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December 2019

Contents
  1. Skin Health Surveillance and Management Course
  2. Event: Reducing health inequalities in England: Learning from local approaches, supporting system-wide collaboration, and next steps for policy
  3. Event: Transformation of Work in the Digital Era
  4. Event: Alternative Assessment and Substitution of Dangerous Substances at Workplaces
  5. Event: The Economics of Occupational Safety and Health
  6. Event: Safety & Health Expo 2020
  7. Event: 28th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, EPICOH 2020 – From the Workplace to the Population: Exposure and Prevention
  8. Event: Nordic Work Environment Conference 2020
  9. USA: Statement from CSB Interim Executive Authority on U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in ExxonMobil Case
  10. US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Invests in Modernizing U.S. Manufacturing Capacity for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine
  11. Devastating factory fire kills at least 43 in Indian capital
  12. India: Factory fire tragedy exposes ‘pervasive’ violations
  13. Action call as anxiety and suicidal thoughts hit seafarers
  14. Industry wish list ‘copy & pasted’ into EU Green Deal
  15. ‘Landmark’ win on prison union safety rights
  16. RMT road map to end SWR guards dispute
  17. The Juncker years at the European Commission and their patchy record on occupational health by Laurent Vogel, ETUI
  18. Living with the unpredictable – by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive, British Safety Council
  19. Union helps young musicians to deal with work stresses
  20. Global: Women’s work safety must get more attention
  21. USA: Union construction jobs ‘safer than non-union’
  22. USA: NIOSH partners with National Science Foundation to fund workplace robotics research
  23. US NIOSH Contributes Hearing Loss Prevention Research to JASA Special Issue
  24. RoSPA safety and health charity welcomes Baroness Jolly as President
  25. Event: Westminster Health Forum policy conference – Reducing health inequalities in England
  26. Event: Toxic Products – Management, Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness
  27. Record high stress shows UK bosses need to fix bad jobs
  28. Stark warning to employers on the cost of work stress
  29. Working at heights: information from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  30. Union calls for safety assurances after theatre ceiling collapse
  31. Drone registration scheme will help improve safety, say the UK pilots
  32. Australia: Another state to get a safer silica standard

Skin Health Surveillance and Management Course

Presented by EnviroDerm Services during 2020

Who will benefit?

This interactive course is aimed at health and safety professionals responsible for reducing skin related ill health in the workplace, and those needing a wider knowledge base of managing skin exposure in the workplace. It is a course for individuals who want to ensure compliance with regulations and that action reduces not increases damage to health from skin exposure.

Learning Outcomes

This interactive one-day course that will enable you to create an effective skin health surveillance system

More details: https://www.enviroderm.co.uk/shsm-course

Event: Reducing health inequalities in England: Learning from local approaches, supporting system-wide collaboration, and next steps for policy

10 March 2020, Central London

Westminster Health Forum policy conference

This conference will assess next steps for reducing health inequalities in England.

It is timed to follow the publication of Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On and will bring together key stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the way forward for system-wide collaboration to tackle health inequalities and close the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest in society.

There will be keynote contributions from: Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London and Professor Paul Johnstone, Regional Director, North of England, Public Health England – as well as from Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy and Influence (Health and Care), Macmillan Cancer Support; and Kevin Holton, Head, Experience of Care and Equalities and Health Inequalities, NHS England.

More information: https://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/conference/reducing-health-inequalities-in-England-20

Event: Transformation of Work in the Digital Era

23-25 March 2020, Hanaholmen, Helsinki area, Finland

This course will provide an overview of digitalization of work as a profound sociotechnical transformation and the possibilities and threats digitalization brings to the workplace. The course will also provide tools for acting proactively and collaboratively in the organizations, and networks to develop human centered and sustainable digitalized work that enhances productivity, safety, and well-being at work. Examples from different branches and work organisations in private and public sectors are offered, including knowledge work, health care, industry, and platform work.

More information: https://niva.org/course/transformation-of-work-in-the-digital-era

Event: Alternative Assessment and Substitution of Dangerous Substances at Workplaces

21-23 April 2020, Helsinki Congress Paasitorni, Finland

Substitution of many substances of concern can be easier when you know the basic concepts of alternative assessment and substitution. The course introduces these principles and the available tools to support the substitution of hazardous substances at workplaces.

