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March 2019

Friday, 8 March 2019 – This International Women’s Day, ITUC says let’s call time on gender-based violence

Gender-based violence blights the lives of millions of women. It excludes women from the world of work and often stigmatises them within their communities.

Globally, 818 million women have experienced violence and harassment. This is quite simply unacceptable. The situation is even worse for women who are further marginalised and discriminated against because of race, class, caste, disability, gender identity, migrant status, indigenous status, or age.

Gender-based violence also costs businesses billions in terms of lost productivity, reputational damage and litigation. European Union estimates put the productivity cost of sexual harassment alone at 26 billion euros – or 1.5 per cent of its GDP.

The revelations of #MeToo and similar movements have put the issues of gender equality, sex discrimination and gender-based violence firmly in the public eye and on the political agenda. Yet we are seeing a determined backlash, with discriminatory and misogynistic populist movements challenging democratic societies, whilst discrimination and inequality continue to characterise and even shape our world of work, relegating women to lower positions of power and authority, lower pay, low quality jobs and precarious working conditions.

Every woman should have the basic right to a working environment free from violence and harassment, whatever the form of her contractual relationship, whether she works in the formal or informal economy, or in a rural or urban setting.

The world of work can also play a key role in supporting victims of domestic violence to stay in work and to have the financial security and independence to enable them to leave abusive relationships.

An international labour law to address violence and harassment in the world of work is urgently needed. Such a law could transform working conditions for women by ensuring that violence is not part of the job.

Join the demand for an international labour law to call time on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.

Press for Progress! International Women’s Day 2019

By Sheila Pantry OBE

Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there’s still more to be achieved. As the world heads toward International Women’s Day 2019, step-by-step planning is underway to celebrate women’s achievements and tenaciously challenge bias.

The International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. How will you help make a difference?

Read this month’s OSHWORLD FOCUS for the full article.

Event: The Health and Safety Event

9-11 April 2019, NEC, Birmingham, UK

From 9-11 April 2019 British Safety Council will host a series of seminars at the Health and Safety Event, to be held at the NEC in Birmingham.

Participants will explore topics such as ‘legislative trends in health and safety’, ‘health issues in the modern workplace’ and ‘leadership and culture in the workplace’.

Speakers include Neal Stone, Policy Advisor, McOnie Agency, Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, Phil Bates, ISO 45001 Development Committee Member, and Lawrence Waterman, Chairman, British Safety Council.

More information:

Event: The Fire Safety Event

9-11 April 2019, NEC, Birmingham, UK

Fire Safety Event offers an unparalleled agenda of free CPD accredited educational content across two lecture theatres.

Seminars are delivered by leading industry experts, government officials, lawyers and manufacturers.

More information:

Event: Building a Safer Future Seminar

29 April 2019, Cavendish Centre, London, UK

This seminar will look at the implementation plan and how safety standards and regulations are changing in the wake of Grenfell.

Featuring industry experts, this event will talk through the implementation plan and how this affects industry, stakeholders, and residents of tall buildings and how we can ultimately work together to promote fire safety.

Learning outcomes:

More information:

Event: Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes

16 May 2019, Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London, UK

With almost 150 delegates already registered to attend this event we have been astounded by the amount of interest shown so far. If this is for you why not book your place(s) today or ask us to hold you any places while you await the funding.

This conference will bring together F/HEIs, public, private, NHS, voluntary and third sector service providers; service users and mental health professionals to review progress made in addressing MH on campus’, share best practices and develop their approach to improving student mental health outcomes. Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes will examine how policy can be developed to provide support for HEIs and students; reviewing the impact of HE reforms and existing cultures on student experience and mental health.

More information:

Event: Safety & Health Expo 2019

18-20 June 2019, Excel, London, UK

Have you registered for at Excel UK yet? If not, you’re in danger of missing the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge in the health and safety landscape – and so much more:

More information:

Annals of Work Exposures and Health special issue

Annals of Work Exposures and Health will produce a special issue of the journal to showcase work presented at the 8th Occupational and Environmental Exposure of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) conference.

The conference will take place 16-18 September 2019 in Dublin, Ireland.

All accepted abstracts presented at the conference (either oral or poster) will be eligible for submission in an appropriate format, be that full research paper or short communication. The themes of this year’s OEESC conference include:

The journal has previously supported the OEESC conference and collated a virtual issue of dermal-themed papers.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 March 2019.

Please visit the conference website for more details on the conference itself and to submit an abstract. As long as the papers are presented at the conference, they can be submitted to the journal at any time before 30 October 2019.

