geolibrary and are available for use.
More information: www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2016-118
World’s largest campaign launched to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing for all
The European Commission and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in cooperation with the Netherlands EU Presidency have just launched a two-year Europe-wide campaign: Healthy Workplaces for All Ages. Focusing on sustainable work and workplace safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce, the campaign provides a timely reminder that the younger workers of today are the older workers of tomorrow.
The campaign focuses on Europe’s enterprises (both private and public) and the need to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life. By doing so, they will be protecting their workers’ health up to and beyond retirement age and their organisations’ productivity.
Commissioner Thyssen highlighted the timeliness of this campaign topic: “At a time when there are important discussions going on about the future landscape of occupational safety and health in the EU, this campaign is extremely relevant. We need to start now to cater for the needs of Europe’s future workplaces and workers. Workplaces that address the health challenges of an ageing workforce gain in productivity. This is good for workers and good for business.”
The Netherlands’ Presidency representative, Lodewijk Asscher, emphasized the need to make our labour market sustainable for the future. “This campaign contributes to it. We need to stimulate employers and workers to invest in employability. After all, using the power of people will always get the best result. It energises people no matter what age. Here, the cradle to the grave concept certainly applies. The sooner you start, the longer you stay healthy and vital, and the better you can cope with change. Because the jobs of today might not exist in the future or might look a lot different to now. Therefore, it is important not to wait until that happens, but to prepare properly in good time.”
Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA, underlined the business case for this campaign topic: “By focusing on sustainable working throughout working life, not only can all workers better protect their health, but companies are likely to see major benefits too. Healthy workers are productive workers, and productive workers are essential to any effective organisation: it’s a win–win situation. We therefore highly value the cooperation between EU-OSHA and our focal points, official campaign partners and media partners and thank them for all their efforts in previous campaigns. We look forward to working with them again over the next two years.”
This campaign’s objectives are four-fold:
- to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life;
- to highlight the importance of risk prevention throughout working life;
- to assist employers and workers (including in small and medium-sized enterprises) by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health in the context of an ageing workforce;
- to facilitate information and good practice exchange.
This campaign topic is based on a European Parliament project conducted by EU-OSHA, ‘Safer and healthier work at any age’, along with various other EU-OSHA reports on safety and health in the context of the ageing workforce. As part of this new campaign, EU-OSHA is also releasing an e-guide on managing safety and health for an ageing workforce.
International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) May Day Statement – 2016
The first of May is a day to celebrate the achievements that through generations union men and women have won: peace, democracy, rights and decent work for millions of people.
But even as we celebrate the successes and triumphs of the great tradition of trade union solidarity, we know that the challenges faced by people across the world require collective strength and commitment to carry forward the fight for democratic rights and freedoms, equality and social justice.
When political and corporate leaders conspire to hide the vast wealth of the one per cent, avoiding the taxes that are the bedrock of social and economic development and the basis for social protection – support for the unemployed, health, education, child care, aged care and many other public services – then all are vulnerable.
When global trade relies on exploiting the majority in insecure, low-paid and often unsafe work in supply chains to secure yet more wealth for the global elite, then the world is on the wrong path.
When people seek refuge from conflict created by dictators clinging to power or from economic desperation, then we must support and welcome them, and demand that our governments play their part in removing the causes of the conflicts and economic desperation that blight the lives of hundreds of millions.
When corruption, exploitation, inequality and environmental destruction are the hallmarks of the global economy, then the values of the trade union movement provide hope, and set the standards required for transforming the world into a place where people come first and where the generations to come inhabit a sustainable world.
On this May Day, many will march under banners for freedom and against conflict and slavery, many will rally for justice for refugees, many will stand firm for minimum living wages and collective bargaining and oppose corporate greed, many will demand climate justice and many will welcome refugees. Uniting all these are the fundamental principles of equality and social justice which inspire the actions of trade unionists every day.
The collective voice and action of union women and men all over the world will continue to fight the corporate greed which fuels attacks on workers’ rights, the enslavement of people, the corruption of tax evasion and the destruction of public services. Where our governments fear corporate power, we will stand up for democracy and an end to corporate greed. We will act for a truly inclusive future where prosperity is shared, where the planet on which we live is protected and where the common good is supreme.
Event: The new world of work. The impacts of digitalisation and robotisation
27-29 June 2016, Hotel Thon Europe, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
The purpose of this ETUC/ETUI conference is to discuss how the world and nature of work and employment is being changed radically by the digital revolution.
Contrary to similar conferences, this event will not only focus on the quantity of work (‘will robots destroy our jobs?’) but also on the quality of work (working conditions, life-work balance, autonomy versus precarious jobs, impacts on social dialogue, health and safety at the workplace etc.) and the challenges of these trends for trade unions and workers.
It will try to answer the question how trade unions and civil society can help define a path to a ‘social digitalisation of work and the work place’ which will support and even strengthen the overall well-being of Europe’s workers.
Event: IOSH Annual Conference
21–22 June 2016 at ExCeL, London
The UK based IOSH 2016 will explore the theme Influential leadership: delivering impact – sustaining change. This conference will help safety and health professionals and business leaders integrate safety and health into their business strategies.
Six reasons to attend:
- Network with 800+ professionals from around the world.
- Boost your CPD with up to 12 hours of conference content.
- Tailor your conference experience from four themed tracks.
- Get inspired by 60+ industry and expert speakers.
- Share your views in eight roundtable discussions.
- Visit 350+ stands at co-located Safety & Health Expo.
News from European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Can new approach methods pave the way for better toxicology?
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.”
Further information on the Event web page.
UK Health and Safety Laboratory RR1073 – The provision of breathing gas to divers in emergency situations
The report examined the diving industry guidance provided to divers and supervisors in the amount and method of determining how much emergency gas a diver can require. A literature search was carried out into the human gas consumption rate as measured in scientific studies of workers, divers and athletes. Data was also sourced from operators and divers using dive computers with gas integration.
The data from the guidance, scientific studies, operators and live data from divers are compared to provide a recommended gas consumption rate that industry can use to plan the volume of gas to be available to a diver in an emergency. It was found that some industry sectors could increase the recommended gas consumption rate to provide sufficient gas to a diver in an emergency.
How the gas is provided to the diver in an emergency is discussed. Current industry practices across the different sectors use a wide range of methods, some of which could be improved. The sizes of gas containers, the pressure that containers can be charged to, along with how gas can be passed to the diver are covered. A standardised coupling is recommended to allow connection between a diver and an emergency gas supply.
Full report: www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1073.htm
New Eurofound report stresses need for stronger monitoring of labour market agencies to prevent trafficking of workers
With growing numbers of workers moving freely across the European Union, the role of labour market intermediaries (LMIs) in matching workers with companies’ needs has become increasingly important in helping the single market to function effectively. However, some LMIs also play a part in the deceitful recruitment or transfer of workers who may subsequently be exposed to exploitation. New research, focusing on strategies to prevent such practices and limit the potential for trafficking, highlights the need for strengthened monitoring of LMIs to achieve better prevention, enforcement, sanctioning and prosecution.
Eurofound’s latest report ‘Regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of social partners in preventing trafficking of labour’, which was recently presented to members of the European Parliament in Brussels, also underlines the importance of social partner activities and cross-border cooperation in developing coherent and targeted interventions.
Mobility and migration in the EU contribute to well-functioning labour markets, resulting in greater productivity, competitiveness and growth. The European Union has strong legislation in place, including to regulate labour market intermediaries, which enables businesses to engage in fair competition and protects workers from being exploited. Labour market intermediaries such as temporary work agencies help to facilitate the mobility of workers through matching workers with companies’ needs. According to the Structural Business Statistics more than 33,000 temporary work agencies operate in Europe aiding job matching and mobility within and across borders.
