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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

February 2018

  1. Health and Safety Leadership Excellence: Are you truly leading on health and safety?
  2. European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) latest information
  3. Hermes must ‘come clean’ over danger to couriers
  4. Firefighters’ union ‘horrified’ at increase in fire deaths
  5. New UK Standard – PAS 1192-6: 2018 – Specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health and Safety information using BIM
  6. UNISON recognises top safety reps
  7. MPs launch inquiry into workplace harassment
  8. Action on harassment in parliament ‘not enough’
  9. Potentially lethal disease risks in UK bio labs
  10. Global: Horrific work pressures are causing suicides
  11. USA: Biggest cluster ever of fatal coal miners’ disease
  12. Migrants’ Rights under Threat with US Nomination to Head International Organization for Migration
  13. News from US NIOSH
  14. Fire lessons not learned in new sprinkler-free schools
  15. UK TUC alert on soon to be launched safety standard ISO 45001
  16. Hazards Campaign resources for 28 April 2018 International Workers’ Memorial Day
  17. Health and Safety Executive Science Division experts offer Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Training
  18. Event: LPG Europe 2018
  19. Event: The Future of Food Safety Conference – Hygiene and supply chain solutions
  20. Event: Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK) celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a seminar “Mind the Gap”
  21. UK Gig economy action not the ‘giant leap’ needed
  22. Sexual harassment is rife in hospitality, survey shows
  23. UK Employers urged to let staff ‘rest’ during working day
  24. New fire books
  25. London School of Economics says: “Union protection is ‘best antidote’ to sexual harassment”

Health and Safety Leadership Excellence: Are you truly leading on health and safety?

Analysis of major incidents such as Buncefield, Texas City, and Deep Water Horizon shows that failures of leadership are a common underlying factor.

The course that leaders set for an organisation and the influence they have over their staff should not be underestimated. When incidents occur, the regulatory investigation will look at responsibilities well beyond the immediate aftermath and this can have serious repercussions at board level.

How HSL can help YOU

HSL’s team of organisational performance experts can:

Improving your approach to leadership and working towards excellence is a behaviour change challenge that HSL’s psychologists can support you with.

As a result of our research and experience we thoroughly understand leadership issues, and are very familiar with the supporting scientific knowledge in this area. We offer:

More information:

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) latest information

Inspectors find phthalates in toys and asbestos in second-hand products

In an EU/EEA-wide project of ECHA’s Enforcement Forum, inspectors found hundreds of consumer products containing illegal amounts of restricted chemicals. Every fifth toy inspected contained high levels of restricted phthalates.

Inspectors in 27 European countries checked 1,009 mixtures, 4,599 articles and 17 substances. Overall, out of 5,625 targeted product checks, 18% did not comply with the applicable restrictions.

More information:

REACH 2018: last minute advice to registrants

8 March 2018, 11:00–12:00 EET (Helsinki time)

Join the webinar to get last-minute advice on how to successfully submit your REACH registration dossier and to ask ECHA experts your questions directly.

More information:

Hermes must ‘come clean’ over danger to couriers

Employment practices used by Hermes, which is forcing couriers who deliver on public highways to work long hours over 13 consecutive days consecutively, must now be considered a major public safety issue, the UK union GMB has said. The union has written to Hermes demanding clarification from the company on “serious issues over working conditions affecting their couriers during the festive peak period.”

The GMB said several courier companies, including Hermes, appear to have passed all the risk in terms of employment conditions and working time regulations to individual couriers – with no thought to their safety of that of the general public. The union said it believes Hermes pressured some couriers to work 13 days consecutively during the festive peak period. Most couriers worked more than 12 hours each day during December.

More information:

Firefighters’ union ‘horrified’ at increase in fire deaths

A rise in the number of fires and fire deaths in England for the second year running has been described as ‘horrifying’ by the UK firefighters’ union FBU. Fire incidents have increased by 9 per cent for the year ending September 2017, having already increased the previous year. More worrying still, said the FBU, “is that fire fatalities have also increased, even with the dreadful death toll of Grenfell taken out of the statistic – 346 people in England died in fires for the period, including Grenfell, compared with 253 the previous year.”

