News from around the World
- Health Care is a Human Right – It begins with Proper Diagnosis
- 50th anniversary of the equal pay strikes at Ford in Dagenham, UK
- London Fire Brigade to be one of the most ‘dementia friendly fire services in the world’
- Event: Fire Hazards in Enclosed Spaces / Compartments
- Event: AIOH 2018 – Occupational Hygiene, Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions
- Disabled workers earn £2,730 a year less on average than non-disabled workers – new TUC report
- ECHA – the European Chemicals Agency News
- EU-OSHA’s Annual Report 2017 – Marking achievements and looking ahead to future goals
- Amazon workers hospitalised and in constant agony
- Drone law doesn’t go far enough, pilots warn
- Stressful jobs linked to deadly heart rhythm disorders
- Post-Grenfell fire disaster report ‘falls short’
- Working Fatigue Risk Management in Practice Workshop
- Event: Meet HSE at the Safety & Health EXPO 2018
- Event: Fire Safety Conference 2018
- Event: Increasing Confidence in the NHS Complaints System – Embedding a Continuous Cycle of Learning and Improvement
- Event: Hazards Conference 2018
- Event: Tackling Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking – Working in Partnership to Disrupt Criminal Networks, Improve Identification and Deliver Sustained Support for Victims
- Event: Seminar to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Fire Information Group UK
- New data protection rules don’t trump safety reps’ rights
- Firefighters’ union scathing on Grenfell shortcomings
- Qantas using ‘anti-union’ tactics to silence safety concerns
- UNISON survey spots spike in health board stress
- Fears over ‘potentially lethal’ fire service management move
- Global: Asbestos industry told ‘the end is nigh!’
- New Zealand: Union urges breaks for air traffic controllers
- Pakistan: Ali Enterprises fire families receive pensions for life
- USA: Government wants to get teens in hazardous jobs
- UK MPs slam government’s injury compensation plan
- ECHA: 21,551 chemicals on EU market now registered
- ITUC General Council Celebrates 150th Anniversary of British TUC in London
Health Care is a Human Right – It begins with Proper Diagnosis
“An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO. “No one should suffer or die because of a lack of diagnostic services, or because the right tests were not available.”
On 15 May 2018, WHO releases Essential Diagnostics List in recognition that in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are an essential component to advance universal health coverage, address health emergencies, and promote healthier populations. It contains 113 tests of which 58 are basic tests aimed at supporting the diagnosis and monitoring of common conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and anaemia (haemoglobin, blood glucose, complete blood count, urine dipstick etc). The remaining 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of “high priority” infections such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus (HPV) and syphilis.
Timely and accurate diagnosis is fundamental to achieving quality patient-centred care and has myriad benefits beyond individuals including enabling rapid detection of disease outbreaks and reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics.
“Our aim is to provide a tool that can be useful to all countries, to test and treat better, but also to use health funds more efficiently by concentrating on the truly essential tests,” said Mariangela Simao, a WHO assistant director-general.
50th anniversary of the equal pay strikes at Ford in Dagenham, UK
Commenting on the 50th anniversary of the equal pay strikes at Ford in Dagenham in the UK, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The Dagenham strikers changed the law and changed women’s lives. Fifty years on, we stand on their shoulders.
“But the battle for equality continues. Too many big companies still have a gender pay gap. And too many women do crucial jobs like caring, cleaning and catering, but are stuck on low pay.
“We must celebrate the Ford strikers’ legacy by rediscovering their fighting spirit. That means getting more young women into unions and organising together to win equality for everyone at work.”
London Fire Brigade to be one of the most ‘dementia friendly fire services in the world’
London Fire Brigade has announced that it is set to train over one thousand of its firefighters and staff in how to help people living with dementia in the capital, with a view to becoming one of the most dementia-friendly fire services in the world.
The Brigade is working with the Alzheimer’s Society, which recently announced plans to make London the world’s first dementia friendly capital city – a scheme which is being supported by the Mayor of London.
The announcement came during the recent Dementia Action Week.
