News from around the World
- UK Annual workplace fatality statistics published
- ASEAN in transformation: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises
- Don’t cut a single worker’s right!
- Event: UK Congress on Reimagining the Emergency Services: From integrated governance to integrated service delivery
- Canada: Asbestos-related cancers cost billions
- ECHA News
- Advice on skin and eye irritation testing helps reduce animal tests
- UK Health & Safety Laboratory, Buxton
- Occupational Health and Safety in small companies in a new video by the EU Commission
- French Report highlights risks to underground sewerage workers
- Report on night work and atypical working times highlights risks to workers
- Innovative workplace safety and health practices and rehabilitation strategies
- USA News from NIOSH
- Event: Work, Stress, and Health Conference 2017: Call for Papers
- A new substance of very high concern added to the Candidate List
- EEF: Health – the key to Productivity? Sickness Absence Survey 2016
- Event: XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2017 – A Global vision of Prevention: Global Forum
- Colombia Peace Deal Heralds End of Five Decades of Conflict, War on Trade Unionists Must Stop
- CIOP-PIB signs Common Declaration
- German Standardization Strategy 2020
- KAN to be represented at the 2016 IEC General Meeting
- NASC & CISRS Success at UK’s Largest H&S Event, Safety & Health Expo 2016
- Event: Health and work in a changing world
- Dossier exposes safety risks of axing UK train guards
- USA Study: Long working hours hurt women most
- Europe: Proposals on endocrine disruptors criticised
- New Zealand: Unions welcome asbestos ban move
- Zimbabwe: No interest in operating asbestos mines
- USA: Stark reminder of dangers of lead exposure for young children
- Event: IOSH 2017
- Reminder: IOSH has launched work cancer event series with BOHS and HSE
- BOHS Statement on EU Referendum Result
UK Annual workplace fatality statistics published
Provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents in Great Britain’s workplaces has been released.
The long term trend has seen the rate of fatalities more than halve over the last 20 years. However, provisional figures indicate that 144 people were killed while at work in 2015/2016 – up from 142 in 2014/5. The Health and Safety Executive has called on all sectors to learn lessons to ensure workers return home safe from work.
The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in key industrial sectors:
- Forty three workers died in construction, the same as the average for the previous five years.
- In agriculture there were 27 deaths (compared to the five-year average of 32).
- In manufacturing there were 27 deaths (compared to five-year average 22), but this figure includes three incidents that resulted in a total of eight deaths.
- There were six fatal injuries to workers in waste and recycling, compared to the five-year average of seven, but subject to considerable yearly fluctuation.
There were also 103 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2015/16, of which 36 (35 percent) related to incidents occurring on railways.
More information: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/annual-workplace-fatality-statistics-published
ASEAN in transformation: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises
This report underlines the challenge before policy makers, enterprises, workers and those that represent them, in navigating the transformative technological changes in Asian labour markets in a way that is socially and economically sustainable. New and advanced developments in technology are transpiring at an increasingly rapid rate. This report explores the technological impacts felt by employers and workers of the ten countries that form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN is a politically and economically diverse region, boasting a population of over 632 million people, a swelling middle class, growing amounts of disposable income and an increasingly educated workforce. Technology presents tremendous potential and challenge for the ASEAN region.
The report presents a detailed analysis of how technology is transforming five key labour-intensive and economically prominent sectors in ASEAN: the automotive and auto parts; electrical and electronics; textiles, clothing and footwear; business process outsourcing; and retail sectors. It also highlights findings from extensive enterprise and student surveys as well as stakeholder interviews conducted in ASEAN and beyond. It is clear that technologies – both current and forthcoming – will increase productivity, render some occupations obsolete and create new ones. The real question lies in whether ASEAN can take advantage of the benefits technology offers and if it can also adequately prepare its workforce.
Further information: www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/actemp/whatwedo/aseanpubs/report2016_r1_techn.htm
Don’t cut a single worker’s right!
