Hazards news - health and safety news from Hazards Magazine

Risks * Number 337 * 22 December 2007

Britain:Don’t criminalise seafarers, says union A union has warned against “a knee-jerk reaction”blaming seafarers for maritime tragedies, when lack of resources,understaffing and poor regulation and poor equipment could bethe root causes. Nautilusnews release • BBCNews OnlineHazards news, 22 December 2007

USA: Chemicals linked to nurse ill-health A national survey of US nurses’ exposures to chemicals,pharmaceuticals and radiation at work suggests there are linksbetween serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, miscarriagesand children’s birth defects and the duration and intensityof these exposures. The survey, released online last week by theEnvironmental Working Group and several other US academic, advocacyand nursing organisations, found nurses confront daily low-levelbut repeated exposures to mixtures of hazardous materials. EWGnews release • Nurses’health: A survey on health and chemical exposuresHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Pilots welcome call for fatigueprobe A call for research into the long term effects of fatigue on aircrew has been welcomed by pilots’ union BALPA. BALPAnews release • Scienceand Technology – First report, House of Lords Science andTechnology CommitteeHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Union challenges M&Son migrant workers Migrant workers at a factory supplying meat to Marks & Spencerare suffering exploitation in a drive to maximise profits, accordingto a union report. Unite says that Polish staff at a factory insouth Wales providing M&S with red meat are employed on “zerohours” contracts with no guaranteed number of hours, andsuffer “harsh and divisive” conditions. Unitenews release • TellM&S to stop the exploitationHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Police control suffers fromlow staffing Workers in police control centres and the public are being putat risk as a result of staff shortages. A study for UNISON, theunion that represents civilian staff in the police, concludedit could be only a matter of time before the chronic understaffingand high pressure environment combine with dire consequences. UNISON news release Hazards news, 22 December2007

Pakistan: Cotton pickers suffer pesticidepoisoning Pakistan's cotton-picking women are suffering pesticide poisoningsymptoms ranging from mild headaches and skin allergies to cancer,a study has shown. The research by the Islamabad-based SustainableDevelopment Policy Institute (SDPI), found that blood samplesof only 10 per cent of the female cotton pickers were clear ofpesticides after the harvesting season. Dawn• SDPIResearch and News Bulletin, volume 14, number 3, 2007Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Another Corus worker getsdeafness payout A factory foreman who was exposed to excessive noise at work whichleft him with severe hearing difficulties has been awarded undisclosedcompensation by his former employer, Corus. GMB member MartinBourne, 70, was employed as a mechanical foreman at the CorusUK Llanwern Works in Newport, Gwent. ThompsonsSolicitors news releaseHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Cash van fines put guardsin danger Security guards’ union GMB is calling for cash vans to beexempted from parking rules to reduce the risks of violent robberies.The union says cash vehicles get 10,000 parking fines in London’smetropolitan police area in a single year, when they park thevehicle near to delivery points to reduce the risk of attack. GMBnews releaseHazards news, 22 December 2007

Hazards news - health and safety news from Hazards Magazine

Global:Multinationals, toxic toys and toxic work A spate of recalls of “toxic toys” exported from Chinahas given lots of emphasis to the risk to consumers, but is ignoringthe toxic risk at the companies exploiting cheap labour in thecountry and supplying brand name multinationals. Anita Chan andJonathan Unger of the Australian National University’s ContemporaryChina Centre commented: “No mention has been made of themany hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers who labour underdangerous conditions, making toys and many hundreds of other kindsof export products.” YaleGlobalOnline • AustralianNational University Contemporary China CentreHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Tragedy highlights deadlyteacher stress Further evidence of the deadly stresses facing education staffhas emerged after another teacher suicide. Keith Waller, 35, anexperienced primary school teacher who was highly regarded bycolleagues, pupils and parents took his own life, after complaininghe felt “singled out” and placed under excessive scrutinyafter the school received a poor Ofsted report in 2006. EastAnglian Daily Times • DailyMail • Hazards guide to the deadlydangers of overwork, including work-relatedsuicideHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Child’s heartache overdad’s death The heartbroken daughter of a casual labourer who fell to hisdeath after his boss cut corners to save cash has said all shewants for Christmas is her father back. Iris Savage told Derby’sEvening Telegraph newspaper the death of her son, Nathan had lefthis seven-year-old daughter, Connie, devastated. EveningTelegraph • BBCNews OnlineHazards news, 22 December 2007

Australia:Firefighters welcome cancer action A firefighters’ union in Australia has welcomed an officialinvestigation of the cancer risks linked to the job. The governmentin Australia Capital Territory (ACT) – Australia has a stateas well as federal government system - is to set up a workinggroup to investigate possible links between escalating cancerrates among firefighters and their workplace. CanberraTimes • USfirefighters' union IAFF webpages on presumption laws in theUS and Canada • Globalunion zero occupational cancer campaignHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Hats off for safety sanityclause Workplace campaigners have delivered a seasonal message to theHealth and Safety Executive (HSE) wishing the watchdog a merryChristmas and a well resourced new year. Santa hat clad revellersassembled last week outside HSE’s London HQ. BatterseaCrane Disaster Action Group news release • FACKnews releaseHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain:Young workers told to ‘speak out’ Students taking on seasonal jobs over the Christmas break havebeen warned to speak out against safety shy bosses, followinga 50 per cent increase in young worker deaths over the past year.Denise Kitchener, chief executive of the Association of PersonalInjury Lawyers (APIL) said students should “speak up andstay safe,” so that deaths and injuries can be avoided. APIL news release [pdf]Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Don't let seasonal stressstrike your staff Employers are being encouraged to keep an eye out for the signsof stress in their staff during the busy pre-Christmas and NewYear periods. Safety professionals’ organisation IOSH saysthose working in shops, pubs and restaurants particularly arelikely to be under greater pressure from the late pre-Christmasshopping rush and New Year’s sales. IOSHnews releaseHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Fine after guard is crushedto death A South Yorkshire haulage firm has been fined £20,000 aftersafety breaches led to the death of a security guard on its premisesmore than two years ago. Insurers for E Pawson and Son Ltd arealso expected to make a substantial compensation payout to thewidow of nightwatchman John Cavill, aged 54, of Maltby, who wascrushed to death when a heavy metal gate at the company's staffcar park fell off its runners. SheffieldStarHazards news, 22 December 2007

Global: BP exhausts $1.6bn Texas claimsfund London-based oil multinational BP has said it has spent all ofits $1.6 billion (about £0.8bn) fund for paying claims overthe refinery explosion in Texas and faces unknown costs for theremaining claims. The company had already increased the size ofthe fund twice as more claims were filed and settled. InternationalHerald Tribune • Moreon BP’s safety recordHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain:Top asbestos campaign relaunches A campaign group set up in memory of a Leeds mother who died ofan asbestos-related cancer has won charitable status. The JuneHancock Mesothelioma Research Fund has now officially relauncheditself as an independent charity. June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund newsrelease and mesothelioma charter and website• AsbestosVictims Support Groups Forum UKHazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Mental health is a workplaceissue Stress is one of top workplace health problems – and itcomes with a big cost. A new policy paper published by the SainsburyCentre for Mental Health (SCMH) says mental ill health costs UKemployers more than £25bn a year. SCMHnews release • Mental health at work: Developingthe business case, Policy paper 8 [pdf]Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Risks337, 22 December 2007