The Brigade said that people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to fire, which is why it is working with the Alzheimer’s Society to become a dementia friendly organisation, and training as many staff as possible to become ‘Dementia Friends.’
There are currently 72,000 people living with dementia in London. The Brigade is working with the charity to raise awareness of dementia − an incurable condition caused by diseases of the brain which over time seriously impairs the ability to live independently. Staff will become Dementia Friends at a series of workshops where they will learn more about the condition and how to make it easier to support those living with dementia.
Event: Fire Hazards in Enclosed Spaces / Compartments
27th & 28th June 2018, Aberdeen, London and via webcast
The next FABIG Technical Meeting in the UK will be a half-day event covering ‘Fire Hazards in Enclosed Spaces / Compartments’ and will be held on Wednesday 27th June 2018 in Aberdeen and on Thursday 28th June in London & via Webcast.
This meeting will take place between 12.00 and 17.00 (between 12.45 and 17.00 UK time for the webcast), and the event programme and schedule will be finalised very shortly. The following presentations will be given:
- A review of large-scale experiments on hydrocarbon jet and pool fires in compartments
Geoff Chamberlain – Waverton Consultancy
- Fires in enclosed spaces – characteristics derived from experimental studies
Ragnar Wighus – RISE Fire Research
- Modelling fires in compartments
James Stewart – Health and Safety Laboratory
- CFD analysis of the effects of ventilation on fire loads in enclosed and partly enclosed modules
Rune N. Kleiveland – ComputIT
- Optimisation of smoke detection in gas turbine enclosures
Tarek Bengherbia & Gabriele Ferrara – DNV GL
- Offshore accommodation module fires and their major accident hazard potential
Vernon Martin – Health and Safety Executive
More information: www.fabig.com/events
Event: AIOH 2018 – Occupational Hygiene, Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions
1-5 December 2018, Crown Conference Centre, Southbank, Melbourne
36th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.
The Conference will continue to provide opportunities for professional development on a wide range of traditional and trending occupation hygiene topics through Continuing Education Sessions, Presentations from International and National Speakers, Exhibitors showcasing products and services and Social programs and activities.
More information: https://www.aioh.org.au/events-public/aioh-2018-conference
Disabled workers earn £2,730 a year less on average than non-disabled workers – new TUC report
A new UK TUC report recently published finds that the UK disability pay gap has increased to its highest level since 2013.
In 2017 average hourly pay for disabled workers was £9.90, compared to £11.40 for non-disabled workers – a disability pay gap of £1.50 an hour and £2,730 a year.
The disability pay gap has now reached 15% – its highest level since 2013 when the government began publishing comparable data using the 2010 Equality Act definition of disability.
The new report is published to coincide with the TUC’s annual Disabled Workers Conference, which this year takes place in Bournemouth.
It finds that disabled people are less likely to be in employment – and when employed they are paid less than their non-disabled peers.
The other key findings on the disability pay gap are:
- Low-paid work: Disabled workers are more likely to work in lower-paid occupations than non-disabled workers.
- Education: Fewer disabled people have higher levels of education which may make it harder to get jobs with higher rates of pay. But even when disabled workers have the same level of education a pay gap remains.
- Gender: Disabled women face a larger pay gap than disabled men. Compared to non-disabled men, the pay gap is 13% for disabled men and 22% for disabled women.
- Working hours: More disabled workers are part-time (36.4%) than non-disabled workers (23.4%), which partly accounts for the gap.
The annual disability pay gap of £2,730 is equivalent to: 11-months of the average household spend on food; 9-months of household average fuel and power costs; or 8 months household average transport expenditure. The gap leaves disabled workers more likely to struggle to meet everyday costs, let alone the additional costs that can be associated with being disabled, says the TUC.
ECHA – the European Chemicals Agency News
New proposals to harmonise classification and labelling
A new proposal to harmonise the classification and labelling has been submitted for (E)-2-(methoxyimino)-N-methyl-2-[α-(2,5-xylyloxy)-o-tolyl]acetamide (EC 604-712-8, CAS 149961-52-4).
EHCA Guidance on identifying endocrine disruptors published
Scientific criteria have been agreed to identify endocrine disruptors under the EU legislation for pesticides and biocides. The criteria for biocides apply from 7 June 2018.
EU nanomaterials observatory updated with two searchable databases
The European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) now features two searchable databases: NanoData, a knowledge base on nanoscience and technology, and the eNanoMapper, which helps you find safety information about nanomaterials. The EUON has also been updated with new web pages on nanomaterials within the EU regulatory framework, how they are used in different sectors, and how to use them safely at work. The content is available in 23 EU languages.
EU-OSHA’s Annual Report 2017 – Marking achievements and looking ahead to future goals
2017 was characterised by EU-OSHA’s constant commitment to improving occupational safety and health (OSH) throughout Europe.
The Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign came to a close.
Amazon workers hospitalised and in constant agony
The ‘terrible conditions’ and poor treatment of workers in Amazon warehouses have been exposed in an investigation by the union GMB. The union says hundreds of ambulance callouts, people in constant agony and heavily pregnant women being forced to work standing, have also been uncovered.
A series of freedom of information requests submitted to ambulance services across Britain revealed ambulances have been called out 600 times to 14 Amazon warehouses in the last three financial years. In more than half of the cases, patients were taken to hospital. During the past three calendar years at Amazon’s Rugeley site, ambulances were called 115 times, including three for women for pregnancy or maternity related issues and three for major trauma.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-852-9-june-2018#_Toc516130886
Drone law doesn’t go far enough, pilots warn
A new law on drones does not go air enough to keep our skies safe, pilots’ union BALPA has warned. The legislation introduced in the UK House of Commons this week would mean some UK drone users would have to pass online safety tests.
Restrictions around airport boundaries have also been clarified, stopping any drone flying within 1km of them. In addition to the safety tests, people who own drones weighing 250g or more will have to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Some drones, usually cheaper models, weigh less than 250g. But most – especially those with built-in cameras – weigh more.
BALPA had previously called on the government to tighten laws on drones after the steep rise in near-misses with aircraft in recent years. However, the proposed new law includes limited restrictions that will allow drones to be flown up to 400ft just 1km from an airport boundary. BALPA says that this is a ‘very dangerous’ situation as aircraft will already be lower than this at this point on approach to an airport, so the new regulations must go further to avoid potential collisions.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-852-9-june-2018#_Toc516130892
Stressful jobs linked to deadly heart rhythm disorders
Having a stressful job is associated with a higher risk of a heart rhythm disorder, according to new research. The study found the most stressful jobs, linked to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation, are psychologically demanding but give employees little control over the work situation – for example, assembly line workers, bus drivers, secretaries, and nurses.
The findings, which used data from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), have been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study found that being stressed at work was associated with a 48 per cent higher risk of atrial fibrillation, after adjustment for age, sex, and education.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-852-9-june-2018#_Toc516130896
Post-Grenfell fire disaster report ‘falls short’
The final report by Dame Judith Hackitt into the adequacy of the current building regulations and fire safety was published this week. The report was commissioned by the government after last year’s fire at Grenfell Tower in West London, that led to the loss of 71 lives.
According to the TUC, while the report makes a number of good recommendations, “it falls short of providing the kind of safety regime that is needed.” Commenting on the report’s publication, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: “At the time of the fire, I said that fire safety had suffered massively because of the government’s obsession with deregulation and we need to make sure that the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire are learned and that we can be confident that tower blocks are safe places to live and work in.” He said the final report “makes some positive recommendations, including toughening up fire testing and the improving the way buildings are certified as safe. It also looks at issues of competency and the need for more involvement of residents, although many of the problems relate to the initial construction, before there are any tenants to involve. Although the proposals will simplify the system they do not fully tackle many of the real problems around the need for a strong statutory approach to regulation.”
Working Fatigue Risk Management in Practice Workshop
20 June 2018, HSE Buxton, UK
More than 3.5 million people are employed as shift workers in the UK in a wide variety of industries. Poorly designed shift-working arrangements and long working hours that do not balance the demands of work with time for rest and recovery can result in fatigue, accidents, injuries and ill health.