With the Grenfell deaths removed from the total, there were still 22 more people dying in fires than in the preceding year. The unions said these ‘worrying increases’ have occurred against a backdrop of severe cuts to the fire and rescue service, which was cut between 2010/2015 by 30 per cent, with another 15 per cent of cuts being implemented between 2016/17 and 2019/20, according to the just announced Local Government Settlement.

More information:

New UK Standard – PAS 1192-6: 2018 – Specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health and Safety information using BIM

PAS 1192-6 specifies requirements for the collaborative sharing of structured H&S information throughout the project and asset life-cycles. This PAS standard supports the development of structured H&S information for all construction projects progressively from the outset.

The PAS provides guidance on how H&S information is produced, flows and can be used throughout the project and asset lifecycle. Whilst all H&S risk information can be included within an information model, this PAS requires the contextualization and filtering of hazards and risks to prioritize the elevated risks and aspects that are safety critical.

PAS 1192-6 sets out a framework (risk information cycle) for the application of H&S information-use through BIM processes and applications. The principles and requirements of this PAS can be applied equally to non-BIM projects.

More information:

UNISON recognises top safety reps

UK UNISON health and safety reps “go beyond the call of duty,” general secretary Dave Prentis declared at the union’s Safety Rep of the Year awards this week. The awards ceremony in London brought together UNISON health and safety reps from across the country. The public service union’s event also celebrated the positive difference 40 years of safety reps have made to ordinary people’s working lives.

“Our safety reps go beyond the call of duty to keep themselves, fellow members and the workplace as a whole safer,” said the union leader. “And they should be commended for that.” Margaret Davis from UNISON’s Eastern region and Adrian House from the South West were named as safety reps of the year in recognition if their “outstanding contribution to promoting health and safety at work”.

More information:

MPs launch inquiry into workplace harassment

UK MPs are to examine the use of non-disclosure agreements as part of an inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. The Women and Equalities Committee said it would consider whether they were being abused by employers and legal experts to “cover up wrongdoing.” How to protect staff and make it easier for them to report abuse are among other issues that will be examined. Maria Miller, the committee’s chair, said changes to workplace culture were clearly needed. The inquiry follows a string of allegations of harassment and bullying against leading figures in the US film and media industries, as well as claims of inappropriate behaviour in parliament and other high-profile British institutions.

Announcing the inquiry, Tory MP Maria Miller said women had come forward to speak about the “appalling experiences” they had faced in a number of different sectors. The cross-party committee, she said, would look at the extent of the problem in British workplaces, who the perpetrators were, why it was continuing to happen and how it could best be tackled. The MPs will consider the scope of victims for legal redress, including employment tribunals and other forms of dispute resolution, as well as the use of non-disclosure agreements. Critics including the TUC say these confidentiality agreements have been used to ensure the silence of victims of harassment and assault.

More information:

Action on harassment in parliament ‘not enough’

Unite, which represents hundreds of MPs staff, has welcomed the 8 February publication of a report into tackling the bullying and harassment in parliament. But is said although it is a step in the right direction, far more must be done to resolve longstanding problems. The union made its call after publication of the plan by the parliamentary working group into bullying and harassment. A representative of Unite’s parliamentary and constituency staff branch was a member of the working group.

The report’s key recommendations include a new code of behaviour for all staff in parliament and constituencies, a direct confidential contact in parliament and phone line for reporting allegation of abuse and procedures for informal resolutions. It also says there should be independent investigators to consider evidence, with sanctions to be applied by a parliamentary commissioner for standards or, in serious cases, by a reformed standards committee made up of an equal number of MPs and lay members.

More information:

Potentially lethal disease risks in UK bio labs

Safety breaches at UK laboratories that handle harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi have spread infections to staff and exposed others to potentially lethal diseases, the Guardian has reported. The paper says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has investigated a series of mistakes over the past two years that led to scientists falling ill at specialist labs run by hospitals, private companies, and even Public Health England (PHE), the government agency charged with protecting and improving the nation’s health and well-being.

One scientist at a PHE laboratory became sick after contracting Shigella, a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes most cases of dysentery in Britain. The incident led the HSE to send the agency an enforcement letter to improve its health and safety practices. The paper reports that the HSE held formal investigations into more than 40 mishaps at specialist laboratories between June 2015 and July 2017, amounting to one every two to three weeks.

More information:

Global: Horrific work pressures are causing suicides

Two recent suicides have illustrated the potentially deadly impact of growing pressures and insecurity in modern workplaces. The tragedies follow recent reports from the UK, US, France and elsewhere highlighting large numbers of work-related suicides.

In Canada, a decision by the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board to attribute the suicide death of a grader operator to his employer is being called a ‘shift’ in attitudes to mental health in the workplace. Robert Duhaime worked for the Rural Municipality of Parkdale until his death on 31 August 2017. In a letter to his widow, Brenda Duhaime, on 19 January, the WCB said there is sufficient information to attribute his mental health issues and subsequent death to his employment. Scott Walsworth, an associate professor of human resources at the University of Saskatchewan, said the decision “opens the doors and it places a lot of responsibility on the employers for creating a healthy space at work in terms of mental health.”

More information:

USA: Biggest cluster ever of fatal coal miners’ disease

US government scientists say they have identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported. In a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), epidemiologists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirm 416 cases of progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) or complicated black lung in three clinics treating coal miners in central Appalachia from 2013 to 2017.

“This is the largest cluster of progressive massive fibrosis ever reported in the scientific literature,” says Scott Laney, a NIOSH epidemiologist involved in the study. “We’ve gone from having nearly eradicated PMF in the mid-1990s to the highest concentration of cases that anyone has ever seen,” he said. Laney acknowledges that the full scope of what he calls an epidemic is still unknown. “Even with this number, which is substantial and unacceptable, it’s still an underestimate.”

More information:

Migrants’ Rights under Threat with US Nomination to Head International Organization for Migration

At the end of this year, member States of the United Nations will adopt a Global Compact on Migration (GCM), following a series of intergovernmental negotiations. A “zero draft” of the GCM was published on Monday, 5 February 2018.

Expectations are high that the GCM will deliver commitments and actions from the international community that will promote a fair migration agenda, protect the human and labour rights of migrants and dissipate rising racism and xenophobia, typified by the scapegoating of migrants. Nothing less will do.

The United Nations system as a whole must also be ready to assist member States and stakeholders, including trade unions and civil society, with the implementation of the GCM, in a manner that is consistent with, and reinforces, existing international human and labour rights treaties.

More information:

News from US NIOSH

Severe Black Lung Disease Found in Many Former Coal Miners

NIOSH researchers, in partnership with staff from a network of federally funded black lung clinics in Virginia, have reported the largest cluster of severe black lung disease ever described in the scientific literature, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

More information:

Outside NIOSH: Differences in Reporting Work-related Injuries and Illnesses Affect Cost Estimates

Work-related injuries and illnesses are a significant and persistent problem in many industries. The first step in prevention involves pinpointing risks by understanding where and how injuries and illnesses occur. Typically, researchers look at reported cases using workers’ compensation and other official records, but these cases may underestimate the true number of injuries due to underreporting and use of group health insurance, rather than workers’ compensation.

More information:

New Study Aims for a Better Night’s Sleep for Truck Drivers

The NIOSH Total Worker Health® Program strives to protect workers by considering the whole spectrum of influences on worker safety and health. In addition to tangible work-related risks, such as handling hazardous chemicals or operating heavy machinery, these influences extend far beyond the workplace to the worker’s home and community. They include wages, workload, and stress, as well as the relationships between workers and employers, and even adequate sleep.

More information:

Fire lessons not learned in new sprinkler-free schools

UK Ministers have been accused of a “shockingly cavalier” approach to fire safety after it emerged some new schools are being built without sprinklers. Since 2010, just 35 per cent of new schools have been fitted with sprinklers. The revelation has prompted union leaders to write to education secretary Damian Hinds to demand action.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the National Education Union (NEU) say the Grenfell Tower fire “should have been a defining moment” on fire safety, but they warn a rush to build new schools cheaply is instead driving decisions. Andy Dark, FBU’s assistant general secretary, said: “The government’s attitude toward fire safety is shockingly cavalier. Sprinklers play an important role in preventing the growth of fire, limiting damage to buildings and saving lives.” He added: “The cost of fitting sprinklers represents a very low investment when weighed against the potential threat to life, the damage to buildings and the disruption of children’s education if there is a fire in a school. It is essential that the government act immediately to make it a legal requirement for sprinklers to be fitted in all new school buildings.”

More information:

UK TUC alert on soon to be launched safety standard ISO 45001

A new international occupational health and safety (OHS) management standard which was heavily criticised by unions throughout the drafting process is due to be launched in March 2018. The International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) certifiable ISO 45001 standard will replace the non-certifiable British standard OHSAS 18001.

The UK TUC is calling for unions to be vigilant as the ISO standard rolls out. “It is likely to be most commonly used in multinational corporations that will seek to have a standard OHS system across the entire globe.”

The TUC remains concerned about flaws in the standard, notably the absence of rights to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) without charge, to refuse dangerous work with protection from victimisation and to OHS training in work time, all of which are in International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.

More information:

Hazards Campaign resources for 28 April 2018 International Workers’ Memorial Day

The national UK Hazards Campaign has produced new resources for International Workers’ Memorial Day, including commemorative purple ‘forget-me-knot’ ribbons, ‘union workplaces are safer workplaces’ car stickers, ‘organising for safety’ high-vis waistcoats and free posters. The campaign says safety reps can make use of the resources in preparing for their 28 April event.

More information:

See also the website created by Sheila Pantry OBE for Workers’ Memorial Day in conjunction with RoSPA:

Health and Safety Executive Science Division experts offer Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Training

Bespoke in-company training for your organisation – HSE Science Division experts are in the unique position of having investigated hundreds of slipping accidents, and developed much of HSE’s guidance on managing slip risk. The experts have turned this knowledge into a unique one-day training course which is based on this front-line, practical experience of what goes wrong.

This training will focus on helping your employees understand the causes of slips, trips and falls, and highlight successful interventions that offer a great starting point for organisations looking to reduce falls.

Organisations that have received HSE slips, trips and falls prevention training courses have reported a reduction in incidents of up to 50%. The changes you need to make to prevent slips are often simple and inexpensive, once you understand the causes.

For more information on the work of the Health & Safety Laboratory including the training courses visit

Event: LPG Europe 2018

7-8 March 2018, Lisbon, Portugal

Have the opportunity to hear latest updates on the industry’s latest challenges and business opportunities and on LPG global supply and demand trends, bio LPG projects in Europe & newest technology advancements.

Booking includes attendance of the two-day conference, all speakers’ presentations, lunches and networking opportunities as well as documentation from the event.

All details and to book online

Event: The Future of Food Safety Conference – Hygiene and supply chain solutions

17 May 2018, The University of Salford

The Food Safety Conference will be where leading experts discuss the latest developments in the industry. Discover the latest innovations in hygienic food storage and transportation, identify the strengths and weaknesses in your organisation’s food safety strategy and learn how to check if your supply chain is delivering secure and sustainable products.

Discussion Points:

More information:

Event: Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK) celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a seminar “Mind the Gap”

11 October 2018

Book the date in your diary or calendar

The programme is being confirmed and list of speakers will be available shortly.

Meanwhile contact FIG UK Co-ordinator:
Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP, IOSH Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2013
Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Email: |

See also:

UK Gig economy action not the ‘giant leap’ needed

The UK TUC has said the government action on gig worker rights is only ‘a baby step – when it needed to take a giant leap’, with 1.8 million workers left without key protections.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced this week the government is to give gig economy workers new rights, including holiday and sick pay, for the first time. Its Good Work plan is in answer to last year’s Taylor Review which recommended changes in conditions to reflect modern working practices.

The government has accepted most of the review’s recommendations. It adds it is going further than the Review’s recommendations by enforcing holiday and sick pay entitlements, giving all workers the right to demand a payslip, and allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts. It will also monitor and report on the quality as well as the quantity of jobs in the economy and take steps to make sure flexible workers are aware of their rights.

More information:

Sexual harassment is rife in hospitality, survey shows

Nine out of 10 hospitality workers have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the preliminary finding of a new survey by the UK based Unite. The initial findings of the union’s #NotOnTheMenu survey reveal that of those respondents who had experienced sexual harassment, 56.3 per cent said that they had been targeted by a member of the public and 22.7 per cent said that they had been harassed by a manager. Around half of workers who had been harassed said that the experience made them want to leave their job and made them feel unsafe and less confident at work.

The preliminary results indicate 84.7 per cent of hospitality workers had witnessed sexual harassment of other people. Over threequarters (77 per cent) did not know if their workplace had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place and 60 per cent were unsure or lacked faith in their management to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment. Unite said its survey, which has attracted hundreds of responses to date, is running until mid-February. Unite is hopeful that the recent media coverage of the issue inspired by the FT’s undercover Presidents Club investigation will encourage workers in hospitality from across the UK to participate in order to expose and tackle such abuses.

More information:

UK Employers urged to let staff ‘rest’ during working day

Workers should be given places to rest at work to help boost productivity, according to new official guidance. Downtime at work can help employees switch off and get better quality sleep at night, says Public Health England (PHE), adding better sleep maintains cognitive function in employees, as well as cutting health risks. Companies should encourage better “sleep hygiene”, the public health body adds.

Central to ‘Sleep and recovery: A toolkit for employers’, produced by Business in the Community in association with PHE, “is the recommendation that businesses create an understanding environment, where employees can be open with their managers about any sleep-related issues that are hampering them at work,” notes PHE in a blog post. “That way line managers and employees can identify the risks to health and wellbeing in your workplace together and gather the right information to help you put plans in place to manage risks. This can be especially important when changes to your work schedule or significant changes like organisational restructuring are planned. The new sleep toolkit takes businesses through this process, with information on the importance of sleep, the business case for good sleep and actions which address the causes of sleep deprivation in employees.”

More information:

New fire books

Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition

Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition explores the science of enclosure fires, and how they cause changes in the environment. The authors discuss mechanisms for controlling enclosure fires, and how to develop analytical relationships useful in designing buildings for fire safety.

Derivation of equations from first principles is shown, stating assumptions and showing comparisons to experimental data. The text provides readers with the skills needed to solve a range of engineering equations and models. Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition will enhance the knowledge of fire protection engineers, researchers, and investigators, and help build a strong foundation for engineering students.

More information:

Fire Precautions: A Guide for Management

This title written by Colin S. Todd was first published in 2000. This new text tackles the allied subjects of fire prevention, fire protection and fire safety management and takes account of changes to the building regulations and associated guidance in England and Wales which apply from 1 July 2000.

The approach adopted is to divide the subject of fire safety into a number of discrete components, for example: fire prevention; means of escape; emergency lighting; fire safety signs; and fire detection and alarm systems.

The section of legislation has been extensively revised to take account of the major changes which have taken place since the first edition in 1992. Intended for the non-specialist, the book provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of fire safety, constituting a reference for health and safety practitioners, facilities managers, building managers, building service engineers and others with responsibility for fire precautions in buildings. It may also be used as an introductory resource for fire safety professionals.

More information:

London School of Economics says: “Union protection is ‘best antidote’ to sexual harassment”

Unions play a crucial role in empowering workers to resist sexual harassment, London School of Economics (LSE) researchers have found. LSE professors Sarah Ashwin and Naila Kabeer found organisations working in partnership with local trade unions or worker representatives are more likely to succeed in addressing sexual harassment and violence.

They say global codes of conduct, by comparison, have proven ineffective. “Where legal protection is weak or absent, a code of conduct will clearly be harder to enforce. But even in the presence of a suitable legal framework, a code of conduct is not a very effective tool for redressing a power imbalance,” they note in an LSE blog.

But unions did work, they said, citing research by Tufts University. This found that collective bargaining agreements had a direct impact on reducing concerns regarding sexual harassment and verbal abuse, improving worker satisfaction with the outcomes of complaints and encouraging workers to raise concerns with trade union representatives.

More information: