News

This month’s news

Landfill risks

The world’s most extensive study into the potential health risks of living
close to landfill sites has been published by the Government. It looked at rates
of birth defects, low birth weight, stillbirths and cancer within these areas
and found no increase in rates of cancer. But birth defects were found to be 1
per cent higher than expected, and 7 per cent higher if the site contained
hazardous waste. The number of low birth weight babies was around 5 per cent
higher near to landfill sites, but no difference was found in the rate of
stillbirths.

Scaffolders’ back pain

Scaffolders are at high risk of developing serious back pain, according to a
study by doctors in the Netherlands. The study of 229 scaffolders and 59
supervisors found low back pain was consistently associated with physical load.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2001;58:597-603

Corporate manslaughter

A construction company has been convicted of corporate manslaughter over the
death of one of its employees, in a case brought by the HSE. Wisbech firm
English Brothers was convicted in August of causing the death of gang foreman
Bill Larkman, who fell eight metres through fragile insulation material. It was
fined £30,000 and £12,500 costs.

Stroke awareness

OH professionals have been urged to take part in this year’s Stroke
Awareness Week, which runs from 30 September to 6 October. The week is
organised by the charity The Stroke Association and this year will focus on the
importance of increasing physical activity to help reduce the risk of a stroke.
The information pack is available by calling 020 7566 0319 or e-mailing saw@stroke.org.uk

One-day seminar

A one-day seminar on investigating and preventing workplace injury and ill
health will take place on October 17 at Cardiff’s Hanover Hotel, organised by
the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

Those interested in attending should call Cynthia Hovord at the Health and
Safety Executive on 02920 263000 or e-mail cynthia.hovord@hse.gsi.gov.uk

Crane safety

A safety warning on lorry loader cranes has been issued by the Health and
Safety Executive. New cranes must be fitted with an interlocking system, or
equivalent engineering solution, to prevent the crane operating without
stabilisers being deployed. The warning follows 12 incidents over the past five
years, including one fatality.

Guidelines for zoos

The Health and Safety Commission has launched a consultation on proposals to
withdraw an approved code of practice on health and safety standards for zoos
and replace it with new guidance. It runs until 5 November.  www.hse.gov.uk

Health information for waiting staff

A free information sheet to help reduce injuries to waiters has been
published by the HSE. The catering information sheet No 20 sets out what types
of injuries commonly occur while waiting. 
www.hsebooks.co.uk

Asbestos safety

Guidance on how to survey workplaces for materials containing asbestos and
how to record the results has been published by the HSE. Surveying, sampling
and assessment of asbestos-containing materials is part of the HSE’s Methods
for the Determination of Hazardous Substances series. www.hsebooks.co.uk

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