After the UK voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the European Union, the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) is warning that the vital rights at work from EU-driven laws must be protected. Prior to the 23 June referendum vote, the TUC had warned that the official Leave campaign had workers’ rights in their crosshairs. The union body pointed out workplace safety, employment rights and working hours protections were all at risk.
The TUC says prominent leave campaigners have called for a halving of regulations derived from EU law, or flexibility in interpreting rights, claiming that British business would benefit from a reduction in “red tape”. But the TUC said: “What they call ‘red tape’ is really rights and protections that are valued by millions of working people. Attempts to cut these rights, or to limit the range of workers they apply to (for example exempting staff of small businesses or temporary workers), would cause great harm to fairness at work and to working people’s living standards.”
The TUC says it is important “to keep a close eye on our MPs as they start to debate what happens to our rights at work, and hold them to account, whether they backed leave or remain. They must not cut or water down any of the rights that working people and their unions fought so hard to win.” It argues it is important to ensure MPs – particularly Conservative MPs – get the message that crucial protections are not up for grabs. The TUC has started an online petition “we will use to show them how many of their own constituents support strong rights at work, and will publish their response. Please sign our petition and let your MP know you’re watching.”
Event: UK Congress on Reimagining the Emergency Services: From integrated governance to integrated service delivery
16 November 2016
The third UK Congress convened by FIRE magazine will bring together all three emergency services to start this discussion with a view to developing a new blueprint for an integrated service delivery model for the emergency services.
Canada: Asbestos-related cancers cost billions
A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on Canadian society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7 billion (£1 billion) per year in Canada, and notes this is probably an under-estimate. The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from work-related asbestos exposure in Canada amounts to an average of Can$ 818,000 (£471,000) per case, according to a team led by health economist and senior scientist Dr Emile Tompa at the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health. The calculations include costs related to health care and lost productivity and the impact on quality of life.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in May the federal government is “moving forward on a ban” on asbestos. It was the first time since taking office in October 2015 he had publicly talked about a potential ban, although he gave no timeline and it was not an official announcement. “We are moving to ban asbestos,” he told a conference of building trades unions on 10 May. “Its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.”
The economic burden numbers are based on newly diagnosed cases in 2011 that were attributable to occupational exposure. The calculation is based on the number of new cases of mesothelioma, a cancer associated almost exclusively with asbestos exposure, for that year, along with estimates on the numbers of new lung cancer cases caused by workplace asbestos. These totalled 2,099 in 2011. The study noted that new cases are likely to grow in the near future due to long latency periods of these diseases and continued exposure.
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Biocides e-Bulletin is focusing on the 1 September 2016 deadline in the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) for treated articles, in-situ generated biocides and biocidal products that are newly within the scope of the EU BPR.
Article 94 of EU Biocides Regulation (EU BPR) allows for treated articles to continue to be placed on the market until the approval for the relevant product type of the active substance(s) in the biocidal product the article was treated with or incorporates.
If the active substance(s)/product type(s) combination is not already within the EU BPR review programme for the relevant product type, then an application for the approval of the active substance(s) for the relevant product-type has to be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) at the latest by 1 September 2016.
Interested parties need to submit a complete active substance dossier to ECHA through R4BP by 1 September 2016.
If an active substance is not supported by 1 September 2016 the treated articles must be removed from the market by 1 March 2017.
In-Situ Generated Biocides newly under the scope of the EU BPR
Article 93 of the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) outlines transitional provisions for biocides that weren’t regulated under the Biocidal Products Directive 98/8/EC (BPD) but are now regulated under the EU BPR. These transitional provisions apply to biocides generated in-situ from ambient precursors (e.g. air, seawater) and generated in-situ from general chemicals where they were not supplied with the intention that they were to be used to generate biocidal active substances.
If the precursor(s)/active substance(s)/product type(s) combination is not already within the EU BPR review programme for the relevant product type, then an application for the approval of the precursor(s)/active substance(s)/product type(s) combination has to be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) at the latest by 1 September 2016.
