News from around the World
- UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic
- UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) updated advice on protecting clinically extremely vulnerable workers
- The UK has left the EU so new rules are here
- British Safety Council International Safety Awards 2021
- Event: The Economics of Occupational Safety and Health
- Event: Vision Zero Summit
- Event: Regions in Recovery – Building Sustainable Futures, Global e-Festival
- US NIOSH COVID-19 Update 2021
- US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Ventilation in Buildings: updated 21 December 2020
- New article: Which COVID policies are most effective? A Bayesian analysis of COVID-19 by jurisdiction
- HSE-hosted UK Transition chemicals podcast
- News from the Health and Safety Executive
- Recyclers are key to help the European Commission delivering its Action Plan on Critical Raw Resources
- HSE Laboratory Buxton: Testing, Monitoring and Analysis Services and Service Provision during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic
- Nordic Research Finds New Associations Between Shift Work and Health and Gives Recommendations on how to organize Shift Work
- 380,000 ‘non-smokers’ regularly smoke cannabis, putting their health at risk
- European Trade union Institute (ETUI) Benchmarking Working Europe 2020
- EMF Regulations Training Competent Persons course
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on Ventilation and air conditioning during the pandemic
- Events: Work, Worklessness and wellbeing – Covid-19 and beyond
- RoSPA health and safety training courses 2021
- Report on wildfire large-scale evacuations – behavioural responses
- European Company Survey 2019 – Workplace practices unlocking employee potential: Flagship report
UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic
With coronavirus rates rising rapidly across the UK, national lockdown rules have been introduced.
Advice on how national lockdown rules apply in England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
HSE has a range of guidance and advice, which you may find useful to protect people from the risk of COVID-19, whether they can still attend work or are working from home.
HSE guidance on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic includes practical measures you can take that to ensure your workplace is COVID-secure.
It includes information on:
- social distancing
- ventilation and air conditioning
- cleaning, hygiene and handwashing
For all the latest information and advice visit HSE coronavirus site: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm
UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) updated advice on protecting clinically extremely vulnerable workers
Employers should consider the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) and put controls in place to reduce that risk.
HSE page on how to protect vulnerable workers during the pandemic has been updated to reflect the new national restrictions. From 5 January 2021 the government says that anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work and should only work from home, as coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country.
You can find guidance on who is clinically extremely vulnerable and what further support may be available from Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales.
The page on protecting vulnerable workers during the pandemic also includes advice on:
- supporting workers in higher-risk groups
- accessing COVID-secure precautions
- pregnant workers
The UK has left the EU so new rules are here
The transition period has ended, and the UK has left the EU, so new rules are here. Act now to keep your business moving.
Rules and procedures have changed for some industries but your responsibility to protect the health and safety of people affected by your work activities remain.
There are some new rules and procedures you must follow to continue to place chemicals, civil explosives and work equipment and machinery on our domestic market
Visit https://www.gov.uk/transition where you can use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take.
British Safety Council International Safety Awards 2021
You worked hard in 2020 to make sure people in your business were safe and healthy. Do you want to get the recognition you and your team deserve?
BSC International Safety Awards are an excellent way to prove the success of your safety management systems and showcase your work to stakeholders and senior management – particularly when faced with a crisis.
Start your application today to:
- Build your reputation and get kudos within the industry
- Generate publicity for your organisation and its health and safety record
- Get buy-in from senior management
- Use the winners’ logo on your tenders and marketing material
- Demonstrate your health and safety commitment to your business partners, clients and stakeholders.
Don’t leave it too late – you have less than four weeks left to purchase and complete your application.
Event: The Economics of Occupational Safety and Health
3 February 2021, Online course
Due to the pandemic this course has moved entirely online. The course format has been changed to make it more suitable for the online concept and the course date is now the 3 February 2021.
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.
Event: Vision Zero Summit
12-14 May 2021, Lloret de Mar, Spain
The Summit offers an important and authoritative platform for discussing the most relevant issues for the implementation of the Vision Zero strategy, including the critical leadership role of business executives in the safety issues, the development and implementation of innovative projects and modern technologies in the field of health and safety.
More information: https://www.visionzerosummit.com
Event: Regions in Recovery – Building Sustainable Futures, Global e-Festival
2-18 June 2021, Online
2020 was the most extraordinary of years when conferences have been cancelled or postponed and normal flows of researcher engagement and networking have been heavily disrupted. So, what is the plan for 2021, a year in which we all hope that vaccines will roll out globally and we will slowly see a welcome return to more social interaction?
A small number of societies and research led organisations have come together and agreed that rather than run competing events we will contribute to co-hosting a Festival of regional and related research. This multi-partner event will run globally, online from 2-18 June 2021. Partners’ calls will be announced beginning of 2021. Details on the Regional Studies Association’s (RSA) call for abstracts and special sessions are listed below.
The RSA will provide its newly developed events and networking app (RSA Hub) which incorporates a conference wire frame for virtual events to host a multi-strand event within an app enabling participant networking, Q&A, multiple presentation types and exhibition spaces as well as rooms for social and well-being occasions. Partner organisations will have spaces to showcase their activities and we hope to include a job fair.
More information: https://www.regionalstudies.org/events/rinr2021
US NIOSH COVID-19 Update 2021
As part of US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) efforts to keep stakeholders up to date on the US CDC and NIOSH COVID-19 response, here is a summary of new information available.
Ventilation in Buildings
A new webpage on Ventilation in Buildings is available to provide information about building ventilation. The webpage has ventilation interventions that can help reduce the concentration of virus particles, such as SARS-CoV-2, in the air. A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about building ventilation is also located on the new webpage.
Wildland Firefighting and COVID-19 Infographic Series
A new infographic series is available on the FAQs and Communication Resources for Wildland Firefighters webpage. The printable posters include how various topics, such as camps, travel assignments, and smoke exposure, relate to COVID-19.
General Business Frequently Asked Questions
CDC recently updated their General Business FAQs webpage about reducing the spread of COVID-19. The updated recommendations reflect new scientific evidence, evolving epidemiology, and the need to simplify the assessment of risk.
Prevent Struck-by Incidents at Crash Scenes
A new NIOSH infographic Prevent Struck-by Incidents at Crash Scenes provides injury prevention recommendations for law enforcement officers. Officers can lower their risk of being struck by a passing car while outside their patrol vehicles. Find more information in the NIOSH law enforcement motor vehicle resources web page
New Report on Filtering Facepiece Respirators
A new NIOSH technical report provides recommendations on the use of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) with an exhalation valve. The findings in this report show that FFRs with an exhalation valve can reduce particle emissions to levels similar to or better than those provided by surgical masks, procedure masks, or cloth face coverings. Further, adding an electrocardiogram pad or surgical tape over the valve from the inside can provide source control similar to that of an FFR with no exhalation valve. These findings have important implications for guidance on source control and mitigation.
New Respiratory Webpages Available
NIOSH has published two new webpages related to respiratory protection activities:
- Elastomeric Half Mask Respirator Resources This webpage summarizes NIOSH elastomeric half mask respirator (EHMR) research studies and provides links to NIOSH resources and other relevant published material about EHMRs.
- Respirator Exhalation Valve Research This webpage provides an overview of NIOSH research studies about the potential for respirators with exhalation valves to contribute to source control – i.e., their ability to filter respiratory secretions to prevent disease transmission to others.
NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Program Annual Report Released
The FY2019 NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Program Annual Report is now available. This publication shows how NIOSH invested in its multidisciplinary centers, investigator-initiated research projects, and cooperative research agreements. It also reports on NIOSH training project grants, state surveillance programs, small business innovation research, and the World Trade Center Health Program’s extramural portfolio of cooperative agreements. For the latest information on NIOSH-funded extramural activities, visit the NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Programs webpage.
NIOSH Crystalline Silica Topic Page Update
Work exposures to silica dust can cause serious lung diseases including silicosis and lung cancer. The updated Silica web page provides easy-to-navigate information and resources for workers, employers, and safety and health professionals. These include ways to minimize crystalline silica exposures at work and prevent related health outcomes through medical monitoring, engineering controls, and safe work practices.
US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Ventilation in Buildings: updated 21 December 2020
CDC recommends a layered strategy to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes using multiple mitigation strategies with several layers of safeguards to reduce the spread of disease and lower the risk of exposure. While it may not be necessary to apply every consideration to be protective, implementing multiple mitigation strategies is recommended, if possible, to improve effectiveness. In addition to ventilation, the layered approach includes efforts to improve social distancing, wearing face masks, and hand hygiene.
SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. When outdoors, the concentration of viral particles rapidly reduces with the wind, even a very light wind. When indoors, ventilation mitigation strategies help to offset the absence of natural wind and reduce the concentration of viral particles in the indoor air. The lower the concentration, the less likely some of those viral particles can be inhaled into your lungs; contact your eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentration, which reduces the overall viral dose to occupants.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ventilation.html
New article: Which COVID policies are most effective? A Bayesian analysis of COVID-19 by jurisdiction
by Phebo D. Wibbens, Wesley Wu-Yi Koo, Anita M. McGahan
Closing non-essential workplaces and extending working from home are the most effective interventions for reducing spread of Covid-19, with school closures also a ‘high-impact’ policy, an international study has concluded.
The study published on 29 December 2020 in the journal PLOS One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, examines the ‘most effective’ ways to address Covid spread. It points to measures to tackle Covid-19 transmission “each of which has the potential to reduce weekly Covid growth rate by 10 percentage points or more. The slate of these additional high-impact policies includes targeted or full workplace closings for all but essential workers, stay-at-home requirements, and targeted school closures.”
The study, which looked at prevention practices utilised in 40 countries including the UK, estimated the effect that closing more workplaces could have, finding extensive closures could reduce the spread of Covid cases by nearly one-third (over 32 per cent).
The study concludes that “for the jurisdictions covered in this analysis, the policies with the greatest marginal impact for achieving Covid control mainly involve restrictions on adults through workplace closings and stay-at-home requirements, although targeted school closings are also in the group of additional high-impact policies.”
Published: 29 December 2020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244177
HSE-hosted UK Transition chemicals podcast
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hosting a series of free podcasts to help businesses that make, use or supply chemicals understand what actions they need to take to ensure they are prepared for the end of the UK Transition period, when independent GB chemical regimes will be in place from 1 January 2021.
The ‘After UK Transition: Working with Chemicals’ podcast is now available from all major podcast platforms. To find it, just search ‘The HSE Podcast’ on your chosen platform (for example YouTube). Audiences can also register to receive notifications for each episode released.
Each episode focuses on a different chemicals regime, including Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) and Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regimes, Plant Protection Products (PPP) and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
The series will be centred around business readiness for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), ensuring audiences are well informed of the duties and obligations needed to comply with to access the GB market after the transition period ends.
Throughout the series, they will be joined by industry voices and experts from both HSE and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to address the key changes to legislation and providing information on the actions required before or from 1 January 2021.
News from the Health and Safety Executive
Upcoming health and safety training courses
Four courses to look forward to in January 2021.
These popular courses are now available live online from anywhere in the world:
- 13 January 2021 – COMAH Compliance for Lower Tier Establishments
- 18 January 2021 – Behaviour Change: Achieving Health and Safety Culture Excellence
- 20 January 2021 – Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Assessment
- 27 January 2021 – Layers of Protection Analysis: Practical Application and Pitfalls (LOPA)
More information: https://www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses
New HSE MSD Online Assessment Tool
The Manual Handling Assessment Charts (MAC) is a tool to help users identify high-risk workplace manual handling activities to manage the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
HSE has produced an online version of the MAC tool, the MSD Online Assessment Tool, to simplify the process of completing each assessment.
The HSE MSD Online Assessment Tool’s step by step approach and automated reporting removes the need to populate and interpret the results manually – saving your assessors time and effort.
Find out more about the HSE MSD Online Assessment Tool: https://books.hse.gov.uk/MSD-Assessment-Tool
Safe Net Zero
HSE’s Safe Net Zero solutions integrate health and safety into the development and deployment of the new and novel technologies underpinning the UK’s decarbonisation activities.
On the road to RECOVAS – HSE’s expertise in battery safety is being put to good use in a project to create a new circular end-of-life supply chain for the electric vehicle industry.
Gearing up for FutureGrid – The HyNTS FutureGrid Programme seeks to build a hydrogen test facility from decommissioned assets to demonstrate that the National Transmission System (NTS), Britain’s gas transmission network, can transport hydrogen to heat homes and deliver green energy to industry.
More information: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/2b15621
Recyclers are key to help the European Commission delivering its Action Plan on Critical Raw Resources
Managing limited resources of critical raw materials is one of the biggest challenges for the European Commission if the continent is to achieve a more sustainable, less carbon intensive, future, explains Ian Sheppard, Managing Director at EMR.
Increasingly, the technology that modern economies rely upon – from smart devices to green energy – depend on materials such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. There are limited primary sources of these materials within Europe’s borders.
Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight says a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials is a “prerequisite for a resilient economy”. It’s hard to disagree.
According to research by the Commission, the growth in demand for these raw materials will be huge in the coming years. For electric vehicle batteries and energy storage alone, the continent will require up to 18 times more lithium by 2030 and up to 60 times more by 2050. As Šefčovič says: “we cannot allow current reliance on fossil fuels [to be replaced] with dependency on critical raw materials”.
HSE Laboratory Buxton: Testing, Monitoring and Analysis Services and Service Provision during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic
HSE is pleased to announce that they are resuming some of their testing services.
For them to work in a COVID-secure way, they are currently operating at a reduced capacity, which means they cannot guarantee the usual turnaround times. All testing will be completed as soon as possible, however they will keep you updated with regular communications.
More information: https://www.hsl.gov.uk/testing-and-monitoring
Nordic Research Finds New Associations Between Shift Work and Health and Gives Recommendations on how to organize Shift Work
New studies from a large NordForsk consortium confirm that night shift work is associated with increased risk for serious health risks like accidental injuries and sickness absence. The researchers give recommendations on how to organise shift work in order to minimise health and safety risks.
About 20% of all employees in Europe are shift workers. A large NordForsk-funded project (Working Hours, Health, Well-being and Participation in Working Life, WOW) produced several practical recommendations on good shift ergonomics due to utilizing of large registry-based data of working hours and health in the Nordic countries (1,2). The data includes, e.g., information on daily working hours in the social and health care sector. “For the first time, we are able to utilize dose-response data on the association of different work characteristics with health making it possible to give much more detailed recommendations on optimal work characteristics in shift work.”, emphasizes professor Mikko Härmä.
380,000 ‘non-smokers’ regularly smoke cannabis, putting their health at risk
A new study published in the journal Addiction on 21 December 2020, finds significant levels of cannabis use among people who classify themselves as non-smokers. The UCL-led analysis of a survey of adults in Great Britain found that 5% of self-identified non-smokers are past year cannabis users with an estimated 380,000 smoking cannabis with or without tobacco at least weekly.
Hannah Walsh, King’s College London, one of the study’s authors said the findings raised concerns that non-smokers were unaware that smoking cannabis carries similar health risks to tobacco:
“It is extremely concerning that there are hundreds of thousands of people who do not see themselves as ‘smokers’ but are none-the-less smoking every week. It is possible that they do not realise they are putting their health at risk. It’s also a concern that people may be unwittingly establishing a tobacco addiction as a consequence of their cannabis use.”
European Trade union Institute (ETUI) Benchmarking Working Europe 2020
This year’s Benchmarking Working Europe report – the joint flagship publication of the ETUI and ETUC – is a special edition, not only because it is the 20th anniversary edition, but also because it analyses the consequences of a new and totally different crisis for the world of work. And the main message coming out of this analysis is that we need to be very vigilant to protect workers, and Europe as whole, not only from the SARS-CoV-2 virus but also from austerity.
It must indeed be acknowledged that policymakers seem to be approaching this new challenge in a different way than the austerity-driven responses deployed a decade ago in the management of the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008. There is a high expectation that rather than instigating a descent into years of recession, this crisis may in fact be an opportunity for a substantial rethinking of the economic and social paradigms that are to guide the EU in the post-Covid world.
There are some key signs that things could be moving in this direction, not least the willingness of the EU and national leaders to bail out not only the banks and financial institutions, as was mainly the case in 2008-13, but also the real economy, with instruments such as the ‘Support mitigating unemployment risks in an emergency’ (SURE) programme, followed by the much more substantial Recovery and Resilience Plan.
What is also important is that these rescue packages do not, so far, come with any explicit (anti-)social strings attached – the EU even allowed the Member States to deviate from the Union’s usual budgetary rules via an escape clause in the Stability and Growth Pact. And last but not least, this time trade unions are not being side-lined from the planning stages of the recovery strategy and could in fact play a role in its implementation.
EMF Regulations Training Competent Persons course
The EMF Regulations Training Competent Persons course will teach you how to comply with The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016. Designed to meet the requirements of the Electromagnetic Fields Regulations, this course will enable you with knowledge and skills you need to be classed as ‘competent’ to carry out risk assessments and control measures. The subjects covered vary from the principles of fields and waves to the identification and management of EMF problems. Practical elements are included to help you with the task of reducing exposure in the workplace and to assist in getting to grips with measuring instrumentation.
This course is residential and will be held at the Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough, from the 19-21 January 2021.
More information: https://www.castletrainingacademy.com/emf-regulations-training.php
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on Ventilation and air conditioning during the pandemic
The law requiring employers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace has not changed during the pandemic. Good ventilation, together with social distancing, keeping your workplace clean and frequent handwashing, can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
HSE’s Ventilation and air conditioning guidance will help you identify poorly ventilated areas of your workplace and provides steps to take to improve ventilation. It will apply in most workplaces and includes guidance on:
- balancing ventilation with keeping people warm
- identifying poorly ventilated areas
- how to improve ventilation
- ventilation in vehicles
Events: Work, Worklessness and wellbeing – Covid-19 and beyond
The Society of Occupational Medicine with Public Health England (PHE) wishes to support employers and employees to be Covid secure and maintain health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond. They also want policy makers to think about key challenges employers and employees are facing during the pandemic and beyond. They are hosting a series of webinars on key issues with follow up briefing sheets for employers, line managers and employees – that can support employee wellbeing, productivity and avoid legal challenge.
Who is it for?
- employers and employees from businesses, large and small.
- professionals working in healthcare, public health, occupational health, and human resources
- policy makers
The project is guided by a steering group that comprises experts and employers’ organisations.
Webinars are free
- 21 January 2021 – Support for business to build back better – the benefits of age diversity
- 28 January 2021 – Refreshing your approach to workplace diversity and inclusion post-2020
- 4 February 2021 – Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work
- 11 February 2021 – Managing stress, burnout and fatigue in health and social care
- 24 February 2021 – Promoting workplace health and wellbeing in Covid-19 and beyond
- 3 March 2021 – Developing a Covid secure health and wellbeing strategy
- 10 March 2021 – Managing change – from restructuring, redundancy to home working
More information: https://www.som.org.uk/events
RoSPA health and safety training courses 2021
A global leader in health and safety training…
An estimated 2.3 million people around the world have work-related accidents or diseases every year, which relates to over 6000 deaths every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually. Within the UK alone, £15 billion was the annual cost of work-related and new cases of ill health.
RoSPA offers a comprehensive suite of health and safety training which reflects their passion, expertise and leadership. They educate over 12,000 delegates each year from all over the world to help them improve their knowledge and skills, reduce risks and make workplaces healthier and safer for everyone, and so they can return home safely to their families at the end of the working day.
Range of subjects:
- NEBOSH courses
- IOSH courses
- Work-based courses
- Mental health and wellbeing courses
- Manual handling courses
- Moving and handling courses
- Machinery safety courses
- Risk assessment courses
More information: https://www.rospa.com/safety-training/work.aspx
Report on wildfire large-scale evacuations – behavioural responses
This 100-page University of Greenwich, Fire Safety Engineering Group published on 30 April 2020 provides an overview of the GEO-SAFE project’s Human Behaviour Study. Survey data were collected from residents in the South of France, Australia, and Central Italy, with the aim of identifying, quantifying, and calibrating behaviours occurring during wildfire evacuations. The evidence base generated by this study provides an understanding of various behaviours including evacuation decisions, response actions, and associated times. This data can be used to assist the development of an agent-based evacuation model, urbanEXODUS. In turn, this tool can be used by professionals involved in wildfire management to aid learning, decision-making, and planning.
GEO-SAFE H2020 project 691161, final D2.5 report
European Company Survey 2019 – Workplace practices unlocking employee potential: Flagship report
This report is based on the fourth edition of the European Company Survey (ECS), which was carried out jointly by Eurofound and Cedefop in 2019. It describes a wide range of practices and strategies implemented by European companies in terms of work organisation, human resource management, skills use and skills development, and employee voice. The report shows how these practices are combined and how the resulting ‘bundles of practices’ are associated with two outcomes beneficial to employees and employers: workplace well-being and establishment performance.
The analysis finds that the establishments that are most likely to generate this win-win outcome are those that combine a high degree of worker autonomy, a balanced motivational strategy, a comprehensive training and learning strategy, and high levels of direct employee involvement in decision-making, as well as offering managerial support for these practices. To boost the adoption of employee-oriented practices – particularly in relation to autonomy, skills and employee involvement – managers should be offered appropriate support, as they play a key role in the decision to initiate workplace change. They are also crucial to its success, as they must continuously support the workplace practices implemented.