This month’s news

Contractors’ safety

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health has published guidance on
better contractor safety. Global best practices in contractor safety covers
issues such as client and contractor practices, culture and contract
arrangement and health and safety solutions in international contracts,
developed and developing economies. It has been produced in association with
the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Call centre study

Half of call centre staff are monitored electronically all the time at work,
an HSE study has found. Four out of five are monitored by the duration of calls
and the time lags between them and more than half ‘hot desk’. The study has led
to new guidance which recommends more training be offered to call handlers to
make sure they feel competent to take calls from the public, particularly when
they are dealing with abusive callers.

No holidays for workaholics

Nearly a quarter of self-confessed workaholics do not take a single day’s
paid holiday each year, a survey commissioned by the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development has found. More than one in 10 ‘long hours workers’ –
those who work more than 48 hours – does not go on holiday. And one in five
takes 10 days holiday or less.

Cancer networks

A £2.3m package to involve patients in developing cancer services and
improve monitoring in England has been unveiled by the Government. The funding
will allow local cancer networks to gain an insight on services from people
affected by cancer.

HSE website

The Health and Safety Executive has produced a web-based guide to measuring health
and safety performance. It can be found at

Desirable perks

Workers in the professional and financial services industries view private
health insurance as their most desired perk, according to a survey. The study
by recruitment firm Joslin Rowe found six out of 10 staff in the sector put
healthcare above other perks.

Mental illness support

The Government is to set up a network of teams to provide intensive support
for people with severe mental illness. The teams will be established across the
country during the next two years to help people through periods of crisis and
breakdown. A total of 77 teams will be set up by next year, rising to 335 by
April 2004.

Fines for workplace death

Security firm Wilson James and London Underground have been fined £70,000
between them over an incident in June 2000 when a security guard died from
carbon monoxide poisoning. The prosecution was brought by the HSE.

Amendments to work and fire regulations

A consultation document on proposals to amend the Management of Health and
Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace)
Regulations 1997 has been published by the HSC. The consultation will run until
March 14.

Work-related cancer

An HSE investigation into cancer rates at National Semiconductors plant in
Greenock has raised the possibility that some cancer cases there may have
work-related causes. But the findings were not conclusive and more detailed
studies were needed, the HSE said.

Information on labels for pesticides and disinfectants is more effective
depending on its position on the product and how it is worded, a study by the
HSE, Department of Trade and Industry and Pesticides Safety Directorate has
found. Labels on pesticides appear not to be read thoroughly, it found, but
further research was needed on this issue.

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