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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

January 2017

Wishing all our Readers a very Happy, Safe and Healthy 2017

  1. Labour Inspection of Occupational Safety and Health Training course
  2. Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. Manufacturing Companies
  3. ILO welcomes five-year action plan to increase investments in the global health workforce
  4. Four new substances of very high concern added to the Candidate List
  5. UK Medical Research Council (MRC) supports preprints
  6. “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” by Dr John Howard, US NIOSH Director
  7. Malaria infection depends on number of parasites, not number of mosquito bites
  8. Event: Excelling in Health & Safety Culture and Leadership – The Way Forward
  9. Event: Engineering Structures under Fire & Blast – 2-Day Course
  10. Event: 2-Day Expert Hazard Awareness Course
  11. Event: Response of Buildings to Explosions Caused by Industrial Accidents
  12. Event: ASFE 2017 – Applications of Structural Fire Engineering
  13. EU proposals on health and safety regulation
  14. News Briefs
  15. US Workplace Injuries Cost Over $1 Billion A Week
  16. Offshore workers fearful for their safety
  17. Low levels of manganese cause neurological problems
  18. Japan: Ad agency boss resigns over overwork suicide
  19. US NIOSH experts join Vice President Biden on Cancer Moonshot
  20. MMWR articles feature NIOSH research
  21. USA: Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update
  22. ISO Nano Working Group Update
  23. Asbestos in soil and made ground – Good practice site guide
  24. Canada: Major Union Victory with Asbestos Ban
  25. Citizens and experts to get more information on nanomaterials
  26. Older-Driver Safety Awareness Week in the USA
  27. New NIOSH Infographic: Keep Workers Safe on the Road
  28. UK Minister helps launch HSE’s Health and Work Strategy
  29. Gulf Countries and Forced Labour
  30. UK TUC hits out at “disappointing” plans to tackle corporate misbehaviour
  31. New kitchen fashion is a killer
  32. UK Inspection blitz finds small sites are safety ‘basket cases’
  33. Hundreds flock to join Uber action
  34. Airline pilot wins major legal victory on fatigue
  35. Pilot fatigue ‘not taken seriously’ by airlines
  36. Event: ACI’s LPG Europe Summit 2017
  37. New UK cross-industry commitment agreed to tackle silica dust

Labour Inspection of Occupational Safety and Health Training course

20-31 March 2017 – International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin, Italy

The objective of this course is to improve the performance of labour inspectors concerned with OSH in participating countries by equipping participants with the skills and tools required for conducting effective and efficient OSH inspections based on the ILO standards, ILO principles and fundamentals on OSH, as well as selected good practices on OSH inspections.

Contact: ILO, Turin, Italy | Tel: +39 011 6936576 | Email: |

Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. Manufacturing Companies

You may have seen water bottles labelled “BPA Free” or heard that certain foods contain BPA. BPA (or bisphenol A) has been in the news over the past several years. BPA is weakly estrogenic; that is, BPA may mimic some of the hormone-like effects of estrogen. BPA is used primarily in making polycarbonate plastic and some epoxy resins. The general population is exposed to BPA mainly through diet. Trace levels of BPA may be present in food or beverages in contact with polycarbonate containers or epoxy resins coatings on the inside of cans. As a result, BPA has been detected in the urine of over 92% of the general population. But what about the exposures of people who work with BPA? The few studies that have measured worker exposure to BPA have focused mainly on cashiers handling point-of-sale thermal receipt paper coated with BPA and workers in Chinese factories. No published data were available on the BPA exposure of workers in U.S. factories.

Full article:

ILO welcomes five-year action plan to increase investments in the global health workforce

“Investments in health employment are not a cost. They are a driver of inclusive growth and decent work,” said ILO Deputy Director-General Gilbert Houngbo in his opening remarks to the High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

The two-day meeting, convened by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on 14 and 15 December 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, gathered more than 150 participants to develop game-changing ideas for how investments in the global health workforce can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting concluded with a five-year action plan, an inter-sectoral joint programme of work across the ILO, WHO and the OECD, setting out ways to support member states as they implement the recommendations of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

Twelve ministers, several ambassadors, health experts, representatives of health workers and employers, and many other key stakeholders based their discussion on a new five-year action plan, which the ILO, WHO and OECD had developed for consultation.

