News from around the World
- Event: For a Healthy Digital Work Environment
- US NIOSH News
- Zero accidents is no utopian concept
- Event: National Health & Safety Conference for Social Care 2017 – “The Fair Way to a Safer Way”
- Grenfell Tower tragic fire
- EU Observatory for nanomaterials launched
- European Chemicals Agency
- FIOH research wins prestigious Best Intervention Competition in the US
- Few with long-term mental illness are in work
- TUC concern over Tory mental health sticking plaster
- Event: Occupational Health 2017 – Research and practice
- Event: Mental Health 2017 – Implementing the Five Year Forward View
- Events: June 2017 Training Courses from HSE Training
- UK Review will order zero-hours contracts overhaul
- Right to request fixed hours ‘useless’, says Unite
- Event: Aircraft Fire Hazards, Protection and Investigation
- Event: ETUI conference on workers’ contribution to safer workplaces
- Malta’s Union conference on workplace carcinogens
- Emissions from France’s diesel fleet still qualify as human carcinogens
- Health and safety protections for workers are at risk from government’s Brexit plans, says TUC
- Event: France – University of Bordeaux to host debates on occupational health
- Chrysotile asbestos blocked for 6th time from the Rotterdam Convention
- High levels of chronic disease among the residents of one of Europe’s largest industrial zones
- New report reveals the value of occupational health to UK businesses and workers
- Canada: Ontario vows to help ailing factory workers
- Alternatives to animal testing widely used
- What was it like to live and work in Europe in 2016?
- ECHA May 2017 Newsletter published
Event: For a Healthy Digital Work Environment
18-20 October 2017, Hotel Scandic Continental, Stockholm, Sweden
The digital work environment presents challenges in terms of information and communication overflow, flexible/boundless work, poor usability of IT systems, technology hassles and competence problems. These are stressors that contribute to mental and physical strain, as well as to productivity loss. And these factors are well known as they have been researched for decades in the Nordic countries and internationally.
- To increase knowledge about occupational health issues in relation to the digital work environment
- To bring together knowledge from different disciplines to propose work organization solutions that ensure recovery, health, performance and productivity, for a sustainable digital work environment.
- Digital work factors and health
- Psychosocial factors
- Cognitive factors
- Physical ergonomics
- Boundless work
- Usability and accessibility
- Tools for a sustainable digital work environment
- Good examples!
US NIOSH News
40 years ago, the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) created the Division of Safety Research (DSR) as the focal point for the nation’s research program for preventing traumatic occupational injuries such as: motor vehicle crashes, falls, workplace violence, machinery-related events, confined space incidents, and electrocutions.
Each day, on average, 13 U.S. workers die on the job from a traumatic injury, almost 2,500 suffer disabling injuries that keep them away from work, and many more sustain other non-fatal injuries (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). An economic analysis suggested that traumatic occupational deaths and injuries cost the nation $192 billion annually (Leigh 2012). While these numbers have improved over the past 40 years, due in part to the work of DSR, the numbers remain too high, and efforts to reduce the toll of traumatic injuries on U.S. workers continues.
More information: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2017/06/14/dsr-40
Zero accidents is no utopian concept
The Finnish Zero Accident Forum has awarded occupational safety level classifications to 61 of their member workplaces that have invested in the continuous improvement of their occupational safety. Twenty-seven of these workplaces achieved zero accidents last year.
Zero thinking is a mindset that requires genuine commitment and practical actions in everyday work. It is about caring, and genuine collaboration. It brings about inevitable results, as these excellent achievements once gain show,” says Jari Haijanen, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Zero Accident Forum, and Safety Manager at Sappi Ltd.
Each year, the Zero Accident Forum awards safety level classifications to their member workplaces that have successfully promoted their occupational safety. The awarding of a safely level classification follows an examination of the frequency and seriousness of occupational accidents at a workplace. In addition, systems for investigating occupational accidents and reporting dangerous situations must be in order.
Finland suffers 100 000 occupational accidents per year, of which 20 are fatal. The majority of these could be avoided, if enough care and attention was given to occupational safety.
More information: https://www.ttl.fi/en/zero-accident-2016
Event: National Health & Safety Conference for Social Care 2017 – “The Fair Way to a Safer Way”
12-13 September 2017, Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, Northamptonshire, UK
Working in the Care sector presents everyone with an emotional seesaw; on the one hand, isolated and getting bogged down in complex topics, on the other to delivering fantastic outcomes for all those people being supported and cared for. So, Are you responsible for Safety & Health?
