HSE International

British Safety Council Calls on World Leaders to Stop Children Doing Dangerous Jobs

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Shockingly, today 85 million children across the world are doing jobs that directly endanger their health and safety. The British Safety Council calls upon the 190 UN Member States that have ratified the CRC, to live up to their commitments to stop this from happening.

“The International Labour Organisation tell us,” says Alex Botha, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, “that of the 168 million child labourers in the world, 85 million are doing hazardous jobs, contrary to international agreements. It’s unacceptable that there are still many countries that committed to stop this from happening that have not taken sufficient action to protect child labourers.

“It has been 25 years since the Convention was agreed at the UN which includes a right of the child to be protected from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous. There have been improvements in the last 25 years but this historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that much remains to be done.

“Though families in many countries face severe economic hardship, research tells us that the consequences of exposing children to hazardous work can last a lifetime. Health and educational attainment can suffer and in the end this will undermine the potential growth and success of any country.

“I want all countries to look again at the commitments they have made and ask what more they can do – whether by legislative, administrative or educational measures – to prevent children being exposed to risks that damage their health and future prospects.”

WORLD_CRC_Infographic_Child_Labor_Working_Hours v2

The International Labour Organisation is running a global campaign called Red Card to Child Labour that features an original song with Pharrell Williams and others. World Policy Forum have also made resources available, such as fact sheets, maps, and infographics, that show how countries compare and which will help spread the word about the importance of children’s rights.
Original Source: https://www.britsafe.org/news/british-safety-council-calls-world-leaders-stop-children-doing-dangerous-jobs

Construction worker killed by falling tape measure in freak accident in US

A construction worker has died after being hit by a falling tape measure in a freak accident in the US.

The man, 58, was struck when another worker dropped the device from the 50th floor of a high rise building under construction in New Jersey.

The tape measure fell 500ft – probably reaching speeds of 140mph – before hitting a piece of metal 10 feet above the ground, authorities said.

Witnesses said it then ricocheted off the metal sheet and landed on the victim, who had been chatting to someone through a car window just before pulling his head away and being hit.

The man, who has been named locally as construction worker Gary Anderson, was taken to hospital but went into cardiac arrest and died of his injuries later on Monday.

The freak accident is believed to have happened as a construction worker on the 50th floor measured a wall for windows at the site, in Jersey City.

Witnesses said he had been unfastening the tape measure from his belt when it slipped from his hands.

Watchdog the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/10nYJqO

New IOSH President honoured to take up the mantle

Ian Harper has become President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) following the chartered body’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 4 November.

It was held as part of the charity’s two-day Networks Conference.

Ian, an East Anglian beekeeper, smallholder and freelance safety consultant, has been a member of IOSH for over 15 years.

Of taking up the presidency, he said: “It’s daunting and humbling all at once. Though I am now President of IOSH, I am very much standing on the shoulders of the IOSH Presidents and volunteers before me.”

Outlining his key aims for his time in office, Ian added: “My theme is perseverance in making the effort to go the extra mile.

“Safety and health can be a lonely job and you are not always recognised for your skills. I want everyone to persevere and continue to make a difference for the safety and health of workers all over the world.

“We need to continue to work together with business and point them in the right direction. It’s the little things that make the difference.”

Ian takes over as IOSH President from Tim Briggs, who has now taken up the role of Immediate Past President.

Tim said: “Being President is a role that I have lived and breathed. As an organisation we are back on the up again. IOSH is at the very forefront of safety and health.

“In my new role I will give my full support to IOSH’s No Time To Lose campaign.”

Dr Karen McDonnell became President Elect following the AGM. She is due to become President of IOSH in November 2015.


Original Source: http://www.iosh.co.uk/News/New-IOSH-President-honoured-to-take-up-the-mantle.aspx?

Bioaerosols alert: an occupational hazard

By Jak Fazakerley

Health experts are warning companies that deal with organic waste that they need to be more aware of, and act on, the potential occupational hazards associated with bioaerosols. A failure to ensure that all necessary health and safety precaution measures are implemented and maintained on-site could substitute neglect, thereby warranting further investigation from regulatory bodies, including HSE.

What are bioaerosols?

The term ‘bioaerosol’ is used to describe biologically active bacteria, fungi, viruses, molds and spores, or their products, that originate from water, soil, organic matter, animals and humans. Typically consisting of very fine particles measuring anywhere between 0.02 to 100 microns in diameter, bioaerosols are omnipresent and variable in time, duration of exposure, transmission, nature, space, chemical composition and concentration.

A variety of new industrial activities have emerged in recent years in which exposure to biological agents can be prevalent. Very often workers connected to organic waste transfer and treatment facilities (i.e. composting, anaerobic digestion and mechanical biological treatment) are continuously exposed to the conditions that excel the formation of bioaerosols, including loading and unloading, shredding, turning and screening. The degree of process control employed during these operations varies depending on the size and location of the site, the nature of the feedstock and the intended use of the end product.

Health effects

Despite the benefits of organic waste management, there are concerns that occupational exposure to bioaerosols could be detrimental to health. Both the ingestion and inhalation of bioaerosols can lead to headaches, coughs, rashes, muscle aches, fatigue, gastrointestinal illness, eye irritation, dermatitis and cancer. Respiratory diseases, i.e. farmer’s lung, mushroom workers lung, asthma, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis and pneumonia, are also common. Individuals with hypersensitivity pneumonitis or those with severely compromised or suppressed immune systems, e.g. following an organ transplant or if suffering from immune deficiency diseases, are at particular risk.

There are no occupational exposure limits (OELs) for biological agents, and for most of them, no dose-effect relationship can be determined due to different species, transmission routes, level of exposure and the complexities associated with human responses to different micro-organisms. Furthermore, cumulative exposure conditions may exist at workplaces.

Mitigation measures to combat occupational exposure

HSE’s document Health and Hazardous Substances in Waste and Recycling, Waste 27 (2012) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH Regulations 2002) requires organisations to assess the risk from harmful substances and prevent or control exposure to them. This means that employers, such as waste management companies and local authorities, should follow the hierarchy of prevention, containment and protection so that workers’ exposure is adequately controlled so far as reasonably practicable.

Very often, the mitigation measures implemented to reduce occupational exposure to bioaerosols are based on a risk assessment, which identifies the hazard, assesses exposure, estimates the risk and characterises the risk so to establish the baseline.

The scope and level of detail will be site-specific. However, the implemented protocol or management plan should be both detailed and systemic, and incorporate a range of information dissemination, site design considerations, engineering controls and good working practices, including:

  • providing induction and refresher training;
  • providing communication channels for workers (if applicable);
  • providing adequate personnel protective equipment (PPE), i.e. air-purifying filter respirators. Care must be taken that equipment is fitted and maintained in an appropriate manner;
  • establishing risk-zone working practices;
  • reviewing the design of production and storage systems;
  • ensuring vehicle cabs are closed and have appropriate measures to encourage drivers to keep the windows closed, i.e. air conditioning;
  • providing adequate welfare facilities;
  • implementing health screening and monitoring to identify respiratory illness or sensitiveness;
  • checking to ensure collection crews adopt good hygiene practices; and
  • undertaking personnel monitoring to identify levels of bioaerosols within the workers exposure area.

 Original Source: http://www.shponline.co.uk/bioaerosols-alert-occupational-hazard/?

No time to lose: IOSH launches occupational cancer campaign

An industry-wide campaign to cut the number of deaths from occupational cancer has been launched.

According to conservative estimates, some 8,000 people die from cancer and around 14,000 contract the disease each year in the UK because of exposure to a work-related carcinogen, such as diesel exhaust fumes, silica dust or asbestos fibres. Worldwide, occupational cancer claims the lives of more than 666,000 a year – one death every 47 seconds.

