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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

November 2016

  1. US CSB Investigators Deploying to Fire at ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, LA
  2. London Fire Brigade (LFB) 150 years – The 29th anniversary of the King’s Cross fire
  3. Course: Measurement of Hazardous Substance Exposures
  4. Break the silence: Join the campaign for an International Labour Convention to stop gender-based violence in the world of work
  5. UK HSE Biocides News
  6. Fewer firefighters means less prevention and more deaths
  7. Health and safety Executive (HSE) Business Plan 2016/17
  8. Event: Improving Our Nation’s Flood Resilience – Protecting communities against increasingly severe flooding
  9. Ship detained for mistreating crew
  10. Six-figure settlements for asbestos cancers
  11. Fracking linked to cancer-causing chemicals
  12. Fire losses in the USA
  13. Firefighter injuries in the USA
  14. Safety prosecutions of directors treble in a year
  15. China: Coal mine confirms 33 dead after blast
  16. Event: Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar – Next steps for health and safety policy
  17. Europe: Commission challenged over approval for toxin
  18. Pakistan: Horror death blast in Gadani shipbreaking yard
  19. More than 100 countries now require graphic picture warnings on cigarette packs – UK goes further by requiring plain standardised packaging
  20. USA EPA Proposes to add Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
  21. 1.3 million UK workers suffer from work-related illness, HSE statistics show
  22. High rates of smoking among people with serious mental health conditions
  23. Event: Advances in Process Automation and Control 2017: New challenges, new technologies, new solutions
  24. Number of people working night shifts up by more than 250,000 since 2011, new TUC analysis reveals
  25. Event: 2017 ASTM Johnson Conference
  26. Fire chiefs warn people to stop smoking or risk dying in a fire
  27. Workplace stress drives cardiovascular disease
  28. Occupational Safety and Health Economics Workshop, with researchers from Canada and the USA

US CSB Investigators Deploying to Fire at ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, LA

On 23 November 2016, a three person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that injured six workers – including four critically – on Tuesday, November 22 at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

According to initial inquiries, flammable vapours were released during unplanned maintenance around a pump. Although there was no explosion, the release ignited and caused a large fire.

“The CSB has investigated too many incidents at refineries across the country,” said Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland. “As an agency, we continue to be concerned about the safety of oil and gas workers and their surrounding communities. The management of risk is an important part of any high hazard operation.”

More information:

London Fire Brigade (LFB) 150 years – The 29th anniversary of the King’s Cross fire

As LFB celebrates its 150th anniversary it is looking back at some of the most significant and some of the more unusual incidents that have taken place since it was formed in 1866.

On 18 November 1987, the worst fire in the history of the London Underground claimed the lives of 31 people, including a senior ranked firefighter, and seriously injured many more at King’s Cross station.

More than 150 firefighters and 30 fire engines tackled the blaze, which is thought to have started around 7:25 pm, when a lit match fell through a gap on a wooden escalator and set fire to the grease and litter beneath the steps.

Although small to begin with, described by one firefighter as “about the size of a large cardboard box”, the flames heated the framework and decking of the Piccadilly line escalator, pre-heating the rest of the wooden staircase before bursting into flames.

More information:

Course: Measurement of Hazardous Substance Exposures

14 December 2016, UK Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)

Exposure to hazardous substances is a major cause of work related ill health. HSE estimates that there are around 13,000 deaths each year from work-related lung disease and cancer caused by past exposure, primarily to chemicals and dusts, at work. Many more people are disabled, or have their quality of life impaired, through workplace exposures to dusts and chemicals.

This course is designed to give health and safety professionals a clear view of how exposure measurement can help them better understand and control the health risks posed by hazardous substances.

The course is suitable for anyone with responsibility for managing the health risks posed by hazardous substances in the workplace.

More information:

Break the silence: Join the campaign for an International Labour Convention to stop gender-based violence in the world of work

On 25 November 2016, United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) invites you to join its global campaign for zero tolerance of gender-based violence in the world of work.

Violence, and in particular violence against women, remains one of the most under-reported, yet destructive features of our world of work today. It costs lives and livelihoods. It destroys workers and families. It harms the reputation of businesses and costs billions to the economy.

Gender-based violence (GBV) in the world of work keeps women trapped in poverty, robs women of their autonomy and collective voice at work and prevents women workers building power.

