News from around the World
- New data shows smokers are getting the message on e-cigarettes
- UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) eBulletin on health and safety in schools
- New US NIOSH publications
- NIOSH Research Rounds
- Event: Public Health – The Unusual Suspects
- Event: Public Policy Exchange Show – Driving Efficiency in the UK Public Sector
- International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Meeting of Experts Confirms Social Protection for All Is Affordable
- ASH comment on Public Health England’s launch of Stoptober
- Event: 24th Maritime HR and Crew Management Summit
- Event: Fire Sector Summit
- Your rights as an apprentice
- Safe railway operations and occupational safety and health: A complex task for standardization
- Validated OSH-related findings concerning the non-visual effect of light upon human beings – A literature review
- Event: 2019 EUROSHNET Conference – Call for papers
- New European Report: Noise emission information – a machinery manufacturers’ guide
- More fires and more fire deaths, but firefighter cuts continue
- The TUC wants to stop work hurting mental health
- Poor mental health at work ‘widespread’
- Revised Draft NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin: Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials
- New Book: Environmental Arsenic in a Changing World – Proceedings of the 7th International Congress and Exhibition on Arsenic in the Environment
- UK HSE appoints experts in gig economy and mental health to Workplace Health Expert Committee
- News from ECHA
- Event: HiAP 2019 – Delivering Health Equity Tackling Inequalities
- Registration numbers granted to 32,515 REACH 2018 registrations
- ITUC, BWI and ITF Welcome End of Exit Permits for 1.5 Million Migrant Workers in Qatar
- News from the US NIOSH: A Guide to Air-Purifying Respirators
- US Events in 2019
- US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update
- ‘No evidence’ mental health first aid works says UK HSE
- Nautilus welcomes windfarm vessel fatigue campaign
- Asbestos warning for Sea King helicopter staff
- Time to ban zero hours contracts outright
- ISO 45001 – RoSPA support services
- Global: ILO accused of bad taste in partnering with McDonald’s
- Australia: Truck drivers demand action on deadly risks
- USA: Union clips Uber’s wings after taxi driver suicides
- Japan: UN says Fukushima clean-up workers risk exploitation
- New Report from World Health Organization: Preventing Disease through a Healthier and Safer Workplace
- New Study finds knowledge gaps in risk assessment of nano pigments
New data shows smokers are getting the message on e-cigarettes
Findings from a new survey for the UK Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) recently published show that Great Britain’s smokers are getting the message that switching to vaping can improve their health.
YouGov surveyed over 12,000 adults for ASH, with a further analysis by King’s College London, estimating that there are now 3.2 million vapers in Great Britain. This compares with an estimated 7.4 million smokers in the UK. Of current GB vapers, over half have quit smoking and 40% are current smokers who are trying to quit.
The number of vapers has grown rapidly over the last few years. In 2012 there were 700,000 vapers and in 2018 there are now more than 4 times that number. However, there remain a group of smokers who appear to be resistant to giving e-cigarettes a go. Around a third of smokers say they have never even tried an e-cigarette, with concerns about addiction topping the list of reasons why they haven’t tried one.
The proportion of smokers who have tried e-cigarettes has been relatively stable since 2015, prior to this it increased rapidly. In 2015 there was also an increase in smokers’ perceptions of harms from e-cigarettes, with 16% of smokers wrongly believing they were as or more harmful as smoking compared with 10% in the year before. False perceptions of harm have increased since then, with the percentage of smokers who now believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful as smoking now at 22%. However, in 2018 there has been an increase in the percentage of smokers who correctly believe vaping to be less harmful than smoking, at 27% in 2018 compared with 22% in 2017.
UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) eBulletin on health and safety in schools
This eBulletin is aimed at all those running, governing or working in schools. Its purpose is to provide useful information on managing school health and safety risks across the range. It will set out a sensible, proportionate approach.
HSE plan to issue this eBulletin once in each school term.
Asbestos-containing gauzes in schools
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been made aware that two UK laboratory supply companies have supplied schools and potentially other users with gauze mats which contain asbestos. The metal gauze mats are designed for use over Bunsen burners. This issue has been widely publicized and covered in the press.
Although the risk of exposure is low, HSE have ensured that the supply of the asbestos-containing gauze mats stopped immediately. The suppliers known to have sold the affected products will be individually contacting customers to alert them to this issue.
School are advised to take a precautionary approach and not handle or use or their current stock of wire/mesh gauzes until they ascertain whether they are likely to contain asbestos by checking with their supplier. The names of the suppliers have not been released as enquiries in respect of supply is ongoing and to avoid offering any false assurance that all other gauzes will not contain asbestos.
The HSE has published guidance and FAQs to provide additional information to schools in respect of the action that they need to take.
Asbestos management in schools
The HSE will shortly be commencing a programme of single issue inspections in schools to assess the effectiveness of the management arrangements to control the risks associated asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in schools.
The inspections aim to visit a wide range of schools and governance arrangements. School employers have been required to manage asbestos since 2004 to ensure that staff, pupils and contractors are not exposed to ACMs within schools.
Talking Toolkit to tackle work-related stress in schools
The Go Home Healthy campaign has launched a downloadable Talking Toolkit for school leaders aimed at preventing work-related stress.
The Talking Toolkit is a simple, practical guide to help line managers in schools to have conversations about issues which may be causing work-related stress or issues which could have the potential to become future causes if not managed properly.
The toolkit has six templates for six different conversations as well as ideas and resources from charities, Trade Unions, the Department for Education and Ofsted which your school can use to prevent stress.
In the last 12 months, over half a million working days were lost in secondary schools due to stress, depression or anxiety, which was caused or made worse by work.
The Talking Toolkit can help you take a first step on your school’s journey towards preventing work-related stress and to bring in suitable and sufficient measures to address the risks and help your school to comply with the law.
New US NIOSH publications
Report Shows Black Lung Increase Most Pronounced in Central Appalachia
One in ten underground coal miners who have worked in mines for at least 25 years were identified as having black lung, according to a new report by NIOSH published in the American Journal of Public Health. Coal miners in central Appalachia are disproportionately affected with as many as 1 in 5 having evidence of black lung—the highest level recorded in 25 years. Learn more.
New CBRN Respiratory Protection Handbook Available
NIOSH has released a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Respiratory Protection Handbook. This handbook fills the need for authoritative technical information on CBRN respiratory protective devices. The information will assist users in the selection, use, and maintenance of CBRN respirators and will be particularly useful to individuals responsible for administering respiratory protection programs and/or developing training programs.
NIOSH Research Rounds
Controlled Fire Study Finds High Levels of Airborne Chemicals
What do plastic, polyester, and foam have in common? They are synthetic materials found throughout most modern homes in everything from toys to furniture to appliances. Unlike wood, cotton, and other natural materials, synthetic materials are made in laboratories through chemical processes.
Exposure to Flame Retardants in Foam Found among Gymnastics Coaches
To protect gymnasts from injury during training, polyurethane foam provides padding in the form of loose blocks, mats, and other equipment. To prevent the spread of fire, this foam also may contain flame retardants, potentially hazardous chemicals that could cause health problems for both gymnasts and coaches.
Many employers now offer programs to help improve workers’ safety and health, as well as morale and productivity. At NIOSH, the Total Worker Health® Program supports research on these programs and the myriad of factors, both inside and outside of the workplace that affect workers’ overall safety, health, and well-being.
The following articles describe two NIOSH-funded studies aimed at improving the implementation and evaluation of different workplace safety and health programs.
Job Design Linked to Participation in Workplace Wellness Programs
Workplace wellness programs often offer an array of health-improvement activities, including courses to quit smoking, exercise or physical fitness classes, nutrition or stress management education, and ergonomic testing of work conditions and equipment. In 2017, 39% of private industry workers and 63% of state and local government workers had access to such programs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, access does not always mean that employees use these programs.
New Tool Measures Effectiveness of Workplace Safety and Health Programs
As more organizations offer increasingly comprehensive programs for workplace safety and health, researchers and organizations alike look for the best examples and tools to measure their effectiveness. With so many programs available, how do organizations know which one is best?
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/research-rounds/resroundsv4n3.html
Event: Public Health – The Unusual Suspects
24 October 2018, Manchester, UK
The organisers are delighted to announce that Caron Walker, Assistant Director, Adult Public Health Improvement, Public Health Consultant (FFPH), Calderdale MBC has just confirmed to speak at this event. Caron will be talking about the Health Impacts of Loneliness and Social Isolation. Loneliness and social isolation is a significant public health concern, particularly amongst older people. Identifying and intervening not only improves quality and enjoyment of life, it can improve health and wellbeing and alleviate healthcare needs.
While the emphasis continues to focus on the major public health concerns such as tobacco, alcohol and obesity etc, there is numerous low key and under publicised public health issues and challenges that need to be addressed. Join us at Public Health: The Unusual Suspects where investors in public health will come together to learn more about the lower profile issues and gain the knowledge to overcome the challenges that the public health community faces.
View the full event: https://openforumevents.co.uk/events/2018/public-health-the-unusual-suspects
Event: Public Policy Exchange Show – Driving Efficiency in the UK Public Sector
22 October 2018, London, UK
This year’s show will bring together participants from Central and Local Governments, Healthcare, Policing and Crime, Estates and Infrastructure, Technology, Transport and Education sectors in the UK.