More information: https://niva.org/course/alternative-assessment-and-substitution-of-dangerous-substances-at-work-places

Event: The Economics of Occupational Safety and Health

27-29 April 2020, Quality Hotel, The Mill, Malmö, Sweden

The intention of this OSH Economics course is to provide participants with methodological skills and practical capabilities to undertake and evaluate economic analyses on OSH issues. The course will be held on a level which is comprehensible also for non-economists. Some other issues will also be addressed with the aim of increasing the awareness of the value of economic calculations in the internal OSH governance.

More information: https://niva.org/course/the-economics-of-occupational-safety-and-health-2

Event: Safety & Health Expo 2020

19-21 May 2020 – Registration open

Put health and safety first with your free ticket to Safety & Health Expo 2020, taking place on 19-21 May 2020 at ExCeL London. It is your unique opportunity to discover the transformative products, solutions and ideas shaping the sector.

Safety & Health Expo is your world-renowned global hub for the health and safety sector, putting thousands of solutions from hundreds of exhibitors at your fingertips. Free to attend, it’s the ideal event to inspire your strategy with new ideas and products, so your firm can remain compliant and secure.

More information: https://www.shponline.co.uk/safety-health-expo

Event: 28th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, EPICOH 2020 – From the Workplace to the Population: Exposure and Prevention

31 August - 3 September 2020, Montreal, Canada

The EPICOH symposium provides a fertile meeting ground for sharing the latest research findings on occupational epidemiology. It promotes exchanges between researchers and stakeholders from the broad field of work and health, including epidemiologists, exposure scientists, industrial hygienists, toxicologists, occupational physicians, health services specialists, public health department and health agency representatives, and policy makers. The event has a strong commitment to engaging early-career researchers.

EPICOH is part of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH).

Full details EPICOH 2020 is organized by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

More information: https://epicoh2020.org

Event: Nordic Work Environment Conference 2020

29 September - 1 October 2020, DGI-byen, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Nordic work environment authorities continue to have long-lasting collaborations between the countries. An important and reoccurring element of this cooperation is the Nordic Work Environment Conference, which is organised biennially on a rotating basis between the Nordic countries.

Denmark is hosting the 32nd conference in 2020 titled “Work inspection equipped for the future”.

More information: https://niva.org/conference/nordisk-arbejdsmiljokonference-2020-nordic-work-environment-conference-2020

USA: Statement from CSB Interim Executive Authority on U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in ExxonMobil Case

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that Exxon Mobil Oil Corp. must produce information to the CSB related to a tank filled with hydrofluoric acid at the site of a 2015 oil refinery explosion in Torrance, California.

On 18 February 2015, an explosion in the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit shook the surrounding area with the force of a 1.7 magnitude earthquake and propelled a 40-ton piece of debris about 100 feet where it landed within five feet of a tank containing thousands of gallons of modified hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is a highly corrosive liquid that dissolves glass. Breathing it can cause lung damage and skin contact can cause severe burns and death. The CSB issued subpoenas for information regarding the contents of the tank, siting hazards, and related safety concerns. Exxon refused to provide this information, and a lower Court had ruled that the information was not sufficiently relevant to the CSB’s investigation.

The Appeals Court agreed with the Board’s position that the subpoenas related to the modified hydrofluoric acid tank were relevant and within the Board’s authority because “the risks of … an accidental release of modified hydrofluoric acid were among the ‘facts, conditions, and circumstances’” of the February 15, 2015, explosion:

“The Board is not limited to the “facts, conditions, and circumstances” that caused the accidental release. The Board should look as well to the effects and the potential harm, were a similar incident to occur. The presence of two tanks full of toxic chemicals on the site of the explosion, very close to where debris from that explosion landed, is among the “circumstances” of the explosion.”

More information: https://www.csb.gov/statement-from-csb-interim-executive-authority-on-us-ninth-circuit-court-of-appeals-decision-in-exxonmobil-case

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Invests in Modernizing U.S. Manufacturing Capacity for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a six-year, $226 million contract on 9 December 2019 to increase capacity to produce recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States. The contract is in accordance with the 19 September 2019 presidential executive order to enhance national security and the public health by modernizing influenza vaccines and technologies.

