This month’s news

Needlestick alert

The number of healthcare workers exposed to viruses such as hepatitis B and
C and HIV as a result of needle stick injuries should be strictly monitored by
the Government according to Unison, following a 73 per cent rise in incidents
last year. At present less than half of all hospitals take part in a voluntary
scheme to record exposures and there are thousands of GP surgeries and dental
practices which go completely uncounted, a union spokesperson said.

TUC staff advice

A new book from the TUC aims to cover everything employees ever need to know
about their rights at work. Your Rights at Work: A TUC Guide was compiled after
the body’s rights phone line took 15,000 calls in 15 months, most of which were
requests for guidance on health and safety issues.  Copies priced £8.99 can be ordered from TUC Publications on
020-7467 1294.

Maternity factsheet

The Maternity Alliance has published a new fact sheet detailing women’s
rights during maternity leave. It covers holiday entitlement, pension
contributions, sick pay, bonuses and promotion opportunities.  The alliance also operates an information
line for more detailed advice.  020-7588

Specialist agency

Bupa has launched an agency for specialist nursing. Bupa Code Blue aims to
supply nurses that are trained and experienced in a specialist field. It will
launch in London.  0800 169 9108.

Virtual syndrome

A report looking at the symptoms caused by viewing virtual reality display
formats has been published by the Health and Safety Executive. From an analysis
of 221 participants,70 per cent reported an increase in symptoms following
virtual reality exposure. The report includes recommendations for minimising
the symptoms experienced.  Copies from
HSE Books, at £20. Tel 01787 881165.

Aon buys Liberty

Liberty Occupational Health has been bought by Aon and will now operate
under the name Aon Occupational Health, as part of Aon Employee Risk Solutions.
It will continue to provide the same services.

Platform probe

Guidance on how inspectors will examine mobile elevating work platforms
(MEPWs) and safety harnesses, has been published by the Health and Safety
Executive.  Copies of OC314/19 are
available free from HSE InfoLine on 0541 545500.

Offshore strategy

The HSE offshore division has commissioned a project to investigate the
causes of incidents involving falls in the offshore environment. The work aims
to lead to a reduction in incidents of this type by 15 per cent over three
years by identifying effective prevention strategies.  Tel: 08701 545500

Petrol protection

A leaflet on reducing injuries caused by the mishandling of petrol in
garages has been published by the HSE.  Safe
Use of Petrol in Garages from 08701 545500

Radiation support

The HSE has published a further addition to the Ionising Radiations
Information Sheet (IRIS) series. IRIS guidance in support of the
Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.  Tel
01787 881165, fax 01787 313995.

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