News

This month’s news

OH symposium

The annual symposium of the Association of Occupational Health Nurse
Practitioners is to be held on Thursday 16 May at the Regent’s College
Conference Centre in London. It is entitled Occupational Health – Plain
Speaking.  Further details can be
obtained by calling 0116 2813720.

Investigation of workplace accidents

A policy setting out clear standards for investigating and prosecuting
workplace accidents has been published by the Health and Safety Commission. It
is the first time the commission has set out specific criteria for deciding
whether to investigate and prosecute a breach of health and safety law. HSC15
can be ordered online at  www.hsebooks.co.uk

Infection control

A new National Infection Control and Health Protection Agency has been
proposed by the Government to help co-ordinate the management of infectious
diseases. Chief Medical Officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson said it would
provide an integrated approach to all aspects of health protection, including chemical
and radiological hazards, as well as infectious disease control.

New OH unit

An occupational health unit has been opened at London’s St Charles’
Hospital, part of Parkside Health NHS Trust. Services include lifetime
screening programmes, environmental health testing, a fitness and
rehabilitation room and a therapy area.

Mobile phone safety

The Government and industry are jointly to spend £7.4m on projects to look
at the health effects of mobile phones. The first 15 projects will look at the
effect of mobiles on blood pressure and hearing, risks of contracting cancer
and how radio signals interact with the body. Details on the website.  www.mthr.org.uk

Fees for expert opinions increase

Rates for report writing and court appearances for expert witnesses have
increased far above the rate of inflation since 1999, according to the publisher
of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses. On average, fees have gone up by 8.5
per cent a year for report writing and by 5.6 per cent for court appearances, said
JS Publications. For medical experts, the average rate for writing reports is
now £149 per hour and for court appearances £927 a day, it added.

We’re all human

A research report addressing the need to recognise human factors in planning
health and safety in the application of electrical, electronic and programmable
electronic safety-related systems has been published by the HSE. The report on
IEC 61508, is available from HSE Books   01787 881165.

Risks to foetus

Exposure to some radioactive substances can be more harmful to an unborn
child than the mother, research for the HSE has found. The study assessed
radiation doses that could be received by foetuses of women at risk of inhaling
or ingesting radioactive substances. www.hsebooks.co.uk

Mobile equipment

Employers have just under a year to ensure all mobile equipment being used
in the workplace before December 1998 is brought within the latest health and
safety regulations. The Health and Safety Executive has set 5 December this
year as the deadline for compliance with Part III of the Provision and Use of
Work Equipment Regulations 1998. These cover equipment such fork-lift trucks,
dumpers and tractors.

Guidance on planning for emergencies involving the release of radiation has
been published by the Health and Safety Executive. It supports the Radiation
(Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations), which came into
force in September and is available from HSE Books, tel: 01787 881165.

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