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News from around the World

News Archive

December 2016

HSE invites leaders in health & safety and HR to the Stress Summit 2017 in London

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress Summit 2017 is set to take place in London on Thursday 16 March 2017, sign up to attend now.

Half a million workers across Britain are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Forty two percent of self-reported cases were new in 2015/16 (Labour Force Survey). In every workplace, the employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people they employ. The ethos of health and safety legislation is prevention – stopping a person being injured or made unwell by their work makes better financial sense for the employer.

Estimates of how much work-related stress costs Great Britain each year range from £3 billion to £100 billion. Basic costs of the 11.7 million working days lost may account for the lower estimate. But if you start to add up the costs of lost production (including the reduced productivity) to those in work who may experience physical symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, the cost of replacement staff and the medical treatment for sufferers, you can see how the bill starts to mount up.

There is a hierarchy of steps for tackling risks that can’t be avoided. They need to be assessed and dealt with initially by ‘combating the risks at source’. HSE developed the Management Standards (MS) approach which allows an employer to assess the risk to employees from work-related stress.

If you would like to hear more about what you can do to prevent work-related stress and make a difference for your employees, you can sign up to The Stress Summit 2017.

UK Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) presents the Complete Worker Health Solutions

Healthy, stress free and productive workers are good for business

We’ve made great progress in improving workplace safety, but that’s only part of the story. Evidence shows that taking an approach to worker protection that integrates employee health and wellbeing offers the greatest benefits both to the individual and to the organisation. The secret to successfully implementing Complete Worker Health solutions is knowing where to start. HSL makes this easy for you.

Know your issues and prioritise actions

Managing health at work need be no more challenging or costly than managing safety. Uniquely, HSL can provide everything you need to embed effective and integrated Complete Worker Health at the heart of your health and safety management system:

More information: www.hsl.gov.uk/complete-worker-health-solutions

Pakistan: Shipbreaking workers demand jobs and safety

Unions are demanding the deadly Gadani shipyard in Pakistan be reopened, with appropriate safety measures, because so many livelihoods depend on it. The Pakistani government closed the Gadani shipbreaking yard after the blast on 1 November 2016. Two weeks after the explosion and fire at the yard, 28 workers had been confirmed dead and a further 60 workers injured, most in a critical condition.

Many others are feared missing, with at least 20 families having approached Pakistan’s National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) regarding a missing family member. It is uncertain how many of the informally employed workers were on the ship at the time of the explosion, as there are no records. Unions say instead of closing the yard, the government should ensure it operates safely and should provide compensation to those affected by the disaster.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-777-19-november-2016#_Toc467228748

UCATT calls for ‘humane’ action on extreme weather

UK Construction union UCATT is calling on the industry to introduce ‘long overdue’ health and safety guidelines on work in extreme weather. The union says construction “is blighted by the inhumanity of the industry towards the workers”. It adds working in hostile weather conditions for up to 12 hours at a time is unacceptable, noting: “The majority of the British population wouldn’t let a dog suffer such conditions – so why a building worker?”

UCATT has written to the chief executive of the National House Building Council (NHBC), Mike Quinton, calling on the NHBC to introduce clear rules for construction workers operating in extreme weather. It says the NHBC publishes equivalent guidance dealing with building materials. “The NHBC makes it clear mortar should not be used below 2 degrees Celsius, whilst construction workers should put their gloves on, get out there and suffer,” the union notes.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-777-19-november-2016#_Toc467228730

UK pilots welcome Euro drones plan

Pilots have welcomed the announcement of improvements to European Union civil aviation safety rules to address the emerging risks posed by drones. The rules were amended and approved by the European Parliament’s transport and tourism committee last week, and will introduce EU-level requirements for drones, to ensure safety and privacy.

