This month’s news

Whitty drive

Lord Whitty, the minister responsible for health and safety at work, has
hinted at stricter measures on occupational health. He told a major London
conference attended by employers, industry bodies and trade unions that
"those who make decisions based on risk know they cannot expect an easy

Resin research

Research giant TWI is to investigate the possible harmful effects of epoxy
resins used in adhesives, coatings and sealants. Reported effects include
photo-sensitisation, and skin, eye, nose and throat sensitisation.

Chemicals guide

TUC guidance on working with chemicals sets out six "essential
rights" for safety reps. The rights are to: be trained; be informed; be
consulted; be involved in decisions; investigate and inspect, and represent
work colleagues.

OH intranet

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has set up an occupational health intranet site
for its 8000 UK staff. Employees will be able to book appointments with company
physiotherapists, chiropodists and opticians, as well as download health

Keep it internal

Employers should give preference to internal staff for advice on health and
safety, government guidance has confirmed. The advice comes in the new Approved
Code of Practice to accompany the revised Management of Health and Safety at
Work Regulations 1999.; copies from 01787 881165

Hand-held advice

Hand-arm vibration syndrome comes under the spotlight in a new publication
from independent company Scriptographic. It offers training guidance on how to
use hand-held tools.

Mid Downs chair

OH consultant Peter Mattison has been appointed chair of the Mid Downs Group
of OH Nurses. Mattison has experience with construction giant Costain, and in
the public sector at Guy’s Hospital and in local government.

Welsh health plan

The Welsh Assembly has launched a health promotion strategy after a review
of public health highlighted problems. Promoting Health and Well Being is
available from the Health Promotion Division, National Assembly for Wales,
Ffynnon-las, Cardiff CF14 5DZ

Hazards bus tour

A promotional HSC bus toured construction sites in Scotland and the north of
England last month showing how to avoid hazards at work. The mobile exhibition
was put together by the HSC’s Construction Industry Advisory Committee as part
of the Working Well Together campaign.

Woodwork guide

The HSE has produced guidance for the woodworking industry on how to reduce
injuries caused by manual handling. Nearly a third of injuries reported to the
HSE are caused by poor handling practices.

Claims aid dries up

Legal aid for compensation claims arising from workplace accidents is to
end, the Government has said. Claimants with limited resources will have to
rely on solicitors with "no win, no fee" deals.

Schools safety risk

Devolved budgets for schools increase the risk of injury to staff and
pupils, Bill Walker of Zurich Municipal told the conference of the Regional
Education Safety Officers Group last month. He said the Fair Funding scheme creates
uncertainty over whether the school or the LEA is responsible for health and

Prep pilot

One in 10 nurses will have their post-registration education and practice
audited from April next year – 60,000 nurses on the UKCC register. Glasgow Caledonian
University lecturer Helen Gough said the 10 per cent will need to give evidence
of their learning and relevance of this to their work on specially developed

Summer survey

OH nurses in Scotland were urged to complete a survey of their work when it
is sent out this summer. Dr Bernice West, director at Robert Gordon University,
said that the survey would help to give a voice to the scope of the OH nurses’
professional practice.

Public health

Chief nursing officer of the Scottish health executive Anne Jarvie told
delegates that nurses would have to change their way of working in public
health. She said the OH strategy was aimed at supporting and promoting health
in the NHS in Scotland.

National service

The motion: "Should there be a national OH service in the new
millennium?", was won by a clear majority at the close of the conference.
Speakers for the motion argued that it should be different from the NHS model
and could be funded through the national insurance contributions.

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