This is a unique opportunity to join over 1,000 attendees and key stakeholders from the UK public sector, attend a series of talks on best practices and evaluate the latest technologies and solutions to drive efficiency.
For details: www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/IJ22-PPES
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Meeting of Experts Confirms Social Protection for All Is Affordable
The majority of the world’s population is not covered under any type of social protection scheme, and less than 30 per cent enjoy comprehensive coverage. Women, workers in the informal economy and workers in non-standard forms of employment are disproportionately under-protected. This is in spite of the fact that social protection floors are essential tools in eliminating poverty, as well as driving factors in boosting employment, fostering skills development, formalising work, reducing inequality and achieving inclusive economic growth.
Trade unions and social protection experts from around the world have come together in Brussels this week to identify how financing social protection can and should be strengthened. Representatives from over 30 trade unions, along with academics, civil society organisations, government officials and international organisations discussed the range of options that governments have at their disposal to finance the extension of social protection to all people. They agreed that social protection floors for all are financially feasible in all countries and that governments need to get their priorities right to fund them.
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-meeting-of-experts-confirms
ASH comment on Public Health England’s launch of Stoptober
Responding to the launch of Stoptober, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:
There are almost as many different ways of quitting as there are smokers, but to succeed smokers need motivation. ASH is delighted to see Stoptober is back, with a new TV ad campaign raising awareness and online resources to provide encouragement and advice for smokers trying to quit with Stoptober.
ASH welcomes PHE’s endorsement of e-cigarettes as an effective quitting-aid, alongside nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum. The latest research for ASH found that nearly 4 in 10 adult tobacco smokers have yet to try e-cigarettes and we would encourage them to do so, as an aid to quitting.
Event: 24th Maritime HR and Crew Management Summit
13-14 March 2019, Singapore
ACI’s 24th Maritime HR & Crew Management Summit which is the ultimate platform to bring the latest innovation, strategies, insights and international best practices by the most influential and respected Maritime HR leaders and practitioners from around the globe.
The 2 day conference will focus on practitioners sharing their insights on HR trends and developments, and emerging skillsets to equip maritime employees to remain relevant in today’s automated and digitalized environment.
You can expect open discussions and interactive sessions giving you a chance to voice your opinion and hear from thought leaders on following:
- Simulation, Gamification and Virtual Reality for Crew Members in terms of Operational & Technicalities
- What are the Challenges of Recruitment and Retention?
- Are better Partnerships needed between Industry, Government and Education?
More information: https://www.wplgroup.com/aci/event/maritime-hr-crew-management-asia
Event: Fire Sector Summit
31 October 2018, London, UK
Looking to influence debate and discussion within the fire sector? Network with some of the UK’s top fire safety professionals at the Fire Sector Summit.
There is no better time for the industry to come together and make a real difference!
Evening drinks reception from 19:30 at: The Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons.
More information: https://www.thefpa.co.uk/events/summit
Your rights as an apprentice
A leaflet produced by unionlearn for apprentices and if you are looking to undertake an apprenticeship, with information on ‘what is an apprenticeship’, ‘your terms and conditions of employment’ and much more.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/resource/your-rights-apprentice
Safe railway operations and occupational safety and health: A complex task for standardization
The EU Machinery Directive does not apply to rail vehicles, and they are also explicitly excluded from the scope of the German Ordinance on workplaces.
However, rail vehicles constitute work equipment in the sense of the German ordinance on industrial safety and health. What role do standards play in railway legislation, and how can the workplaces of engine drivers be designed to be safe? These were among the questions raised at a discussion between experts, hosted by KAN, of railway legislation, standardization and occupational safety and health.
Validated OSH-related findings concerning the non-visual effect of light upon human beings – A literature review
This literature review discusses the latest OSH-related findings of scientific studies into the non-visual effects of light. In order for the non-visual effects of light to be considered as broadly as possible, a number of specialist disciplines – chronobiology, occupational medicine and lighting technology – were involved in the KAN Study.
The comprehensive assessment from the perspective of lighting technology can be found in the annex. This assessment sets out principles of lighting technology and current knowledge of potential harm to the eyes caused by an excessively intense blue light component.
The available studies into the non-visual effects of light were conducted primarily under controlled conditions (for example in sleep laboratories). They generally involved only small numbers of test subjects, or were animal experimental studies. These studies are well suited to identifying cause-effect relationships. In turn, the cause-effect relationships facilitate transfer of the results of studies to scenarios beyond those studied. Laboratory studies cannot however describe the actual circumstances at workplaces. Additional studies at workplaces (field studies) involving large numbers of test subjects are therefore important, even though such studies may also be subject to confounding influences that are difficult to control.