The work will take place through a public-private partnership between the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and Sanofi Pasteur, a global pharmaceutical company with U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

“Influenza viruses can spread rapidly around the globe, infecting hundreds of millions of people in just weeks, making technologies that quickly and safely produce effective influenza vaccines fundamental in responding to an influenza outbreak,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D. “Keeping vaccine manufacturing in the United States is essential to protect Americans from pandemic influenza and to save lives. Better, faster vaccine technologies, produced in the U.S. will improve access, protect more people and, ultimately, strengthen our nation’s health security.”

More information: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/12/09/hhs-invests-modernizing-us-manufacturing-capacity-pandemic-influenza-vaccine.html

Devastating factory fire kills at least 43 in Indian capital

Appears to have been caused by an electric short circuit; authorities are investigating whether the factory was operating legally.

A fire believed to be caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in India’s capital on 8 December 2019 where handbags and other items were made by workers earning as little as 2 dollars per day, killing at least 43 people.

The blaze in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh neighbourhood, a warren of narrow alleyways with electrical wiring strung helter-skelter, was the second major fire there this year. In February, 17 people were killed in a blaze that started in a six-story building’s illegal rooftop kitchen.

Karol Bagh contains the city’s largest wholesale market for household goods, known as Sadar Bazaar. The area’s aging buildings are stacked with apartments, shops, storage facilities and manufacturing units.

Assistant New Delhi police commissioner Anil Kumar Mittal said that “the fire appears to have been caused by an electric short circuit,” adding that authorities were investigating whether the factory was operating legally. Building laws and safety norms are routinely flouted in New Delhi, making fires common.

More information: https://apnews.com/8a340f9569ddd3ea147237a59866b759

India: Factory fire tragedy exposes ‘pervasive’ violations

The deaths in Delhi of “at least 43” workers in an 8 December 2019 fire in a “manifestly unsafe factory” highlights the urgent need for enforcement of fire and building safety regulations and credible safety monitoring in India, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has said.

While initial compensation measures have already been announced, more is needed to ensure adequate fair and full compensation to the affected workers and their families, the campaign said.

The fire broke out early on Sunday morning in the four-storey building in a narrow, hard to access residential area of the city. The premises housed manufacturing units producing a range of products, including garments. Large numbers of the factory’s workers, many migrants and some of them minors, were sleeping at the factory when the fire started.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964890

Action call as anxiety and suicidal thoughts hit seafarers

Seafarers are exhibiting dangerous levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts linked to the job, union-backed research has found.

The new study by Yale University has prompted a call for action to the shipping industry. Commissioned by the Cardiff-based ITF Seafarers’ Trust charity, ‘The Seafarer Mental Health Study’ also found a link between depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and the greater likelihood of injury and illness on board.

Dave Heindel, chair of the Seafarers’ Trust, said: “The more we talk about mental health, the more we reduce the stigma associated with it. This report really helps us to understand the contributing factors and provides a basis for demanding some fundamental changes in the way the shipping industry operates.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-926-7-december-2019#_Toc26448023

Industry wish list ‘copy & pasted’ into EU Green Deal

End chemical pollution – union, consumer and green groups demand

The EU risks missing a major opportunity to protect workers, consumers and the environment from serious and growing chemical pollution, the largest consumer, green and union groups warned today, days before the EU announces a raft of environmental policies.

Manmade toxic chemicals are linked to rising health, fertility, developmental and environmental problems, including the collapse in insect, bird and aquatic mammal populations. Last week a damning European Environment Agency report found that hazardous chemicals were one of Europe’s main threats and most off-track policy areas.

The civil society groups called on the European Commission to strengthen failing EU chemical safety laws (letter and political recommendations). The Commission is set to announce its flagship environment programme, the European Green Deal, on Wednesday.

Leaks of the Commission plans suggest president Von der Leyen may fail to follow through on her public commitment to a “zero pollution” goal. The Green Deal has been expected to reiterate the commitment made by all three EU institutions to a Non-toxic Environment Strategy, already overdue, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals but the leaked plans have placed this in doubt.

More information: https://eeb.org/industry-wish-list-copy-pasted-into-eu-green-deal

‘Landmark’ win on prison union safety rights

The prison officers’ union POA has secured a ground-breaking safety agreement with the Prison Service.

The union says the ‘landmark’ deal for the first time commits prison managers to a legally binding procedure for addressing urgent health and safety concerns. It also ensures that the POA can advise its members of their health and safety rights without being accused of unlawfully inducing industrial action.