The Fair Way to a Safer Way will give a unique opportunity for care providers to find solutions and hear about good practice that will help with the day to day Health and Safety challenges while networking with like-minded colleagues.
Subjects will include: regulation & enforcement, robotic technology, health & wellbeing, fire evacuation, legionella, property maintenance, night working, window restriction, new fire safety guidance as well as incorporating a Mock Coroner inquest.
Two of the key regulators, CQC and HSE will share the platform and address delegates.
Speakers from: CQC, HSE, UNISON, Universities of York, Sheffield, as well as a range of technical experts will make for a highly engaging time.
Stop press: Paul Howes, the Primary Authority Scheme Manager at Lincoln Fire & Rescue, will be running a one to one Fire Safety Clinic during the NASHiCS Conference on 13th September 2017.
For detailed Information, full programme and online booking visit the National Association for Safety and Health in Care Services website: www.nashics.co.uk
Grenfell Tower tragic fire
The long-established Fire Information Group (FIG UK) held its 2016 “Mind the Gap” Seminar last October and one of the speakers – David Stow from the well-known company Arup gave a talk on Fire Safety of modern construction materials and especially those used in high-rise buildings.
Readers may wish to see David Stow’s presentation: www.figuk.org.uk/conferences/2016
EU Observatory for nanomaterials launched
ECHA publishes a new website that gives citizens, workers and professionals access to information on nanomaterials on the EU market in 23 languages. It is the first phase of the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON).
European Chemicals Agency News
More information on all these items: https://echa.europa.eu/-/echa-weekly-14-june-2017
Commission evaluates ECHA’s performance
The objective was to assess ECHA’s performance following the better regulation EU evaluation guidelines. The scope covers the full range of ECHA’s operations and processes under the REACH, CLP, BPR and PIC regulations. This evaluation is based on the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of ECHA’s work.
The study is one of the other studies carried out in the framework of REACH REFIT evaluation.
REACH: Consumer confidence in chemicals improving
At the Helsinki Chemicals Forum last week, Commissioner Bieńkowska presented in her keynote speech the Eurobarometer survey’s findings on chemical safety. The study looks at the impact REACH has made in its 10 years’ existence.
REACH Authorisation List updated
An update to the Authorisation List of REACH (Annex XIV) has been published. 12 new substances are now subject to authorisation for being used after the sunset date. Annex XIV now contains 43 substances.
Titanium dioxide proposed to be classified as suspected of causing cancer when inhaled
ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) concluded that the available scientific evidence meets the criteria in the CLP Regulation to classify titanium dioxide as a substance suspected of causing cancer through the inhalation route. The opinion will be formally adopted later by written procedure or at the September meeting.
RAC agrees on two opinions on occupational exposure and on 11 harmonised classification cases
The Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has for the first time adopted scientific opinions on occupational exposure for two substances: MOCA and for arsenic acid and its inorganic compounds. RAC adopted 10 opinions on harmonised classification and labelling and additionally agreed on the classification of titanium dioxide. The committee also agreed on 14 draft opinions and adopted one final opinion on applications for authorisation.
New support page and formats for authorisation review reports
ECHA has updated its support page on applications for authorisation. It now contains updated formats for applications and review reports. Authorisation holders can re-apply by submitting a review report if they need to continue using a substance of very high concern listed on the Authorisation List after the end of their time-limited review period.
Committees’ opinions on applications for authorisation available
The consolidated opinions of the Committees for Risk Assessment and Socio-economic Analysis for uses of the following substances are available on their website:
- one use of chromium trioxide (EC 215-607-8; CAS 1333-82-0) by Euro Cryospace France
- one use of 1,2-dichloroethane (EDC) (EC 203-458-1; CAS 107-06-2) by Akzo Nobel Chemicals SpA
- two uses of 1,2-dichloroethane (EDC) (EC 203-458-1; CAS 107-06-2) by ORGAPHARM
New intentions to identify substances of very high concern
New intentions for identification as a substance of very high concern have been received for:
- cadmium carbonate (EC 234-232-0, CAS 10605-21-7)
- cadmium hydroxide (EC 234-232-0, CAS 10605-21-7)
- cadmium nitrate (EC 234-232-0, CAS 10605-21-7)
- tricobalt tetraoxide containing ≥ 0.1 % w/w nickel oxides (EC 234-232-0, CAS 10605-21-7)
The expected submission date for these is 7 August 2017.
Further substances assessed by authorities
The public activities coordination tool (PACT) has been updated with information on five substances that are undergoing risk management option analysis or hazard assessment by authorities.
CLP: A new proposal to harmonise classification and labelling
A new proposal has been received for methyl benzimidazol-2-ylcarbamate; Carbendazim (ISO) (EC 234-232-0, CAS 10605-21-7).
Biocides: New R4BP 3 version offers easier submission processes and improved communication tasks
The biocides submission tool, R4BP 3, has been updated to provide more flexibility and improved display and search functionalities. The tool also has an enhanced communication and notification system for national authorities.
Downstream users: New version 3 of the ESCom standard phrase catalogue published
Harmonised phrases in exposure scenarios help downstream users to recognise and understand information more readily. The catalogue of standard phrases for exposure scenarios has been updated. The ESCom project aims to provide standard phrases on the safe use of chemicals for the extended safety data sheet in a consistent and harmonised way throughout the supply chain.
Event: Get up-to-date on biocides
26-27 September 2017
Book your seat at their free Biocides Stakeholders’ Day on 26 and 27 September. The event gives you the latest information on the Biocidal Products Regulation from ECHA and the European Commission and case studies from companies. You can also take part in training on biocides IT tools and book a one-to-one session.
REACH 2018 animation: Find your co-registrants
John, the star of their new series of animations has released his second video focusing on the second step for successful registration: finding your co-registrants. The series is designed to guide you through the registration process in an easily understandable and accessible way. The video is subtitled in 23 EU languages.
Calls for information
Call for evidence on the use of D4/D5 in consumer and professional products updated
ECHA has updated its ongoing call for evidence on the uses of D4/D5 in ‘leave-on’ cosmetic products and other consumer/professional products. The call has been updated to specify additional information that ECHA hopes to receive from stakeholders in relation to the impacts of a previous restriction on the placing on the market of D4/D5 in ‘wash-off’ cosmetic products. ECHA’s call for evidence is open until 3 August 2017.
Have a look at the 21 currently open consultations on their home page.
FIOH research wins prestigious Best Intervention Competition in the US
The paper of Jukka Vuori, Kaisa Törnroos and Marjo Wallin, Enhancing late-career management and engagement in work organizations – A randomized controlled trial among older employees, has won the Best Intervention Competition of Work, Stress and Health 2017 conference.
The conference organized by APA (American Psychological Association), NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and SOHP (the Society for Occupational Health Psychology) attracted around 500 participants.
According to APA, the purpose of the Best Intervention Competition is to recognize outstanding evaluations of interventions in which researchers partner with industry and labour to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses and promote workplace safety and health.
The awarded research work is about the efficacy of a work organization group intervention in strengthening older employees’ late-career management preparedness.
The method, recently published in Finnish under the title Työn imua seniorivaiheeseen, will be available in English at a later date.
More information: https://www.ttl.fi/en/fioh-research-results-in-best-intervention-award-in-the-us
Few with long-term mental illness are in work
Only 1 in 4 people with a mental illness or phobia lasting for 12 months or more is in work, according to a new UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) report. Mental health and employment contains a new analysis of official employment statistics, and reveals while 4 in 5 (80.4 per cent) non-disabled people are in work, people with mental illness, anxiety or depression have substantially lower employment rates.
Only 1 in 4 (26.2 per cent) people with a mental illness lasting, or expected to last, more than a year is in work. Less than half (45.5 per cent) of people with depression or anxiety lasting more than 12 months have a job. This suggests employers are failing to make adequate changes in the workplace to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work, says the TUC. It notes that mental health problems can often be ‘invisible’ to others, so a lack of mental health awareness amongst managers and employers is also likely to be a factor.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-801-27-may-2017#_Toc483566700
TUC concern over Tory mental health sticking plaster
The TUC has expressed scepticism about Conservative plans to ‘transform how mental health is regarded in the workplace’ while cutting mental health services and doing nothing on prevention. The union body was commenting on the Conservative Party election manifesto, which notes: “We will amend health and safety regulations so that employers provide appropriate first aid training and needs assessment for mental health, as they currently do for risks to physical health.” This followed prime minister Theresa May’s announcement earlier this month that larger organisations would be required to provide mental health first aid. The TUC said this approach has been around for years, and has been promoted by the Department of Health since 2012, with over 100,000 people already trained in mental health first aid.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-801-27-may-2017#_Toc483566701
Event: Occupational Health 2017 – Research and practice
26-28 June 2017, Leeds
Come and join this multidisciplinary conference for occupational health professionals, organised by the Society of Occupational Medicine and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.
- Trainee conference day
- New buddy scheme for first-time attendees
- Plenary session keynote lectures
- Small group parallel sessions for increased interaction
- Practical topics including audiology, dermatology, cardiology, MSK, HAVS
- Travel medicine
- Meet the Expert session
- Welcome reception in the Conference venue
- Gala dinner and dance with after-dinner speaker Lord Blunkett
- Call for abstracts for oral and poster presentation
- Optional workplace visit day; visits are CPD accredited
Registration is now open at www.occupationalhealthconferences.co.uk
Event: Mental Health 2017 – Implementing the Five Year Forward View
20 September 2017, Royal Society of Medicine, London
Govconnect are delighted to announce that their inaugural Mental Health – Implementing the Five Year Forward View conference will be held on the 20th September 2017 at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.
Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated at £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS.
The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health has made an unarguable case for transforming mental health care in England, a single programme, but one which contains numerous different, related elements across the health system for all ages.
Implementing the Five Year Forward View published in mid-2016 was a welcomed and timely roadmap. This conference will outline the core elements of the implementation plan and will review and assess the actions for each of the key objectives.
The ambition for an additional one million people to be in receipt of high-quality care by 2020/21 is a decisive and unprecedented step towards closing the treatment gap for mental health which can only be achieved through the promotion of evidence based best practice and transference of knowledge amongst all NHS settings.
This conference will seek to ensure that the foundations for implementing the five year forward view for mental health are in place with a view to benefitting people of all ages, reflecting the specific needs of all groups from children and young people through to older people.
More information: http://mentalhealth2017.govconnect.org.uk
Events: June 2017 Training Courses from HSE Training
The following are training courses available from HSE Training in June 2017:
- Hazardous Area Classification – 8 June
- Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) – Health Surveillance and Exposure Control – 8 June
- Human Factors in Accident and Incident Investigations – 13 & 14 June
- COMAH Compliance for Lower Tier Establishments – 13 June
- COMAH: The application of CLP and Aggregation in the COMAH 2015 Regulations – 14 June
- LEV – Practical Management of Local Exhaust Ventilation Controls – BOHS Approved – 15 June
- Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Risk Management – 20 June
- Layers of Protection Analysis: Practical Application and Pitfalls (LOPA) – 20 & 21 June
- DSEAR – Controlling Dust Explosion Risks – 22 June
- COMAH – Technical Aspects of Safety Reports – 27 June
- HSE Inspectors’ Guide to Electrical Safety – 27 June
- RPE Fit Testing – Advanced 1 day course in qualitative fit testing – 27 June
- Process & Fire Incidents – 28 & 29 June
- Behaviour Change: Achieving Health & Safety Culture Excellence – 28 & 29 June
- Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Risk Management – 28 June
For a full list of training courses they offer, visit their website.
UK Review will order zero-hours contracts overhaul
The government-commissioned inquiry into controversial working practices is set to call for employees on zero-hours contracts to be given the right to request a move onto fixed hours. According to a BBC report, Matthew Taylor, the head of the Royal Society of Arts who is leading the review, will say that some workers might be being exploited by businesses.
The “right to request” fixed hours will be similar to the present right to request flexible hours – after having a child for example. Employers would have to respond “seriously” to the request and give reasons for their decision. The idea was proposed in a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) submission to the review. The new “right to request” fixed hours could be used by some of the 900,000 people on zero-hours contracts, a number that has risen from 143,000 in 2008.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-801-27-may-2017#_Toc483566705
Right to request fixed hours ‘useless’, says Unite
Just giving workers the right to request fixed hours will be ‘useless’, Unite has warned. The union said it would do nothing to combat the use of exploitative zero hours and short hours’ contracts.
Responded to reports that the Taylor Review was considering backing an idea contained in the business lobby group CBI’s submission to the review, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Merely giving workers a ‘right to request’ fixed hours will not stop exploitative bosses or curb the use of zero hours and short hours’ contracts. It is a totally useless measure which will continue to see workers denied the security of knowing how much they earn from one week to the next.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-801-27-may-2017#_Toc483566706
Event: Aircraft Fire Hazards, Protection and Investigation
15-17 August 2017, BlazeTech Corporation, 29 B Montvale Ave, Woburn MA 01801 USA
A course presented by N. Albert Moussa, PhD, PE
While commercial air transport is very safe, the advent of new technologies poses fire safety challenges that will be treated in this course. This offering draws upon Dr. Moussa’s work in this area since 1971 as well as related courses that BlazeTech has been teaching since 1998. Lectures will include Li and Li-ion battery fires, flammability of carbon fibre and glass fibre composites, emerging aviation fluids, engine fires, fuel tank fire/explosion, protection methods, aircraft accident investigation, and fire/explosion pattern recognition.
For each type of fire, this course will provide a cohesive integrated presentation of fundamentals, small- and large-scale testing, computer modelling, standards and specifications, and real accident investigation – as outlined in the course brochure. This integrated approach will enable you to address safety issues related to current and new systems and circumstances, and to investigate one of a kind fire and explosion accidents. The course will benefit professionals who are responsible for commercial aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles including design, equipment selection, test, operation, maintenance, safety management system, hazard/risk assessment, and accident investigation.
More information: www.blazetech.com/views/pro_serv/ViewCourse_fire.php
Event: ETUI conference on workers’ contribution to safer workplaces
26-27 June 2017, Brussels
In partnership with various ergonomics societies, the ETUI is organising a conference on how workers can contribute to the improvement of their working conditions.
Entitled “Workers and creativity: How to improve working conditions by participative methods”, the conference will bring together ergonomists, experts in occupational safety and health and workers and safety reps from across Europe, to discuss how workers’ first-hand experience can enrich professionals’ knowledge and lead to better prevention.
This approach originates from the observation that workers develop operational procedures that enable them to cope with unforeseeable factors that occur in the workplace. How creative are workers in rectifying risky work situations? Could the creativity of workers as experts on their own working conditions contribute to an improvement in prevention in general? In the context of the “digitalization of the economy”, can participatory ergonomics provide answers to changes in the quality of work and the employment status?, are some of the issues that will be dealt with.
The conference is jointly organised by the ETUI, the Federation of European Ergonomics Societies (FEES), the Belgian Ergonomics Society (BES) and the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists (CREE).
More information: www.etui.org/Events/Conference-on-workers-contribution-to-safer-workplaces
Malta’s Union conference on workplace carcinogens
On 28 April 2017, Malta’s main trade union, the General Workers Union (GWU), held the conference “Together to Eliminate Carcinogens from the place of work” in collaboration with the ETUI.
The topic, the date and the venue were not selected by chance, with 28 April being the World Day on Safety and Health at Work and with occupational cancers the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths in Europe. Malta currently holds the presidency of the European Union (EU). More than a hundred participants took part in the debates, including many unionists, labour inspectors, universities and the official Maltese team tasked by the European Council with negotiating with the European Parliament and the European Commission on the revision of the directive on carcinogens or mutagens at work.
During the conference, Philippe Pochet, General Director of the ETUI, met with the Maltese Minister of Social Affairs, Helena Dalli, presenting to her the union demands for improving the legislation protecting workers against carcinogenic risks.
For his part, ETUI researcher Tony Musu, an expert in chemical risks, presented a status report on existing European laws for protecting workers, detailing possible improvements.
Among the measures supported by the unions and the European Parliament, the extension of the directive’s scope of application to reprotoxic substances gained the full attention of the minister and her team of negotiators. In connection with the conference, Philippe Pochet, Josef Bugeja, GWU General Secretary, and Kevin Camilleri, GWU Deputy Secretary General, laid a wreath on the monument dedicated to the memory of Maltese workers who died at work.
Emissions from France’s diesel fleet still qualify as human carcinogens
A note published on 22 May 2017 by the government-funded French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) states unequivocally that the diesel vehicles currently on the road in France are still emitting human carcinogens.
This statement is based on recent epidemiological studies showing a positive association between exposure to air pollution caused by road traffic and lung cancer rates.
The latest-generation diesel engines which have been gradually appearing on the European market since the early 2000s are fitted with particulate filters and oxidation catalysts designed to achieve a drastic reduction in the level of carcinogens in diesel fumes.
ANSES therefore decided to examine whether there had been any change in the level or carcinogenicity of diesel emissions. According to the recently published note, France’s current diesel fleet is characterised by the continued presence of older vehicles alongside newer ones, and emissions from this fleet still contain carcinogenic compounds (diesel particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, dioxins, formaldehyde, etc.).
ANSES believes that the current research into exhaust emissions from the latest generation of diesel engines is too thin on the ground to rule out the possibility of carcinogenicity.
These conclusions are significant because they disprove one of the main arguments used by the European Commission as a basis for rejecting the inclusion of a binding occupational exposure limit value (BOELV) for diesel emissions in the Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work, which is currently being revised.
More information: www.etui.org/Topics/Health-Safety-working-conditions/News-list/Emissions-from-France-s-diesel-fleet-still-qualify-as-human-carcinogens
Health and safety protections for workers are at risk from government’s Brexit plans, says TUC
The TUC has just published a new briefing, Protecting Health and Safety after Brexit, which warns trade unionists and working people that health and safety protections are at risk from the government’s Brexit plans.
Although the government has set out its intention in a white paper to transfer all existing health and safety protections from EU law to UK law, there are no guarantees for what happens afterwards.
The TUC says that the next government must make sure that a commitment is written into the Brexit deal to, as a minimum, match present and future EU standards for workplace health and safety. Otherwise existing protections will be vulnerable to erosion and repeal.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/node/126901
Event: France – University of Bordeaux to host debates on occupational health
As part of its first ‘Health and Work Summer School’, in the first week of July 2017 the University of Bordeaux is organising a series of debates on topics relating to occupational health.
The programme of events will include several documentaries on occupational health, to be screened in partnership with the international film festival ‘Filming Work’ which took place in Poitiers.
Tony Musu, an ETUI researcher and expert on chemical risks, will attend the closing panel discussion on Friday 7 July.
Further reading: https://utravail2017.sciencesconf.org
Chrysotile asbestos blocked for 6th time from the Rotterdam Convention
The fight to impose tough trade restrictions on chrysotile asbestos will have to wait at least another two years. For the sixth consecutive time, a handful of countries blocked the inclusion of the carcinogenic mineral from the Rotterdam Convention Hazardous Substances list (Annex 3). Chemicals on the list are subject to restrictions that prevent the export of a product without the prior consent of the importing country.
Representatives from 157 countries met in Geneva, Switzerland, for the eighth Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Rotterdam Convention. The biannual meeting drew to a close May 5.
Despite the vast majority of countries voting to include chrysotile — or white asbestos — to the list, seven countries — Russia, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, India, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Syria — blocked the attempt to include chrysotile under the convention.
More information: https://www.etui.org/Topics/Health-Safety-working-conditions/News-list/Chrysotile-asbestos-blocked-for-6th-time-from-the-Rotterdam-Convention
High levels of chronic disease among the residents of one of Europe’s largest industrial zones
A survey carried out in two of France’s municipalities which house one of Europe’s largest petrochemical complexes has revealed that two thirds of respondents suffer from chronic diseases, including cancer.
In 2015, a multidisciplinary French-US team including sociologists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and anthropologists surveyed 816 residents of Fos-sur-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (3.3% of the total population). These two municipalities, which are located around 40 km to the west of Marseilles, are home to large numbers of petrochemical and steel plants, as well as other industrial facilities such as an incinerator, an oil refinery, two methane terminals and a cement plant.
The results of the survey, which were published in January 2017, showed that the rate of chronic disease among those living in the two municipalities was 63% compared to 37% in the rest of France. Respiratory disorders were the most frequently reported health problem (40% of the population), and the incidence of diabetes (types 1 and 2 combined) among respondents was almost twice as high as the national average (11.6% compared to 6%).
Cancers occurred at a rate of 10.5% in the two municipalities, compared to 6% in the rest of France. Women were more likely to have suffered from cancer than men, with an incidence among the female population of 14.5% (compared to 5.4% in France as a whole).
In decreasing order, the most frequently reported types of cancer were breast cancer (26% of all cancers) and prostrate and cervical cancer (11.5% of all cancers in each case). Thyroid and colon cancers and lymphomas accounted for a further quarter of all cancers reported. Chronic skin conditions occurred among respondents at a rate of 26.8%, compared to only 9.4% in the rest of France.
More information: www.etui.org/Topics/Health-Safety-working-conditions/News-list/High-levels-of-chronic-disease-among-the-residents-of-one-of-Europe-s-largest-industrial-zones
New report reveals the value of occupational health to UK businesses and workers
A new report published by the Society of Occupational Medicine sets out the value proposition for occupational health services and the benefits of occupational health.
Occupational health: the value proposition cites evidence that shows organisations most commonly rank occupational health involvement as the most effective method for managing the problem of employee long-term absence from work. The document also reports that a healthy workplace culture and the adoption of a systematic approach to occupational health can contribute to the success of an organisation.
SOM Patron, Lord Blunkett, said of the findings: “This report provides a comprehensive analysis and evidence review of the value of occupational health. It comes at a critical time for the policy agenda for work and health, and the challenge of the productivity gap. It is essential reading for managers, clinicians and policy makers.”
More information: https://www.som.org.uk/new-report-reveals-value-occupational-health-uk-businesses-and-workers
Canada: Ontario vows to help ailing factory workers
Ontario will do the “right thing” for factory workers left fighting work-related cancer and other diseases but who have been routinely denied compensation, the province’s labour minister has said. The commitment from Kevin Flynn came in the wake of a 173-page report by General Electric (GE) retirees and the union Unifor documenting working conditions in a GE plant in Peterborough from 1945 to 2000. The report said workers were exposed to more than 3,000 toxic chemicals, including at least 40 known or suspected human carcinogens.
“These GE workers have suffered horrific and often terminal diseases at a disproportionate rate, yet approximately half of the compensation claims filed have been rejected, abandoned or withdrawn due to what was deemed to be insufficient proof,” said Joel Carr, Unifor national representative. Workers were exposed to large quantities of hazardous substances including asbestos, arsenic, vinyl chloride, beryllium, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, PCB, uranium and lead, without proper protection. There are currently 31 Unifor members with claims to the province’s compensation board (WSIB) for GE job-related illness, including several forms of cancer.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/risks-newsletter/risks-801-27-may-2017#_Toc483566713
Alternatives to animal testing widely used
ECHA’s report on the use of alternatives to animal testing shows that registrants have used alternatives for at least one endpoint in 89 % of the substances analysed. However, industry needs to improve the quality and robustness of alternative data.
ECHA’s third report on the use of alternative methods under REACH shows that most registrants consider and use alternatives to animal testing. One effective way is data sharing: 98 % of the substances are registered jointly. Registrants also make extensive use of existing information and alternative methods before conducting new studies.
More information: https://echa.europa.eu/-/alternatives-to-animal-testing-widely-used
What was it like to live and work in Europe in 2016?
2016 was a landmark year for Europe, both politically and economically. Eurofound’s 2016 yearbook shows the latest developments in the work and lives of Europeans, describing trends and transitions in the areas of employment and jobs, workplace practices, working life and quality of life. It also reflects back over Eurofound’s contribution to the policy debate in the previous four-year programming period and looks forward to how ongoing research can inform the discussion on achieving a fair and competitive Europe.
Just a few of the issues highlighted in the yearbook are: the labour market integration of refugees and asylum seekers, which is vital for both their social inclusion and Europe’s economic and political cohesion; the results of the sixth European Working Conditions Survey, which provides an in-depth account of people’s current experience of work in Europe; the gender employment gap, an issue which has a significant economic and social cost to the EU economy; and new forms of employment, which pose challenges and opportunities for both employers and workers.
More information: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/news/news-articles/industrial-relations/what-was-it-like-to-live-and-work-in-europe-in-2016
ECHA May 2017 Newsletter published
In the May 2017 issue of the ECHA Newsletter, you can read expert views on how close ECHA are to ending animal testing, the use of rubber granules on artificial pitches and how you can now find safer chemicals online.
ECHA also give you tips to get started with REACH-IT, tell you about the biocides you might use on your holiday and explain what was taken into account when ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment developed their opinion on glyphosate.
ECHA Newsletters: https://newsletter.echa.europa.eu