Full article:

Four new substances of very high concern added to the Candidate List

The Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) for authorisation now contains 173 substances.

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has added four new SVHCs to the Candidate List based on proposals by France, Sweden, Germany and Austria, following the SVHC identification process with involvement of the Member State Committee.

More information:

UK Medical Research Council (MRC) supports preprints

The MRC requires that the results of the research it funds are published, ideally in peer-reviewed journals; also that all such articles, whether published in an open access or subscription-based journal, must be archived in Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) and made freely available as soon as possible, and in any event within six months of the first on-line publication.

However, MRC is now also actively encouraging researchers to share their pre-peer reviewed manuscripts via established preprint servers. To this end, MRC are allowing researchers to cite preprints in their grant and fellowship applications. This will come into effect with applications received after 1 April 2017.

A preprint is a complete scientific manuscript (often one also being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal) that is uploaded by the authors to a preprint repository or service (e.g. bioRxiv, PeerJ Preprints, arXiv, SocArXiv or PsyArXiv), without formal review.

More information:

“Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” by Dr John Howard, US NIOSH Director

A recent article by John Howard, MD, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” describes the potential managerial, legal, and health and safety challenges associated with nonstandard work arrangements.

The article is summarized on the NIOSH Science Blog:

Malaria infection depends on number of parasites, not number of mosquito bites

The findings, from scientists at the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, may also explain why the only registered malaria vaccine, RTS,S, has had only partial efficacy in recent trials. Malaria is spread when mosquitoes bite humans and release microscopic parasites, which live in the salivary glands of the mosquitoes, into the person’s bloodstream.

The parasites then travel to the liver, where they mature and multiply for 8-30 days before spreading throughout the bloodstream and causing the symptoms of malaria.

Not every infectious mosquito bite will result in malaria. To determine the intensity of malaria transmission, researchers and international organisations like the World Health Organisation currently rely on a measure called the entomological inoculation rate (EIR): the average number of potentially infectious mosquito bites per person per year.

However, this does not take into account how infectious each of those bites may be – each bite is considered equally infectious. Previous studies using needle-injected parasites have suggested this may not be the case, but there have been no comprehensive studies using biting mosquitoes, which more accurately reflect real-world scenarios.

Now, in a study funded by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Medical Research Council, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, researchers have determined that the number of parasites each individual mosquito carries influences whether a person will develop malaria. Some mosquitoes can be ‘hyperinfected’, making them particularly likely to pass on the disease.

Full article:

Event: Excelling in Health & Safety Culture and Leadership – The Way Forward

29 March 2017 – London (etc. venues Marble Arch)

The UK Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) have undertaken research in the field of health and safety leadership, which identifies it as requiring a distinct set of competencies. Drawing on HSL’s expertise as psychologists and human factors experts, this event will help you develop your understanding of these competencies. Coupled with an understanding of what excellent health and safety culture looks like, this event will help you in driving a consistent approach to health and safety leadership within your business.

More information:

Event: Engineering Structures under Fire & Blast – 2-Day Course

30 January 2017 – Zurich, Switzerland

Further information about this course:

Event: 2-Day Expert Hazard Awareness Course

DNVGL’s 2 day expert course aims to provide delegates with an understanding of the potential effects and consequences of hydrocarbon releases in the oil and gas industry. Attendees will develop their understanding of dispersion, fires and explosions through a series of classroom sessions, discussions and live practical demonstrations including:

This course will be held on the following dates:

The course is accredited by the IChemE and counts for 9.5 hours of continued professional development.

Further information:

Event: Response of Buildings to Explosions Caused by Industrial Accidents

8 March 2017 – Aberdeen, UK

9 March 2017 – London, UK

This FABIG Technical Meeting will be a full-day event taking place between 10.30 and 17.00. This Technical Meeting is organised in partnership with the consortium of the EU-RFCS funded research project BASIS (Blast Actions on Buildings in Steel) and the results of this project will be presented during this full-day event.

About the BASIS research project:

The objective BASIS is to develop a better understanding of blast loading on medium rise buildings and the performance of such buildings when subjected to blast. The project also developed simplified structural dynamic analysis tools for building components and whole buildings. Explosion tests were performed to quantify the distribution of blast loads on a building and the explosion response of sub-assemblies (frame/cladding interaction, connections and floor systems). Static tests were used to study the effect of damage on a composite floor’s ability to contribute to the building’s stability. Numerical models, validated against the test data, were used to study global collapse behaviour and structural retrofitting possibilities leading to design guidelines.

More information:

Event: ASFE 2017 – Applications of Structural Fire Engineering

7 September 2017 – Manchester, UK

ASFE ‘17 – Applications of Structural Fire Engineering will be a 2-day international conference. It is the next in a series of successful conferences aiming to bring together experts and specialists in design against fire from all over the world to share ideas and to acquire knowledge in the field of structural fire engineering.

For additional information on the event, visit the ASFE 2017 website.

EU proposals on health and safety regulation

This is a TUC briefing on the communication by the European Commission on their proposals for occupational health and safety following the review of all directives

Full article:

News Briefs

ETSC welcomes mandatory vehicle safety technologies, but calls for more

The European Transport Safety Council has welcomed an announcement from the European Commission about new safety technologies for vehicles, but has called for further action to be taken.

Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways

Learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways before passing their driving test, under new plans set out by Transport Minister Andrew Jones.

Missing out on one or two hours’ sleep doubles crash risk

Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period almost double their risk of a crash, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

US Workplace Injuries Cost Over $1 Billion A Week

U.S. businesses spend $60 billion dollars annually on serious disabling workplace injuries according to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.

The top 10 injuries account for 83% of these costs.

More information:

Offshore workers fearful for their safety

Almost 60 per cent of offshore workers fear for their health and safety and say that standards have dropped in the past six months, according to a new report from Unite. The union’s survey found 58.5 per cent of offshore employees said there had been a drop in standards in the last six months, 38.2 per cent said they had remained the same and just 3.2 per cent said they had improved. The fear of victimisation for reporting an incident was reported by 38.5 per cent and 82.5 per cent said there had been a reduction of skilled personnel, which had created issues around productivity and the ability to perform various tasks. Unite is now calling for a confidential whistleblowing helpline where offshore workers can raise their concerns – an idea that 86.9 per cent of workers support.

More information:

Low levels of manganese cause neurological problems

Welders exposed to airborne manganese at levels below official occupational safety limits exhibit neurological problems similar to Parkinson’s disease, a study has warned. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis found the more they are exposed to manganese-containing welding fumes, the faster the workers’ signs and symptoms worsen.

“We found that chronic exposure to manganese-containing welding fumes is associated with progressive neurological symptoms such as slow movement and difficulty speaking,” said Brad A Racette, a professor of neurology and the study’s senior author. “The more exposure you have to welding fumes, the more quickly those symptoms progress over time.” Commenting on the findings, published online in the journal Neurology, he said: “This is the first study that shows clinically relevant health effects that are occurring at estimated exposures that are an order of magnitude lower than the OSHA limit.”

More information:

Japan: Ad agency boss resigns over overwork suicide

Tadashi Ishii, the president and chief executive of the advertising agency Dentsu, is to resign in the wake of an employee suicide. The move came several weeks after a labour standards inspection office ruled that 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi killed herself as a result of the pressures she faced working for Dentsu, one of the world’s largest advertising firms. The resulting scandal has damaged Dentsu’s reputation and brought scrutiny from labour standards authorities and prosecutors.

More information:

US NIOSH experts join Vice President Biden on Cancer Moonshot

On 13 December 2016, US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) experts joined Vice President Joe Biden to provide expertise and input to the Cancer Moonshot project. This bold initiative seeks to end cancer as we know it by advancing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

NIOSH’s work with first responders, including 9/11 responders, prompted the invitation to meet with Vice President Biden. Participants discussed how to share assets and experience that could help achieve the Cancer Moonshot.