“This is the result of a successful settlement of a claim arising out of health and safety concerns raised by POA members at HMP Lindholme in October 2018,” the union said. After two prison officers were “seriously assaulted”, POA members concerned about working in an unsafe prison instigated “a controlled regime.”

The POA branch committee, supported by an NEC member, tried to raise concerns with local prison management, but were instead accused by management of unlawfully inducing industrial action. The Prison Service brought a claim against the POA for an injunction and damages, with the union counterclaiming over unsafe conditions and inadequate staffing.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964876

RMT road map to end SWR guards dispute

As the industrial action by train guards on South Western Railway continued this week, rail union RMT laid out a road map to a settlement. The plan “shows just how achievable a settlement is if the company agrees to add a few seconds to the despatch time in the interests of safety and accessibility”, the union said.

Central to the union’s demands are for there “to be an active safety critical guard on every passenger train in service” and for the guards to retain “their safety critical competencies including an active role in the safe dispatch of trains.” The union said having the extra safety protection of a guard despatching trains only adds 3-4 seconds to the time the train is stopped.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964878

The Juncker years at the European Commission and their patchy record on occupational health by Laurent Vogel, ETUI

After 10 years of almost total paralysis inflicted by the European Commission between 2004 and 2014 under the leadership of José Manuel Barroso, has occupational health finally regained a foothold in European Union policies? The record of the outgoing President, Jean-Claude Juncker, whose term of office comes to an end in November 2019, is ambivalent. There has been some progress on occupational cancer, but performance has been very poor in other important areas.

Between 2004 and 2014, the European Commission stopped treating occupational health as one of its priorities. In the drive towards deregulation, legislation in this area was seen as a burden for businesses. There was one initiative after another, with all sorts of different names, like “Better Regulation” and “REFIT”.

This opened the door to a lobbying campaign that consistently predicted dire economic consequences whenever the interests of industrialists appeared to be under threat.

When Luxembourger Jean-Claude Juncker took office in November 2014, he espoused the same principles as the preceding team. The new President of the European Commission inherited a roadmap called the “Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work”, adopted in June 2014. This document made no proposals to improve the framework of European legislation. During her hearing in the European Parliament on 1 October 2014, the Belgian Marianne Thyssen, who was to become the Commissioner with responsibility for European social policy, did not even mention the word “cancer” once.

The full article is in HesaMAG No. 20, Autumn - Winter 2019, pp. 6-9

https://www.etui.org/content/download/37493/376109/file/Hesamag_20_EN_6-9.pdf

Living with the unpredictable – by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive, British Safety Council

Looking back to this time last year, my review of 2018 focused on Brexit, economic anxiety from the high street to high profile bankruptcies, changing risks and a welcome upsurge of discussion about mental health in the workplace.

This year is ending with an election and many of these themes will continue throughout 2020 and I suspect into 2021. Change is constant and we all must find ways to live with the unpredictable.

One way is to get stuck in. For over 60 years the British Safety Council has been campaigning for the safety, health and wellbeing of workers. What has not changed in that time is the British Safety Council’s belief that people have a right to a healthy working life and that we have choices about how we bring this about. We do not believe that poor health, safety or wellbeing are inevitable in the face of enormous socio-economic or environmental pressures, whether technological, demographic or ecological. Our campaigns start from the premise that with evidence, change is possible.

Full article: https://www.britsafe.org/publications/safety-management-magazine/safety-management-magazine/2019/living-with-the-unpredictable

Union helps young musicians to deal with work stresses

The mental health of young musicians finding their way in the industry is a union priority, the Musicians’ Union (MU) has said.

Among initiatives to support its young members, the union has now published the ‘Young freelancer’s guide to mental health and the music industry’. It says this looks at common challenges facing freelance musicians, strategies for meeting them, and how to access support. MU says “life as a musician can be exciting, satisfying and rewarding. The flexibility can give you a real sense of agency and freedom. But it can also be demanding, unpredictable, isolating and stressful. And if you feel those things then we can tell you, with total certainty, that you are not alone.”

The union says it guide, which covers issues including burnout, anxiety and depression, “is designed to provide helpful insight and clear, practical advice to use as you navigate the music industry.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964882

Global: Women’s work safety must get more attention

Trade unions are key to making workplaces safer and healthier for all workers but often women’s occupational health and safety (OHS) is not given enough attention.

This was the conclusion of a workshop held in Akuse, Ghana, from 26 – 28 November 2019. The IUF co-organised workshop brought together IUF affiliates, OHS and women’s committees and management of three banana plantations (Golden Exotics, Volta River Estates Limited and Musahamat). A representative of the Ministry of Labour also attended as Ghana is introducing its first comprehensive OHS bill, providing an ideal opportunity to push for legislation with a gender sensitive approach to health and safety.

Creating awareness of women’s OHS for all workers, including men, but also managers and supervisors, was agreed as one of the most effective ways to address women’s OHS, as well as recruiting more women into trade unions and especially into OHS committees. Adopting a gendered approach to OHS was stressed as a good way to point out the employers’ responsibility to make the workplace safe for every worker and to oppose the behaviour-based safety approach in OHS.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964889

USA: Union construction jobs ‘safer than non-union’

A new employers’ study has shown non-union construction sites in the US have several times more fatalities than unionised sites.

In a blog post, construction union IBEW noted: “It may not be news to those in the business, but new numbers back up what IBEW and other union construction members already know: there’s safety in a union.” IBEW added: “New York’s Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), which represents more than 1,300 contractors in New York City, recently released new statistics using data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It found that union construction workers in the Big Apple are five times less likely to suffer a fatal accident compared to their non-union counterparts.”

IBEW international president Lonnie R Stephenson commented: “IBEW members and employers have safety baked into every aspect of the job; it’s par for the course for us. It’s always great to see our experiences backed up with solid data.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-927-14-december-2019#_Toc26964892

USA: NIOSH partners with National Science Foundation to fund workplace robotics research

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to make funding available to study collaborative robots (co-robots) in the workplace.

The NSF published a Program Announcement on 2 December 2019 calling for proposals for the National Robotics Initiative 2.0 (NRI 2.0). According to the NSF, “The NRI-2.0 program builds upon the original National Robotics Initiative program to support fundamental research in the United States that will accelerate the development and use of co-robots.” A co-robot is a robot whose main purpose is to work with people or other robots to accomplish a goal.

Through this initiative NIOSH seeks to fund research on co-robots for reducing workplace risk exposures, research to identify the potential risks of co-robots to workers, and research to evaluate various control strategies to protect workers. Research projects should address industry sectors likely to deploy and benefit from co-robots such as agriculture, construction, healthcare, and mining and consider modelling and simulation to evaluate potential hazards to humans in a virtual environment.

More information: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-12-11-19.html

US NIOSH Contributes Hearing Loss Prevention Research to JASA Special Issue

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provided major contributions in a recently-published special issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) on noise-induced hearing loss, with 6 papers accepted. The research submitted by members of NIOSH’s Division of Field Studies and Engineering (DFSE), located in Cincinnati, USA explores the use of animal data in studying human hearing loss prevention, and the different populations that are affected by hearing loss issues.

For workers in noisy environments, hearing loss due to tasks at the jobsite can be common and create serious injuries. Nearly 25% of adults sampled nationally showed signs of possible noise-induced hearing damage. The new JASA Special Issue: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Translating Risk from Animal Models to Real-World Environments, aims to describe patterns of injury caused by dangerous noise among various populations, and understand what animal models or data are best applied to these various populations, in order to determine potential drug interventions that may help reduce these injuries.

The DFSE researchers authored several articles and studies that contribute to the JASA special issue goals, providing summaries of exposure, application of animal models in various populations, the differences across individuals within those populations, and the inner workings of hair cell death and hearing reflexes.

More information: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-12-09-19.html

RoSPA safety and health charity welcomes Baroness Jolly as President

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has welcomed Baroness Jolly as its new President.

She was elected to the position at the family safety charity’s annual general meeting in Birmingham on 15 November 2019 and succeeds Lord McKenzie of Luton, who held the post for six years.

Baroness Judith Jolly is a Liberal Democrat life peer and a champion of the health agenda. Baroness Jolly made her maiden speech on health within a week of being introduced to the House of Lords in 2011.

Since then, she acted as co-chairman of the Health and Social Care Team in the coalition government, became a government whip with responsibilities for Health, Defence, Equalities, and Culture, Media and Sport, and became health and social care spokesperson after the general election in 2017. At present, Baroness Jolly serves as a health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

More information: https://www.rospa.com/Media-Centre/Press-Office/Press-Releases/Detail?ItemID=883

Event: Westminster Health Forum policy conference – Reducing health inequalities in England

Morning, Tuesday, 10 March 2020, Central London

Learning from local approaches, supporting system-wide collaboration, and next steps for policy

This conference will assess next steps for reducing health inequalities in England.

It is timed to follow the publication of Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On and will bring together key stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the way forward for system-wide collaboration to tackle health inequalities and close the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest in society.

There will be keynote contributions from: Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London and Professor Paul Johnstone, Regional Director, North of England, Public Health England – as well as from Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy and Influence (Health and Care), Macmillan Cancer Support; and Kevin Holton, Head, Experience of Care and Equalities and Health Inequalities, NHS England.

More information: https://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/conference/reducing-health-inequalities-in-England-20

Event: Toxic Products – Management, Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness

16 December 2019, London, UK and via LIVE WEBCAST

This full-day Technical Meeting is organised jointly by FABIG and the European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) as one of a number of collaborative activities taking place during the last quarter of 2019 to facilitate the cross-sharing of knowledge between Members of the two safety-focused industry groups.

Register for the event: www.fabig.com/events

Record high stress shows UK bosses need to fix bad jobs

The root causes of record high levels of stress-related ill-health at work must be tackled by employers, the TUC has said.

The union call came as latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealed a shocking 602,000 workers in Great Britain are now suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, with workload cited as the most common cause.

The TUC’s Kathryn Mackridge said we spend a significant amount of our adult life at work, with UK workers working longer hours than any other country in Europe. In a blog posting, the policy officer added the rise in insecure work can impact on workers’ stress levels, mental health and wellbeing. She warned young workers could be particularly at risks as they are overrepresented in low-paying jobs and insecure work, such as zero hours contracts, agency and casual work.

TUC figures show 40 per cent of workers on agency contracts or in casual work are aged 16–24, and 36 per cent of workers on zero hours contracts are aged under 25. She added employers are increasingly signing up to “awareness days” and “wellbeing initiatives” without investing in the resources, policies and training to support the workers being harmed by bad management practices.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-923-16-november-2019#_Toc24538486

Stark warning to employers on the cost of work stress

Employers must ensure that they are investing in their people rather than paying lip service to addressing work-related stress, a mental health charity has warned.

James Rudoni, managing director of Mates in Mind was commenting after new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures revealed work-related stress, depression or anxiety was at an all-time high. HSE said it now accounted for 44 per cent of all work-related ill-health cases. The human cost of these trends “cannot be ignored,”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-923-16-november-2019#_Toc24538494

Working at heights: information from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Employers and those in control of work at height must first assess the risks.

Before working at height, you must follow these simple steps:

You should:

Much more information and advice from HSE on Working at Heights: www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/step-by-step-guide.htm

Union calls for safety assurances after theatre ceiling collapse

Theatre technicians’ union Bectu has said it will work with its sister unions and a theatre owner to ensure safety is prioritised after several audience members were injured when a London theatre’s ceiling collapsed.

The incident occurred at the Piccadilly Theatre during a 6 November 2019 performance of Death of a Salesman starring US actor Wendell Pierce. The collapse, which led to the performance being abandoned and over 1,000 people being evacuated from the venue, is believed to have been caused by a water leak.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-923-16-november-2019#_Toc24538496

Drone registration scheme will help improve safety, say the UK pilots

UK pilots’ union BALPA has said a new drones registration scheme will help improve safety in the air.

Under the new arrangements, UK drone pilots have until the end of November to register their details with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The mandatory requirement to register covers owners of drones or model aircraft weighing more than 250 g. Owners of unregistered drones could then face the threat of a fine. As well as the CAA drone registration scheme, drone users must also take an online test.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-923-16-november-2019#_Toc24538497

Australia: Another state to get a safer silica standard

Workers exposed to silica dust in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will be protected by a new, more stringent exposure standard, the state’s government has announced.

NSW minister for better regulation and innovation Kevin Anderson said the initiative is good news for those working in the manufactured stone, sandstone stonemasonry, as well as the tunnelling and domestic construction industries.

“To reduce the possible exposure to silica dust, the NSW government will support SafeWork Australia’s recommendation to reduce the Australian Workplace Exposure Standard from 0.1 to 0.05 mg/m³, and will also support SafeWork Australia undertaking further research on whether a reduction to 0.02 mg/m³ is achievable,” Mr Anderson said.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to defend its 0.1 mg/m³ limit, a position strongly criticised by workplace health advocates and unions.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-923-16-november-2019#_Toc24538501