This month’s news in brief

Online stress advice

The Engineering Employers’ Federation is offering its members free guidance
on how to manage stress at work.  The
online guidance is available from its website,

Help for migraine sufferers

Leeds Metropolitan University and charity The Migraine Trust have joined
forces to launch a new professional diploma on the treatment of headaches and
migraine. It is the first of its kind in the UK and is being aimed at nurses
and other health professionals.

New health minister

A new health minister has taken over responsibility for occupational health
at the Department of Health. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham in London, has
replaced Hazel Blears, who is now public health minister at the DoH. See
feature on p14.

NHS Trust fined

University College London Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined £3,000 and
ordered to pay £923 in costs following a successful prosecution by the HSE for
breaching health and safety legislation. The trust’s Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
Hospital was charged with leaving a sharps bin where it could be accessed by
the public.

Asbestos advice

A new ‘presenters pack’ to better manage the risk from asbestos has been
launched by the HSE. The pack, which is free to HSE members, contains a range
of training material aimed at those affected by the proposed asbestos
regulation due to be introduced during August.

Aggressive patients

Violent patients who make repeated attacks on NHS staff in hospitals in
Scotland could be refused treatment, draft guidance before the Scottish
Parliament has suggested. Aggressive patients will now face a ‘three strikes
and you’re out’ policy. Abusive patients will first have the guidelines fully
explained to them and if they persist, will be issued with a written warning.

Disaster planning

Psychological debriefing following a traumatic event is only successful if
it is undertaken by competent practitioners within an appropriate setting and
with adequate supervision and support, a working party of the British
Psychological Society has reported.

Farming accidents at 10-year low

Deaths in the agriculture industry in Scotland were at their lowest level
for more than a decade last year, with just two people killed says the HSE.

Insurance changes

Changes in company insurance arrangements could promote better health and
safety, HSE research has found. The two main systems of financial compensation
for workplace injuries and illness, Employers’ Liability insurance and Industrial
Injuries Disablement Benefit, do not offer much incentive for companies to
improve their safety record.

Pesticide contamination

Agricultural engineers and farm workers should wash their hands thoroughly
to minimise exposure arising from residues of pesticides on spraying equipment,
according to a study by the HSE.

Gas safety advice

A leaflet designed to curb accidents involving gas cylinders has been
published by the HSE. The safe use of gas cylinders is particularly aimed at
those who own or manage a small business.

Order online at
or by phoning 01787-881165.

Aims of the OHMF

In her opening address to the conference, Bernie Jackson, (pictured) chief
civilian nursing officer at the MoD, reminded delegates that the purpose of the
OHMF, which now boasts more than 800 members in the UK and Northern Ireland, is
to support existing OH managers, and nurses who want to be the managers of the
future, by publishing guidance, providing advice and organising conferences and

Rehabilitation versus reintegration

Chronic pain is not always due to physical damage, argued Tim Martin, a
cognitive behavioural psychotherapist with Human Focus, which helps reintegrate
those on long-term sick leave back into the workplace. Martin’s talk centred on
the treatment of those with conditions such as musculoskeletal, cardiovascular
and stress-related disorders who, he said, can be helped to resume work.

Tackling stress

A thought-provoking talk on the history, nature and legal context of the risk
management approach to work-related stress was given by Tom Cox, Professor of
Organisation Psychology at the Institute of Work, Health and Organisations. He
said by getting in the services of a counsellor, employers are looking for the
‘quick fix’ approach rather than prevention.

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