While most LMIs abide by the rules, some use their role to recruit or transfer workers unlawfully. They deceive workers about the nature of the job, the employer, the location or other conditions related to the work, and these workers end up working under exploitative conditions. Eurostat’s latest figures show that 19% of all identified and presumed victims were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation.
Good ventilation needed for desktop 3D printers
A new study shows that desktop 3D printers release produce airborne nanoparticles that should be controlled to avoid hazardous exposures. According to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), 3D printers have become more common in homes, schools and libraries as their prices have come down. But a study by FIOH and the University of Helsinki had confirmed nanoparticles are emitted into the air when printers are used.
FIOH notes: “Printing every once in a while is not very harmful, but we should recognise the exposure and attempt to reduce it in places where people are exposed to printing daily.” Anna-Kaisa Viitanen, a research scientist at FIOH, commented: “Exposure can be reduced by acquiring an encased printer that has been designed with emission management in mind, by avoiding staying in the same room with a printer for longer periods of time or, most reliably, by directing the emissions out of the indoor air.”
The study identified pollution arising from use of both ABS and PLA, the two most common plastic mixtures. It added treating the printed objects with chemicals is an integral part of 3D printing and is typically used in printing on an industrial scale. “When chemicals are used in post-processing, it is important to perform a risk analysis of these chemicals and people must use the correct protective equipment,” Viitanen said.
News from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): More information to be published from REACH registrations
At the end of June 2016, additional information from companies’ registrations, such as endpoint summaries, exposure scenarios and new elements introduced by IUCLID 6, will be made publicly available on ECHA’s website http://echa.europa.eu
NASC has launched a new website
The new website features simplified and enhanced access to the NASC online shop – with clearly labelled member and non-member pricing structures for the NASC’s Safety and Technical guidance, and colour coded navigation. There is also separate, easy to find expanded sections for core technical and safety guidance (TG & SG), like TG20:13 (‘Good Practice Guidance for Tube and Fitting Scaffolding’) and SG4:15 (‘Preventing Falls in Scaffolding Operations.’)
In addition, there is a whole new membership section – to reflect the current NASC President, Alan Lilley’s desire to boost SMEs to join the organisation. And the site also includes a fully-loaded member’s area – with access for Full, Non-Contracting and Information Only members.
Further information sections have been added to the new site, offering quick access to the NASC’s Product Code of Practice, NASC Yearbook, Annual Safety Reports, video guidance, media libraries, FAQs, useful links and scaffolding training sections. And the menu systems – on both desktop and mobile (phone and tablet) versions – are simple and easy to navigate, with a large, moving home page slider offering quick links to key areas.
The new website also now hosts a news and social media hub – accessed primarily from the home page, but also via the simple header and footer menus – allowing users to keep up to speed with the latest NASC updates, with a busy news section and constantly-updated social media platform.
NASC MD, Robin James said:
“It’s important to make sure we move with the times as the national trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK – so that industry-leading safety and technical guidance is as accessible and visible as possible.
“Undertaking a full re-build of the website and online shop is no small task and we’d like to thank the agency, Deep for their hard work in creating something special and accurate to the brief. We are confident that members, non-members, the media, the construction industry and the public will benefit from the new website.”
NASC Marketing Manager, Phil Royle said:
“The driving force of the project was to modernise the out-going website, make the online shop more visible and user-friendly, carry across a wealth of important safety and technical guidance and create more brand awareness – assisting in our mission to encourage membership sign-ups and the continued growth of the organisation.
“We are thrilled with the result. The new website better reflects our brand values and position within the construction industry, whilst offering users a richer, simpler and mobile-optimised user experience – perfect for the times we live in. It’s loaded with great content, industry news, up to date scaffolding guidance and vibrant social media. We’d encourage everyone to check it out.”
Discover the new website at: www.nasc.org.uk, where you will find details about becoming an NASC member, more about the latest SG4:15 ‘Preventing Falls in Scaffolding Operations’ Safety Guidance notes, details on the TG20:13 full suite the online shop, active news and social media and much more.
US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update – 2 new reports
Exposure to Synthetic Cannabinoids during a Clandestine Lab Raid
HHE Program investigators determined that law enforcement agents were at risk for dermal exposure and ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids and other contaminants at a raided site and agency offices. Investigators found these substances in agents’ urine and noted inconsistent PPE use and ineffective ventilation in the evidence processing and storage area.
Evaluation of Eye Irritation and Sore Throat in Employees Processing Garlic
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:
- Improve the ventilation
- Limit employee access to the cooking area
- Determine a cartridge change-out schedule for respirators.
More information www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html
Event: Health Promoting Leadership
27-29 September 2016, Elite Hotel Marina Tower, Stockholm, Sweden
This international course on Health Promoting Leadership will discuss the latest knowledge and scientific debates of the subject and provide the participants with the prerequisites necessary to build and maintain a health promoting leadership.
Main topics: Concept Clarifications; Leadership and health; Prerequisites for leadership.
REACH 2018: Work together to share data and its costs
The requirement to share data between companies registering the same substance is one of the fundamental aspects of the REACH Regulation. By doing this, registrants can reduce the costs and avoid unnecessary testing, especially on vertebrate animals.
An important step towards successful REACH registration is getting organised with your co-registrants. How this is done depends on whether the substance is already registered or not. Setting up the cooperation is the third phase of the REACH Roadmap for 2018.
If no registration for the substance exists, co-registrants have to set up a new substance information exchange forum (SIEF). This means, among other things, agreeing on practical ways of working together, sharing available scientific data and deciding how to fill data gaps before preparing and submitting a joint registration dossier. Companies also need to share the costs in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory way between the members of the SIEF.
If the substance is already registered, it is likely that the preparatory work has been done and new registrants can contact the SIEF to become part of the joint submission. They will have to negotiate to get access to the data they need and take part in sharing the costs.
Registrants should avoid new tests by making full use of alternatives to animal testing. They should also be aware that ECHA will not accept registrations where data has obviously not been shared. As for data available outside the SIEF, ownership must be respected and compensated for.
Practical advice for new SIEFs and for negotiating with existing registrants is now available on ECHA’s website.
Working time developments in the 21st century
Working time has remained relatively stable in the 21st century but socio-demographic challenges and the ubiquitous nature of new technologies may see significant changes in working time in the near future, according to a new report from Eurofound, the EU Agency based in Dublin. Working time developments in the 21st century reveals, for the first time, the development of working time for full-time workers from a long-term perspective, examining the periods before and after the economic crisis.
The report shows that, although there has been a general convergence in working time between the EU15 and newer Member States, working times continue to vary widely in Europe, with a number of different regimes in place to set working times. A clear split can be seen in this regard, with collective bargaining playing an important role in the older Member States, whereas in central and eastern Member States working time standards are more likely to be established through legislation.
The way working time is set has an impact on average working hours and the phenomenon of ‘working time drift’ – the difference between agreed hours and the usual working time. Negotiated regimes, where collective bargaining plays a stronger role, generally results in shorter working time and more compliance with the agreed working hours. Throughout Europe men continue to work more paid hours than women. This gap is most pronounced in newer Member States, although it has been narrowing in recent years.
Despite the profound impact of the financial crisis on the European labour market the agreed working time has remained stable between 1999 and 2014, with few dramatic changes in the average agreed working time in most Member States. One notable exception was in the area of public administration, where changes were introduced that resulted in increased working hours in Greece, Portugal and Spain. These measures were adopted in reaction to the developing economic crises in these countries.