More information:

MMWR articles feature NIOSH research

US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers authored two MMWR articles in December 2016:

USA: Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Eye Protection Recommendations Provided to a Steel Building Materials Manufacturer

HHE Program investigators measured visible and ultraviolet light levels above safe limits for unprotected eyes during plasma arc cutting. We recommended the company modify the welding curtain to further reduce or eliminate accidental viewing of the plasma arc and recommended employees wear specific shades of welding eye protection depending on the plasma arc cutting task and amperages.

More information:

ISO Nano Working Group Update

US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers Eileen Kuempel, PhD, and Vladimir Murashov, PhD, were primary authors and co-chairs of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group, which released ISO/TR 18637:2016, Nanotechnologies – Overview of available frameworks for the development of occupational exposure limits and bands for nano-objects and their aggregates and agglomerates (NOAAs), on 21 November 2016.

Asbestos in soil and made ground – Good practice site guide

This site guide from CIRIA gives advice to all site workers who may come into contact with, or are required to manage, soils that have the potential to contain asbestos (e.g. groundworks/earthworks contractors, ground investigation contractors/supervisors, consultants, waste handlers). It provides a framework to help minimise the potential health risks and associated liabilities when asbestos-containing soils (ACS) are encountered on site. It also focuses on practical management of ACS in field conditions and builds on the guidance CIR7371 which sets out the risk assessment process and risk management framework for asbestos in soils.

Asbestos in soil and made ground good practice site guide by P. Studds and M. Bell
CIRIA; ISBN: 9780860177807; Available January 2017

Canada: Major Union Victory with Asbestos Ban

In a major victory for Canada’s trade union movement, the Trudeau government today announced a ban on the import, export, manufacture and use of asbestos. While Canada banned asbestos in 2012, imports of asbestos-containing products have been increasing over the past five years, and some asbestos-containing products have also been exported from Canada.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “we congratulate the Canadian trade union movement for this success, and the government’s move will increase pressure on other countries which still have not implemented a ban. Tens of millions of people are exposed to asbestos, and all governments need to act as Canada now has to stem the appalling toll of death and disease.”

More information:

Citizens and experts to get more information on nanomaterials

Better access to relevant and understandable information about nanomaterials both for European citizens and experts. That is the main goal of an agreement signed between ECHA and the Commission on the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials.

The signing of the delegation agreement marks the formal kick-off for ECHA to start working on the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EU-ON).

The information sources for the observatory will include data generated by various pieces of EU legislation regulating the safe use of nanomaterials (e.g. REACH, biocides, cosmetics), from national inventories, research projects, and market studies. By that, it will bring added value not only to European citizens but also to policy makers, industry, NGOs and workers. In its first phase, the observatory will only collect information that is already available and not generate any new data.

More information:

Older-Driver Safety Awareness Week in the USA

US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Motor Vehicle Safety observed Older-Driver Safety Awareness Week, 5-9 December 2016, hosted by the American Occupational Therapy Association. The campaign aims were to promote understanding of the importance of older adults’ mobility and transportation.

Follow @NIOSH_MVSafety for tips throughout the week, and learn what employers can do PDF Document to develop safety and health programs that consider older drivers’ needs.

New NIOSH Infographic: Keep Workers Safe on the Road

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety recently released an infographic that answers the question “Why does workplace motor vehicle safety matter?” It covers the human and economic impact of work-related crashes, information enabling HR or safety professionals to make a business case for a motor vehicle safety program in the workplace. The infographic is available for download. PDF Document

UK Minister helps launch HSE’s Health and Work Strategy

The Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP on Thursday, 15 December 2016 pledged her support for a new strategy for health in Britain’s workplaces.

The Heath and Work strategy engagement is launched at a time when stress and musculoskeletal disorders account for around 80 percent of all working time lost due to illness.

