News from around the World
- International Women’s Day – 8 March 2017
- “Working anytime, anywhere”: New ILO-EuroFound report highlights opportunities and challenges of expanding telework
- UK Institute for Apprenticeships – TUC Submission to the Consultation on the Draft Strategic Guidance for the Institute for Apprenticeships Employee voice and social partnership
- HSE cost recovery dispute process to be ‘independent’
- TUC Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 web pages go live!
- Australia: Union warning on asbestos imports
- European: Coalition calls for glyphosate ban
- HSE needs you... Shared Research Programme: Generation of Flammable Mists from High Flashpoint Fluids
- New Health and Safety Laboratory Research Papers published in 2017
- Introducing HSL’s new ‘Centre for Large-Scale Testing and Evaluation’
- News from Canada: Evaluation, Treatment and Return to Work of Workers Suffering from Rotator Cuff Disorders
- Event: Positive psychology at work – Towards flourishing workplaces
- Proceedings of recent FABIG Technical Meeting now available
- EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – ECHA Public consultations on five biocidal active substances as potential candidates for substitution
- Ireland’s road crashes are a leading cause of worker fatalities
- International study finds education does not protect against cognitive decline in later life
- Insecure work up by a quarter since 2011, finds UK TUC
- Explosion on train on 8 February 2017 in London
- Event: Implementing and evaluating organizational interventions – Recent developments
- Event: Process and Fire Incidents Training Course
- Campaign launches to highlight benefits of quitting smoking before surgery
- US CSB Investigators Deploying to Explosion at Packaging Corporation of America plant in DeRidder, Louisiana, USA
- Event: Response of Buildings to Explosions Caused by Industrial Accidents
- Canada: Unions welcome backing for asbestos law
- Europe: Lobbyists fight against workplace cancer protection
- USA: Chemical industry emboldened by Trump’s UN pick
- USA: Trump era dangers for Latino workers
- London Fire Brigade introduces brand new fire engines on London’s streets
- Event: HSL’s Taming Tigers – Safety Excellence in Engineering Master Class
- Brazil: Inter-American court decision a victory in fight against slavery
- Event: Passive Fire Protection Training – Two day course
- Apprentices Toolkit
International Women’s Day – 8 March 2017
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.
The specific values that drive International Women’s Day provide an important parameter for guiding the action, behaviours and ethos associated with this critical and globally-supported day.
The ten International Women’s Day values are:
Learn about the values that underpin and guide IWD’s ethos.
For more information www.internationalwomensday.com/About
See also Plan International UK a children’s charity which strives to advance children’s rights and equality for girls all over the world.
“Working anytime, anywhere”: New ILO-EuroFound report highlights opportunities and challenges of expanding telework
New ILO-Eurofound report shows that the use of modern communication technologies facilitates a better overall work-life balance but, at the same time, also blurs the boundaries between work and personal life.
The expanding use of digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers for work at home and elsewhere is rapidly transforming the traditional model of work. It can improve work-life balance, reduce commuting time, and boost productivity, but it can also potentially result in longer working hours, higher work intensity and work-home interference, according to a new joint ILO-Eurofound report released today.
The new report Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work synthesizes research carried out by both organizations in 15 countries, including ten EU Member States (Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) as well as Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan and the United States. The study identifies several types of employees using new technologies to work outside the employer’s premises, including regular home-based teleworkers, workers performing occasional telework and ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM).
The report highlights a number of positive effects of T/ICTM work, such as greater working time autonomy leading to more flexibility in terms of working time organization, and reduced commuting time resulting in a better overall work-life balance and higher productivity. It also identifies several disadvantages such as a tendency to work longer hours, and an overlap between paid work and personal life – which can lead to high levels of stress. The report draws clear distinctions between home-based teleworkers who seem to enjoy better work-life balance and ‘high-mobile’ workers who are more at risk of negative health and well-being outcomes.
More information: www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_544138/lang--en/index.htm
UK Institute for Apprenticeships – TUC Submission to the Consultation on the Draft Strategic Guidance for the Institute for Apprenticeships Employee voice and social partnership
The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) has welcomed many of the recent reforms undertaken by the government aimed at increasing the number of apprenticeships, driving up employer investment in this type of training, and putting in place measures to improve the quality of apprenticeships. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy and new procurement regulations are positive steps which will do much drive up employer investment and engagement in apprenticeships.
The TUC also welcomed the decision to establish the Institute for Apprenticeships as a national body with a remit for quality and standards and the subsequent decision to extend its remit to cover the reformed technical education system recommended by the panel chaired by Lord Sainsbury.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/learning-and-training/apprenticeships/institute-apprenticeships-tuc-submission
HSE cost recovery dispute process to be ‘independent’
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it is to consult on proposals to make the dispute process for its cost recovery scheme fully independent.
HSE said the scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), was introduced in October 2012 to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses which break the law. It said FFI “ensures the cost burden of HSE intervention is picked up by those companies and not taxpayers.”
Under the scheme, if an HSE inspector identifies serious health and safety failings in the workplace about which they need to write to the dutyholder, then that dutyholder has to pay the costs of the HSE visit. If the inspector simply issues verbal advice there is no charge. If there is disagreement on HSE’s decision, the dutyholder can dispute it.
Until now, disputes were considered by a panel which consisted of two members from HSE and one independent person. However, after reviewing the current process HSE has said it “will consult with relevant stakeholders with a view to making the process fully independent.” The FFI disputes process was due to face a legal challenge, with a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice set for 10 and 11 May 2017. A spokesperson for HSE said: “HSE has always kept the dispute process under review and following a recent application for a judicial review we believe the time is right to move to a dispute process which is completely independent of HSE.”
More information: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2017/hse-to-make-cost-recovery-dispute-process-fully-independent
TUC Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 web pages go live!
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) web pages for Workers’ Memorial Day have gone live. The 28 April event is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK government.
According to the new TUC online resource: “In 2017 the theme for the day is ‘Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are’ and will focus on inequalities in occupational health and the role unions play in narrowing the inequalities gap. The TUC will particularly want to focus on the hidden and new GIG economies, the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and class.” The page includes organising ideas and a listing of planned events around the country – make sure yours isn’t missed off the list.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-788-18-february-2017#_Toc475088613
Australia: Union warning on asbestos imports
A four-pillar plan to fight asbestos importation to Australia has been issued by unions. The move by UNIONS NSW came after revelations that an engineering company with a history of importing asbestos is refusing to remove the illegal building material. In a case filed by RJ Engineering in the Industrial Relations Commission, the company argues it should not be required to remove the asbestos used in the construction of a wind farm in Taralga, New South Wales (NSW).
The company claims it was unaware the building materials contained asbestos. But Unions NSW says this is not the first time the company has imported asbestos. Asbestos was also found in electrical tram substations built by RJ Engineering in Melbourne and Adelaide last year.
More information: See https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-788-18-february-2017#_Toc475088615
European: Coalition calls for glyphosate ban
A broad-based coalition is calling for a Europe-wide ban on the toxic pesticide glyphosate. The chemical, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-Up, the world’s best-selling pesticide, has been linked to cancer and other health effects. Now a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) supported by unions and environmental groups is calling on the European Commission “to propose to member states a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-788-18-february-2017#_Toc475088616
HSE needs you... Shared Research Programme: Generation of Flammable Mists from High Flashpoint Fluids
HSE would like to invite stakeholders to a workshop to discuss a potential HSE Shared Research Project on Generation of Flammable Mists from High Flashpoint Fluids.
“There is a pressing need for clear guidance on mist hazards to allow operators to determine the extent of areas where flammable mists may be present and to select appropriate equipment for use in those areas”.
It is well-known that mists of high-flashpoint fluids such as hydraulic oils, lubricating oils, diesel and heavier fuels can ignite a produce explosions at temperatures below their flashpoints. A review in 2009 identified 37 historical ignition incidents involving flammable mists, including 20 explosions of which nine were collectively responsible for a total of 29 fatalities.
At present, Hazardous Area Classification (HAC) for explosive gas atmospheres is well established. However, although there is a legal requirement to consider flammable mists, the current guidance on mist hazards is limited, brief and largely qualitative.
To address this issue, a project on the formation and mitigation of flammable mists was initiated by HSE in December 2011 and jointly sponsored by 16 industry and regulatory partners. The objective was to develop practical criteria to define the likelihood of flammable mist formation that could be used as part of an area classification exercise.
Although the work undertaken represented a major step forward in understanding this phenomenon, knowledge of flammable mists is still relatively limited in comparison to flammable gases.
HSE would like to invite stakeholders to a workshop to discuss a potential HSE Shared Research Project to address some of the outstanding issues.
These are likely to include:
- The development of an alternative approach to determining the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) for mists in realistic leak scenarios
- A study of the break-up into mists of realistic leaks, to improve the modelling approach
- A study of the practical ignitability of mists from realistic leaks
- A study of detection characteristics of Oil Mist Detectors
- A study of mist explosion over pressures/pressure profiles, in particular for mist ignition inside turbine enclosures
The objective of the workshop will be to identify current knowledge gaps and to formulate the key outstanding research questions.
More information: www.hsl.gov.uk/internal/shared-research-project---flammable-mists
New Health and Safety Laboratory Research Papers published in 2017
A core-monitoring based methodology for predictions of graphite weight loss in AGR moderator bricks. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 2017, 314 56-66 McNally, K., Warren, N., Fahad, M., Hall, G. and Marsden, B.
Atomic spectrometry update – a review of advances in environmental analysis. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2017, 32 (1), 11-57 Butler, O., Cairns, W., Cook, J. and Davidson, C.
Hazard identification – can power engineers learn from the process industries. Loss Prevention Bulletin, 2017, 253 23-26 Clay, M. F.
Managing asbestos-containing materials in the built environment: report of a Health and Safety Executive and Government Office for Science workshop. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 2017, 61 (1), 16-21 Bowen, J., Davies, L., Burdett, G. and Barber, C.
The use of bio-monitoring to assess exposure in the electroplating industry. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2017, 27 (1), 47-55 Beattie, H., Keen, C., Tan, E., Coldwell, M., Morton, J., McAlinden, J. and Smith, P.
Time of flight measurements of unirradiated and irradiated nuclear graphite under cyclic compressive load. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2017, 487 50-67 Bodel, W., Atkin, C. and Marsden, B.
Urinary naphthol as a biomarker of exposure: results from an oral exposure to carbaryl and workers occupationally exposed to naphthalene. Toxics, 2017, 5 (1), 3 Sams, C.
Introducing HSL’s new ‘Centre for Large-Scale Testing and Evaluation’
Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) unrivalled range of fire, impact, blast and bespoke testing facilities can help their clients in the energy sector address health and safety hazards; develop and improve products, or assess the likely impact of real-world incidents.
More than just another ‘test house’, HSL’s UK-based Centre for Large-Scale Testing and Evaluation combines convenience and value for money with world-class facilities and expertise.
HSL provide certification testing to UK and international standards as well as bespoke testing, and has the flexibility to meet your schedules.
More information: www.hsl.gov.uk/large-scale-testing-and-evaluation
News from Canada: Evaluation, Treatment and Return to Work of Workers Suffering from Rotator Cuff Disorders
Musculoskeletal impairments of the shoulder are a major problem among the general population and workers in particular. This type of impairment affects the shoulder’s functional status and the quality of life of the individuals involved, and in the case of workers, sometimes leads to problems of absenteeism or losses of productivity.
Workers who perform tasks with their arms above shoulder height or repetitive tasks are at higher risk of developing shoulder impairment, especially an impairment of the rotator cuff.
The IRSST carried out an extensive literature review regarding several aspects of rotator cuff impairments. The main objective of the review was to summarize the evidence-based data and make recommendations for diagnostic and clinical evaluation tools, therapeutic interventions, and workplace interventions for workers with rotator cuff impairment.
More information: www.irsst.qc.ca/en/headlines/id/446/evaluation-treatment-and-return-to-work-of-workers-suffering-from-rotator-cuff-disorders
Event: Positive psychology at work – Towards flourishing workplaces
28-30 August 2017, Date: Venue: Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavík, Iceland
How to develop workplaces, work tasks and social relationships at work to provide people with best opportunities for self-fulfilment, growth and good performance?
How to enhance individual resources and motivation at workplaces e.g. via leadership so that employees will be creative, innovative, engaged, committed and productive at their work?
More information: https://niva.org/courses
Proceedings of recent FABIG Technical Meeting now available
The proceedings of the recent FABIG Technical Meeting held at the end of 2016 in Australia are now available.
FABIG is pleased to announce that the proceedings of the recent Australian Technical Meeting which covered “Engineering Fire & Explosion Risk Mitigation” and was held at the end of November 2016 are now available to FABIG Members on the FABIG website.
More information: www.fabig.com/news/show/476
EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR) – ECHA Public consultations on five biocidal active substances as 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.
Public consultations have been launched by ECHA for the following five active substances: Azoxystrobin, Chlorophene, d-Allethrin, esbiothrin/ d-trans-allethrin 75/25 and PHMB (1415; 4.7).
These consultations are open until 10 April 2017. The information received, if not confidential, will be published during these public consultations. Please respond direct to ECHA and not to HSE.
More information: https://echa.europa.eu/addressing-chemicals-of-concern/biocidal-products-regulation/public-consultation-on-potential-candidates-for-substitution
Ireland’s road crashes are a leading cause of worker fatalities
The Health and Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority have launched a new TV-led campaign that highlights the dangers involved in driving for work to both employers and employees.
If an employee is driving for work it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they are fully qualified, capable and enabled to carry out this work task safely.
The advert is shown from the employers view point in the aftermath of a collision, involving an employee, while driving for work. The employers express their regret, sorrow and guilt for not having managed employee risks correctly.
The core message is simple, if you are driving for work, you’re at work!
Employers are legally required to put safe systems of work in place that support safe driving for work. If not, there could be serious consequences for employers and employees and other road users.
More information: www.hsa.ie/eng/News_Events_Media/News/News_and_Articles/New_Campaign_Highlights_Employer_Responsibility_to_Employees_who_drive_for_work.html
International study finds education does not protect against cognitive decline in later life
A European-wide study published 22 February 2017 in the journal Neuroepidemiology has found that whilst older people with a higher level of education have better memory function, it does not protect them from cognitive decline as they age.
In one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on education and cognitive decline to date, researchers at University College London (UCL) and funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Alzheimer’s Society, explored changes in memory and cognitive performance over an eight-year period in over 11,000 Europeans aged 65 and over from 10 different countries.
The participants were tested at first entry into the study, referred to as baseline, and then again at two-year intervals. Participants were asked to recall a 10-word list immediately (known as immediate recall) and then again after five minutes (known as delayed recall).
Previous studies have found that people with a higher level of education tend to have lower rates of dementia, but studies looking at the link between education and rates of cognitive decline in healthy older people have produced mixed results. With an ageing population across Europe, it is extremely important to identify factors that can help to support healthy cognitive ageing.
In this study, the level of education was determined by the number of years of education completed by each participant, and evaluated in association with memory performance and rate of change while accounting for income, general health, smoking, body mass index (BMI), gender, and baseline age.
In most countries, the more educated individuals performed better on both memory tests at baseline, compared to those who were less educated. However, when the same individuals were followed-up and asked to repeat the tests, their level of education did not have an effect on the rate that their memory declined over time.
Germany and the Netherlands had the best performance of memory recall at study entry, while Spain had the lowest performance. There was also a gender difference in recall with women performing better than men in most countries, but no gender difference was found in the rate of cognitive decline.
More information: www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0217/220117-education-does-not-protect-against-cognitive-decline
Insecure work up by a quarter since 2011, finds UK TUC
The number of people in insecure work – those working without guaranteed hours or baseline employment rights – has shot up by more than 660,000 (27%) over the past five years, according to new research published 7 February 2017 by the TUC.
This growth in people being forced into precarious work that leaves them vulnerable is being driven mainly by traditional industries, rather than newer tech sectors:
- Restaurant and pub waiters make up one fifth of the increase: The number in insecure work more than doubled, rising by 146,000 (+128%) since 2011. 1 in 4 waiting staff (259,000) are now stuck in insecure work.
- Education workers account for over one tenth of the increase: The number in insecure work has risen by 82,000 since 2011 (+42%). 1 in 10 working in education now face insecurity and all the problems that go alongside that.
- Social care accounts for a tenth of the increase in precarious working. The number of care home workers facing insecurity has risen by 66,000 (+133%) since 2011. Over 1 in 10 are now in insecure jobs.
The TUC estimates that over 3 million people now work in insecure jobs – up from 2.4 million in 2011.
That represents 1 in 10 workers in the UK.
The study, commissioned by the TUC from the Learning and Work Institute, defines insecure work as seasonal, casual, temporary or agency work, those on zero-hours contracts and low-paid self-employed workers.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/basic-rights-work/insecure-work-quarter-2011-finds-tuc
Explosion on train on 8 February 2017 in London
Duncan Cross, Deputy Director of London Overground, said:
“At around 7.14 am on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 there was an incident involving a faulty drill that was being carried to work by a customer at Dalston Kingsland.
“The train was evacuated and the emergency services attended.
“We would like to apologise to customers who were on board and to our customers whose journeys have been disrupted”
Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/08/several-injured-after-train-incident-at-train-station-in-east-london-6434310
Event: Implementing and evaluating organizational interventions – Recent developments
3-5 May 2017, Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland
As intervention research has become increasingly more common during the last decade, the need to learn how to evaluate such studies in a way that increases our knowledge about the how, why and for whom interventions work has increased.
Participants will be introduced to process evaluation including relevant frameworks, data collection and analysis. An important part of the course is the knowledge on how such information can be used to successfully plan, develop and implement organizational interventions.
Event: Process and Fire Incidents Training Course
1-2 March 2017
The Health and Safety Laboratory at Buxton is to run a 2 day course on Process & Fire Incidents.
More information: www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/process--fire-incidents
Campaign launches to highlight benefits of quitting smoking before surgery
Surgeons are being urged to encourage patients to improve their survival chances by quitting smoking ahead of surgery. The campaign has been launched by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) with the support of the health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health).
The RCSEd has also written to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt to highlight this work and ask for his support in ensuring that all patients can access specialist smoking cessation support ahead of surgery. Fewer post-operative complications, shorter hospital stays and better long-term outcomes are some of the evidence-based benefits the College’s 14,500 UK members are being asked to highlight to patients.
The campaign encourages surgeons to view patient consultations as ‘teachable moments’, during which patients may be more receptive to intervention and more motivated to quit. When they discuss the operation, surgeons can use a new patient leaflet published as part of the campaign to outline the significant reduction in risk associated with smoking cessation if they stop at least two months before the operation.
More information: https://www.rcsed.ac.uk/news-public-affairs/news/2017/february/campaign-launches-to-highlight-benefits-of-quitting-smoking-before-surgery
US CSB Investigators Deploying to Explosion at Packaging Corporation of America plant in DeRidder, Louisiana, USA
A three-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that killed three workers and reportedly injured seven on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) plant in DeRidder, Louisiana.
According to initial reports, the explosion took place while contractors performed welding on a tank during a facility shut down. The explosion was powerful enough to cause the tank to fly and land in a different area of the plant. Welding is one of several types of “hot work” – or spark-producing operations – that can ignite fires or explosions. Most hot work incidents result in the ignition of combustible materials or the ignition of structures or debris near the hot work.
More information: www.csb.gov/csb-investigators-deploying-to-explosion-at-packaging-corporation-of-america-plant-in-deridder-louisiana
Event: Response of Buildings to Explosions Caused by Industrial Accidents
8th & 9th March 2017 in Aberdeen and London (and via webcast)
Only a short while to go before the Fire and Blast Information Group (FABIG) forthcoming Technical Meeting which will be a full-day event covering “Response of Buildings to Explosions Caused by Industrial Accidents” and will be held on Wednesday 8th March 2017 in Aberdeen and on Thursday 9th March 2017 in London & via Webcast.
This event 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 Technical Meeting.
For additional information, the full schedule and registration, please go to www.fabig.com/events
Canada: Unions welcome backing for asbestos law
Unions in British Columbia have welcomed the backing of the Canadian province’s top court for a law protecting asbestos removal workers. The BC Insulators Union and the BC Federation of Labour said they were ‘extremely relieved’ the BC Court of Appeal had unanimously overturned a February 2016 BC Supreme Court ruling that laws protecting asbestos removal workers from the deadly substance were too “voluminous and complex” to enforce by safety regulator WorkSafeBC.
The long running legal saga involved the owners of two asbestos removal companies, Seattle Environmental and Skylite Building Maintenance, both with a long record of asbestos safety law violations.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-786-4-february-2017#_Toc473788209
Europe: Lobbyists fight against workplace cancer protection
Industry lobbyists from across Europe are waging a well-resourced campaign to block measures to protect workers from substances that can cause cancer and other serious health effects. The campaign has already stalled progress for a decade, with an unambitious and scaled back European Commission proposal for revising the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive only emerging in May 2016.
The industry is now lobbying hard to prevent improvements to the directive, proposed in a paper under consideration by the European Parliament’s Employment Committee. Nine of the biggest industry lobby groups in Brussels sent a joint letter in January to members of the committee, urging the lawmakers to drop amendments that would promote stricter exposure limits, better monitoring of employees’ health, or the addition of other dangerous substances to the regulation.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-786-4-february-2017#_Toc473788211
USA: Chemical industry emboldened by Trump’s UN pick
The woman chosen by president Donald Trump and now confirmed as the US ambassador to the United Nations has launched a scathing attack on the international body which could embolden an industry lobby angry at the UN’s role in assessing chemical cancer risks. During her confirmation hearing, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said: “When we look at the United Nations, we see a chequered history… any honest assessment finds an institution that is often at odds with the American national interest and American taxpayers,” she said. Haley was signalling that international agencies will have to answer to an ‘America First’ administration hostile to global policymakers.
One already in the crosshairs is the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is under the purview of the UN’s World Health Organisation. After industry criticism of recent cancer assessments by the agency, notably on the pesticide glyphosate, and calls spearheaded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for the US to cut funds to IARC, Republican lawmakers rallied to the industry call. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Jason Chaffetz said IARC has a “record of controversy, retractions, and inconsistencies” and asked why the National Institutes of Health has spent $40 million since 1992 to fund it.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-786-4-february-2017#_Toc473788212
USA: Trump era dangers for Latino workers
The Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented workers living in the US could increase the already sky-high fatality rates among Latino workers, safety advocates have warned. They say Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show the number of Latino workplace deaths spiked during the Obama presidency, with more Latino workers dying in 2015 than in any year since 2007. The increase in deaths can be attributed to Latino workers’ fear of deportations and other consequences of speaking up about unsafe working conditions, according to Jessica Martinez, the co-executive director at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/tuc-risks-786-4-february-2017#_Toc473788213
London Fire Brigade introduces brand new fire engines on London’s streets
The London Fire Brigade has been rolling out a brand new model of fire engine for the first time in a decade. The new engine includes a high pressure hose which can deliver twice as much water than the previous model and a more ergonomic crew cab.
The first appliance responding to 999 calls will be at Leytonstone fire station, with a new vehicle being rolled out to stations across London over the coming months.
The new model specifications include:
- High pressure hoses delivering twice as much water than the hoses on the previous model of fire engine which means that firefighter can tackle fires more effectively.
- Electronically-controlled water pumps that can be operated with a single touch of a button.
- A different shaped ‘crew cab’ which will provide improved safety and comfort for firefighters.
- Extra reflective markings which will improve visibility for other road users in low light.
- Blue ‘repeater’ lights on the foremost front corners of the cab to make driving through heavy city traffic easier.
- EURO VI engine which further reduces emission levels compared to the previous model and complies with London’s forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone.
More information: www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/LatestNewsReleases_London-Fire-Brigade-introduces-brand-new-fire-engines-on-London%E2%80%99s-streets.asp
Event: HSL’s Taming Tigers – Safety Excellence in Engineering Master Class
30-31 March 2017
One of the biggest challenges facing the engineering leadership community in high-risk industries is delivering value to the business. Given that safety and risk management is and should be the highest priority, how can businesses deliver safe design / operations AND maintain competitive advantage?
In this Master Class the UK Health and Safety Laboratories aim to outline concepts and principles based on technology, risk and project management good practice.
In addition to the subject matter experts from HSE and the University of Manchester, there will be other high profile keynote speakers too.
More information: www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-seminars/taming-tigers-safety-excellence-in-engineering---in-partnership-with-the-university-of-manchester
Brazil: Inter-American court decision a victory in fight against slavery
On 27 January 2017 the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has welcomed a call from the ILO’s Brazil office for land redistribution to combat forced labour in the country, following a landmark ruling by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights holding the government responsible for providing compensation to 125 slaves held at a ranch in Para State.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Powerful landholders are responsible for slavery in Brazil, and this judgement makes the authorities accountable for protecting workers from forced labour. With the government of Michel Temer rolling back labour laws and enforcement, even more people risk being trapped in forced labour. Meanwhile the perpetrators, including actual members of parliament, are escaping justice. Fair distribution of land and the full application of the rule of law are crucial to ending slavery in Brazil.”
For decades, Brazilian workers, frequently indigenous or of African descent, have been victimised and kept in extreme poverty by landholders in the country’s northeast. During the presidencies of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, more than 44,000 people were freed from slave-like conditions; however, since Rousseff was deposed by Temer, political will to end forced labour has been absent.
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/brazil-inter-american-court
Event: Passive Fire Protection Training – Two day course
21-22 February 2017, Dublin, Ireland
Due to high demand for the last two successful training courses in Passive Fire Protection which were held in Dublin back in June and October 2016, and coupled with the fact that the IFC Group now have a presence in Ireland providing all Fire Safety Engineering services, we are offering a repeat training course delivered by Colin Keeley of IFC, one of the leading trainers in passive fire protection.
This IFC Group training is an excellent way of gaining the background knowledge for checking, undertaking site installations and maintenance of passive fire protection systems.
The training is independent from any 3rd party installer certification scheme however, where training is to be undertaken in advance of the competence assessment requirement of our sister company IFC Certification Ltd installer scheme, then the fees for the competence assessment will be waived.
More information: www.ifcgroup.com/news/passive-fire-protection-training-february-2017.html
Apprentices must be able to learn new skills in a safe environment. Union health and safety representatives can play an essential role in supporting apprentices and ensuring that they have a safe and healthy working environment during their Apprenticeships.
The workplace can be a dangerous place, in which tragic and fatal accidents sometimes occur. Young people are particularly vulnerable in a working environment, especially when they are new to the workplace, and may have specific health and safety requirements.
Health and safety risks to apprentices are increased where employers and providers look to misuse the Apprenticeship programme to save money, rather than offer a young person a supportive, high-quality training experience.
The Apprenticeship Toolkit is a resource for union officers, union representatives and union learning reps who are negotiating with employers on apprenticeships or who are approaching an employer to discuss the possibility of taking on apprentices. The factsheets provide concise information on a range of topics related to apprenticeships. They also highlight the key elements of a good quality apprenticeship.
The toolkit is intended to be used as a reference and information resource for reps. There are a number of ongoing apprenticeship reforms and the toolkit covers some of these developments.
- Negotiating and Bargaining on apprenticeships
- The apprentice levy and other developments
- Pay for apprentices
- Health and Safety and working time
- High quality training
- Widening access to underrepresented groups
- English, Maths and Functional Skills in apprenticeships
- Frameworks and standards
- Professional registration and apprenticeships
- Government minimum standards for apprenticeships
- TUC Apprenticeships Charter
The interactive version of the toolkit is available at https://www.unionlearn.org.uk/apprenticeships-toolkit
Key working time rights for apprentices under the age of 18
Young workers are entitled to:
- two days off per week
- a daily rest break of 12 consecutive hours (the break between finishing work one day and starting work the next)
- a rest break of at least 30 minutes if the working day lasts more than 4.5 hours
- a normal work quota of not work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week
- an expectation of not having to work at night – however, there are some exceptions.
More information for union reps: https://www.unionlearn.org.uk/health-and-safety-apprentices