Socio-demographic challenges, increased female participation in the labour force, and the continued adoption of new technologies in the workplace are some of the factors that have triggered discussions about working time flexibility. Some social partners have argued that these developments require a reduction in working hours to improve work-life balance and prevent health issues. However, new technologies and a fast changing economic environment have made working life more pervasive, with employers increasingly emphasising the need for working-time flexibility. Reconciling these two perspectives on working time poses an important challenge for the future
European Court of Justice rules Tobacco Products Directive is lawful – gives backing to UK’s policy on standardised packaging
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU Tobacco Products Directive which is due to enter into force on 20th May 2016 is lawful and that the tobacco industry’s challenge which sought to overturn the Directive is without foundation. The court also clarified that Member States may go further than requirements set out in the Directive with regard to packaging, enabling countries to bring in standardised packaging. Currently the UK, France and Ireland have passed legislation on standardised packaging but this judgment will support other Member States to proceed with the measure.
In addition, the Court dismissed other legal challenges and ruled that the regulations on e-cigarettes are proportionate and that the ban on menthol flavouring was justified. The ruling follows the legal Opinion issued by Advocate General Kokott in December 2015 which upheld the legal basis of the Directive.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:
“The European Court of Justice decision is welcome if not surprising: the Directive is lawful and the UK is allowed to go further than the Directive in standardising tobacco packs with respect to matters not harmonised by the Directive. We await the UK court judgement, which is expected shortly, but we expect that the court will also confirm that the introduction of standardised packaging in the UK is lawful. From 20th May all packs manufactured for sale in the UK will have to be plain, standardised in the same drab green colour with the product name on the pack in a standard font.”
Event: Safety and Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials (ENM)
25-27 October 2016, Imperial Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
Engineered nanomaterials offer enormous potential in many areas of technology. The safety of ENM is the key to the success of the industry, because without customers’ confidence, nanotechnology has no future.
- Characteristics of ENM
- Exposure to ENM
- Health effects of ENM
- Risk assessment of ENM
- Risk management of ENM
Brexit could put millions of people at greater risk of accident or injury at work, says TUC
Leaving the EU could put millions of people in the UK at increased risk of accidents or injuries in the workplace, says the UK TUC report published 28 April 2016 to coincide with International Workers’ Memorial Day.
EU Membership and Health & Safety finds that EU legislation has helped stop illnesses and injuries at work, and saved lives.
Much of the health & safety law in the UK is now underpinned by the EU, says the report. Almost two-thirds (63%) of new British health & safety regulations introduced between 1997-2009 originated in Europe (41 out of 65 laws).
These new safety rules have contributed to a reduction in workplace fatalities in the UK. In 1992 there were 368 worker fatalities in Britain; this dropped to 142 last year. Over this period, the rate of deaths fell from 1.5 to 0.46 per 100,000 workers.
The report notes a several areas where EU law has had a significant impact:
- The EU forced the UK to strengthen safety rules in construction – one of the most dangerous industries.
- Rules protecting police officers were also made stronger by the EU.
- The EU increased protections against asbestos. Asbestos is the biggest cause of occupational death in the UK – causing 5,000 deaths a year.
If the UK votes to leave the EU, the government would be able to decide whether or not to keep protections derived from EU laws. There is no guarantee that they would keep health & safety legislation at its current level. In fact the government has indicated it wants to reduce this so-called ‘red tape’ of EU protection.
Workers Memorial Day 2016: Message from US NIOSH Director John Howard
Each year we pause on April 28 for Workers Memorial Day to publicly remember the workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work. While worker deaths in America are down, on average, even one death or one injury is still too many.
To prevent injury, illness, and death in today’s workplaces, we must recognize new threats that emerge from changes in the world around us. Exotic infectious diseases that once were rare and remote now cross national borders with the speed of a passenger jet. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners served on the front lines last year, literally and figuratively, to develop and apply guidance for reducing work-related risks from Ebola in a range of occupations from health care providers to mortuary workers, airline workers, and business travellers. This year, our partners and we are directing similar attention to worker issues as part of the nation’s preparedness efforts for the Zika virus.