Download KAN Study 08/2018 (German, English summary; PDF)
Event: 2019 EUROSHNET Conference – Call for papers
12-14 June 2019, Dresden, Germany
“Be smart, stay safe together – Innovative products and workplaces” is the title of the sixth EUROSHNET conference, which is to be held in Dresden from 12 to 14 June 2019.
The focus of the conference will be topical technological developments and their impact upon workplaces. Submit your ideas, wishes and thoughts, and contribute a paper on the following topics:
- Innovative solutions in tackling risks
- Smart and new technologies and workers’ safety
- Standardization, testing and certification – keeping pace with change
- Future role of standardization, testing and certification in the European social system
You can submit the abstract of your paper up until 15 October 2018 using an online form. We look forward to receiving your paper.
More information: www.euroshnet.eu/conference-2019
New European Report: Noise emission information – a machinery manufacturers’ guide
Noise harms workers and has hidden costs. The NOMAD (NOise and MAchinery Directive) Task Force group has produced guidance on how machinery manufacturers should declare noise from machines in order to fulfil the essential requirements on noise of the Machinery Directive. NOMAD is a joint project of the Member States and supports the Administrative Co-operation Group for Market Surveillance under the Machinery Directive (Machinery ADCO).
The New Approach Directives have greatly facilitated and simplified the free trade in machines within the European Market. However, they also create a great challenge for free and fair competition, since not all products to which the CE mark has been applied by their manufacturers would be found compliant with the requirements of the applicable Directives. Accordingly, in order to assure free and fair competition, the Member States must establish ways of conducting adequate market surveillance and ensuring that the EU Directives are being complied with.
For these reasons, and with a common objective of the machines put into service in the European Union being safer and generating fewer risks to the health of workers, the European NOMAD Task Force, supported by the Administrative Co-operation Group for Market Surveillance under the Machinery Directive, carried out a pre-market surveillance exercise. Its purpose was to assess the degree of compliance with the noise information requirements of the Machinery Directive for machines marketed and put into service from the year 2000 until the year 2012.
The main result was: “The general state of compliance of machinery instructions with the noise-related requirements was found to be very poor: 80% of the instructions assessed did not meet the requirements”.
Guide to help manufacturers meet their obligations
Responsibility for compliance with the essential health and safety requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and with the Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC – and for the consequences of non-compliance – always lies with manufacturers. However, the NOMAD study showed that many cases of non-compliance by manufacturers were due to lack of knowledge of the legal requirements.
One of the first tasks that the NOMAD Task Force carried out at European level was therefore to produce a “Guide for manufacturers” on how to declare noise emission values in instruction manuals and other literature in accordance with Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC.
The Guide has been developed by representatives from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and agreed upon by the Machinery ADCO. Its aim is to help the manufacturers with their responsibilities regarding noise. Available in six languages, the Guide explains the means by which manufacturers can obtain the required noise emission values for their machines, and how to present it in the instruction manual supplied with the machine and in technical sales literature.
The recommendations made in the Guide apply to all machines covered by the Machinery Directive, including machines for outdoor use, which are covered at the same time by the Outdoor Noise Directive. The Guide makes recommendations on how to declare the noise emission values to satisfy both directives.
The Guide assists manufacturers in fulfilling their legal duties to declare noise emission values in a form that helps the user of the machine to understand and apply the information provided by the manufacturer.
Finally, the Guide also includes selected examples, observed during the NOMAD study, of common errors typically found in noise emission data reported in the instruction manuals. Recommendations on how to avoid these errors are provided in the Guide.
An ADCO NOMAD “Buy Quiet” Guide for purchasers and users of machines is in preparation.
On behalf of the NOMAD Task Force:
- Begoña Juan y Seva Guevara (Spain)
- Jean Jacques (France)
NOMAD Task Force members:
- Johanna Bengtsson Ryberg (SWEA, Sweden)
- Paul Brereton, Jacqueline Patel, Tao Wu (HSE, UK)
- Fabian Heisterkamp, Patrick Kurtz (BAuA, Germany)
- Bruno Caraud, Jean Jacques (DGT, France)
- Begoña Juan y Seva Guevara (INSST, Spain)
- Dick Korver (SZW, Netherlands)
The Guide (in German/English/Spanish/French/Dutch/Swedish) can be downloaded free of charge at: www.baua.de/EN/Service/Publications/Report/NOMAD-Guide.html
More fires and more fire deaths, but firefighter cuts continue
Firefighters dealt with more incidents, more fires and saw more fire deaths last year than for most of the last decade in England, yet the government continues to starve fire authorities of the central funding necessary to keep the public safe, the firefighters’ union FBU has warned. It says fire deaths in England increased sharply last year, in part because of the Grenfell Tower fire. Firefighters attended over 564,000 incidents overall in England, the most since 2011/12. Firefighters attended over 167,000 fires, also the most since 2011/12.