All submissions will be subject to the usual requirements of the journal, including full peer review.

More information:

Event: EU-Safety2019

3-4 October 2019, Luxembourg

Organised by Eurosafe in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Health, this conference builds on the series of European Injury Prevention Conferences successfully organised over the past decades by EuroSafe and the success of the World Safety Conferences attended by a large European contingent.

EU-Safety2019, which will be held in Luxembourg from 3-4 October 2019, will bring together European and international stakeholders and practitioners in injury prevention and safety promotion to exchange, debate and discuss the latest results in injury research, policies and practices. The main theme of the 2019 event is “Research for enhancing impact of strategies and actions”.

The Programme Committee is looking forward to receiving abstracts for short paper presentations for the break-out sessions of the Conference.

Deadline for abstract submissions: 1 April 2019

More information:

Event: Fire Information Group (FIG UK) Mind the Gap Seminar

10 October 2019, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London

Fire Information Group (FIG UK) annual Mind the Gap Seminar offers a half day seminar with six speakers. CPD credits awarded.

Put the date in your diaries or calendars. Always very popular. Finishes with a free of charge Networking party.

Programme details are being finalised, speakers include:

In 2018 FIG UK celebrated its 30th anniversary!

More information:

Advance notice for World Congress on Safety & Health at Work 2020

4-7 October 2020

The World Congress on Safety & Health at Work opens its doors every three years. This time it is Canada’s turn to welcome the world.

The XXII World Congress on Safety & Health at Work will be held in Toronto, Canada from October 4-7, 2020. Join us for a unique gathering of global prevention leaders in a welcoming, world class Canadian city.

Check out our first programme announcement to see what we are planning. We will have an innovative and interactive programme featuring top speakers on leading topics. You will enjoy networking opportunities that will grow your global knowledge and connections, and social events including a Canada Night celebrating Canada’s beauty, culture and diversity.

Registration is open! Sign up for the XXII World Congress on Safety & Health at Work now and save up to $100.

Don’t miss out on news about the Congress. Sign up for updates through our website.

More information:

Launch of British Safety Council’s new campaign: Time to Breathe

Very little has been done to address the risks of air pollution for those who work near congested roads. Outdoor workers have a right to clean air. BSC is launching the Time to Breathe campaign, to call for better protection. They’re offering Canairy, the world’s first free mobile app designed for outdoor workers and their employers.

Join BSC on 12 March 2019 in Oxford Circus, London to make some noise and raise awareness of the risk to outdoor workers, together we can make a difference.

More information:

UN Environment Assembly: Unions Call for Action on Plastics Pollution, Toxic Chemicals and Marine Pollution

International trade union bodies attending the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi this week are calling for an urgent global effort to tackle marine waste, plastics pollution, hazardous substances and toxic waste.

A joint statement of the ITUC, ITUC-Africa, IUF and ITF stresses the links between environmental protection, decent work and poverty eradication as well as the potential of green technology to contribute to gender equality and human rights.

“Millions of people depend on oceans and seas for their livelihoods, and the food they produce is increasingly contaminated by microplastics, threatening food security, jobs and the marine environment. We are also demanding national laws, within a global framework, to prohibit and remove hazardous substances and protect workers and consumers. Governments need to accept to their regulatory responsibilities, and stand up to chemical corporations which delay and frustrate the replacement of toxic chemicals that cause cancer and other disorders with alternatives that don’t cause death and disease at work and in the community,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

This week’s preparatory sessions of the UN Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level environmental decision-making body, will be followed a high-level segment of the meeting from 11-15 March 2019.

Read the joint trade union statement


When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.

This UK Health and Safety Executive guidance will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.

Covers: Health and safety made simple; The basics for your business; Work experience

Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment. We need young people to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work.

For more information see

Timely Asbestos essentials and guidance from the HSE

Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 and causes around 5,000 deaths every year.

Whether you are a tradesperson, building owner, licensed contractor, or a member of the public, HSE website offers advice and guidance on what you need to know.

HSE’s Asbestos essentials publication covers the action needed to reduce exposure to an adequate level.

Failure to comply can result in prosecution, as shown by a furniture company being sentenced for failing to prevent exposure to asbestos at its factory.

More information:

Drug testing is not the answer to work problems

Drug testing at work is not a substitute for a good drugs and alcohol policy nor does it tell employers what they need to know, the TUC has said.