Interested parties need to submit a complete active substance dossier to ECHA through R4BP by 1 September 2016.
If a precursor(s)/active substance(s)/product type(s) combination isn’t supported by 1 September 2016 that precursor(s)/active substance(s)/product type(s) combination can no longer be used after 1 September 2017.
For further information about the requirements for in-situ generated biocides contact European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
Advice on skin and eye irritation testing helps reduce animal tests
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published advice on using new or revised OECD test guidelines related to serious eye damage/eye irritation and skin corrosion/irritation. Non-animal testing is now the default approach to gather information.
The OECD test guidelines are relevant for many registrants preparing for the 2018 REACH registration deadline. The advice on using the guidelines has been updated taking into account the recent amendments of the REACH annexes, making non-animal test methods the default requirement.
For most substances, the use of the adopted OECD in vitro test guidelines for skin and eye irritation testing will provide results which are accepted under REACH.
Further information: http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/advice-on-skin-and-eye-irritation-testing-helps-reduce-animal-tests
UK Health & Safety Laboratory, Buxton
What makes their health and safety training different to many other course providers is the scientists and safety experts who deliver the training. They are not only trainers; they are specialists working daily in research and incident investigation. Their aim is to ensure all your training needs are met in full.
Full list of training courses: www.hsl.gov.uk/hsl-shop/health-and-safety-training-courses
Occupational Health and Safety in small companies in a new video by the EU Commission
Accidents at work, stress and occupational sicknesses affect workers’ health. They also come at a cost for businesses, especially for small and micro companies.
This video, launched by the EU Commission Audiovisual Services, showcases companies that have developed cost-effective and efficient health and safety management.
Each euro invested in preventing work-related illness produces a return in profits.
Watch the video: https://osha.europa.eu/en/oshnews/occupational-health-and-safety-small-companies-new-video-eu-commision
French Report highlights risks to underground sewerage workers
The French ANSES undertook a campaign of individual measurements and evaluation for sewer workers of the City of Paris, between October 2014 and March 2015. These exploratory measurements show that they may be exposed to a cocktail of chemical and biological agents present in the water and in the air. The measurement campaign found exposures to carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins (CMRs), and identified tasks with higher exposures. In most situations, the concentrations measured for each of the identified compounds, however, are small compared to reference values (limit values for occupational exposure = OEL or toxicological reference values = VTR), which does not guarantee the absence of health effects related to particularly numerous co-exposures, the possible synergies between pollutants, and peak concentration of certain pollutants.
More information: https://osha.europa.eu/en/oshnews/fr-report-highlights-risks-underground-sewerage-workers
Report on night work and atypical working times highlights risks to workers
The French Agency ANSES has been commissioned to assess health risks for workers exposed to atypical working schedules, particularly night work. This expert report highlights proven risks such as sleep disorders and metabolic disorders, and likely risks of carcinogenic nature or cardiovascular disorders and mental health problems among concerned workers.
Workers who work at night are generally subject to more physical strain, greater time pressure (schedules, rhythms constraints, deadlines, etc.), or more frequent tensions with colleagues and the guest public. However, organizational characteristics and conditions of night work may vary, particularly from one sector of activity to another, which can reduce or increase the effects of night work on the health of workers.
More information: https://osha.europa.eu/en/oshnews/fr-report-night-work-and-atypical-working-times-highlights-risks-workers
Innovative workplace safety and health practices and rehabilitation strategies
EU-OSHA analysed workplace practices for safety and health at work, and reviewed the latest literature on rehabilitation and return-to-work strategies, as part of a European Parliament pilot project on the safety and health of older workers.
These reports identify what measures are being taken, and what measures give positive and sustainable results. They also identify barriers to the successful implementation of such measures, and the support needed to overcome these barriers.
More reports on the pilot project will be published later in the year.