“This suggests that the long period of improvements in public safety has plateaued – with cuts the most likely explanation,” the FBU said. Since 2010, one-in-five firefighter jobs have been cut. In England, this translates to around 10,000 frontline firefighter posts. According to the FBU, that means fewer firefighters at the early stages of incidents, slower response times and greater risk to the public.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-862-18-august-2018#_Toc522108558
The TUC wants to stop work hurting mental health
The need to address the factors at work that cause or exacerbate mental health problems must be prioritised alongside providing support for those affected, the TUC has said.
TUC Education’s freshly updated ‘Mental health in the workplace’ workbook acknowledges “there is growing awareness of the important role that unions can play in supporting those with mental health issues”. But TUC head of safety Robertson points out that the new edition of the guide “places more focus on the need to link supporting individuals with the importance of preventing mental health problems being caused, or made worse, by work. It also makes the role of the union representative clearer with more emphasis on changing workplaces.”
Poor mental health at work ‘widespread’
Poor mental health affects half of all employees, according to a survey of 44,000 people carried out by the mental health charity Mind. But only half of those who had experienced problems with stress, anxiety or low mood had talked to their employer about it. Fear, shame and job insecurity are some of the reasons people may choose to hide their worries, the survey found.
Mind says around 300,000 people lose their job each year due to a mental health problem. The charity – along with The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations – has created an online resource for employers and employees with information, advice, resources and training that workplaces can use to improve wellbeing. Poor relationships with line managers, along with workload, have the biggest negative impact on employees’ mental health, the survey found – closely followed by poor relationships with colleagues.
Revised Draft NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin: Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the availability of the following draft document for public comment titled Current Intelligence Bulletin: Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials.
New Book: Environmental Arsenic in a Changing World – Proceedings of the 7th International Congress and Exhibition on Arsenic in the Environment
The Congress “Arsenic in the Environment” offers an international, multi- and interdisciplinary discussion platform for research and innovation aimed towards a holistic solution to the problem posed by the environmental toxin arsenic, with significant societal impact. The Congress has focused on cutting edge and breakthrough research in physical, chemical, toxicological, medical, agricultural and other specific issues on arsenic across a broader environmental realm.
The 7th International Congress As2018 was held on 1-6 July 2018, in Beijing, P. R. China and was entitled Environmental Arsenic in a Changing World.
Arsenic in drinking water (mainly groundwater) has emerged as an issue of global health concern. During last decade, the presence of arsenic in rice, possibly also other food of plant origins, has attained increasing attention. This is particularly true in the Asian countries, where the use of high arsenic groundwater as source of irrigation water and drinking water has been flagged as severe health concern. This has been accentuated by elevating arsenic concentrations in deep groundwater recharged from shallow high arsenic groundwater, which may have further detrimental effects on public health. Notably, China has been in the forefront of research on arsenic biogeochemical cycling, health effects of arsenic, technologies for arsenic removal, and sustainable mitigation measures. The Congress has attracted professionals involved in different segments of interdisciplinary research on arsenic in an open forum, and strengthened relations between academia, research institutions, government and non-governmental agencies, industries, and civil society organizations to share an optimal ambience for exchange of knowledge.
UK HSE appoints experts in gig economy and mental health to Workplace Health Expert Committee
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has appointed two new experts to its independent Workplace Health Expert Committee (WHEC).
WHEC is a scientific and medical expert committee which provides independent, expert opinion to HSE by identifying and assessing new and emerging issues in workplace health.
Dr Joanna Wilde and Dr Paul Litchfield will join WHEC in September where they will support the publication of accounts of the latest evidence to support of HSE’s work on health issues.
Dr Wilde has specialist expertise in the behavioural and social sciences and is a leading expert in the effect of psychosocial factors on workplace health. A Fellow of the British Psychological Society, her current research focuses on the health problems inherent in new structures of working relationships, often described as the ‘gig economy’. Joanna also brings personal experience to the role as she has suffered from chronic ill health through her working life.
Dr Litchfield was Chief Medical Officer for BT and has been active in the field of workplace health and safety for more than 35 years. Paul has been involved in UK and European initiatives aimed at promoting good physical and mental health to improve rehabilitation back into work and to reduce the stigma of mental ill health. In 2015 he was appointed Chair of the UK’s What Works Centre for Wellbeing, which is dedicated to understanding what can be done to improve wellbeing across society.
News from ECHA
Biocides day – check the programme
Less than two months to go to ECHA free Biocides Day conference on 24 October 2018. The programme features speakers from the European Commission, Member States, industry associations, companies and ECHA is an opportunity to get up-to-date, receive practical advice and discuss the challenges in regulating biocides and how to address them. If you need advice on a specific issue, you can book a one-to-one discussion with us. The IT tool training on 25 October is now full, but it will be recorded and made available. There is a waiting list for the training, so if your plans change, please cancel your registration via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
REACH: Public consultation on the interface between legislation on chemicals, products and waste
The European Commission has launched a public consultation which builds upon its analysis of the interface. Any interested party, including private citizens, companies, organisations and public authorities, are welcome to contribute. The questionnaire is available in 23 EU languages and comments can be submitted in any of those languages. The deadline for comments is 29 October 2018.
Event: HiAP 2019 – Delivering Health Equity Tackling Inequalities
1 May 2019, RSM, London, UK
Due to the huge amounts of positive feedback received during and post the HiAP 2018 – A Strategy for Improving Population Health conference which took place on February 6th this year, Govconnect are proud to announce HiAP 2019 – Delivering Health Equity, Tackling Inequalities.
For those who were not in attendance at the inaugural conference or aware, Health in All Policies (HiAP) is an approach to policies that systematically and explicitly takes into account the health implications of the decisions we make; targets the key social determinants of health; looks for synergies between health and other core objectives and the work we do with partners; and tries to avoid causing harm with the aim of improving the health of the population and reducing inequity.
The HiAP 2019 conference will serve to provide help for local authority and NHS decision makers, sharing insight on how best to collate evidence, identify impacts, take action and prioritise interventions. It will provide all delegates with a number of pre-conference toolkits and practical solutions which can help them deliver immediate steps towards rebalancing the many societal and health related challenges they may face.
More information: http://hiap2019.govconnect.org.uk
Registration numbers granted to 32,515 REACH 2018 registrations
Registration numbers have been granted to 32,515 dossiers out of the 33,363 dossiers that were submitted by the final REACH registration deadline on 31 May. These registrations cover 10,708 chemicals. The other dossiers still lack information and ECHA is waiting for companies to update them before granting registration numbers.
Under REACH, ECHA has to check the completeness of each registration within three months of the registration deadline if the registration for an existing (phase-in) substance was submitted in the last two months before the deadline. The completeness check aims to verify that all the elements required by law have been included in a registration dossier. ECHA completed this task for the 2018 registrations by 31 August.
The vast majority of companies were able to submit complete dossiers. For those dossiers that have not been completed, ECHA is waiting to receive further information from companies. These include 477 cases where companies faced exceptional circumstances as defined by the Directors’ Contact Group (DCG). They submitted their dossier with a DCG solution and were granted an extension for submitting the missing information. The Agency expects to conclude on all pending cases by May 2019. Around 1 % of REACH 2018 dossiers have been rejected so far.
The non-confidential data of 99.7% of all completed registrations has already been published on ECHA’s website. The rest will be published shortly after they have been fully processed.
Since 31 May, ECHA has continued to receive dossiers for the tonnage band of 1 to 100 tonnes per year. These dossiers are not counted in the figures above. They may be submissions by latecomers that have missed the deadline. If this is the case, the companies are reminded that they can only continue to manufacture or import their substance after they have received the registration number from ECHA.
ITUC, BWI and ITF Welcome End of Exit Permits for 1.5 Million Migrant Workers in Qatar
The ITUC, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have welcomed the announcement by Qatar on 4 September 2018 of new legislation which means migrant workers covered by the Labour Code will not have to seek their employer’s permission to leave the country.
Law No. 13 of 2018 amends provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015 and Law No. 1 of 2017, which regulate the entry and exit of expatriates.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “Today marks a huge step for workers’ rights and the end of the kafala system for migrant workers in Qatar. An estimated 1.5 million workers will now have the freedom to leave Qatar without their employer’s permission with this elimination of a central part of the kafala system of modern slavery, which is still in place in other Gulf countries. Fundamental reforms are underway, and this latest move sets a distinctive example for the region.
“Qatar’s next step is to change the law for domestic workers so that they have the same freedom as all other workers. That up to 5% of migrant workers who will require a ‘no objection certificate’ to leave the country is an interim measure while new systems are put in place. We will monitor the situation of those workers to make sure no exit permits are denied without a proper chance of appeal.”
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-bwi-and-itf-welcome-end-of
News from the US NIOSH: A Guide to Air-Purifying Respirators
Air-purifying respirators (APRs) work by removing gases, vapours, aerosols (airborne droplets and solid particles), or a combination of contaminants from the air through the use of filters, cartridges, or canisters.
These respirators do not supply oxygen from other than the working atmosphere, and therefore cannot be used in an atmosphere that is oxygen-deficient or immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). The appropriate respirator for a particular situation will depend on the environment and the contaminant(s).
NIOSH . A Guide to Air-Purifying Respirators. By Cichowicz J, Coffey C, Fries M. Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2018-176, https://doi.org/10.26616/NIOSHPUB2018176
US Events in 2019
Working Hours, Sleep & Fatigue Forum, 13-14 September 2019
Working nonstandard shifts can have adverse health and safety consequences for workers, their families, and the general public. Please join us for the Working Hours, Sleep & Fatigue: Meeting the Needs of the American Workers and Employers Forum on 13-14 September 2019, in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, USA.
Learn about research gaps and effective countermeasures related to working hours, sleep, and fatigue among U.S. workers and employers. Everyone interested in worker safety is invited to come discuss this important topic.
Work, Stress and Health 2019: What Does the Future Hold? 6-9 November 2019
The 2019 Work, Stress and Health conference will be held on 6-9 November 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This year’s conference will give special attention to the workplace of the future. As the world copes with growing economic, political, environmental, and social changes, what can organizations do to sustain the health and productivity of their workers? How do we design and manage organizations to accommodate the needs and use the skills of a changing workforce? Share what you know about the future of work and healthy workers with an international, multidisciplinary audience.
US Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update
Evaluation of Exposures in a Steel Coil Pickling Plant
After HHE Program investigators found diesel exhaust in crane cabs and overexposures to noise on the pickling line, they recommended ventilated enclosures for the crane cabs and hearing protection and training for employees.
Evaluation of Exposure to Metals at an Electronics Recycling Facility
After HHE Program investigators found air samples for metals were low and blood measurements for lead and cadmium were below recommended levels, they recommended employees use a lead-removing product for hand washing. Investigators also suggested prohibiting the use of compressed air to clean electronics.
2017 Health Hazard Evaluation Program Annual Report
The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program is pleased to share its 2017 annual report. Our report includes summaries of projects that were interesting and other highlights of our year. We hope the report stimulates conversations about who the HHE Program is and how we make a difference for the health and safety of employees throughout the United States.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/whats_new.html
‘No evidence’ mental health first aid works says UK HSE
While there is growing enthusiasm and government support for mental health first aid (MHFA) in the workplace, there is ‘no evidence’ it actually leads to any improvements, a new ‘summary of the evidence’ by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has concluded.
The research report from the government safety watchdog notes “it is not possible to state whether MHFA training is effective in a workplace setting,” adding: “There is a lack of published occupationally-based studies, with limited evidence that the content of MHFA training has been considered for workplace settings.” The report concludes: “There is consistent evidence that MHFA training raises employees’ awareness of mental ill health conditions. There is no evidence that the introduction of MHFA training in workplaces has resulted in sustained actions in those trained, or that it has improved the wider management of mental ill-health.”
The HSE report comes after the TUC this year said that while support for workers is a good thing, “mental health first aiders are not the only option and for union reps usually are not the best option”.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319364
Nautilus welcomes windfarm vessel fatigue campaign
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is backing a new industry initiative to combat crew fatigue in the offshore energy support vessel (OESV) sector.
Following a year of research, the National Workboat Association (NWA) has launched its campaign to tackle the problem “in direct response to widespread concerns about the occurrence of fatigue among workboat crew members.”
The NWA said it was aware that the increasing size of offshore windfarms means OESVs are operating further away from shore, with longer journey times and the potential for extended shift patterns. “With project developers aiming to maximise the ‘uptime’ of their contracted offshore workers, working hours can increase beyond advisable and on occasion legal limits, leaving crews overtired and vulnerable to making errors,” it noted.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319365
Asbestos warning for Sea King helicopter staff
Thousands of engineers may have inhaled asbestos while working on Britain’s Sea King helicopters, the government has admitted.
Defence chiefs last week confirmed they had issued an alert to Royal Navy and RAF personnel who have maintained the Sea King since it entered service in 1969. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has also contacted foreign governments that bought the helicopter and civilian contractors flying ex-British military Sea Kings. It also confirmed it had launched an urgent operation to remove parts containing asbestos from its Sea Kings and military stores.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319366
Time to ban zero hours contracts outright
Hundreds of thousands of workers are still trapped in jobs that are so insecure they can’t plan childcare or budget for their weekly shop, latest official figures have confirmed.
UK government statistics released this month reveal the number of people working on zero hours contracts now stands at 780,000. This is a drop of over 100,000 since February, but the bad news is that two-thirds of those on zero hours contracts (66 per cent) have been stuck on them for more than a year.
According to the TUC, this means hundreds of thousands are still trapped in jobs that are often so insecure they’re unable to plan childcare or budget for their weekly shop.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-863-25-august-2018-0#_Toc522704138
ISO 45001 – RoSPA support services
RoSPA’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy Adviser, Karen McDonnell, and Head of Consultancy Nathan Davies were part of the BSI committee responsible for developing the new standard. Together with Principal Consultant Bernard Cerrino, they have many years’ experience helping organisations successfully implement safety management systems.
As a result, RoSPA have a superb range of support services available – from helping you get up to speed with the new standard, right through to assisting you achieve full compliance.