UK Department for Work and Pensions has appointed Martin Temple as Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Martin has more than 30 years of experience in private and public sector roles, including senior positions at the Sheffield Hospital Trust, EEF Manufacturers’ Organisation and 600 group.
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson said:
“I am delighted with Martin’s appointment. He brings a wealth of experience to the role and joins at a time when the work of the HSE in promoting health and safety amongst employers is as important as ever.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Judith Hackitt as the outgoing Chair. Under her leadership the organisation has gone from strength to strength.”
Martin Temple, the new Chair of the Health and Safety Executive said:
“I am delighted to be appointed as HSE Chair. I hold a long-standing interest in Health and Safety and look forward to working with HSE and the board to build on its success as a world-leading workplace health and safety regulator and I look forward to this challenge and the opportunities ahead.”
Events: Ensuring the Adequacy of CFD Modelling In Safety Engineering
Illustration through the Development of a Model Evaluation Protocol for Hydrogen Applications
A full-day Technical Meeting and will be held on Wednesday 22nd June in Aberdeen and on Thursday 23 June 2016 in London & via Webcast. It is expected that the meeting will be held between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm.
For this Technical Meeting, FABIG is partnering with the consortium of the EU funded research project SUSANA (SUpport to SAfety aNAlysis of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies), the results of which will be presented during this full-day event.
The objective of the SUSANA project is to support the use of CFD analysis in safety engineering in relation to Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies through the development of a Model Evaluation Protocol (MEP).
Although the focus of the SUSANA project is hydrogen safety, the research results and the methodology used for the development of the MEP are relevant to all CFD modelling applications in safety engineering and will be of value to CFD analysts as well as those involved in the interpretation and application of CFD analysis results.
The programme for the event is currently being finalised and more information will be provided very shortly on the FABIG website.
More information: www.fabig.com/events
All you need to know about Hazards at Work
The new edition of the TUC’s best-selling guide to health and safety at work is now available. The union body says this fifth edition is published at a time when safety rights are under attack. “That is why trade union reps, officers and anyone with a practical interest in health and safety matters should have a copy of the 2016 edition of Hazards at Work,” TUC says. “It explains the way unions organise to improve health, safety and welfare, how the law has changed in recent years and gives full details of the key legal provisions and how they are enforced.”
The core of the book is the 24 chapters on the common hazards and causes of ill-health at work, and how to assess and prevent them. The A4, 368-page, single volume softback also has a section on people in ‘special’ categories, such as young workers, casual workers, agency workers and disabled workers.
The book also includes extensive checklists, case studies and web resources. Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, commented: “There are still too many people living with, and dying of, workplace injuries and illnesses. This book is the TUC’s most comprehensive tool for understanding, assessing and dealing with workplace hazards.”
Warnings as UK fire deaths rise sharply
UK Fire chiefs have joined the firefighters’ union FBU to raise concerns about the deadly impact of fire service cuts. Reacting to new official figures showing a 21 per cent rise in fire deaths over the past year, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We are now witnessing the tragic results of such wrong-headed cuts to the fire and rescue service. Over the past five years, the government has cut 7,000 frontline firefighters jobs, closed more than 40 fire stations and axed scores of fire engines. This has culminated in the longest response times to fires for 20 years.”
He added: “Whereas the government’s focus should be on reducing the disturbing rise in fire-related deaths, they are instead continuing with discredited proposals for a police takeover of the fire service. These plans, which will only exacerbate the problems facing the fire service, show that this government is intent on saving money rather than lives.”
The latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 294 people died in fires in England during 2015, an increase of 21 per cent compared with the 242 deaths recorded in 2014 and the largest increase since figures were published in 2001-02. The chief fire officers from the six largest English cities outside London have also described the rise as worrying, as the fire service faces budget cuts of up to 50 per cent by 2020 from a 2010 benchmark. “The budget cuts have seen the loss of frontline firefighters, response times getting longer, stations closing and fire prevention measures reduced too,” said a statement from the Association of Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Authorities who cover Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Leeds.
Asia: Justice call three years after factory collapse
On 24 April, workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan remembered the dead and demanded improved factory safety, and punishment to those responsible for a garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh three years ago. More than 1,100 workers perished and over 2,500 were injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka on 24 April 2013.
Affiliates of the global union federation IndustriALL formed a human chain and organised a press conference in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka to mark the anniversary. In Pakistan, IndustriALL affiliate the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) organised a rally and press conference at the Karachi press club to extend solidarity and demand justice for the victims of both Rana Plaza and the fire at Ali Enterprises in Pakistan, which killed 254 workers on 11 September 2012.
IndustriALL policy director Jenny Holdcroft said: “We must never allow what happened at Rana Plaza to be forgotten… Most garment workers still do not have the protection of a union and it is our responsibility to organise them.” In response to “persistent and growing violations” by the Bangladesh government of its responsibility to respect workers’ rights, global union federation ITUC has lodged a Freedom of Association complaint at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The case will be heard by the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association.
Europe: Anger at EC inaction on nanomaterials
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says the decision by the European Commission to set up an EU Observatory for nanomaterials, instead of a Register, fails to protect workers from health risks and does not contribute in any way to the traceability of nanomaterials, and the transparency and accountability of industry. “Workers have a right to know what they are handling and being exposed to,” said Esther Lynch, ETUC confederal secretary. “That way trade unions can assess risk, support the work of health and safety representatives, and demand the necessary health safeguards.
That is what a Registry would enable and an Observatory cannot.” ETUC says instead of requiring companies to register annually their use of nanomaterials, an Observatory would simply collect information which may or may not be useful. Unions, non-government groups and the European Parliament were all in favour of register, with only the industry lobby opposed.
The European Commission followed the industry line. ETUC’s Esther Lynch said: “I regret that the European Commission has ignored an opportunity to support risk and safety assessment of nanomaterials despite a clear and widespread wish that it should do so. The ETUC will not give up hope and will continue to push the Commission to move in a more helpful direction.” She added: “It would also be easier for industry if there was one European register rather than several different national ones which is currently the case.”
Potential cause of dementia to be investigated with £1m grant
Stuart Pickering-Brown, Professor of Neurogenetics at The UK University of Manchester, has been awarded £1 million from the Medical Research Council to study a common cause of dementia.
Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and is related to motor neurone disease. Around 40% of patients with FTLD have a family history of dementia, indicating that genetics plays a large role in the development of the condition.
Professor Pickering-Brown, from the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, said: “We know of several genes that cause FTLD, one of which is called C9orf72. However, we don’t fully understand how mutations in this gene lead to dementia.”
The new research aims to look at the repeat expansion mutation of C9orf72, the most common genetic cause of FTLD and motor neurone disease. This repeat expansion mutation of C9orf72 produces five different repetitive proteins that accumulate in brain cells.
The team intends to create models of four of these five repetitive proteins to hopefully mimic aspects of FTLD. They will then investigate if these repetitive proteins contribute to the processes that cause brain cells to die.
Professor Pickering-Brown and his team are the first to make the expansion mutations of a physiologically relevant size, matching those which are observed in patients. Other researchers around the world have previously used a much smaller mutation repeat sizes not seen in patients.
In addition, with the help of the Manchester Brain Bank and the UK Brain Bank Network, the research team will measure levels of these five proteins in the brains of people with the C9orf72 gene mutation, to see if levels of proteins affect the disease presentation or pathology.
Ultimately, is it hoped their work will offer a platform for researchers to test therapies for FTLD.
Event: Level 1 Certificate in Energy Management Essentials
A 5-day classroom course providing a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management.
This introductory course provides participants with all the essential knowledge and skills they need to save energy, reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, comply with legislation and meet their organisation’s environmental goals.
Course topics include monitoring and targeting, energy auditing, solution development, and regulations and standards. As part of this, course delegates conduct a supervised energy audit visit to a plant room and cover writing an audit report.
Nicotine without smoke – why electronic cigarettes can improve public health. ASH comment on RCP report
A new report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians concludes that electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking and are beneficial to public health.
The report also reflects research by ASH which shows that use of electronic cigarettes is almost exclusively confined to former or existing smokers who use the device to cut down and quit smoking, and there is no evidence that vaping has re-normalised smoking. Of great concern, however, is that only around half the population understand that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, with more than one in five thinking they are equally or more harmful and a similar proportion saying they don’t know.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:
“The RCP report has looked at the evidence and it is clear that it is the smoke in tobacco not the nicotine that makes cigarettes so deadly. Electronic cigarette vapour does not contain smoke, which is why vaping is much less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Smokers should be reassured that switching to vaping is a positive and sensible life choice, which can help them quit smoking.”
Nanomaterials: Commission ignores wishes of Parliament, Council and trade unions
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says the decision by the European Commission to set up an EU Observatory for nanomaterials, instead of a Register, fails to protect workers from health risks and does not contribute in any way to the traceability of nanomaterials, and the transparency and accountability of industry.
“Workers have a right to know what they are handling and being exposed to,” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary. “That way trade unions can assess risk, support the work of health and safety representatives, and demand the necessary health safeguards. That is what a Registry would enable and an Observatory cannot.”
Instead of requiring companies to register annually their use of nanomaterials, an Observatory would simply collect information which may or may not be useful.
The European Commission’s decision
- Follows a public consultation in which member states, trade unions, NGOs and others were in favour of a register but industry was not;
- is in blatant disregard of the views of the European Parliament and the Council.
The European Parliament, as long ago as 2009, called for an inventory of nanomaterials on the European market, and a Council decision of 2010 invited the Commission to set up a harmonised database for nanomaterials. In 2012 a letter from 11 member states (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden) urged the Commission to propose legislation on registration of nanomaterials.
Years later the Commission has instead opted for the much softer Observatory.
“I regret that the European Commission has ignored an opportunity to support risk and safety assessment of nanomaterials despite a clear and widespread wish that it should do so. The ETUC will not give up hope and will continue to push the Commission to move in a more helpful direction.” She added “It would also be easier for industry if there was one European register rather than several different national ones which is currently the case.”
The ETUC adopted resolutions on nanomaterials in 2008 and 2010.
Chernobyl, 30 years on
Derek Morgan, Head of Products at Health & Safety Laboratory, writes:
26 April 2016 marks 30 years since the disaster at the nuclear facility at Chernobyl in the former USSR, the most severe accident in the history of the nuclear power industry.
It was the International Atomic Energy Authority’s initial report after the disaster that first coined the term ‘safety culture’.
Their Advisory Group’s Summary Report published in 1986 highlighted that organisational structure alone i.e. rules, procedures etc. was limited in achieving an organisation’s health and safety goals.
Safety culture, as an important influence on health and safety performance, is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.
Indeed earlier this month – April 2016 the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued their Investigation Report into the explosion and fire at the Macondo Well (Deepwater Horizon rig).
As with other major incidents, the Macondo incident ‘culminated from a complex, closely connected interplay of technical, human, organizational, and regulatory factors’ with the report recommending improvements in human factors and corporate governance as well as establishing a process safety culture improvement program. You can read the Executive Summary .
Developing a strong safety culture can be beneficial for all types of organisations, not just those in ‘high-hazard’ industries. Organisations with strong safety cultures tend to have staff who are more engaged, take fewer risks, have fewer accidents and are more productive.