More information: https://osha.europa.eu/en/highlights/innovative-workplace-safety-and-health-practices-and-rehabilitation-strategies-all-ages
USA News from NIOSH
NIOSH Communication Product Spotlight
New ePub On Heat Stress Now Available
NIOSH is pleased to announce the availability of its first ePub. This new format is based on the OSHA/NIOSH Infosheet: Protecting Workers From Heat Illness. The epub allows for the document to be downloaded for use on e-readers and mobile devices.
New Factsheet Series Highlights NIOSH Programs
NIOSH has published a series of factsheets called Program Performance One-Pagers designed to provide a snapshot of each of its programs. The factsheets describe the relevance and impact of NIOSH programs in a short and easy to understand format. Each one includes the program’s priorities, major activities, accomplishments, and future plans.
Event: Work, Stress, and Health Conference 2017: Call for Papers
US NIOSH and partners invite submissions to this international conference. The Call for Proposals is now available for the conference, which will take place 7-10 June 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Proposal submissions for papers, posters, symposia, and interactive panels are due 31 October 2016.
For conference updates and upcoming information about registration and hotel accommodations, visit the conference website or the Work, Stress, and Health Conference Facebook page. The conference is co-convened by NIOSH, the American Psychological Association Public Interest Directorate, and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.
A new substance of very high concern added to the Candidate List
The Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) for authorisation now contains 169 substances.
ECHA has added one new SVHC to the Candidate List due to the carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT), and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties of the substance.
Substance included in the Candidate List for authorisation on 20 June 2016: Benzo[def]chrysene (Benzo[a]pyrene)
More information: http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/a-new-substance-of-very-high-concern-added-to-the-candidate-list
EEF: Health – the key to Productivity? Sickness Absence Survey 2016
The UK’s productivity performance matters because it is a key driver of long-term economic growth. The UK’s growth prospects depend on people being fit, working and productive.
The UK’s productivity performance is currently the subject of a major policy debate in which the UK government is expressing concerns about the relative weakness of the economy and, our relative performance compared to competitors.
The EEF – The Manufacturers’ organisation latest report Health – the key to Productivity? Sickness Absence Survey 2016 states that the health of employees is a major factor in an organisation’s competitiveness. Employees in good health can be up to three times more productive than those in poor health; they can experience fewer motivational problems; they are more resilient to change, and they are more likely to be engaged with the priorities of the business. Research shows that once people are off work for six weeks or longer, there is an 80% chance they won’t return to work permanently, which can be a major loss of skills for an employer.
More information: www.eef.org.uk/resources-and-knowledge/research-and-intelligence/industry-reports/sickness-absence-survey-2016-sponsored-by-jelf
Event: XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2017 – A Global vision of Prevention: Global Forum
3-6 September 2017, The Marina Bay Sands – Sands Expo & Convention Center, Singapore
The XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2017 in Singapore will be organised by the Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHD), Singapore Ministry of Manpower, as the national host, in conjunction with the International Labour Organization and the International Social Security Association.
More information: www.safety2017singapore.com
Colombia Peace Deal Heralds End of Five Decades of Conflict, War on Trade Unionists Must Stop
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has welcomed the ceasefire agreement between Colombia’s government and FARC, which heralds the end of more than 50 years of conflict that has cost some 200,000 lives, 80 per cent of them civilians.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Negotiations to consolidate the cease-fire in the lead-up to the ratification plebiscite must be inclusive with a political settlement that is based on full respect for human rights, an economy which delivers decent jobs and crucially, an end the war on trade unionists. Thousands of union leaders have been murdered, simply because they stood up for fundamental rights.
Ending the pervasive targeting of trade unionists and embedding respect for fundamental workers’ rights are essential to a sustainable democracy and economic justice. Colombia is one of the most economically unequal countries in the world. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are the key to tackling inequality, and social dialogue must be at the centre of the process from the beginning. Colombia’s trade unions have been strong advocates for peace throughout the conflict, along with other civil society organisations. They now have a major role to play in consolidating the ceasefire and charting a new direction for the country.”