Launching new guides on drug testing at work and on workplace drug and alcohol policies, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said despite efforts to market drug testing at work the approach isn’t proving popular with UK firms “for the simple reason that it does not tell the employer what they need to know, which is whether someone is working unsafely because of drug use regardless of whether the substance is illegal or not. After all, with the exception of alcohol testing, what a drug test does not do is measure someone’s level of impairment.”

More information:

Pilots pleased as government sees sense on drones

The government is to extend the drones exclusion zone around airports to meet a limit recommended from the outset by the pilots’ union BALPA.

The move comes after drones sightings in December 2018 and January 2019 led to flight cancellations at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The tightened legislation will ban drones from flying within 5 km of Britain’s airport runways – a significant expansion of the current no-fly zone. “The enlarged zone will better protect the UK’s airports from those misusing drones, and will come into force on 13 March 2019,” the government said. Work to progress a new Drones Bill is also underway and will be introduced in due course, the government announced.

More information:

News from the USA: Opioids in the Workplace

The US is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 47,600 people in 2017, more than any year on record. 37% of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. (Source: NCHS)

Understanding the Epidemic

95% – In 2017, 95% of the 70,067 US drug overdose deaths occurred among the working age population, persons aged 15-64 years. It is unknown how many were employed at the time of their death.

4.3% – According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUSH), an estimated 4.3% of respondents age 18 years or older reported illicit opioid use in the past year. An estimated 66.7% of these self-reported illicit opioid users were employed full- or part-time.

25% – The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that overdose deaths at work from non-medical use of drugs or alcohol increased by at least 25% annually between 2013 and 2017. The 272 workplace overdose deaths reported in 2017 accounted for 5.3% of occupational injury deaths that year, as compared to 1.8% in 2013. It is unknown how many of these deaths were caused by opioids specifically.

14.8 days – Workers with a current substance use disorder miss an average of 14.8 days per year, while the subset with a pain medication use disorder miss an average of 29 days per year. This is in contrast to an average of 10.5 days for most employees, and an average 9.5 days for workers in recovery from a substance use disorder.

More information: 

News from the European Chemicals Agency

REACH data compliance needs to improve

ECHA has published its annual evaluation report, delivering updated statistics on evaluated substances and registration dossiers and giving advice to registrants on how to improve the information they provide on chemicals.

Authorisations granted for two uses of chromium trioxide

The European Commission has granted authorisations for two uses of chromium trioxide (EC 215-607-8, CAS 1333-82-0) to Hansgrohe SE. The expiry date of the review period is 14 February 2031.

ECHA has launched 18 new public consultations on testing proposals. The deadline for comments is 15 April 2019. There are currently 23 open public consultations on testing proposals.

Guidance on Annex VIII to CLP – poison centres notifications

The first version of Guidance on harmonised information relating to emergency health response – Annex VIII to CLP is now available on ECHA’s website.

The document explains the provisions of Article 45 and the new Annex VIII to the CLP Regulation and provides duty holders with practical advice on how to comply with their obligation to submit information on the hazardous mixtures they place on the market.

Guidance on labelling and packaging according to CLP updated

The updated version of Guidance on Labelling and Packaging in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 takes into account the changes brought to the CLP Regulation by Annex VIII, including the introduction of the unique formula identifier (UFI), a new labelling element required for hazardous mixtures. It also contains new practical examples of the labelling of co-axial cartridges.

Consultation on harmonised classification and labelling

ECHA is looking for comments on the harmonised classification and labelling proposals for the following substances:

The deadline for comments is 3 May 2019.

New proposals and intentions to harmonise classification and labelling

The proposal to harmonise the classification and labelling of 2-ethyl-2-[[(1-oxoallyl)oxy]methyl]-1,3-propanediyl diacrylate; 2,2-bis(acryloyloxymethyl)butyl acrylate; trimethylolpropane triacrylate (EC 239-701-3, CAS 15625-89-5) has been submitted.

An intention to harmonise the classification and labelling of perfluoroheptanoic acid (EC 206-798-9, CAS 375-85-9) has also been received.

How to notify PIC exports to the UK after UK’s withdrawal from the EU

To cover exports taking place in the first 35 days from the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU if no withdrawal agreement is in place, a temporary procedure has been made available.

Long working hours linked to depression risk

Working very long hours – 55 plus a week – is linked to a heightened risk of depression in women, a study has found.

The observational study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health also found working weekends is associated with an increased risk in both sexes. The paper noted the expansion of the global and gig economies has driven the need to work outside standard ‘office’ hours – a factor that has been associated with poorer physical health.

More information: