This month's news
Occupational accident investigations need to be led by line managers rather than safety professionals if they are to be effective, says RoSPA. A study of practices by investigation expert Dr John Kingston found that emphasis needs to be put on identifying underlying weaknesses in health and safety management systems rather than on apportioning blame.
Mobiles risk alert
Mobile phones may cause kidney damage, research by the European Research Institute for Electronic Components has found. The research indicates that exposure to low-level radiation from the phones can cause red blood cells to leak haemoglobin, a build-up of which can lead to heart disease and kidney stones. The Department of Health says the study will be examined by a committee due to report on phone safety next year.
Hospital aggro ban
Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, is to refuse to treat violent patients after staff said they can no longer cope with soaring levels of alcohol- and drug-induced aggression and harassment. But legal experts have warned that the hospital may face lawsuits if there is an error of judgement in choosing who to treat on this basis.
Mental health alert
The Mental Health Foundation has produced a new booklet aimed at increasing awareness of stress at work. Mental Health in the Workplace advises on reducing the causes of stress at work. Mental health problems lead to the loss of 91 million working days a year.
HSE-funded research into the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace has resulted in a prototype assessment tool. The developers believe it could lead to improvements in work environments and equipment.
Call centre probe
The HSE will conduct research into call centres, which it defines as "a work environment in which the main business is conducted via the telephone while simultaneously using DSE". The research will take the form of a questionnaire to be discussed with managers, call handlers, union representatives and occupational health professionals.
Care workers, prison officers, paediatric nurses and overseas employees are among those most at risk from contracting hepatitis A or B, according to a recent report. Hepatitis A and B: a Guide to the Occupational Risks rec