The figures far outstrip those for fatal incidents in the workplace, but the invisibility of carcinogens, the long latency of their effects and a lack of knowledge continue to produce this staggeringly high number of preventable deaths and cancer registrations.

Led by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and backed by business leaders, academics and charity Macmillan Cancer Support, the No Time to Lose campaign will call for a collaboration of government and employers “to beat occupational cancer”.

A national database of work-related carcinogen exposure, more research into the potential cancer risks of new technologies, a greater focus on work cancer in medical courses and awareness training for apprentices are all part of the call to action.

IOSH, the world’s largest professional organisation in occupational safety and health, will also publish new guidance today for employers to help them identify and deal with cancer risks. And the Chartered body wants businesses to sign a pledge demonstrating their commitment to controlling carcinogenic exposures in their workplaces.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said: “We need a concerted joint effort to educate and protect future generations from work-related cancer. Simple actions today will save lives tomorrow – there really is no time to lose in tackling this global tragedy.”

Findings of a survey of its members by IOSH found 80 per cent of respondents felt industry was doing too little to tackle occupational health issues, due to a lack of awareness and resources.

Dr Lesley Rushton, of Imperial College London, is lead researcher behind the most recent study into the UK’s work cancer burden. She said: “There’s no excuse for young people entering into work today and being exposed to carcinogens. And we need innovative ways to get key messages to the self-employed and those working in smaller businesses.

“If we don’t do something now, we are going to have thousands of occupational cancers annually, but if we take action now we can beat occupational cancer.

“We know there are problems with exhaust fumes and shift work, sun exposure is a problem. We know what the problems are, and we know how to reduce the risks. Now, we just need action.”

For more information about the campaign, this afternoon’s House of Commons launch, and the No Time to Lose call to action, visit www.notimetolose.org.uk .

Original Source: http://www.iosh.co.uk/News/Campaign-to-cut-work-cancer-deaths-launched.aspx?

Virgin Galactic crash: Slowing safety device ‘deployed early’

A safety device on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft that crashed on Friday killing a test pilot had been deployed early, US investigators say.

Air safety chief Christopher Hart said the “feathering” device, designed to slow the craft on re-entry, activated without a command from the pilots.

But he said it was too soon to confirm any possible cause of the crash.

Media reports had focused on the fuel tanks and the engine, but Mr Hart said both were found intact.

Earlier, Virgin Galactic rebuffed criticism of its safety practices.

The company said any suggestion that safety had not been its top priority was “categorically untrue”.

Virgin Galactic had aimed to send tourists into space early next year, and has already taken more than 700 flight bookings at $250,000 (£156,000) each.

Mr Hart, from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told reporters that the feathering device was supposed to be activated at Mach 1.4 (1,065mph; 1,715km/h), but had been deployed at Mach 1 during the test flight.

He said one of the pilots had enabled the device, but the second stage of its deployment had happened “without being commanded”.

“Shortly after the feathering occurred, the telemetry data terminated and the video data terminated,” he said.

The feathering device lifts and rotates the tail to create drag, slowing the craft on its descent.

He said SpaceShipTwo’s fuel tanks and engine were found intact, without any sign of being breached.

NTSB investigators have now found almost all of the parts of the crashed spacecraft as part of an inquiry they say could take many months to complete.


The pilots

Peter Siebold, left, was piloting SpaceShipTwo alongside co-pilot Michael Alsbury, right
Peter Siebold, left, survived the incident but his co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, died


Michael Alsbury

  • Aged 39
  • Married with two children
  • 15 years of flying experience
  • First flew in SpaceShipTwo in 2010
  • Flew craft’s first rocket-powered run in April 2013

Peter Siebold

  • Aged 43
  • Married with two children
  • Received pilot’s licence when just 16
  • Started working for Scaled Composites in 1996
  • Had spent 2,000 hours in 35 different fixed-wing aircraft

Will crash set back space tourism?


SpaceShipTwo was flying its first test flight for nine months when it crashed near the town of Bakersfield.

Virgin Galactic said the craft experienced “a serious anomaly” after it separated from launch vehicle WhiteKnightTwo.

The spacecraft was using a new type of rocket fuel never before used in flight, although officials said it had undergone extensive ground testing.

The project has been subject to numerous delays, and its commercial launch has been pushed back several times.

The Financial Times reported that the venture is facing financial difficulties – with $400m in funding from Abu Dhabi now dried up and Virgin Group covering the day-to-day expenses.

The co-pilot who died when SpaceShipTwo disintegrated shortly after take-off was 39-year-old Michael Alsbury.

Scaled Composites, the company employing both pilots, said surviving pilot Peter Siebold, 43, was “alert and talking with his family and doctors”.

Original Source: http://bbc.in/1wWt9P2

New guidance has been produced on managing the risk of fire during the construction of timber frame structures

The advice has been produced by the Health & Safety Executive, in conjunction with the Structural Timber Association (STA), which represents the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers.

The HSE has acted in the wake of serious incidents where fires involving timber frame structures under construction have affected neighbouring buildings.

“Evidence from recent HSE inspections indicates that the risk of harm to occupants of neighbouring buildings from fire during the construction phase is not always effectively managed…” the HSE says, “and that not all duty holders understand what is required of them.”

HSE head of construction sector & policy Simon Longbottom has written an open letter to all parties involved in the design, specification, procurement and construction of timber frame structures. He reminds them that Regulation 11 of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) requires risks to be designed out as far as is reasonably practicable.  This duty is imposed on anyone who makes decisions affecting the design, including architects, structural engineers, clients, suppliers, principal and other contractors and even those involved in the planning approval process where they specify particular construction methods or products.

The primary legal responsibility for assessing off-site fire risk rests with those making design and procurement decisions before work starts on site, the HSE says.  Designers and manufacturers of timber frame structures have duties under CDM Regulation 11 that cannot be passed on to the principal contractor.  Risk should be designed out as far as possible and information about residual risk must be passed to the principal contractor, who is then obliged to consider and manage risks arising from the activities under their control at the site stage.

Original Source: http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/hse-acts-on-timber-frame-fire-risks?

British Safety Council notes with concern the increase in work-related ill health

The British Safety Council, while welcoming the continuing fall in the number of fatal injuries in Great Britain’s workplaces detailed in HSE’s 2013/14 health and safety statistics report, expressed its concern with the upward trend in the number of new work-related ill health cases.

Stress, anxiety and depression and musculoskeletal disorders continue to be the biggest causes of work-related ill health and account for almost 20 million working days lost each year costing society an estimated £8.6 billion.

Alex Botha, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, commenting on the report said: “While we welcome the continuing improvement taking place in preventing injuries in our workplaces we are concerned that the 2013/14 report shows no improvement in reducing work-related ill health occurrences.

“The focus for many years has been on safety. With some 2 million people suffering from a work-related illness – and with over half a million new cases reported in 2013/14 – it is clear we need to change our thinking and focus in order to tackle the root cause.

“This year the British Safety Council’s annual conference, ‘Pushing health up the agenda’, brought together a range of experts to explore and share what we need to do to tackle the full range of occupational health conditions such as asthma, mental health and cancer. What was clear is that we have the solutions to tackle work-related illness but are not applying them as we should.

“The social and economic consequence of neglecting the health and wellbeing of the workforce is grave. HSE estimates that workplace illness costs GB society some £8.6 billion each year. The average number of days lost per case of work-related stress, depression or anxiety is 23 and 16 for musculoskeletal disorders.

“What we’ve seen is that in tackling occupational health, a lot can be learnt from the ‘safety’ landscape. So often we see that it is about clear leadership, effective communication, appropriate training, good measurement and management – in a sense, health can be managed ‘like safety’. And the business case is there to support the value of such investments.