This cross-industry event is jointly hosted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Working Time Solutions (WTS). It will help you to develop your understanding of fatigue, share experiences of fatigue risk management, discuss challenges and create solutions. This course is also CPD certified.
- responsible for defining a company’s Safety Management Systems?
- monitoring fatigue?
- advising on occupational health?
- training in relation to fatigue?
- working in HR?
- responsible for roster design and workforce planning
Event: Meet HSE at the Safety & Health EXPO 2018
19-21 June 2018, Excel, London UK
Register for your free ticket. You are invited to join us at Safety & Health Expo, the UK’s leading health & safety event, taking place from 19-21 June at ExCeL London.
Show highlights include:
- A Networking Forum run in conjunction with HSE, NEBOSH, RoSPA and BOHS – meet your peers, share professional challenges and discuss potential solutions
- An inspirational speaker line-up that includes comedian and mental health expert Ruby Wax OBE, Sir Clive Woodward OBE, and Nicky Moffat CBE
- The brand new Occupational Health & Wellbeing Zone, featuring three days of free seminar content, 40 related health and wellbeing exhibitors, a chill out lounge, plus yoga classes on the show floor as we take a holistic look at the profession
- 80 hours of free CPD sessions to ensure your career stays up to date
- A personalised Meetings Service, matching 13,500+ buyers to 350+ suppliers, with a dedicated meetings lounge – pre-plan your visit and make the most of your time
- The Legal Clinic – expert advice from lawyers and barristers Turnstone Law and 2 Hare Court
Meet HSE’s expert team on stand R130 – register for your free ticket today.
Event: Fire Safety Conference 2018
19 July 2018, 1 America Square, 17 Crosswall, London, EC3N 2LB
The events of the last year have put fire and rescue services into the spotlight. Serious incidents and tragedies have raised questions over the safeguards in place to prevent fires and respond to emergencies.
More recently, the Hackitt Review will have a major impact on fire safety and building regulations. Join us to hear about Government action and the national landscape of fire safety post-Grenfell.
Key Issues to be Addressed:
- Reforms to the Fire and Rescue Service: Overview and Update
- New priorities for fire protection and prevention
- Updating plans for major fires and incidents
- Interim findings from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
- Providing an effective service with constrained budgets
- Preparing for tomorrow: the changing role of fire & rescue services
- Collaboration through partnership: working with local partners
Further information & registration: www.westminster-briefing.com/Fire-Safety-Conference-2018
Event: Increasing Confidence in the NHS Complaints System – Embedding a Continuous Cycle of Learning and Improvement
19 July 2018, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
With the NHS managing unprecedented levels of demand, it is essential that inquiries into failings in patient care are delivered in an effective and expeditious manner, underpinning the trust and confidence of patients and staff in the NHS complaints system and safety culture. The total number of written complaints in 2016/17 was 208,415, equal to 571 complaints a day, an increase of 4.9% on the previous year (NHS Digital, 2017). Data on Written complaints in the NHS 2016/17 shows rising numbers of complaints in both primary and secondary care, experiencing a 9.7% and 1.4% increase respectively. Around half of complaints made to primary care providers were upheld, compared to nearly two-thirds of secondary care complaints.
Subsequent to the landmark Learning from Mistakes (July 2016), PHSO published Selected Summaries of Investigations, (October 2016) recommending improved culture and competence within the NHS complaints system to conduct open and clear investigations. Their Providing a Safe Space in Healthcare Safety Investigations Consultation, (Dec 2016) explored the creation of a statutory ‘safe space’ in which information generated as part of safety investigations could be kept confidential, thereby enabling staff to openly explore errors and embed a ‘culture of learning’. In April 2017, the Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch (HSIB) became operational, with the purpose of improving safety through investigations that don’t apportion blame or liability, conducted within this ‘safe space’. This was identified as a “critical step ... towards fostering a learning culture in the NHS” by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) (Jan 2017). The NHS has also published a national integrated whistleblowing policy (April 2016) to help standardise support for staff who raise concerns.
