This month’s news

Breath of fresh air

The Health & Safety Executive has produced guidance on ventilation to
help employers comply with the law and prevent poor air quality.
"Insufficient fresh air may lead to tiredness, lethargy, headaches, dry or
itchy skin and eye irritation," said John Cain, of the HSE chemical agents
occupational hygiene unit.

Listen yourself well

A self-help cassette can help overcome depression, psychiatrist Paul
Blenkiron of York Health Services NHS Trust, told the annual conference of the
Royal College of Psychiatrists. Men were more likely than women to use the
tape, which has positive messages and practical advice.

Material risk of fire

The Textiles Industry Advisory Committee has produced a free leaflet
explaining the risks of fire to people working in smaller textile and clothing
factories. It has been translated into a number of ethnic minority languages.

Lightening the load

The Health & Safety Commission has imposed a tighter exposure limit for
benzene of 3 parts per million, per eight-hour time weighted average. This
became effective from 27 June. It replaced the limit of 5ppm, and forms part of
the implementation of the Carcinogens Directive.

SME aid from HSE

The Government has launched extra help for OH specialists in small- and
medium-sized companies. It has committed the Health & Safety Executive to
work with local partnerships to promote awareness and improve services; and has
published an advisory report.  [email protected]

Handling research

Work organisation plays a huge role in preventing risks to manual handling
from complex postures, research by specialist agency Health, Safety & Engineering
Consultants shows. The time spent on the job, floor conditions, workspace and
even management behaviour can aggravate or reduce the dangers.  
Musculoskeletal Injuries from Complex Postures, from

Metalwork advice

New guidance on improving the health of staff in metalworking has been
issued by the Health & Safety Executive. It follows a survey which revealed
employees are at risk due to poor handling of metalworking fluids. This can
cause dermatitis and respiratory problems.

Latex guidance

Workplace risk assessments are crucial to the safe use of latex according to
new guidelines from The Health & Safety Executive. The Control of
Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations require restricted use of both powdered
latex gloves and other latex gloves with a high leachable protein content.  HSE helpline 08701 545500

Clearer guidelines

The Health & Safety Commission has asked for public comments on its
planned statement on enforcement. It wants clearer guidelines on when employers
expect prosecution to follow an incident.

Knife accidents

Hand knife accidents in the plastics processing industry account for up to
one half of lost time.

Death figures fall

Deaths in agriculture are down, government figures have shown. A total of 44
people were killed on farms and forestry plantations in 1999, down from 57 in

Heathrow Link

The official inquiry into the collapse of the Heathrow Link rail tunnels in
1994 concluded that too much emphasis on cost-cutting was a key factor.

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