More information: www.ituc-csi.org/colombia-peace-deal-heralds-end-of
CIOP-PIB signs Common Declaration
On 16 February 2016 CIOP-PIB, the Polish OSH institute, signed the Common Declaration by EUROGIP (France), INRS (France) and KAN (Germany) on standardization policy in the field of occupational safety and health.
The declaration underlines the important preventive role played by standards and the technical requirements they impose upon products. However, since standards are increasingly encroaching into non-technical areas, the CIOP-PIB, EUROGIP, INRS and KAN have, with the support of the social partners, agreed common positions in standardization policy concerning product standardization, the role of new deliverables, the standardization of services, standardization in the area of the safety and health of workers at work, the standardization of management systems, and perspectives for future joint activity in Europe.
Plans are for the Common Declaration to be amended over time to take account of topical developments in prevention, and for the circle of signatories to be extended.
More information: https://www.kan.de/en/help-advice/nachrichten/detailansicht/ciop-pib-joined-eurogip-inrs-and-kan-in-signing-the-common-declaration-on-standardization-policy-in-the-field-of-osh
German Standardization Strategy 2020
DIN calls upon all stakeholders and interested individuals to participate actively in each stage of development of the German Standardization Strategy 2020 (drafting of the concept up until 3 June 2016, committee discussions up until 31 August 2016, stakeholder conference on 27 September 2016).
The German Standardization Strategy was drawn up in 2004 by delegates from industry, government bodies, the research community and standards institutes. Its aim was to strengthen the position of German industry. Standardization has the functions of reducing the need for statutory regulation by providing efficient processes and instruments, and of promoting technical convergence.
In 2009, the strategy was developed further by the inclusion of two new positions. In the face of current developments such as Industry 4.0, it is now appropriate for the strategy to be developed further.
More information: https://www.kan.de/en/help-advice/news/detailansicht-en/german-standardization-strategy-2020
KAN to be represented at the 2016 IEC General Meeting
KAN will be a contributor at the General Meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which is to be held from 10 to 14 October 2016 in Frankfurt.
The motto of the event is “Connecting Communities – Reinvent Standardization”. Besides the IEC committee meetings, the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN And VDE (DKE) will be holding the “Reinvention Laboratory”, which is intended to promote discussion and the pooling of information on standardization.
Together with the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the energy, textile, electrical and media products sectors (BG ETEM), KAN will contribute at the laboratory on the subject of occupational safety and health.
More information: https://www.kan.de/en/help-advice/news/detailansicht-en/kan-to-be-represented-at-the-2016-iec-general-meeting
NASC & CISRS Success at UK’s Largest H&S Event, Safety & Health Expo 2016
The NASC and CISRS have exhibited successfully at the UK’s largest and leading health and safety event – the Safety & Health Expo, held at the prestigious London ExCeL venue, June 21-23 – with their largest ever, 20 m square stand, open on all sides, attracting hundreds of visitors over the packed three-day event.
For the third year in a row for the UK’s leading scaffolding trade body and industry recognised training scheme, the NASC & CISRS stand – with its six metre tall Layher Allround system scaffold centrepiece – was stacked with enquiries on scaffolding regulation, NASC guidance and publications, CISRS CPD courses and inspection training, scaffolder training courses, the introduction of SG4:15, two years of TG20:13 and more from a wealth of industry sources, including construction, health and safety professionals, principal contractors and other attendees.
Delegates visiting the stand received advice, TG20:13 tube & fitting good practice eGuide demonstrations on the 40-inch plasma screen (and portable Android device), discussed the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) forthcoming introduction of CPD training courses and received copies of the latest NASC Yearbook, Safety Report, CISRS CAP 609 general information booklet and inspected the latest NASC guidance, including SG4:15 ‘Preventing Falls in Scaffolding Operations’ and the NASC Scaffold Specification Template (free Guide To Appointing and Managing Scaffold Contractors). And NASC marketing staff were also busy distributing eco “goody bags” with pads, pens and other promotional material to stand visitors.