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that is opening the conversation and publishing the strategy show around 12,000 deaths each year from occupational lung diseases, accounting for 90 percent of estimated deaths related to past exposures at work.

Last year, work related illness affected around 1.3 million workers and nearly 26 million working days were lost because of it. The economic costs are stark – totalling over £9 billion per year for new cases alone – not including ongoing costs from working conditions of the past.

With an increasing emphasis on health issues in recent years, it is estimated that a quarter of all HSE enforcement notices issued to dutyholders concern issues around health in the workplace.

The HSE event, held at Nova Victoria construction site near Victoria Station, will allow Britain’s safety regulator to highlight the strategy’s key points.

It will also encourage stakeholders representing employers, employees, professional/expert bodies and colleagues in Government, to engage on the strategy through digital webinars, email bulletins and social media.

An online page has been developed, allowing stakeholders and public to view and download the strategy, and to post views and comments as part of the engagement process to provide information about their own contributions to improving health at work.

The announcement illustrates HSE’s contribution to wider Government initiatives on work and health and the Minister will be supported by HSE Chair, Martin Temple and Clive Johnson, Chair of Health in Construction Leadership Group and the Safety, Health and Environment Director at Land Securities who operate the site.

The audience heard that HSE plays a key role in keeping the country’s workforce working well providing practical expertise in occupational health issues, and experience of today’s workplace environments to deliver preventative interventions, guidance and enforcement action for industries as diverse as agriculture, construction and offshore energy.

The audience heard that a big part of HSE’s work to drive improvements in these areas is engaging with people, businesses and other organisations to ensure they help make a positive change.

To join the engagement on the Health and Work strategy please follow this link:

Gulf Countries and Forced Labour

International Trade Union Confederation ITUC reports that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will enter into discussions on compliance with international conventions on forced labour as part of global efforts to combat modern slavery are a welcome signal that the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region may finally move to bring their repressive labour systems into the modern age. The reports emerged from a GCC meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the weekend.

Gulf countries have some of the worst employment laws in the world, with millions of migrant workers denied the right to form and join unions and “sponsorship” systems that tie workers to their employer and in some countries, such as Qatar, require employer approval to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. Foreign workers will still require exist visas under the labour law “reforms” announced by Qatar, which is re-naming its kafala system but retaining the worst aspects of a legal system that denies the most fundamental rights to migrants. Other countries in the region also use the kafala system, leaving workers completely at the mercy of their employers. Thousands of foreign workers remain stranded in Saudi Arabia, with their wages unpaid and having to ask their home governments to help them return home.

More information:

UK TUC hits out at “disappointing” plans to tackle corporate misbehaviour

Commenting on the recent Green Paper on corporate governance, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This is not what Theresa May promised. Today’s proposals are disappointing and will not do enough to shake-up corporate Britain.

“We need the voice of elected workers in the boardroom, rather than on advisory panels.

“The Prime Minister vowed to govern for working people. She should let them have a say where it really matters.”

More information:

New kitchen fashion is a killer

“Stone” worktops in kitchens are becoming very fashionable in Britain, yet how many people know that they are killing the workers who make or install them? TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said he was made aware of the problem last month when he met with a lung consultant, who “mentioned that half of all lung transplants in Israel are due to work with engineered stone.”

It turned out almost all of the “stone”, “quartz” or “marble” kitchen worktops and tiles that are becoming popular are in fact ‘engineered’, which means they are made from pieces of ground stone and resin.

Writing in the TUC’s Stronger Unions blog, Robertson sad when engineered stone is being made and worked on, it “produces a lot of very small silica particles. Workers who inhale these are at risk of silicosis which is an incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. They can also get lung cancer.”

More information:

UK Inspection blitz finds small sites are safety ‘basket cases’

Small construction sites are health and safety ‘basket cases’ with half not meeting minimum legal standards, UCATT has said. The construction union was speaking out after a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chief executive to the regulator’s 7 December 2016 board meeting spelled out the extent of the problem. This recorded that an ‘intensive inspection initiative’ by HSE involved 1,840 visits to small refurbishment sites in June/July and October/November this year.

The HSE inspectors found that 49 per cent of sites did not meet safety standards. They issued 741 legally-binding enforcement notices and 1,059 notices of contravention. The report noted: “In common with previous initiatives, inspectors had to deal with a number of immediate risks, especially poorly managed work at height, and also significant health risks where workers were exposed to asbestos and dusts, particularly silica and wood dust.”

More information:

Hundreds flock to join Uber action

Hundreds of Uber drivers have joined GMB’s legal case against cab firm, with proceeding already issued in 50 cases, the union has said. Law firm Leigh Day, working with GMB to assess the claims, predicts thousands of drivers could potentially join the group action. The legal moves follow an historic ruling in the London Central Employment Tribunal in October which found that a group of Uber drivers were not self-employed but were workers. It means Uber drivers are entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and at least the National Minimum Wage (Risks 775).

Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: “We are delighted so many hundreds of drivers have contacted us and we are working as fast as we can to get them ready to issue proceedings. We will have the next large group ready to go early in the new year.”

More information:

An airline captain has accepted an apology from an airline after being sanctioned for refusing to fly due to fatigue, as well as assurances that the company remains committed to passenger safety. Captain Mike Simkins, a member of the pilots’ union BALPA, was suspended by Thomas Cook Airlines for six months and threatened with dismissal after refusing to fly his Boeing 767 with over 200 passengers while he was fatigued. With support from the union, the pilot took the case to an employment tribunal which unanimously found in his favour and against the airline.

Simkins took the difficult decision not to fly after three extremely early starts in a row, including one 18-hour day, and what would have been a 19-hour day to follow. Thomas Cook’s own fatigue monitoring software showed that because of the run of duties he had done, if he had flown his rostered flight he would have landed at the end of his duty with a predicted performance loss that would have been similar to being four times over the legal alcohol limit for flying.

More information:

Pilot fatigue ‘not taken seriously’ by airlines

Half of airline pilots report that fatigue is not taken seriously by airlines, according to the first large-scale survey of pilots’ perceptions of safety within the European aviation industry. The London School of Economics (LSE) study found 51 per cent of pilots surveyed reported that fatigue was not taken seriously by their airline, and 28 per cent of pilots felt that they had insufficient numbers of staff to carry out their work safely. Less than 20 per cent of the pilots surveyed felt that their airline company cares about their well-being.

A total of 7,239 pilots from across European nations participated in the survey, approximately 14 per cent of Europe’s total commercial pilot population. UK pilots’ union BALPA said it is ‘not surprised’ by the findings and that fatigue remain top of their members’ concerns across all types of airlines. BALPA said it is already working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to improve fatigue reporting, particularly following the introduction of flight time limitations in February this year, which can legally allow a pilot to be rostered for shifts of up to 20 hours.

More information:

Event: ACI’s LPG Europe Summit 2017

1-2 March 2017, London, UK

Session Six will provide in-depth discussion on LPG Logistics and Health & Safety issues. Hear comprehensive insights into newest HSE methods in LPG Transportation, domestic uses of LPG and latest technology innovations within the industry.

More information:

New UK cross-industry commitment agreed to tackle silica dust

Industry leaders, academics and safety and health experts committed to a 12-month plan of action to tackle one of the enduring threats to people’s health at work.

Representatives from the construction, rail and mineral products sectors will join trade and health bodies, researchers and regulators in 2017 in raising awareness of, and taking preventative action against, harmful exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS).

RCS, or silica dust, is commonplace in industries that work with rocks, sand and clay, and products such as bricks and concrete, but significant exposure can cause silicosis and lung cancer.

Simple controls can prevent deadly exposure but studies have found that tens of thousands of people are still dying each year worldwide from occupational cancer caused by RCS.

Concerns over the threat and a lack of awareness brought together representatives from industry, academia and the safety and health profession for discussions in London earlier this year, organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Now, participants in those talks have signed a global commitment that will see businesses and hundreds of thousands of working people receive new information and advice on how to protect themselves from exposure to silica dust.

More information: