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News Archive

June 2016

Start the work safety conversation at this year’s UK Safety and Health Expo

Three inspirational speakers will share their real-life stories of the devastating effects a workplace accident can have on employees, and their families, at the UK 2016 Safety and Health Expo.

As part of RoSPA’s new drive to create a nationwide movement of individuals and organisations sharing their stories and experiences, to help others to avoid accidents, the speakers will be at the charity’s stand at Expo from 21-23 June 2016, at 1 pm each day.

Jason Anker was paralysed from the waist down following an incident on a construction site in 1993, when he fell off a ladder. On day one of Expo, he will tell the story of his life before the accident, what happened on the day, and how his life has been irrevocably changed since.

On day two, attendees will hear from RoSPA Archangel winner Paul Blanchard, who suffered a life-changing accident after falling from height while fixing a roof at a farm.

Then on day three, Jennifer Deeney will tell the story of her husband, Kieron, who was killed in a workplace accident 13 weeks after their wedding day. She will give an account of how avoidable workplace deaths affect the lives of those left behind.

More information: www.rospa.com/media-centre/press-office/press-releases/detail/?id=1462

Event: 39th Annual Occupational Safety and Health Summer Institute

24-29 July 2016, Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA

Presented by the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center at the University of North Carolina, the annual Occupational Safety and Health Winter and Summer Institutes are designed to provide practical information and a forum for the exchange of ideas among participants with widely diverse backgrounds. The interdisciplinary focus makes the Institutes unique in continuing professional education and development.

The Summer Institute offers classes you just can’t get anywhere else. The classes are not standardized OSHA classes but are unique and specifically designed to meet the needs of working professionals.

http://osherc.sph.unc.edu/continuing-education/institutes/summer16/index.html

US News: Better water system maintenance needed to prevent Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks

New toolkit offers practical tips for reducing germ’s growth, spread in building water systems

More effective water management might have prevented most of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks CDC investigated from 2000 through 2014, according to today’s CDC Vital Signs report.

Problems identified in these building-associated outbreaks included inadequate disinfectant levels, human error, and equipment breakdowns that led to growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems. CDC is releasing a new toolkit today to help building owner and managers prevent these problems.

Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise. In the last year, about 5,000 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and more than 20 outbreaks were reported to CDC. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with Legionella. Most people who get sick need hospital care and make a full recovery – but about 1 in 10 people will die from the infection.

“Many of the Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H. “Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives, and today’s report promotes tools to make that happen.”

The Vital Signs report examined 27 building-associated Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks investigated by CDC across 24 states and territories, Mexico, and Canada. For each outbreak, CDC researchers recorded the location, source of exposure, and deficiencies in environmental control of Legionella.

The most common source of building-associated Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks was drinkable water (56 percent), such as water used for showering, followed by cooling towers (22 percent), and hot tubs (7 percent). Other sources included industrial equipment (4 percent) and a decorative fountain/water feature (4 percent). In two outbreaks, the source was never identified.

Twenty-three of the investigations included descriptions of failures that contributed to the outbreak. In nearly half, more than one type of failure was identified.

More information: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0607-legionnaires.html

UK CIEH welcomes EAC’s report into soil health

Following the release of the Environmental Audit Committee’s report into soil health, Howard Price, Principal Policy Officer for the CIEH, said:

“Contaminated soil has the potential to be a real risk to our health and wellbeing. However, government funding has been reduced over the last few years and this is severely impacting on local authorities’ ability to carry out their statutory duties to investigate and remediate contaminated soil.

“Without the prospect of remediation being funded it would be a reckless local authority that determined if a site was contaminated and the Environmental Audit Committee’s report shines an important light on this issue.”

He added: “This also raises questions as to whether Defra is the right department to run contaminated land policy considering their recent record. While we will work with any government department which has responsibility for soil health, perhaps someone else ought now to be given a try.”

More information: www.cieh.org/media/CIEH-welcomes-EAC-report-into-soil-health-020616.html

US News: OSHA schedules meeting to discuss protecting workers performing tree care operations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has scheduled an informal stakeholder meeting July 13, 2016, in Washington, D.C. to collect information on hazards in the tree care industry. The agency will use the information to determine the need for a proposed rule to protect workers from fatalities, injuries and hazards in tree care operations.

Tree trimming and removal operations expose workers to hazards including: falling from trees and aerial equipment; being hit by falling trees, flying objects and vehicular traffic; being cut by chain saws and chippers; and contacting energized power lines.

More information: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=32658

Westminster Social Policy Forum Keynote Seminar

Chaired by Lord Bilimoria, Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership and Fiona Bruce MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm this event will be held on Morning, Thursday, 27th October 2016 and will be held in Central London.

The focus is the future of policy and industry practice relating to alcohol consumption in England.

Expected discussion on how to take preventative action to reduce the impact of alcohol-related pressure on emergency services.

Key discussion points:

www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=1203

Five Years of Progress for Domestic Workers, but much still to be done

In the five years since the International Labour Organization adopted Convention 189 on Domestic Workers, governments in nearly 50 countries have updated their legislation to provide better employment protection for domestic workers, and 22 countries have already ratified the Convention.

An estimated 15 million workers now have improved rights and protections at work, included the right to at least one day off per week, doubling or even tripling of the applicable minimum wage as well as access to social protection. Dozens of new unions for domestic workers have been formed since 2011, with a total membership of some 100,000.

Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary, said: “The success of the campaign for domestic workers’ rights so far has been founded on an effective combination of organising and mobilising with action to achieve legislative change and the setting of the new global standard at the ILO. There remains much to be done, but the power of domestic workers is here to stay.”

Madagascar, Senegal and Spain are expected to join the list of countries which have ratified the ILO Convention, with Oman planning to extend rights and protections. Similar steps are expected in Bahrain, a country not usually noted for respecting workers’ rights. Draft domestic workers’ laws have been developed in India and Indonesia, and alliances of domestic workers, their unions and other allies are pressing for adoption of these laws by 2018.

The ITUC’s 12 + 12 campaign and the International Domestic Workers’ Federation have been driving forces for the campaign internationally, with national coalitions pushing successfully for legal reform and the organisation of domestic workers.

www.ituc-csi.org/five-years-of-progress-for

Speak up about stress in UK’s Men’s Health Week #MHW2016

Men’s Health Week, which runs from 13-19 June 2016 is putting the spotlight on stress. Stress is a normal part of life but if not regularly released and tackled early it can lead to more serious problems, including high blood pressure and sometimes even angina like symptoms of chest pain.

Heart Research UK are supporting Men’s Health Forum by encouraging men to talk about stress, what causes it and seeking support from friends, family, and managers or a health professional to try beat it.

http://heartresearch.org.uk/latest-news/healthy-tip/speak-about-stress-mens-health-week-mhw2016/

The Robots are coming…

Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, technological change has brought both opportunities and risks. However, the widespread entry of computing technology into the workplace in the 1980s, and in particular the arrival of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, has profoundly affected society and the economy. This ‘digitalisation’ has already changed the nature of work: today’s offices look markedly different from their counterparts in the 1980s. Banking services, travel, retail – have all changed, with knock-on effects for employment and working conditions. And, with no signs of events slowing, more profound change may be on the way.

A 2014 study from think-tank Bruegel estimates that over the next 20 years, more than 50% of the EU workforce will be at risk of having their job at least partly replaced through automation. The authors expect that key technological advances (in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobile robotics) will affect mainly the low-wage, low-skill sectors that traditionally were immune from automation. The potential pressure on employment can be glimpsed anecdotally in the example of global fashion retailer Zara, with technology that is readily available today. The company has attached radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to its clothing; using handheld devices to point at the tags on racks, ‘10 staff members can now update a store’s inventory in a couple of hours – work that used to take 40 employees more than five hours’. Meanwhile, across Europe, employers and unions are concerned about the challenge that smartphone care service Uber potentially poses to fair competition for other businesses in the sector and about the erosion of working conditions for drivers.

This is the context of change against which Eurofound will host its Foundation Seminar Series (FSS), which this year focuses on the impact of digitalisation on work. With the subtitle ‘Building up national agendas for better implementation of digital changes’, the 2016 FSS follows the model of previous events, bringing together representatives of social partners and governments to debate the issue of digitalisation in a highly interactive, workshop-based atmosphere – one conducive to mutual learning and sharing understanding of a rapidly evolving situation.

Participants gathered at Eurofound’s premises for the first session of the invitation-only event. In addition to gaining an understanding of the current state-of-play of digitalisation both across the EU and in a selected number of Member States, participants will share experiences of the challenges of digitalisation – for companies and sectors; for work organisation; for skills; for the employment relationship; for working conditions; for how public services are designed and delivered, and what that means for the relationship between service providers and service users.

And of prime importance to the FSS, given the makeup of its participants, will be an exploration of the role that social dialogue can play in implementing digital and technological change in such a way that the benefits are maximised for citizens, workers, employers and governments. These discussions will then form the basis for ongoing work to be explored in greater depth in the second session of the seminar – to be held in Berlin in October.

More information: www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/eurofound/blog_posts/a-glimpse-into-the-future-charting-the-impact-of-digitalisation-on-work-46344

Countdown to World Day against Child Labour 2016

The focus of the 2016 World Day against Child Labour, on 12 June 2016, will be on child labour and supply chains.

End child labour in supply chains – It’s everyone’s business! Join the ILO Global Campaign to raise your voice against child labour and call for action to end child labour in supply chains!

Global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children. Yet a lot remains to be done! Today more than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work.

With 168 million children still in child labour, all supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, run the risk that child labour may be present. Enterprises need to be vigilant to ensure that their supply chains are free from child labour or risk having their reputations ruined and their business seriously damaged.

The World Day is an opportunity to shine a light on what can be done to keep child labour out of supply chains.

More information: www.ilo.org/addisababa/media-centre/pr/WCMS_480803/lang--en/index.htm

2000 fewer deaths every year in EU due to measures against carcinogens

Every year, more than one hundred thousand people die in Europe as a result of working with carcinogens. For the Netherlands, this was reason enough to make the subject one of the priorities during its Presidency of the European Council.

At the start of a three-day European conference in Amsterdam on work-related cancer, minister Lodewijk Asscher expressed his pleasure at the steps taken by the European Commission in relation to this matter. Earlier this month, the European Commission announced a proposal for thirteen new protective thresholds.

Euro Commissioner Thyssen: “Cancer has an enormous impact on workers, their families, industry and society. With this proposal we will save 100,000 lives in the next 50 years. Protection of workers is at the core of the Commission’s commitment to a strong social Europe.”

Several businesses comply with legislation concerning carcinogens. Others might need help with this. That is why today, at the initiative of the Netherlands, the ‘Roadmap on Carcinogens’ has been launched. The Roadmap is a voluntary action scheme that provides for the exchange of good practices, at enhancing knowledge among businesses about exposure to carcinogens, and how this can be reduced effectively. The action scheme will run until the Austrian presidency in 2019. It will assist employers and employees, especially those in small and medium-sized enterprises, as they develop measures designed to ensure that the new thresholds will be adhered to.

At the end of the conference, the six Roadmap initiators took an important first step towards the signing of a covenant. They are the European employer and employee organisations, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the European Commission, and the governments of Austria and the Netherlands. They are committed to keeping the prevention of work-related cancer as a priority on the agenda until at least 2019.

The Netherlands Focal Point for Safety and Health at Work will actively contribute towards the Roadmap, both in the Netherlands and beyond.

More information: https://www.arboineuropa.nl/en/current/news/2000-fewer-deaths-every-year-eu-due-to-measures-against-carcinogens

British Telecommunications PLC fined £600,000 after workers injured

British Telecommunications PLC has been fined after two of its employees were seriously injured in falls from height.

Teesside Crown Court in the UK heard how two British Telecommunications (BT) Open Reach engineers had been given a job at BT’s Darlington Automatic Telephone Exchange.

One of the engineers was installing a cable through a hole on the first floor along a ceiling level cable tray to the Main Distribution Frame (MDF) on the ground floor. In order to carry out this work he was working on a stepladder in amongst the lighting system. He felt a pain in his right arm and fell from the step ladder. He was taken to hospital with head and back injuries.

The accident was not properly investigated and later that day the work was allowed to continue. The second engineer continued with the work himself, from a different ladder. However he too fell to the ground and was taken to hospital with serious skull and back injuries.

More information: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/british-telecommunications-plc-fined-600000-after-workers-injured

Time to get rid of asbestos, says TUC

It is time to get rid of asbestos for good, the TUC has said. Britain’s biggest industrial killer, responsible for thousands of cancer deaths every year, “can still be found in around half a million non-domestic premises and probably around a million domestic ones”, the union body says.

The TUC says the official line that asbestos is best left where it is, managed and undisturbed, isn’t realistic. “It is extremely unlikely that asbestos is never going to be disturbed if it is left in place for decades. There can be few cupboards, boilers, wall panels and pipes that have had no work done on them since the 1970s, when asbestos use was at its peak,” it notes. “There is therefore considerable doubt that most of the asbestos that is to be found in buildings is going to lie undisturbed for the next 20 years, let alone the next hundred… So long as asbestos is present there is a risk.” The TUC has published a new guide for workplace representatives on how to negotiate “to get rid of this killer dust once and for all.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-752-28-may-2016#1

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.

More information: http://niva.org

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.

Main topics: Characteristics of ENM; Exposure to ENM; Health effects of ENM; Risk assessment of ENM; Risk management of ENM.

More information: https://niva.org/occupational-health-and-safety-courses

Prospect calls for tighter regulation of drones

A UK union has called for tighter regulation of drones to avert a potential disaster. A position paper from Prospect, which has 5,000 members working in aviation safety, has highlighted the risks of the increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones.

The union says the risks are not fully understood, “but will become real when the commercial use of drones becomes widespread.” It wants the government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to protect the public with comprehensive regulation of this emerging industry.

The position paper prepared by Prospect’s Aviation Group details members’ concerns and calls for a review of drone regulation. The union says the government has said its Modern Transport Bill will encourage the economic development of the drone industry through ‘light touch’ regulation. “Prospect believes this will not be adequate and puts commercial interests before public safety,” the union said.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-753-4-june-2016#_Toc452621087

USA: Report exposes brutality of slaughterhouse jobs

The meat and poultry industry in the US remains exceptionally dangerous, despite a decline in reported injuries and illnesses over the past 10 years, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report notes that working conditions in the industry have not improved substantially since the GAO examined the industry in 2005, with under-reporting of injuries a major problem.

Workers in poultry and meat processing plants “continue to face the hazardous conditions the GAO cited in 2005, including tasks associated with musculoskeletal disorders, exposure to chemicals and pathogens and traumatic injuries from machines and tools,” it says. Line speed is a huge problem in these plants where poultry workers typically handle 30 or more turkeys and 100 or more chickens a minute. The GAO also reports that injuries included in official records cover only those for which workers took time off. This means they fail to account for many of the musculoskeletal disorders that are widespread throughout the industry.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-753-4-june-2016#_Toc452621099

EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 – Active Substance(s) Approval(s)

The following active substance(s) have been evaluated under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR):

They will be approved for use in biocidal products placed on the EU market, on 1 October 2016. Biocidal products containing these active substance(s) will therefore need to obtain EU BPR authorisation if they are to remain on the market.

All affected companies are reminded that they must apply for UK product authorisation by 1 October 2016 in order to keep their biocidal products on the UK market after the active substance approval date, 1 October 2016. Please note if your biocidal product contains more than one active substance the date by which you have to apply for product authorisation will be the date the last active substance in the product is approved.

If no application for product authorisation in the UK is made by 1 October 2016 for a biocidal product containing these active substance(s), the biocidal product shall no longer be made available on the UK market after 30 March 2017. Disposal and use of existing stocks of the biocidal product may continue until 1 October 2017. If the biocidal product has approval under the UK Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) its approval will be revoked.

Guidance for applying for product authorisation in the UK can be found in our EU BPR product authorisation section of the HSE biocides website. Guidance is also available there on the transitional arrangements for existing biocidal products on the UK market including products currently regulated under the COPR, which are effected by the approval of the above active substance(s).

The full Union list of approved biocidal active substances, including links to the approval decisions and assessment reports can be found on the ECHA website.

http://echa.europa.eu