BUT there is still no international standard that outlaws gender-based violence in the world of work.

GBV in the world of work reflects continuing gender discrimination and inequalities in society. For the large part, our workplaces remain segregated and women are still paid less than men in every country of the world, even when doing work of equal value. A majority of the world’s female workforce is in non-standard forms of employment, often low-paid, insecure or informal. The glass ceiling may have a few cracks in it, but it is far from being shattered.

Let’s work together for zero tolerance. Join the GBV campaign and stand with us in our call for an ILO Convention to stop violence and harassment in the world of work.

More information:

UK HSE Biocides News

EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 – Active Substance Approval

The active substances in the first table below have been evaluated under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) and will be approved for use on the EU market on the dates shown.

Biocidal products containing these active substances will need to obtain EU BPR authorisation if they are to remain on the market.

All affected companies must apply for UK product authorisation by the active substance approval dates (shown in the table) in order to keep their biocidal products on the UK market. 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 the approval dates, the biocidal product shall no longer be made available on the UK market after the dates indicated in the 3rd column. Disposal and use of existing stocks of the biocidal product may continue until dates indicated in the 4th column. If the biocidal product has approval under the UK Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) its approval will be revoked.

Active substances

The actives substances in the table below were previously evaluated under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR). This is a reminder that they will be approved for use on the EU market on the dates shown and the advice above the previous table also applies to these actives:

Actives substances

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 affected by the approval of the above active substance.

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.

Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – New features in biocides IT tools

The biocides submission tool (R4BP 3) has been updated to support new features for Union authorisation and authorisation of same biocidal products. The tool for creating summaries of product characteristics (SPC Editor) now supports the creation of a biocidal product family with sub-families. For more information see ECHA News item.

Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – Practical advice on authorisation for same biocidal products

The Practical Guide on the Biocidal Products Regulation (Practical guide) has a new section on applying for authorisation for same biocidal products. The guide explains how you can now go from wider to narrower authorisation for identical products (for example, from Union to national authorisation). At the same time, the entire guide has been updated. A new web page also explains the options available. An updated regulation on the authorisation of same biocidal products entered into force on 1 November 2016 (see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1802 of 11 October 2016 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 414/2013 specifying a procedure for the authorisation of same biocidal products in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Text with EEA relevance)). For more information see ECHA News item.

Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – List of successful notifiers of active substances new to the review programme now available

A list of those substance and product-type combinations for which a compliant notification for inclusion in the review programme has been made is now available (New combinations of substances/product-types in the Review programme). The list also includes the names of the notifying companies to help them collaborate to submit an application for approval of the active substance, and help avoid unnecessary testing on animals. The active substance and product-type combinations will be added to the Article 95 list (Active substances and suppliers) when the complete substance dossier is submitted and validated.

Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – Public consultation on potential candidates for substitution

Under the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR), if the evaluating Competent Authority concludes in its evaluation that an active substance meets the criteria for substitution of Article 10 (1) of EU BPR, before submitting its opinion to the Commission on the approval or renewal of the approval of an active substance, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will make publicly available information on the active substances identified as potential candidates for substitution.

ECHA has launched public consultations on:

The deadline for providing information is 3 January 2017. The information received, if not confidential, will be published during these public consultations. Please respond direct to ECHA and not to HSE.

When the consultation period is over, ECHA will process the information received and will take account of the information when finalising the opinion on the above substances in the Biocidal Products Committee (BPC).

Further information on active substances that are candidates for substitution can be found on ECHA’s website.

Further information about the BPC can be found on ECHA’s website.

Classification and labelling – Registry of Intentions

ECHA (at the request of the Commission) or Member States may prepare dossiers for the identification of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and dossiers proposing restrictions (Annex XV of REACH). Dossiers proposing harmonised classification and labelling of substances may be prepared by Member State Competent Authorities and manufacturers, importers or downstream users.

The aim of the public Registry of Intentions (RoI) is to make interested parties aware of the substances for which a CLH, SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern), or restriction dossier is intended to be submitted. This therefore gives the interested parties time to prepare for commenting later in the respective process. It also avoids duplication of work and encourages cooperation between potential dossier submitters.

