"More than 1.1 million people die from work-related accidents or diseases in the Asia Pacific region every year," said IOSH president Vincent Ho as he opened the Asia Pacific Occupational Safety and Health Organization's (APOSHO) 33rd annual conference on 4 December 2018. But delegates were told about initiatives throughout the region to try to curb that total. Ho cited Singapore's Jurong Island Vision Zero Cluster.
More than two-thirds of rules in most safety and health management systems are self-imposed, said John Green in a keynote speech to the EHS Congress at the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin, Germany, on 8 November.As regulatory systems have become more goal-based and less prescriptive, organisations have made rods for their own backs."We need to look inwards if we want to reduce our dependency on rules, not outwards," he argued.
“Quite damning”. That was the verdict of Giles Hyder on new research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showing that only half of workers in all business sectors are confident in their employers’ competence to manage safety and health. Opening the sessions at the Food and Drink Manufacturing Health and Safety Conference at Nottingham’s Belfry on 2 October, Hyder, the HSE’s operational policy lead for manufacturing, said that while just 1% of employers surveyed thought their company’s management of musculoskeletal disorder risk was poor, this rose to 19% for employees.
Leadership has been the dominant motif of IOSH’s annual gatherings for the past three years. While it remained an important strand at IOSH 2018, which brought 700 delegates to Birmingham’s International Convention Centre on 17 and 18 September, this year’s conference was subtitled “Shape a new world of work”.The conference’s 34 sessions were threaded through with presentations on issues such as technological and demographic change and refinements in risk control to underpin that new world theme.
At the start of the day, Mark Gallagher, founder and chief executive of Performance Insights, explained how the death of sporting icon Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix triggered a reappraisal of safety in Formula 1 motor racing, the lessons from which have been cascaded through motor sport and its supply chain. But Gallagher warned that the 20 years without a fatality in Formula 1 which those lessons made possible, ended with the death of Jules Bianchi in 2015.
Kicking off the day at the macro level, Bernd Treichel of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) gave several hundred delegates a brief update on the Vision Zero global campaign his UN agency launched at the World Safety Congress in Singapore last year (http://visionzero.global). The initiative now has 2,000 organisations signed up, he said, and is still looking for more employers to sign up “with no strings attached” to its principles of accident prevention and enhanced training.
“There is significant evidence to show that asbestos is making its way on to construction sites and into new projects [in the Gulf region],” Charles Faulkner, head of environment, health and safety at asbestos consultancy Anthesis Consulting Group, told IOSH’s Middle East Conference in Abu Dhabi on 25 April.
The global reach of the International Commission on Occupational Health was illustrated at the organisation’s triennial congress in Dublin, Ireland, from 29 April to 4 May in a panel session on occupational cancer prevention which featured OH experts from around the world. Dr Kurt Straif of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reminded delegates of the state-level hierarchy of controls, starting with bans on carcinogens in the workplace or mandating closed systems in which no human contact was possible.