News from around the World
- The European Fire Safety Week – 17-20 November 2020
- Health and Safety Executive releases annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain
- Take a break from driving when you are fatigued
- Report on the investigation of the collision between two fire and rescue service boats resulting in one fatality
- UK Fire Brigades Union responds to report into “avoidable tragedy” Cleddau Estuary
- Boris Johnson urged to deliver emergency funds to protect London from £20m of fire cuts
- UK not ready for two national emergencies at once, firefighters warn
- UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are making health and safety spot checks and inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 30,000 NHS staff off in Covid second wave in the UK
- British Safety Council International Safety Awards 2021 is now open
- UK Shoppers urged to follow the rules and respect staff
- Changes ahead as the transition period ends: Act now
- UCU and NUS issue joint statement calling on universities to move online where possible for new English lockdown
- Whistleblower virus concerns dismissed by employers
- Rapid Review: What is known about the risk of COVID-19 transmission across different indoor settings in the community such as restaurants and gyms?
- News from the USA: Guidance for Plexiglass Barriers in the Workplace
- US HHS allocates Lilly therapeutic to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19
- World News from the USA: Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination – Worldwide, 2000-2019
- Global unions welcome next step in binding treaty process to end corporate impunity
- Fire Safety: British Safety Council responds to public consultation
- The UK Equality Act is 10 years old
- Mental Health Awareness
- Health and Safety Executive cracks down on dust
- UK’s RoSPA Road Safety Advice and Information
- News from Canada: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls is a Must
- Health and Safety Executive advice on RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19
- Health and Safety Executive CONTINUING advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19): working safely
- Event: Mental Health and Wellbeing webinar
- Flu vaccination 2020 guidance for social care workers
- Fire safety in construction – roles and responsibilities
- HSE’s Risk-reduction through design award 2020-21
- Invest in care now! For recovery and resilience
- Journal Article: Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols
- ECHA Tracking chemicals of concern in products – SCIP database ready for use
- CMRs restricted in textiles and footwear
- Some areas in US, Europe battle dogged COVID-19 spread
The European Fire Safety Week – 17-20 November 2020
- Improve awareness on fire safety toward stakeholders and EU policy makers.
- Connect the various initiatives on fire safety to organize more focus on the issue.
- You and our stakeholders share best practices within EU Member States.
Together we solve the gaps in Fire Safety knowledge, data, legislation and standards.
- 17 November – Vulnerable people & fire safety
- 17 November – Fire safety awareness
- 18 November – Smoke propagation in domestic buildings – problems and solutions
- 19 November – Energy transition in transports
- 19 November – The stake of the energy transition for buildings – fire safety competency
Health and Safety Executive releases annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain
Statistics released on 4 November 2020 show that Great Britain is still one of the safest places in the world to work with the lowest number of deaths on record.
However, more than half of Britain’s working days lost in 2019/20 were due to mental ill-health.
The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.
The emergence of COVID-19 as a national health issue at the end of final quarter of 2019/20 does not appear to be the main driver of changes seen in the 2019/20 data, although it is possible that COVID-19 may be a contributory factor.
HSE has been at the heart of work across government for getting Great Britain’s workplaces Covid Secure. As part of HSE’s response to COVID-19, it has continued to support the wider health response through working closely with National Public Health Bodies, Local Authorities and local health teams.
Figures show that around 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2019/2020 and 1.6 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health.
Take a break from driving when you are fatigued
Driver fatigue causes hundreds of road accidents each year. And these accidents are roughly 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury. When drivers fall asleep, they can’t brake or swerve, so accidents tend to be high-speed collisions.
Have a look at this video and check out what can happen: https://roadsafety.scot/topics/driver-fatigue
Report on the investigation of the collision between two fire and rescue service boats resulting in one fatality
At about 1125 on 17 September 2019, two fire and rescue service boats were in collision while undertaking boat training and familiarisation on the River Cleddau near Milford Haven, Wales. The collision resulted in one of the firefighters who was taking part in the training sustaining fatal injuries.
The collision occurred because both boats were operating at speed and carrying out un-coordinated manoeuvres in the same stretch of the river. The manoeuvres resulted in the boats heading towards each other and the subsequent action taken by both boats to avoid a collision was unsuccessful.
UK Fire Brigades Union responds to report into “avoidable tragedy” Cleddau Estuary
The UK Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has broadly welcomed the recommendations of a report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the water training accident that resulted in the death of Firefighter Josh Gardener of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said:
“Josh’s death was an avoidable tragedy that occurred during a training event which should have been well-planned and well-controlled. Our thoughts today are first and foremost with his family and the FBU will continue to provide as much support to them as possible.
“We have seen all too many fatal and near-fatal incidents involving firefighters undertaking water training, both inland and now, in this case, in tidal waters. The report’s recommendations appear to address both categories, which will be crucial to preventing further losses of life.”
Boris Johnson urged to deliver emergency funds to protect London from £20m of fire cuts
London firefighters have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to step in and protect London Fire Brigade from £20m worth of “deadly” cuts that could seriously damage fire cover just as the city faces a pandemic, a building safety crisis exposed by Grenfell, and the threat of terrorist attacks.
New figures reveal that, despite increasing firefighter numbers by 53 (1%) over the last year, London Fire Brigade still has 1,177 fewer firefighters than in 2010, showing the city “still hasn’t recovered from the damage” inflicted when Boris Johnson was Mayor, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says.
As Mayor, Johnson cut London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) budget by £150m, closing 10 fire stations, scrapping 27 fire engines, and slashing firefighter numbers by 1,242.
UK not ready for two national emergencies at once, firefighters warn
Fire and rescue services won’t be ready for major threats to the UK without more firefighters, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned, as new figures show brigades have faced the Covid-19 pandemic with 11,237 fewer firefighters than in 2010.
The combined threats of climate change related events such as flooding and wildfires, pandemics, terrorism, and the post-Grenfell building safety crisis will require the immediate funding for at least 5,000 firefighters in the next year, the FBU says, to ensure the fire and rescue service can tackle “the risks of today and tomorrow”.
Without additional crews, the public face a “roll of the dice” every time a major incident occurs, with firefighters hoping that it won’t coincide with another serious emergency. If the pandemic had broken out during mass-flooding earlier this year, the FBU warns firefighters might not have been able to support the pandemic response.
It comes as new figures reveal the UK has lost more than 11,000 firefighters and control room staff since 2010, a 19% drop in numbers.
UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are making health and safety spot checks and inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Health and Safety Executive has announced that it is carrying out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses in all areas to ensure they are COVID-secure.
HSE is making calls to give expert advice on how to manage the risks and protect workers, customers and visitors. We are also working closely with local authorities, assisting them in the sectors they regulate such as hospitality and retail.
By calling and visiting premises and speaking directly to employers, HSE can check the measures they’ve put in place are in line with government guidance.
Inspectors will make COVID-secure checks as part of their normal role in visiting workplaces during the pandemic. To ensure that HSE can reach as many workplaces as possible nationally and support the core work of HSE inspectors, it is working with trained and approved partners to deliver the spot check calls and visits.
30,000 NHS staff off in Covid second wave in the UK
Around 30,000 NHS staff are self-isolating or off sick from work due to coronavirus as the UK faces a second wave of infections.
NHS England head Sir Simon Stevens said the numbers underlined the need to control the spread of Covid-19 in order to protect the care offered by the health service. Appearing at a Downing Street press conference on 5 November 2020, Sir Simon said the NHS was looking to ensure “we’ve got as many nurses able to work as we can because where coronavirus takes off in the community that means that NHS staff themselves often are affected or have to self-isolate.”
British Safety Council International Safety Awards 2021 is now open
British Safety Council (BSC) International Safety Awards 2021 scheme is now open to organisations of any sector or size.
To find out about these International Safety Awards including why and how you can apply visit: https://www.britsafe.org/awards-and-events/awards/international-safety-awards
UK Shoppers urged to follow the rules and respect staff
As the second lockdown for England took effect, retail trade union Usdaw urged shoppers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers.
The union is highlighting five simple steps to encourage considerate shopping: Shop for essentials only and alone if possible; queue patiently and maintain social distancing; follow instructions inside and outside shops; observe all necessary hygiene measures and pay by card if you can; and be respectful to shop staff and other customers.
Changes ahead as the transition period ends: Act now
The UK has left the EU and new rules for business with the EU start in January 2021.
The transition period will end on 31 December 2020 and will not be extended. While the government continues to negotiate with the EU, there are actions your business can take now.
There is specific guidance on chemicals and equipment and machinery.
HSE will also be hosting a series of podcasts in the coming weeks to provide more information on the changes to how chemicals will be regulated from 1 January 2021.
You can also stay up to date with the latest developments by signing up to receive a weekly email bulletin from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
More information: https://www.hse.gov.uk/brexit
UCU and NUS issue joint statement calling on universities to move online where possible for new English lockdown
The University and College Union (UCU) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have today (Wednesday) said that the government’s failure to instruct universities to move to online learning where possible would put public health at risk.
UCU and NUS have issued a joint statement* calling on the Westminster government to revise their guidance for universities, and issue a clear call for working to be immediately moved online wherever possible during the current lockdown in England.
Whistleblower virus concerns dismissed by employers
More than 4-in-10 Covid-19 concerns raised by employees were ignored by bosses, who instead routinely victimised the workers raising safety issues, a legal charity has said.
Research by Protect found 41 per cent of employees raising Covid-19 concerns were ignored by their employers and 20 per cent of whistleblowers were dismissed. The charity said it has been inundated with Covid-19 whistleblowing concerns, many of an extremely serious nature.
Its report, The best warning system: Whistleblowing during Covid-19 examines over 600 Covid-19 calls to the Protect advice line between March and September. The majority of cases were over furlough fraud and risk to public safety, such as a lack of social distancing and PPE in the workplace.
Rapid Review: What is known about the risk of COVID-19 transmission across different indoor settings in the community such as restaurants and gyms?
To prevent and reduce coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) transmission, lockdown measures were implemented restricting individual, community, and social activities and exposures. As jurisdictions have begun to relax these restrictions, it is important to understand the transmission risk associated with common community settings frequented by the public. Such knowledge can inform planning around appropriate mitigation measures for specific types of source settings.
This 23-page rapid review was produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, McMaster University. A to support public health decision makers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This review seeks to identify, appraise, and summarize emerging research evidence to support evidence-informed decision making.
This rapid review includes evidence available up to 20 October 2020 to answer the questions:
- What is known about the risk of COVID-19 transmission across different indoor settings in the community?
- What is known about the risk of COVID-19 transmission in indoor dining settings, such as restaurants and bars/nightclubs?
- What is known about the risk of COVID-19 transmission in indoor physical activity settings, such as gyms and fitness centres?
News from the USA: Guidance for Plexiglass Barriers in the Workplace
The Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S), in partnership with the University of Washington Facilities, conducted a review of the benefits, limitations and performance standards for plexiglass barriers, as well as guidance on prioritizing the installation where there is an increased potential for close contact with others. University units considering the use of physical barriers (plexiglass or other similar materials such as polycarbonate) may consider this alternative strategy as a component of their overall COVID-19 prevention efforts to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in public areas and worksites.
US HHS allocates Lilly therapeutic to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to allocate initial doses of Eli Lilly and Company’s investigational monoclonal antibody therapeutic, bamlanivimab, which received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 9 November 2020 for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with mild or moderate confirmed cases of COVID-19.
On 28 October 2020, the federal government announced a purchase of 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab. HHS will allocate these doses to state and territorial health departments which, in turn, will determine which healthcare facilities receive the infusion drug. The federal government can purchase up to 650,000 additional doses if needed through 30 June 2021, for distribution across the country.
“Authorization and distribution of this new Eli Lilly antibody treatment is a significant step forward in treating patients and bridging us to the rollout of safe and effective vaccines, with all of these efforts made possible by Operation Warp Speed,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Federal allocation of therapeutics like Lilly’s, in cooperation with our state and local government partners, will help ensure that they go to the patients who need them most just days after the product is authorized.”
“We are committed to the equitable and efficient distribution of resources like bamlanivimab to help prevent hospitalization from COVID-19 as much as possible,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D. “To that end, we are coordinating with Lilly, its distributor, and state and territorial health departments to get therapeutics into the hands of healthcare providers quickly, with a focus on areas of the country currently hardest hit by the pandemic.”
World News from the USA: Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination – Worldwide, 2000-2019
Progress toward measles elimination targets has stalled leading to a sharp increase in the number of new infections, the highest number reported in 23 years, and a tragic rise of 50% from 2016 to 2019 in measles deaths.
To regain progress, countries must reach and maintain ≥95% coverage with two doses of measles-containing vaccine, quickly identify missed children and close growing immunity gaps due to recent disruptions in immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6945a6.htm
Global unions welcome next step in binding treaty process to end corporate impunity
The global unions have welcomed the next step in the process of agreeing a binding United Nations (UN) treaty on business and human rights, despite difficult negotiations at the UN in Geneva.
The intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights held its sixth session, 26 – 30 October 2020, and adopted a final report that will form the basis of actual negotiations in 2021.
This was despite the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) obstructing the process, the US rejecting the process and the EU delegation not having a negotiating mandate.
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/global-unions-welcome-treaty-next-step
Fire Safety: British Safety Council responds to public consultation
The British Safety Council (BSC) submitted its views to the Fire Safety consultation (deadline Monday 12th October 2020). BSC submission was based on views from members and experts that they have close working relations with. This consultation follows proposed changes to the Fire Safety Order (2005) and Building Control, along with recommendations made by Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Changes following the consultation will sit alongside the new Building Safety Regulations.
BSC response is generally supportive of the proposals and believes it will deliver improvements to fire safety. On proposed sanctions, BSC consider the proposed fines for wrongdoing by the Responsible Person as inadequate and should be far higher for acts that include impersonating a Fire Inspector. Targeted and sufficient sanctions are an important driver of compliance.
For lifts and fire doors, the British Safety Council supported proposals made by Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to mandate in law both checks and the frequency of checks. A minimum threshold for the mandatory frequency of inspections would ensure a standardised approach, remove any ambiguity from the requirement and eliminate the potential for cost implications to influence the inspection regime. This should be combined with fire risk assessments, with outcomes dictating the actual frequency of inspections which could be more often than the minimum threshold.
Sprinklers are covered in the ‘non-legislative recommendations’ from the Inquiry, where the consultation asks if the installation of sprinklers in existing buildings should be mandatory under the Fire Safety Order (FSO). The British Safety Council supported the mandatory approach, though adopted over an incremental risk-based phased installation.
British Safety Council response to the consultation can now be accessed: https://www.britsafe.org/media/7963/british-safety-council-response-to-fire-safety-consultation.pdf
The UK Equality Act is 10 years old
The Equality Act became law a decade ago on 1 October 2010. It protects working people from discrimination based on age, sex, race and a number of other protected characteristics.
The TUC is concerned that ten years since it was introduced, the full powers of the act have still not been implemented and is calling to reintroduce Section 40, which would make employers liable for harassment of their employees by customers or clients.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Equality Act should have been a gamechanger. But ten years on, it still is not fully in force. Now is the time for the government to implement it in full.”
She said the pandemic has shown that the UK is still riven with discrimination, with black workers more likely to be in frontline jobs with inadequate PPE – and more likely to die.
“Without the protection of Section 40 of the Equality Act, staff have less protection from abuse and harassment. Yet during the pandemic, we have seen a rise in hostility and assaults on shop workers and hospitality staff,” she explained.
USDAW’s Freedom From Fear Campaign works to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers and you can find out more here https://www.usdaw.org.uk/freedomfromfear
Mental Health Awareness
Usdaw takes both the physical and mental wellbeing of its members very seriously.
Usdaw wants to support its members with mental health issues and has resources to support reps who want to campaign in their workplace around the issue of mental health. Mental health problems are on the rise and lots of our reps and officials are supporting members with anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.
The campaign materials have the theme It’s Good To Talk and are designed to help open up conversations and reduce the stigma of talking about mental health.
How this helps you
For too long mental health has been a taboo subject and individuals were often, and unfairly, blamed for their condition. The shame and secrecy around mental health can have devastating consequences. Usdaw wants to change that while accepting that it is a complex and sensitive area.
Members with mental health problems may well have rights to additional support at work under the Equality Act – but these rights are often poorly understood by managers leading to members not getting the support they need.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, your rep will be able to provide advice and support.
More information: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Mental-Health
Health and Safety Executive cracks down on dust
Health and safety inspectors across Great Britain will be targeting construction firms to check that their health standards are up to scratch during a month-long inspection initiative, starting on Monday 5 October 2020.
This is the fourth health-focused initiative of its kind. As in previous years, inspections will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease; looking at the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust. This is part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry.
While the primary focus will be on health during this programme of inspections, if a HSE inspector identifies any other areas of concern, they will take the necessary enforcement action to deal with them. This will include making sure that businesses are doing all they can to protect their workers from the risk of coronavirus and make workplaces COVID-secure.
UK’s RoSPA Road Safety Advice and Information
Roads are essential to our everyday lives. We all use them in some way, by driving, riding, walking or travelling as a passenger, and we depend on them to obtain goods and services.
Unfortunately, this comes at a price, which includes people being killed and injured. However, road deaths and injuries are not inevitable. The last few decades have demonstrated that effective and comprehensive road safety strategies can reduce the number of people killed or injured on the road, despite increasing traffic levels. Great Britain now has one of the best road safety records in the world – but with around five people still dying on Britain’s roads every day there is much more to be done.
RoSPA is still concerned by continued lack of progress on road safety. We have now passed the Autumn clock change, and brace ourselves for the 20% increase in road traffic collisions that we see in the fortnight after putting the clocks back.
More information: https://www.rospa.com/road-safety
News from Canada: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls is a Must
Whether you’re working at a construction site, in a commercial kitchen, or on a warehouse floor, you could find yourself at risk of slipping or tripping. You may be surprised to learn that most falls don’t happen from roofs, ladders, or any other heights. In fact, around 66% of falls happen on the same level, caused by slips and trips.
Considering that in 2018, there were 51,880 lost time claims related to workplace falls in Canada (representing almost 20% of all lost time claims), workplaces need to be vigilant for slip and trip hazards, regardless of industry. There is always a risk, from an oily floor to poor lighting to ice and other weather hazards.
Slips and trips happen when there is some unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or floor. The number of hazards can increase seasonally with the weather such as the occurrence of frost, wet leaves, ice, and shortened daylight hours in autumn and winter. There are four factors that should be addressed in preventing falls from slips and trips: 1) good housekeeping; 2) quality of walking surfaces (flooring); 3) proper footwear; and 4) pace of walking.
Health and Safety Executive advice on RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19
This guidance is for the person reporting, usually the employer (known as the ‘responsible person’).
Members of the public and non-work-related cases
There is no requirement under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) to report incidents of disease or deaths of members of the public, patients, care home residents or service users from COVID-19.
The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person’s work.
What to report
You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:
- an accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
- a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a case of disease
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent
More information: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/riddor
Health and Safety Executive CONTINUING advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19): working safely
The guidance on making your workplace COVID-secure gives an overview of the steps employers can take to protect people in the workplace.
Full details: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus
Event: Mental Health and Wellbeing webinar
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Mental health and wellbeing are more important than ever during the pandemic. Employees need support whether they are running the gauntlet of going into the office or site or working from home.
Barbour’s next webinar, which is taking place in just two weeks, is truly a must-attend.
All about supporting your employees’ mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic, this topical webinar covers some of the practical actions you can take to support wellbeing in your workplace, including:
- How to inspire your senior team, and why you need to
- The basics of training and how to score some easy wins
- The “form score” and how you can use it to improve safety
- PLUS, a chance to test the ‘form score’ LIVE!
- Led by wellbeing experts Rob Stephenson and Heather Beach, this is sure to be an engaging, informative session.
Flu vaccination 2020 guidance for social care workers
The UK Government has issued guidance for those eligible for a flu vaccination in 2020.
All adult social care workers who are in direct contact with patients and service users should get the vaccine, including:
- those working in a registered residential care or nursing home and who are directly involved in the care of patients or service users
- those working for a registered domiciliary care provider and who are directly involved in the care of patients or service users
- those employed through personal budgets and or personal health budgets, such as personal assistants
Fire safety in construction – roles and responsibilities
The UK Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) Managing Risk Well Working Group on fire has produced the Construction fire safety: Responsibility and competence matrix for fire safety in construction.
Hosted by the Construction Health & Safety Group (CHSG), the purpose of the matrix is to identify and outline the roles and the responsibilities of those involved in fire safety and prevention on construction projects.
The document sets out the minimum knowledge needed for each role and has been produced to support the construction industry in defining the skills, knowledge, training and experience needed by each of the duty holders’ roles.
More information: https://www.chsg.co.uk/construction-fire-safety
HSE’s Risk-reduction through design award 2020-21
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) ‘Risk-reduction through design’ award needs your nominations.
The award highlights the important contribution that design changes can make to reduce risks of MSDs.
Building on the success of last year’s award, HSE wants businesses to nominate design changes that have made a real impact. They are looking for approaches that have worked from across all sectors, anywhere in the UK regardless of the size of the business or the scale/cost of the solution.
The emphasis is on design solutions that have or can reduce the risk of MSDs for workers, but HSE are also interested in novel, innovative or niche solutions that tackle difficult-to-solve problems. Involving the workforce in developing the solution is essential and cross-sector application, that might inspire others to think more actively about design-based solutions, will also be part of the judging criteria.
More information: https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/awards.htm
Invest in care now! For recovery and resilience
29 October 2020 marked an international day of action on care for trade unions and civil society around the world.
COVID-19 means it is now widely understood, across countries and classes, that we depend on the essential services of the care economy – health, education, childcare, aged care and disability support. With the exposure of our dependence on essential workers in care during the pandemic, people understand more than ever that the shape of the economic recovery must ensure decent work in care.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Caring for each other is the most important work in society. It goes to the core of our humanity. In the face of the challenge of both recovery and resilience, investment in care creates jobs and boosts the economy.
“The participation of women in the care economy means that spending in the sector has a profound effect on the participation of women in the workplace. Investment in care provides jobs for many, many women, and frees them from the burden of unpaid care and allows them to participate more broadly in the community.
“Recovery and resilience demand major investment in care.”
More information: https://www.ituc-csi.org/invest-in-care-now
Journal Article: Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols
A key consideration in the Covid-19 pandemic is the dominant modes of transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus.
The objective of this review was to synthesise the evidence for the potential airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols. Systematic literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Embase, Europe PMC and National Health Service UK evidence up to 27 July 2020. A protocol was published and Cochrane guidance for rapid review methodology was adhered to throughout.
Twenty-eight studies were identified. Seven out of eight epidemiological studies suggest aerosol transmission may occur, with enclosed environments and poor ventilation noted as possible contextual factors. Ten of the 16 air sampling studies detected SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid; however, only three of these studies attempted to culture the virus with one being successful in a limited number of samples. Two of four virological studies using artificially generated aerosols indicated that SARS-CoV-2 is viable in aerosols. The results of this review indicate there is inconclusive evidence regarding the viability and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols. Epidemiological studies suggest possible transmission, with contextual factors noted.
Viral particles have been detected in air sampling studies with some evidence of clinical infectivity, and virological studies indicate these particles may represent live virus, adding further plausibility. However, there is uncertainty as to the nature and impact of aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and its relative contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic compared with other modes of transmission.
Full article: https://doi.org/10.1002/rmv.2184
ECHA Tracking chemicals of concern in products – SCIP database ready for use
Industry can now submit information on substances of very high concern in their articles to ECHA’s SCIP database. The aim is to make recycling of products safer and improve information about dangerous chemicals in products.
The SCIP database was launched 28 October 2020 and companies can submit data on substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in their articles. The Waste Framework Directive requires companies to submit their data as of 5 January 2021. Consumers and waste operators can access and use the data from February 2021 onwards.
CMRs restricted in textiles and footwear
The use of 33 chemicals known to cause cancer, change DNA or be harmful to human reproduction is restricted in clothing, textiles and footwear as of 1 November 2020.
The restriction places maximum concentration limits on these substances or substance groups to protect people’s health – especially children and pregnant women who may experience more adverse health effects.
Some areas in US, Europe battle dogged COVID-19 spread
The White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that aggressive COVID-19 spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest, and West requires more intense measures, as European countries facing huge surges took more steps to avoid lockdowns similar to what France and Germany announced yesterday 28 October 2020.
Edging closer to the 9 million case mark, the United States yesterday reported 78,981 new cases, with 994 more deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard. The latest report to governors from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, obtained by CNN, said 32 states are in the “red zone”, defined as 100 new cases per 100,000 population. That number is up from 31 reported last week.
Intense spread in US hot spot regions will require intensified mitigation steps to control both asymptomatic and symptomatic spread, including steps such as masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and limiting gathering sizes, the committee said. And it warned that friends and family moving their gatherings indoors is significantly increasing the spread.