The following intentions have been published:

Fewer firefighters means less prevention and more deaths

A dramatic decline in the amount of fire prevention work that fire and rescue services perform is putting lives at risk, UK Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said. The union warning came as new government figures revealed that 10,000 firefighter jobs have been axed in England over the last seven years. The latest ‘Fire Operational Statistics Bulletin’, also exposed a sharp drop in home fire checks, with fire and rescue services also spending less time on public safety campaigns and initiatives. The Home Office figures reveal 10 per cent (4,300) of staff have left the fire and rescue service in the past year.

The average age of a firefighter has increased to 41 as the number of young firefighters has been slashed by 40 per cent. The FBU said the new figures show fire prevention exercises such as home safety checks, which have long been credited for reducing fire deaths and casualties, have been reduced by a quarter over the past five years. Fire and rescue services are also spending 13 per cent less time on public safety campaigns and initiatives. The union said the figures are worrying because the number of fire deaths has ‘rocketed’ by 15 per cent in the past year – the single biggest percentage increase in 20 years.

More information:

Health and safety Executive (HSE) Business Plan 2016/17

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

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

HSE is committed to:

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

Event: Improving Our Nation’s Flood Resilience – Protecting communities against increasingly severe flooding

Thursday, 19 January 2017, Central London

Flooding causes an average of £1.4 billion in damage a year in the UK, with one in six properties classified as ‘at risk’ currently. Over recent years areas such as Somerset, Cumbria and Yorkshire have been particularly besieged by extreme flooding, devastating homes, livelihoods and businesses and bringing misery to the lives of thousands. Entire communities, overwhelmed by record rainfall and river levels, have been left without power and have had to endure a protracted process of recovery in the knowledge that there is a non-negligible chance of such ruination reoccurring in the near future.

In response, the Government has enacted a number of measures aimed at ensuring that communities are protected against increasingly extreme weather. In March 2016, the former Chancellor George Osborne pledged an extra £700 million in flood defence funding, augmenting the £2.7 billion investment outlined in the UK Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, published in the same month. This five year strategy seeks to deliver over 1500 projects designed to minimise the risk of flooding and coastal erosion throughout the UK and, as a consequence, better protect 300,000 homes. In September 2016 the Government furthermore commissioned the National Flood Resilience Review committing an additional £12.5 million into temporary flood defences and other incident report equipment. This review moreover outlined agreements reached between the Government, relevant utilities and regulators for water and telecoms sectors to develop and implement plans to improve resilience to flooding, steps already undertaken by the electricity supply industry.

There is an offer a 20% early registration discount off the standard delegate rates for all bookings received by 16th December 2016.

More information:

Ship detained for mistreating crew

A sub-standard ship detained by UK port authorities has had its detention extended after officials discovered it was mistreating its Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian crew, withholding pay and requiring workers to buy their own protective equipment. The Malta-registered Svetlana was inspected by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyors in Cardiff, who issued the new detainable deficiency notice after it was discovered the crew had not been paid for many months.

More information:

Six-figure settlements for asbestos cancers

The union Unite has secured two six figure settlements after members developed the aggressive asbestos cancer mesothelioma. In the first case, an unidentified member from Middlesbrough was awarded £180,000. The 73-year-old was employed by a chemical manufacturer between 1957 and 1972, first as a messenger boy, before starting an apprenticeship which led to him becoming a maintenance worker. He was never provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) or warned about the dangers of working with asbestos. An x-ray and a CT scan found that a build-up of fluid was causing pressure on his lungs, and further tests confirmed that he had developed the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

More information:

Fracking linked to cancer-causing chemicals

Hydraulic fracturing could result in exposures to a wide range of cancer causing substances and many more that have been inadequately tested, a new analysis by Yale School of Public Health has found. The research team, publishing their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment, said the potentially carcinogenic chemical cocktail used in ‘fracking’ has the potential to contaminate air and water in nearby communities. They highlighted the increased cancer risk to children in neighbourhoods adjacent to fracking sites, noting in the US “millions of people living within one mile of a fracking site.”

More information:

Fire losses in the USA

The US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has published its annual report for 2015 into national fire losses, showing a significant increase in the number of fires to which public fire services responded (up 3.7% from 2014, to over 1 340 000 fires/year).

A US fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds. In total, some 3 280 civilians were killed by fires in the USA in 2015 and 15 700 were injured in fires. The number of building fires in the USA fell considerably from 1977 (peak high) to 1998, but since then has not fallen (1.5% increase in 2015). Residential structure fires also increased in 2015 (to 388 000) whereas the resulting number of deaths decreased 6.7%. Highway vehicle fires increased 3.9% to 174 000. Property loss caused by fires (to which fire services responded) was estimated at over 14 billion US$ in 2015, of which over 10 billion US$ in non wildland fires (up 4.4% from 2014).

NFPA Journal September 2016 and report “Fire Loss in the United States during 2015”, H. Haynes, NFPA, Sept. 2016

Firefighter injuries in the USA

Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that increase their risk of on-the-job death and injury. NFPA estimates that 68,085 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2015. An estimated 29,130 (42.8%) of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations.

Each year, NFPA studies firefighter deaths and injuries to provide national statistics on their frequency, extent and characteristics. A better understanding of how these fatalities, nonfatal injuries and illnesses occur can ultimately help identify corrective action, and in turn could help minimize the inherent risks.

More information:

Safety prosecutions of directors treble in a year

The number of UK company directors prosecuted for health and safety offences has more than trebled in a year. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that 46 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted by HSE in the year to 31 March 2016, compared to 15 in the previous year. Law firm Clyde & Co, which obtained the statistics from HSE, points out that the number of employees prosecuted has fallen, with just one individual employee prosecuted by the HSE in 2015/16, compared to 10 in the previous year.

More information:

China: Coal mine confirms 33 dead after blast

All 33 miners trapped in a coal mine in China by an explosion on 31 October have been found dead, state media has reported. Rescuers worked round the clock for more than two days to reach the miners in the Jinshangou mine in the south-west Chongqing region. Two miners escaped the blast. Local authorities ordered an investigation into the incident and instructed smaller coal mines in the region to close temporarily.

More information:

Event: Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar – Next steps for health and safety policy

Tuesday, 28 February 2017, Central London

This conference will bring together key policymakers with stakeholders to assess the future of the UK’s health and safety framework.

It will be a timely opportunity to discuss the likely impact of the Brexit vote on the future of the UK’s health and safety regime, looking in particular at:

Delegates will also consider the Health and Safety Executive’s recently released five year strategy – Helping Great Britain work well – which sets out wide-ranging measures to further improve Great Britain’s health and safety track record.

The agenda includes a keynote contribution from Philip White, Head of Operational Strategy, Health and Safety Executive.

More information:

Europe: Commission challenged over approval for toxin

The European Commission is facing a new legal challenge on its decision to authorise the use in paint of a chemicals that are neurotoxic and carcinogenic. ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), The International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), are questioning the legality of a Commission decision that permits Dominion Colour Corporation to supply red and yellow lead chromate pigments in the EU. The use of these toxic paint components has been abandoned for decades in many EU countries. The legal challenge points out that many paint companies have been using safer alternatives for years. CEPE, the trade body representing the European paints industry, had opposed the authorisation of the pigments.

More information:

Pakistan: Horror death blast in Gadani shipbreaking yard

At least 16 workers have been killed and more than 50 injured after a huge blast on 1 November ripped through an oil tanker being broken for scrap in a Gadani shipbreaking yard, trapping many workers inside the vessel. “We have recovered at least 16 bodies so far and shifted 55 injured to Karachi,” Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the deputy commissioner of the area, said. “All the injured had severe burns,” he added. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority and the National Disaster Management Authority along with rescue teams from the navy, fire brigade and other welfare organisations participated in the rescue operation.

More information:

More than 100 countries now require graphic picture warnings on cigarette packs – UK goes further by requiring plain standardised packaging

An international report released recently by the Canadian Cancer Society shows that 105 countries and territories require picture health warnings on cigarette packages. This significant milestone in global public health will reduce smoking and save lives.

The UK is ranked 14th for its warning size of 65% of the front and back surface (along with all other EU countries) and is also one of five countries to pass laws for plain, standardised packaging. The others are Australia, France Ireland and Hungary. A further 13 countries are working towards implementing legislation.

The report – Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report – ranks 205 countries and territories on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages, and lists countries and territories that require graphic picture warnings.

More information:

USA EPA Proposes to add Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)

EPA is proposing to add a nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) category to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals. This proposal, if finalized, would expand the scope of chemicals subject to reporting and provide communities with more complete information on toxic chemical releases.