“Our thinking needs to change too about how to ensure that we comply with the law and keep our employees healthy and safe. For too long compliance has focused on safety. Our attention must turn to identifying what we need to do not only to comply but to have a fit and healthy workforce.

The British Safety Council is making its guide, ‘Managing stress at work’, freely available online until the end of November – see www.britsafe.org/policy-and-opinion/campaigns. We will also be revising and re-publishing our occupational health guide in December. We are committed to playing our part to make the case for healthy workplaces and the importance of looking after the health and wellbeing of the workforce.”

Original Source: https://www.britsafe.org/news/british-safety-council-notes-concern-increase-work-related-ill-health#sthash.E6HhIsgN.dpuf

Farming remains the most dangerous industry

Agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries to work in, according to the latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive.

Although there was a drop in recorded major injuries from an average of 395 for the previous five years to 292 reported in 2013-14, it still means farming is well above the norm for other jobs. The HSE regards major injuries as those where someone has, for example, suffered broken bones, lost limbs, serious burns or severe cuts.

See also: Farm fatalities down

Taken as a whole, there were 78.5 injuries for every 100,000 employees in the British workplace, but farming has 193.8 major injuries per 100,000.

Rick Brunt, HSE’s head of agriculture, said: “While any decrease in the number of injuries is welcome, I would urge the industry to avoid complacency and recognise it still has a long way to go to improve its poor record of managing risks.”

“As ever the causes of death and injury in the sector are not new, and the industry must work hard to manage these well-known risks if we are to tackle the poor health and safety record.“The industry-led farm safety partnerships are well positioned to help the agricultural industry to take ownership of the problem, and demonstrate how professional modern farming can be safer, and that this record can improve.“We will continue to work closely with the partnerships to promote good practice and the common sense, low cost approaches that can save lives and avoid injury”.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1yJnIkf

HSE stats: we’ve put safety first, at the expense of health

Yesterday, the HSE issued the annual health and safety statistics for the UK. The good news is that the number of fatal accidents and injuries are down and continue to fall year on year. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same thing for the health of our workers.

There have undoubtedly been some improvements in occupational health, but they have not been nearly as significant as those made in safety.

The HSE only started issuing estimates of the number of ill health deaths in 2010. These are people who die in hospitals or at home after a long illness. They do not die in the workplace that gave them the illness. The latest figures show that around 13,000 people a year die through work related ill health. That means the deaths caused by accidents represent only 1% of the total deaths caused by work. 99% of occupational mortality is attributable to disease. And this isn’t just a problem of past exposures. The number of new cases of self-reported work related ill health had been falling in recent years, but has now increased to 535,000 per year.

How did we get into this situation? The simple answer is we put safety first. It’s clearly important that safety should be high on the agenda, but we have prioritised it at the expense of health. This was the right thing to do. In the past there were so many acute injuries and fatalities occurring that it made sense to tackle these first. And although safety isn’t easy, health has always been harder. Safety hazards are easier to appreciate. It is much easier to visualise falling off a ladder than it is to visualise the harm caused by exposure to gases and vapours. Safety risks are often easier to control.

But we need to begin with a change in our focus and embrace Health like Safety.

Controlling exposures to chemical, physical and biological agents requires comprehensive, robust and realistic risk assessments, which must to be carried out by competent individuals. There also needs to be an acceptance, ownership and effective implementation of the controls identified in the assessments.

This means becoming actively involved in the selection of control measures, understanding how they work, challenging their performance and adapting them to the specific situation. For maximum benefit, different control measures need integrating, going beyond a simple hierarchy.

We need behavioural safety programmes to become behavioural health and safety programmes. Just as the assessments need more understanding, so employees will need more training.

If we continue to work together it will mean that in the future workers’ health will matter as much as workers’ safety.

Original Source: http://www.shponline.co.uk/hse-stats-weve-put-safety-first-expense-health/?