Global: ILO accused of bad taste in partnering with McDonald’s
The UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been criticised by unions after welcoming fast food giant McDonald’s as a partner in its Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.
In a 22 August 2018 news release that has since been removed from the ILO newsroom web pages, the ILO noted: “McDonald’s ties up with the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth,” adding: “Leading quick-service restaurant brand joins 43 partners who have pledged to reduce barriers to decent employment for youth while boosting access to decent work around the globe.”
The ILO received stern criticism from unions, who say the global fast food firm is guilty of routine safety and employment rights abuses).
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319371
Australia: Truck drivers demand action on deadly risks
Truck drivers are demanding urgent action after a major study exposed the massive toll claimed by Australia’s deadliest job.
Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession, while the long hours, social isolation, time pressure and lack of job control also make it one of the unhealthiest jobs, according to the Australian Monash University study.
The study launched at Parliament House in Canberra last week is based on an analysis of compensation claims over a 12-year period, “Truck drivers are being utterly failed. They are being bashed, broken and killed because of their jobs. These are alarming findings which require serious action, not platitudes, voluntary codes or misguided regulation which don’t tackle the real cause of the problems: the economics of the industry,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319372
USA: Union clips Uber’s wings after taxi driver suicides
The New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance (NYTWA) has won a ground-breaking cap on new ride-hailing vehicles in the city and says other unions can learn from its victory.
New York became the first city in the United States to limit services such as Uber and Lyft and set a minimum rate of fares that will apply to all taxis and private hires. Mac Urata, future of work coordinator at the global transport unions’ federation ITF, congratulated its affiliate on its success, adding: “We can all learn from the way they have built alliances across the city, and brought people together to tackle the scourge of unregulated ride-hailing services. From cab drivers, to environmentalists, to drivers for ride-hailing services, to everyday New Yorkers – the NYTWA united everyone who cares about making New York a better place to live and work.”
The new law followed six suicides by yellow cab and black car drivers forced into poverty by the over-supply of ride-hailing vehicles, as well as increased road congestion.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319373
Japan: UN says Fukushima clean-up workers risk exploitation
Workers used to decontaminate the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan are at grave risk of exploitation, independent UN experts have warned.
Tens of thousands, reportedly including migrants and homeless people, may be being deceived about the risks of exposure to radiation, according to the experts, who in August urged the Japanese government to act to protect them. The UN’s ‘special rapporteurs’ said they were also concerned that workers might be being coerced into accepting hazardous working conditions because of economic hardship and were being given inadequate training and protection. “We are equally concerned about the impact that exposure to radiation may have on their physical and mental health,” they added.
Tens of thousands of workers have been recruited under the decontamination programme. However, the UN said it was concerned by reports that big contractors had used hundreds of inexperienced smaller subcontractors and brokers to recruit a considerable number of the workers.
More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-risks-864-1-september-2018#_Toc523319374
New Report from World Health Organization: Preventing Disease through a Healthier and Safer Workplace
This comprehensive global assessment provides insights on the health impacts that could be avoided through healthier and safer workplaces. It is estimated that 2.1% of all deaths and 2.7% of the disease burden worldwide can be attributed to quantified occupational risks. These and the effects from many more unquantified risks are outlined.
Noncommunicable diseases contribute 70% to the total disease burden from occupational risks, with chronic pulmonary disease and cancers causing the highest work-related death toll, joined by back and neck pain when considering disease burden. Workers in low- and middle-income countries bear the largest share of deaths and disability from workplace exposures.
The report also clearly identifies that prevention strategies are available to avoid a significant percentage of work-related deaths and of the disease burden. Implementing such strategies is important in efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. Targeted action towards healthier and safer workplaces will contribute to sustainably improving and protecting the lives of millions around the world.
New Study finds knowledge gaps in risk assessment of nano pigments
A new study, commissioned by the EU Observatory for Nanomaterials, found gaps in the current knowledge on the hazard and risk assessment of nano-sized pigments. The study identified 81 nano-sized pigments currently used in the EU market.
The aim was to collect publicly available information on the identified nano-sized pigments that are on the EU market. The findings show that the risks of nanopigments cannot adequately be assessed due to missing information on exposure, the absence of reliable nano-specific toxicological data, and a general lack of public-domain data on their uses.
According to the study, available toxicological data is often inconsistent, and reported results often contradictory – with the exception of a limited number of well-tested substances where general conclusions can still be drawn. The upcoming revision of information requirements for nanomaterials registered under REACH will improve the availability of data also for nanopigments.
The report makes several recommendations for further work including an increased emphasis on exposure assessment and control as well as generating well-designed and realistic exposure scenarios on particular nanomaterials for easy access and for benchmarking different safety measures.