This month’s news

Buildings risk index

BRE has put together a risk index for health and safety in buildings. Compiled
from an extensive inspection of buildings, it ranks radon, cold homes, stairs,
house dust mites, fire and security as some of the highest priority
hazards.  Copies available, priced £35,
from CRC Customer Services tel 020-7505 6622, fax 020-7505 6606

Counselling helpline

St John’s Ambulance has launched a telephone counselling service for its
members, which provides free support and advice 365 days a year through the
mental health charity Sane. Research shows that around 30 per cent of emergency
service workers experience serious psychological problems following exposure to
traumatic events.

Dataflow research

The Government’s Performance and Innovation Unit is looking at privacy and
data-sharing issues, with the aim of publishing a report by spring next year.
The project will analyse a broad range of issues, including current government,
private sector and international practices; structural and technological
issues, public concerns and the current legal parameters.

Fairground deaths

The HSE is carrying out a review of safety on fairground and amusement park
rides following five deaths to members of the public over the summer period. The
review should be completed by spring 2001. For information contact review
manager Paul Roberts, HSE, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS.

Safe acetylene

Two new safety leaflets covering fire and explosion hazards for workers
using oil tanks, petrol drums and similar containers and for workers using
acetylene have been published by the HSE. The leaflets provide information on
hazards and risks reduction. Hot Work on Small Tanks and Drums, and Take Care
with Acetylene are available free from HSE Books.  Tel 01787 881165, or see

OH Norwegian style

Elfrid Bruaset of the Norwegian Nurses Association gave a presentation of
The Good Occupational Health Service Project which is attempting to improve the
quality of OH services by evaluating the communication process between the
occupational health service and its customers. It concluded that the service
needed to be more customer-focused and that it needed to focus on quality.

Audit as a tool

Margaret Mercer, senior occupational health nursing adviser at Unilever talked
about audit as an essential tool for assuring and improving the quality of the
occupational health service. Audit is a systematic critical analysis of the
quality of the services provided within an OH department. It is not a process
undertaken in isolation, but an essential part of a quality management system.
Following an audit, strengths and weakness of practice can be identified, thus
enabling commendations for improvement to be agreed and implemented. It is a
powerful tool to enhance your practice and your reputation in the organisation
she concluded.

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