Both pilots’ union BALPA and Prospect, the union for air traffic controllers, have called for tighter regulation of drones to avert a potential disaster. The draft European regulation sets out essential safety requirements for unmanned aircraft design, production, maintenance and operation, parts and control equipment as well as personnel and organisations involved.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-777-19-november-2016#_Toc467228733

Global: Electronics industry urged to act on chemical safety

How far the production standards developed by the electronics industry fall short of expectations set by experts in occupational health and safety have been exposed by two key international campaign groups. The GoodElectronics Network and the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (IRCT) this week launched an online Chemical Challenge Gap Analysis to chronicle the shortfall.

The effort was initiated amid concerns that exposure to toxic substances linked to increased rates of cancer, reproductive damage, birth defects and other serious illnesses, is increasing for workers on the electronics assembly lines. GoodElectronics and ICRT say the companies responsible are secretive about the chemicals and toxins their electronics workers are exposed to at work. They plan to use the new tool in discussions early next year with EICC – an industry coalition advocating electronics supply chain responsibility.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-2016/tuc-risks-777-19-november-2016#_Toc467228747

ECHA proposes nine substances for authorisation

Nine substances of very high concern (SVHCs) are recommended to be added to the REACH Authorisation List. They have been prioritised from the Candidate List because of their high volume and widespread uses, which may pose a threat to human health, or may be used to replace other substances already on the Authorisation List.

ECHA’s seventh recommendation to prioritise substances of very high concern for authorisation to the European Commission includes nine substances that are toxic for reproduction.

ECHA organised a public consultation on the draft recommendation between November 2015 and February 2016. The Member State Committee (MSC) considered the comments received and adopted its opinion on 13 September 2016.

ECHA took into account the comments and registration updates as well as the MSC’s opinion when deciding on the substances now recommended to be added to the REACH Authorisation List (Annex XIV) and for proposing the related latest application and sunset dates.

Two substances were left out from the final recommendation due to a change in their priority after the public consultation. ECHA also took account of the substantial number of substances previously recommended for which the Commission still needs to decide on their inclusion in Annex XIV. These two substances (Hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA) and Methylhexahydrophthalic anhydride (MHHPA)) will be reconsidered in the future recommendation rounds together with all other substances in the Candidate List.

The final decision on the inclusion of the substances in the Authorisation List and on the dates by which companies will need to apply for authorisation to ECHA will be taken by the European Commission in collaboration with the Member States and the European Parliament.

More information: https://echa.europa.eu/-/echa-proposes-nine-substances-for-authorisation

Course: Fire Risk Assessment and Management

9 January 2017 - 17 March 2017. A ten-week course delivered by e-learning

With this distance learning course you will gain knowledge of risk assessment concepts, techniques and the data required for an evaluation of fire risk in most buildings/facilities.

Course Outline:

The course is directed by Dr David Charters.

Further details: http://fire.leeds.ac.uk/msc/mtp/newsletter/fram_2017.html

Course: Gas, Vapour and Dust Explosion Hazards, Protection, Mitigation and Prediction

20-24 March 2017

This course is suitable for engineers and scientists involved in both the offshore sector and the onshore chemical process and nuclear industries.

Course Outline:

The course is directed by Professor Gordon Andrews and Dr Roth Phylaktou.

Further details: https://engineering.leeds.ac.uk/short-course/20131/School_of_Civil_Engineering/24

New partnership with India to beat antibiotic resistance

A £13 million Newton Bhabha research programme to help combat anti-microbial resistance (AMR) has been announced between the UK Research Councils (RCs) and India’s Department for Biotechnology (DBT).

The announcement was made by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, during a visit to New Delhi to mark a £13 million collaborative investment in research between the UK and India.

The visit coincides with the launch of the RCUK-DBT UK-India Strategic Group on AMR, which will agree priority areas for RCUK-India research in AMR and develop collaborative approaches across research disciplines to tackle AMR.

Further information: www.mrc.ac.uk/news/browse/new-partnership-with-india-to-beat-antibiotic-resistance