However, progress is required, not only in shifting away from a ‘blame culture’, but also in tackling the root causes of safety concerns. In March 2018, PHSO reported that vulnerable patients with mental health conditions are being badly let down by the NHS. PACAC have also criticised the continued position of HSIB within NHS Improvement, arguing that “unless HSIB’s independence is enshrined in primary legislation, its investigations remain open to external pressures”.
This symposium will therefore provide; regulators, healthcare professionals, NHS providers, commissioners, patients and families with an opportunity to explore the impact of HSIB and develop strategies to improve patient safety and public confidence in the complaints system. It will also enable delegates to share best practice in improving investigative capacity within local NHS trusts.
More information: www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/IG19-PPE
Event: Hazards Conference 2018
27-29 July 2018, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
The theme is ‘Safety reps@40 – Still vital to the future of safe and healthy work!’
The conference will feature contributions from international and national trade union leaders, academics and campaigners who will address the current health and safety issues facing workers.
The keynote international speaker is Asli Odman from the Istanbul Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly. The conference includes a choice of 18 workshops to support health and safety reps in their role.
Event: Tackling Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking – Working in Partnership to Disrupt Criminal Networks, Improve Identification and Deliver Sustained Support for Victims
6 September 2018, Park Plaza London Waterloo
Victims of modern slavery and human trafficking suffer appalling dehumanisation and deprivation of liberty. These pernicious crimes occur in a variety of contexts and range from forced labour and domestic servitude to the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation. 5,145 potential victims of modern slavery were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, a 35% increase on 2016 (NCA, 2017). Recorded modern slavery crimes in England and Wales moreover increased by 159% percent from 870 in 2016/16 to 2,255 in 2016/17 (NAO, 2017).
Since the landmark UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 “set an international benchmark to which other jurisdictions aspire” (Independent Review, 2016), the Government has undertaken measures to maximise the identification of these crimes and enhance the delivery of support to victims. Furthermore, the Modern Slavery Victim Support Bill, making further provision for identifying and assisting victims and amending the 2015 Act, is currently under consideration by the House of Lords. The NHS, HMICFRS, and LGA have also analysed the effectiveness of existing responses by health, law enforcement and local government sectors, and published relevant guidance to improve staff awareness and joint working.
However, it is clear that significant progress is required. Many police forces are demonstrating insufficient understanding of the nature and scale of modern slavery and human trafficking (HMICFRS, 2017), whilst 86% of NHS professionals report lacking the knowledge to identify victims (NHS, 2016). Furthermore, victims are not being adequately supported to give evidence against abusers, (Work and Pensions Select Committee, 2017), and experience high levels of unmet needs and poor access to health services (PHE, 2017).
This symposium will therefore provide local authorities, police forces, health professionals, criminal justice agencies, academics and charities, with a timely opportunity to examine methods of improving the identification and disruption of modern slavery and human trafficking. It will also enable delegates to share best practice in strengthening local partnership arrangements and coordination activities to increase reporting and deliver sustained support for victims.
More information: www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/II06-PPE
Event: Seminar to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Fire Information Group UK
11 October 2018, 1 pm – 6 pm, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB
Full programme to be announced shortly.
Book this date in your diary – 3.5 CPD awarded.
Contact for bookings:
New data protection rules don’t trump safety reps’ rights
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into effect this week and some employers are ‘worryingly’ – and wrongly – using them to restrict the information going to union safety reps.
According to TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson: “Some employers are using the regulations to try to stop union health and safety representatives from getting access to information they are legally entitled to.” This is despite a very clear legal right for safety reps to obtain all the information ‘necessary to enable them to fulfil their functions.’ The only exception is information about an identifiable individual, for which their consent is required. But Robertson, writing in a TUC blog posting, notes: “Now we find that a lot of employers are saying that the GDPR restricts what information they can supply. Examples of this include refusing to hand over information from accident report forms, instead saying they will just give quarterly reports, or instructing their auditor to stop sharing their safety audits with safety representatives on the grounds they contain some personal data. This is nonsense. These employers are making no attempt to gain consent for sharing the information or, if consent is withheld, anonymising the information.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924235
Firefighters’ union scathing on Grenfell shortcomings
The failure of a major review to recommend a ban on flammable insulation linked to the Grenfell fire tragedy and news that this cladding had never passed fire safety tests have been condemned as ‘perverse’ and ‘beyond shocking’ by the firefighters’ union FBU.
The union’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “It is perverse that the Hackitt review does not recommend an outright ban on flammable cladding despite claiming that a new regulatory framework would stop the use of these materials. The safest course of action for the public and for firefighters is for these dangerous materials to be taken out of the equation entirely.” He added: “Although we welcome Hackitt’s recognition that systemic change is necessary to improve safety, we are deeply concerned that the report seems to prioritise business concerns over public safety.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924237
Qantas using ‘anti-union’ tactics to silence safety concerns
The union Unite has warned Qantas airlines against employing ‘anti-union’ tactics to try and suppress legitimate health and safety concerns. The union was speaking out after the introduction of the airline’s new 17-hour ultra-long-haul flight between London Heathrow and Perth in Australia.
The new direct route, launched by Qantas in March 2018, means an average duty period of 19 hours for the ten-cabin crew on board each 787 Dreamliner aircraft serving the route. Unite has raised concerns with Qantas that the cabin crew, who are all UK based, can only expect to receive an average rest period of 25 hours in their hotel before commencing their duty on the flight home. The union also said, ‘open and transparent conversations’ between Unite and its members on legitimate health and safety concerns have been described by the UK base manager for Qantas, Danielle Morgan, as ‘unreasonable union activity’.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924238
UNISON survey spots spike in health board stress
A health board in Wales has been urged to support its staff better after figures obtained by UNISON showed a spike in stress-related sick days.
New statistics obtained by the union show Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) lost almost 77,000 days due to stress and anxiety last year – costing more than £5.4 million. UNISON’s Freedom of Information request to BCUHB revealed that in 2017 the total number of days lost to stress-related sickness was 76,919, which cost an estimated £5,428,479. In 2016, the number of sickness days was 65,786 at a cost of £4,932,456. The figures also show a 17.3 per cent increase in absences in the six years from 2012.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924239
Fears over ‘potentially lethal’ fire service management move
The appointment of staff with no experience of firefighting to key operational positions at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) is ‘a potentially lethal experiment’, firefighters’ union FBU has warned. The union said it believes the safety of firefighters and the public is being jeopardised by the practice.
ESFRS has advertised two area manager roles that would see the post holders direct fire crews in an emergency where life is at risk. But FBU said the service is ‘actively pushing’ for people who have no operational experience in the fire service to apply. It comes after the service appointed Dawn Whittaker as its chief fire officer last year despite her having no experience as an operational firefighter.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924240
Global: Asbestos industry told ‘the end is nigh!’
A global network of 30 trade union, labour, environmental, academic and occupational disease victims’ advocacy organisations have told the asbestos industry its days are numbered.
In an open letter headed ‘the end is nigh!’, groups including the global building unions’ federation BWI, the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) and the Asia Monitor Resource Centre note “there has been a dramatic fall in asbestos demand and a considerable diminution of this toxic industry’s influence.” It notes that only Russia and Kazakhstan are now exporting asbestos. “These countries are holding the rest of the world to ransom and in doing so, could be responsible for millions of asbestos deaths.” The letter concludes: “The asbestos industry, an industry of death and destruction, is itself dying. As this toxic technology is consigned to the history books, a ‘just transition policy’ for redundant asbestos miners and affected communities should be implemented as a matter of urgency. They do deserve the human right to work and live in a healthy environment; for them, and for us, the future is now asbestos-free.”
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924250
New Zealand: Union urges breaks for air traffic controllers
Many air traffic controllers in New Zealand have no guarantee they will get any toilet breaks while carrying out safety-critical roles controlling planes, their union has told a select committee.
The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA), told the education and workforce select committee that the change it was seeking to the proposed Employment Relations Amendment Bill (ERA Bill) were “safety-critical”, to allow controllers to take a break during each shift. In a statement, the association said proposed legislation could require controllers (ATCs) to work continuously for up to nine-and-a-half hours without any rest or meal break. NZALPA president Tim Robinson said that, given air traffic control was a highly stressful occupation with the highest need for mental alertness, restricting the ability to have normal breaks like other workers was irresponsible and unsafe, and could potentially lead to a serious incident or accident.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924251
Pakistan: Ali Enterprises fire families receive pensions for life
The survivors and families bereaved by the Ali Enterprises fire in 2012 are to receive life-long pensions out of a fund financed by the factory’s main buyer, German retailer KiK. The beneficiaries all lost family members or were injured themselves at the deadly fire in the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 September 2012, which killed over 250 garment workers.
The factory produced clothes for German garment company KiK, which paid US$1 million in immediate relief shortly after the fire. It took four more years of campaigning and negotiation before KiK signed an agreement on long-term compensation.
In September 2016, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the fire, KiK agreed to pay US$5.15 million into a fund that would provide for pensions for the affected families. Garment workers’ rights group the Clean Clothes Campaign said the agreement, which has now come into effect, ‘is ground-breaking in many respects.’
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924252
USA: Government wants to get teens in hazardous jobs
The US Labor Department (DoL) plans to unwind decades-old youth labour protections by allowing teenagers to work longer hours in some of the nation’s most hazardous workplace conditions.
The DoL will propose relaxing current rules – known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) – that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, according to two well-placed two sources, said Bloomberg Law. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognises as too dangerous for those younger than 18.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924253
UK MPs slam government’s injury compensation plan
UK Government plans to change the personal injury compensation system could deny some workers access to justice, the Justice Select Committee has warned.
The committee examined the impact of raising the personal injury (PI) small claims limit from £1,000 to £2,000 and to £5,000 for Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) related claims, part of a package of government reforms. Chair of the justice committee, Bob Neill MP, said: “Access to justice, including the right of access to the courts, is a cornerstone of the rule of law but these reforms risk putting that right in doubt. We share strong concerns that were raised during our inquiry on this issue, including concerns about the financial and procedural barriers that claimants might face.” Shopworkers’ union Usdaw welcomed the committee’s report.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-850-26-may-2018#_Toc514924243
ECHA: 21,551 chemicals on EU market now registered
The 10-year registration period for existing chemicals is now complete following the last REACH registration deadline on 31 May 2018. 13 620 European companies have submitted information to ECHA in nearly 90,000 registrations for chemicals manufactured in or imported to the EU and EEA at above one tonne a year.
Today we know more about the chemicals used in Europe than ever before. This knowledge, generated by industry, is stored and published by ECHA in the world’s largest public regulatory database on chemicals and forms the basis for protecting citizens and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals. ECHA, the EU Member States and the European Commission will use the increased knowledge to take action where necessary, for example, by restricting or authorising certain uses of chemicals.
Over the first 10 years of the REACH Regulation, the EU has established a fair and transparent internal market for chemicals with strict safety rules. This promotes innovation towards safer substances and strengthens EU competitiveness.
More information: https://echa.europa.eu/-/21-551-chemicals-on-eu-market-now-registered
ITUC General Council Celebrates 150th Anniversary of British TUC in London
A special ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the British TUC, the first national trade union centre established in the world, took place during the 18th meeting of the ITUC General Council at the TUC headquarters in London on 25 May 2018.
The ceremony, chaired by ITUC Deputy President Maria Fernanda Carvalho Francisco and addressed by ILO Director General Guy Ryder and TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, also touched on highlights of trade union action around the world, and concluded with a panel discussion on democracy, rights and peace involving trade unionists from each region.
Panellists in the session moderated by ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow included Lee Cheuk Yan (Hong Kong CTU), Antonio Lisboa (CUT-Brazil), Nana Koomah Brown-Orleans (TUC Ghana, ITUC Youth Committee Chair) and Luca Visentini (ETUC). A statement of appreciation to the TUC was given by Zahoor Awan (PWF Pakistan) for their support to him during his exile from the military dictatorship in his country. The Council also received a special video message from former KCTU Korea President Han Sang-gyun on his release from a prison sentence imposed under the corrupt government of deposed Korean President Park Geun-hye.
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-general-council-celebrates