This month’s news

HSE action pack

The Health and Safety Executive has put together a free newsletter and
action pack on the European Week for Safety and Health, which begins on 15
October. The pack is available on 0845 7181819.

Back to work?

People off work for longer than 12 weeks with a bad back are unlikely ever
to return, a pain consultant has argued. Dr Eric Ghadiali, a consultant
clinical neuro psychologist and director of the Pain Management Programme at
Liverpool’s Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, told a recent
conference that people’s chances of returning to work decreased steadily with
every week they were off.

Work stress rife

The "psychological contract" has broken down between employers and
staff, with only 45 per cent of people feeling secure at work, delegates at 7
July’s International Conference of the International Stress Management
Association heard. There is an urgent need to tackle workplace stress, speakers

Campaign support

The Engineering Employers’ Federation has backed the Department of Health’s
Working Minds programme designed to tackle discrimination against people with
mental health problems. About 80 million working days are lost each year
because of mental illness.

Ergonomics guide

A guide to workplace ergonomics has been published by the Institution of
Occupational Safety and Health. Workplace Ergonomics: A Practical Guide offers
advice on job design and work organisation. Contact 01787 249293.

Stress gauge review

The Health and Safety Executive has published an analysis of workplace
stress questionnaires. A Critical Review of Psychosocial Hazard Measures
concludes it is impossible to recommend any one method devised to gauge stress.
Order online at or call 01787 881165.

Promotion pays off

Firms that involve their workers in health and safety reap the benefits in
business performance, according to a HSE report. Order Involving Employees in
Health and Safety – Forming Partnerships in the Chemical Industry at or call 01787 881165.

Lung cancer research

The combined effects of smoking and exposure to asbestos in causing lung
cancer may be less than had previously been thought. A study has found the risk
for non-smokers of contracting lung cancer was tripled by severe asbestos
exposure. But for smokers, asbestos "merely" doubled the risk.

Annals of Occupational Hygiene, vol 45, pp 341-356

Target progress

The Health and Safety Executive has published its principles used to assess
its progress in meeting government targets for reducing work-related
ill-health, injuries and working days by 2010. See Achieving the Revitalising
Health and Safety Targets: Statistical Note on Progress Measurement at

Reaction prediction

A new theoretical model that can predict the consequences of chemical spills
has been drawn up by the HSE. The Reactpool model describes the pool behaviour
of water-reactive chemicals in a realistic way. It can be ordered online at or call 01787 881165

Mine safety report

An HSE report on avoiding mine explosions has been published. The study
looks at practical applications and implications of wet cutting systems for
continuous mining and how to prevent frictional ignitions. It can be ordered
from the HSE.

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