In addition to NASC’s Safety and Technical Officer, Ken Johnson and Marketing team members, Phil Royle and Francesca Coupland, Operations Director Ian Fyall and Managing Director, Simon Hughes, of leading scaffolding sector training providers, Simian Risk Management, were on hand during the event to offer their expertise to stand visitors, which was widely appreciated.
Event: Health and work in a changing world
5 October 2016, London
The speaker line-up includes key names in health, safety and wellbeing, including:
- Steve Hails, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Director, Thames Tideway Tunnel
- Professor Dame Carol Black DBE, FRCP, FMedSci, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge University
- Kirsty Summerby, Health and Safety Director, Unipart.
Through a range of presentations, case studies and panel discussions, we will cover topics including:
- The government agenda on health and work
- The business case for managing health
- What an ageing workforce means for productivity
- Plus much more.
More information: www.britsafe.org/conference
Dossier exposes safety risks of axing UK train guards
The threat to safety on UK rail services from axing rail guards has been exposed in a new report from the union RMT. Role of the guard – A dossier on the dangers of driver-only operation, highlights ‘a catalogue of incidents’ where safety has been compromised on driver only operation (DOO) services as well as incidents where the presence of the guard has averted potential disaster. The publication coincided with industrial action and protests by the union against plans to introduce driver-only trains.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-756-25-june-2016#_Toc454376569
USA Study: Long working hours hurt women most
Women who put in long hours for the bulk of their careers are at greater risk of life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more over three decades may triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis for women, a 30-year study by researchers from Ohio State University has found.
For men, only arthritis was a likely symptom of too much time spent at work. “For women not only are you busting your butt 50 to 60 hours a week you are also asked to do all kinds of other stressful activities, like raising children, becoming pregnant and roles that require a tremendous effort,” said Allard Dembe, lead author of the study published in the current issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “They work over 60 hours a week for many, many years,” Dembe said.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-756-25-june-2016#_Toc454376572
Europe: Proposals on endocrine disruptors criticised
Groups advocating for greater control over endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) – a range of common substances linked to cancer, reproductive and other adverse health effects – have said European Commission (EC) proposals “will do nothing to protect human health.” The proposed criteria on EDCs were announced on 16 June by EC Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, after three years of intense debate and industry lobbying which stalled progress. The Commission was criticised by the European Court of Justice last year for the delay. The UK-based Alliance for Cancer Prevention said “the disappointment and frustration at the failure of the proposed criteria to offer any protection against EDCs is palpable as they demand an impossibly high burden of proof to link EDCs to adverse human health effects, which means that few EDCs will be banned as a result. Shockingly the core underpinning principle of all EU chemicals legislation, the precautionary principle, has been totally omitted.”
The alliance says over 1,300 studies have linked EDC exposure to cancer, infertility, reproductive disorders, cancer, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, neurological and behavioural defects, and learning difficulties. The EDC Free Europe Coalition also condemned the EC’s failure to propose protective measures and called on member states to “insist on major changes because these proposals will do nothing to protect human health and environment from further harm but instead allows the pesticide and chemical industries to continue using harmful substances to which we are all daily exposed.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-756-25-june-2016#_Toc454376583
New Zealand: Unions welcome asbestos ban move
Unions have welcomed what they say is a long overdue move by the New Zealand government to ban imports of almost all asbestos-containing products.
“Thousands of kiwis have been killed from being exposed to asbestos. We’ve known for a long time how dangerous this material is. It is certainly a relief that the government has finally acted,” said Sam Huggard, secretary of the national union federation CTU. “Almost 200 people die every year as result of exposure to asbestos. It can take as long as 20 years from when people are exposed to asbestos fibres to when they actually get sick, so there hasn’t been the same immediacy to address this hazard as there has been to other dangerous workplace bio-hazards.” However, he criticised a government decision to allow some exemptions to the asbestos ban, which is due to take effect on 1 October. “We are disappointed that the government has not gone as far as they could have and banned, without any exception, all importation. Kiwis will be safer with less asbestos. We are pleased that the changes we have been calling for, have now been, mostly, actioned.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-756-25-june-2016#_Toc454376584
Zimbabwe: No interest in operating asbestos mines
The Zimbabwe government’s hope that asbestos mining could be revived in the country have not been realised because there is little interest in the deadly product. Ministers have supported efforts to secure capital to reopen the troubled Shabanie and Mashaba Mines (SMM), but its efforts have failed to bear fruit.
President Robert Mugabe’s administration has negotiated with several potential foreign investors, mainly from Russia and China, but it now appears all hopes to resuscitate Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane and Gaths Mine in Mashaba have evaporated. The Financial Gazette reports the two asbestos mines, which closed in 2008, require US$ 1 billion in fresh capital to resume operations.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo, earlier this year conceded that efforts to lure investors were being hampered by low global demand for asbestos. “We are not getting investors [for SMM] and it seems to be a big problem largely because the market for asbestos is not looking good,” Moyo said.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-756-25-june-2016#_Toc454376585
USA: Stark reminder of dangers of lead exposure for young children
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of its investigation into the potential health impact that lead contamination in the Flint, Michigan water supply had on the blood lead levels of local children. The findings indicate that when the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River, without appropriate corrosion control measures, young children who drank the water had blood lead levels (BLLs) that were significantly higher than when the source of water was the Detroit water system. After the switch back to the Detroit water system, the percentage of children under 6 years with elevated blood lead levels returned to levels seen before the water switch took place.
“This crisis was entirely preventable, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” said Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. “CDC is committed to continued support for the people of Flint through our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program and efforts to raise awareness and promote action to address the critical public health issue in communities across the country.”
More information: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0624-water-lead.html
Event: IOSH 2017
20-21 November 2017, ICC, Birmingham, UK
Save the date and help IOSH shape the future. Register your interest in attending, speaking and sponsoring IOSH 2017.
Reminder: IOSH has launched work cancer event series with BOHS and HSE
A new UK joint initiative promoting awareness of occupational cancer caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is being shared with IOSH members for the first time.
The institution has teamed up with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to develop a presentation entitled Working together to beat occupational cancer – spotlight on silica which the membership network can access.
It follows the launch by IOSH of new information and materials around RCS earlier this year as part of its No Time to Lose campaign, to help businesses develop prevention strategies to control exposure.
The new joint presentations were delivered to members for the first time at the IOSH Midland Branch meeting on 2 June 2016, at the Hollyfields Centre Club Limited, in Erdington, Birmingham.
More information: https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/IOSH-to-launch-work-cancer-event-series-with-BOHS-and-HSE.aspx
BOHS Statement on EU Referendum Result
BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has pledged to continue to lead on worker health protection, warning against any slackening of pace in efforts to reduce the unacceptable burden of work-related ill health in the UK and internationally, following Britain’s historic referendum vote to leave the European Union.
In a statement, the Society highlighted the enormous death toll associated with occupational health hazards:
- In Britain, every year about 13,000 people die from diseases which were caused by the work that they do, or used to do.
- The vast majority of these deaths are due to cases of work-related lung disease or cancer, caused by past exposure to chemicals and dusts at work.
- Globally, work-related diseases claim an estimated 2 million lives per year.
Steve Perkins, CEO of BOHS, said, “Research proves that occupational health hazards can be controlled, and work-related ill health prevented. In recent years, we as a Society and a nation have made significant strides in raising awareness about the value of worker health protection, through initiatives – such as our Breathe Freely campaign, which aims to prevent occupational lung disease in the construction industry. Despite any political uncertainty, BOHS will continue to show leadership in the sphere of occupational hygiene to guard against any loss of these hard-won gains.”
The Society also pointed out that Britain’s health and safety system is a leading model for worker health protection around the world.
More information: www.bohs.org/bohs-statement-eu-referendum-result