NPEs are nonionic surfactants used in adhesives, wetting agents, emulsifiers, stabilizers, dispersants, defoamers, cleaners, paints, and coatings. The widespread use of NPE surfactants has resulted in their release to surface waters.

EPA believes NPEs meet the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act Section 313 environmental effects listing criterion due to their toxicity to aquatic organisms. EPA will accept comments for 60 days from the date the proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register.

For more information on the proposed rule and the TRI Program, visit

1.3 million UK workers suffer from work-related illness, HSE statistics show

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual new statistics 2015/16 have recently been published. Using information from the Labour Force Survey, RIDDOR reporting, HSE cost model, death certificates and HSE enforcement data, the report pulls together key facts about illness and injuries as follows:

Key figures for Great Britain (2015/16):

More information:

High rates of smoking among people with serious mental health conditions

For the first time, local authorities across England will be able to see the shockingly high rates of smoking among people with serious mental illness compared to the general population in their areas. In some parts of the country more than half of people with a serious mental illness smoke – nearly three times the rate of the general population.

The Local Tobacco Profiles, managed by Public Health England, show a range of indicators on tobacco use including by socio-economic group, rates of smoking among pregnant women, and smoking attributable hospital admissions. Now, in addition, Public Health England has mapped smoking prevalence by serious mental illness to the local profiles.

In England as a whole, 40.5% of adults with a serious mental illness are smokers which is more than twice the rate of the general population (16.9%). Rates vary across the country and in some local authorities smoking rates among people with serious mental illness are over 50%. These include: Kingston-upon-Hull (52.3%), Southampton (51.3%) and Manchester (51.1%). Some of the lowest rates can be found in Harrow (27.2%), Redbridge (30.4%) and Barnet (30.8%) although even here the rates are nearly twice as high as the average adult population.

Although smoking in the general population has declined steadily since the 1970’s it has remained stubbornly high among those with mental health conditions.

People with mental health conditions are just as likely as the general population to want to quit smoking but are not getting the support they need. A report published by ASH earlier this year set out recommendations for how smoking rates could be dramatically reduced over the next few years.

More information:

Event: Advances in Process Automation and Control 2017: New challenges, new technologies, new solutions

12-14 June 2017, Birmingham, UK

Call for papers now open.

The discipline of process control and automation has seen many changes over the years, with the advent of new technologies, industrial practices and legislation. Today we recognise those changes as all being components of the industrial internet of things (IIoT).

Whilst much attention and energy is being paid to the underpinning technologies, the more interesting and challenging question is how the process industries will change and what the role of automation will become. Many commentators talk about being on the verge of a fourth industrial revolution – a change as profound as electrification or computers. Automation will be at the heart of this change, and information and data will drive it, but it won’t be automation in the form that we know it today.

This conference will examine the technologies that underpin the IIoT, and will explore the implication of the fourth industrial revolution for the process industries that we serve. The event will encourage the cross fertilisation of ideas, expertise and technologies by bringing together the researchers from our strong academic base, practitioners with in-depth experience of the traditional process control sectors, and representatives from new domains of application and manufacturing sectors.

The need and opportunity to learn from others, develop and nurture our professional networks and embrace novel techniques, technologies and practices has never been more relevant.

Register now to qualify for early bird rates:

Number of people working night shifts up by more than 250,000 since 2011, new TUC analysis reveals

As the clocks go back to mark the beginning of British Winter time, the TUC is today (Saturday) urging people to spare a thought for the millions of UK workers who regularly work through the night.

New analysis published by the TUC shows that the number of people who work night shifts increased by 275,000 (9%) between 2011 and 2016 to 3,135,000.

Britain’s large army of night-workers now accounts for one in eight (12%) employees.

Women are fuelling the growth in night work

It used to be that most night-workers were men working in manufacturing plants but this has changed drastically. In 2016 one in seven male employees (14%) were night-workers, compared to one in 11 (9%) female employees.

However, women account for more than two-thirds (69%) of the growth in night-working over the past five years.

Between 2011 and 2016 the number of women regularly doing night work increased by 190,000, while for men it increased by 86,000.

More information:

Event: 2017 ASTM Johnson Conference

31 July - 4 August 2017, Davis Center at University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA

Detection, reporting, risk assessment, and regulation of asbestos and other fibrous minerals is as relevant today as when the first Johnson Conference was held. Abstracts that deal with these topics on a regional, national, or international level are solicited for the 2017 Johnson Conference.

Presentation topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

More information:

Fire chiefs warn people to stop smoking or risk dying in a fire

“For the first time ever we’re telling smokers to quit, or risk dying in a fire”

This stark warning comes as London Fire Brigade releases new London figures showing that a comparison between 2014/15 and 2015/16 highlighted a 25 per cent increase in smoking related fires and a 55 per cent increase in the number of people who died in those fires.

Smoking continues to be the largest cause of fatal fires and the third largest cause of accidental fires in the home.

Around four fires a day are linked to smoking, with around three people a week being injured. In London alone, on average at least one person every month is killed by a smoking related fire.

The Brigade’s figures show that in London:

More information:

Workplace stress drives cardiovascular disease

Economic globalisation may create stressful employment conditions in high-income countries, contributing to the worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a study has found.

Peter Schnall and Marnie Dobson from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Paul Landsbergis from the State University of New York (SUNY) say their study pulls together a robust body of evidence documenting the effect of the work environment, including psychosocial job stressors.

“We conclude from more than 30 years of epidemiological research that CVD is a disease of modern industrial society and not the natural result of aging,” said Schnall, who is with UCI’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) and a clinical professor of medicine and public health. “It is related to forms of production that emerged with industrialisation and that have expanded with economic globalisation: long work hours, repetitive work, high demands, lack of control, long hours, and job insecurity.”

Dobson, an assistant adjunct professor at COEH, added: “Global economic policies and the rise of the new flexible labour market have caused an increase in precarious employment in advanced industrialised countries. These work stressors in turn contribute to CVD risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.”

More information:

Occupational Safety and Health Economics Workshop, with researchers from Canada and the USA

In early September 2016, researchers from Canada and the US convened a workshop in Montreal to analyze current and emerging issues in the economics of worker safety and health, and to formulate potential collaborative research aiming to improve and standardize economic metrics of worker injury and illness, including metrics of the under-recognized burden for workers and their families, employers, and society. Workshop participants included economists from NIOSH, the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), the Institute for Work and Health (Canada), and Universities across Canada. Road safety experts from these organizations also participated. IRSST is a research institute that conducts and funds research activities aimed at eliminating risks to worker health and safety and at promoting worker rehabilitation. The Institute for Worker Health is also a research organization and its mission is to protect and improve the health of working people by providing useful, relevant research. The workshop was co-sponsored by IRSST and NIOSH and hosted by IRSST.

NIOSH and IRSST developed a partnership and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in December of 2014. The two Institutes work collaboratively to advance the protection of workers and promote best practices to improve occupational safety and health in all work environments. The recent workshop was part of NIOSH and IRSST efforts to leverage resources, address global occupational safety and health (OSH) issues, and improve the health of workers globally.

Work is an important determinant of health. To understand how to protect and improve worker safety, health, and well-being, we need to better understand the exposures and risks workers face. This, in turn, helps to identify opportunities for research leading to early and effective interventions. Estimates of the burden of worker injury and illness are key to understanding the exposures and risks, and ultimately the injuries, illnesses, and reductions in quality of life and well-being that workers suffer. Estimates of burden include human and economic costs and can be used to prioritize research and prevention.

Surveillance and epidemiology derive traditional metrics of burden that include rates and cases of injury and illness. Economic metrics build on these traditional metrics. For example, medical costs and productivity losses can be estimated for the cases of different types of injuries and illnesses. In addition to medical costs and productivity losses, economic metrics include costs expressed as reductions in quality of life and well-being. Therefore, economists can provide important and additional information that improves the ability to prioritize needs for research and intervention. This is critical for focusing budgets in the public and private sectors on research and interventions that will have the greatest impact in keeping working men and women safe and healthy.

In addition, emerging issues that include the aging workforce and the increasing prevalence of non-standard employment arrangements, pose new challenges in consistently estimating the burden of both traditional and new exposures and risks. Collaborative exchanges among researchers improve scientific knowledge and practice, ultimately reducing the burden suffered by workers, employers, and society.

More information: