2008-11-01 12:00 - Messages

An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
Working safely with lead
When lead and lead compounds are processed, worked or recovered from scrap or waste they can create lead dust, fume or vapour. This can be absorbed by your body through breathing or swallowing. Exposure to lead can lead to a range of medical problems.
COSHH essentials for machining with metalworking fluids
This information will help employers (including the self-employed) comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), as amended, to control exposure and protect workers’health.
Asbestos Literature Review Series
A literature review of Australian and overseas studies on the release of airborne asbestos fibres from building materials as a result of weathering and/or corrosion.
This review has focussed on the effect of weathering and/or corrosion processes on the release of asbestos fibres from asbestos containing building materials. It references currently available peer-reviewed scientific literature, non-peer-reviewed publications and additional information from selected Australian OHS professionals.
Controlling dust during the refurbishment and extension of occupied premises
All RCS is hazardous and can cause silicosis and other
serious lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease or lung cancer leading to permanent disability or
early death.
Dangerous chemicals putting workers' lives at risk says TUC
Employers who risk the future health of their employees by exposing them to cancer-causing chemicals at work should be prosecuted under UK safety laws, says the TUC today (Thursday) as it produces a new guide for unions.
Launching a campaign to raise awareness of the toxic chemicals and substances such as wood dust and diesel particles that can make workers ill sometimes years after leaving their jobs, the TUC guide aims to help union safety reps keep up the pressure on employers to make workplaces safer, and stop them from taking unnecessary risks with their employees' lives.
When workers developed the shakes, poor memory and depression working for a South African manganese company, their union knew the job was to blame. The government's compensation body agreed. So why did the company's medics instead suggest the symptoms were caused by alcohol, drugs or Aids?
Vaccination contre l'hépatite B de certains groupes de travailleurs hors du réseau hospitalier de soins de courte durée
Un groupe de travail a été mis sur pied en 1994, afin d'émettre un avis de santé publique sur la vaccination de certains groupes de travailleurs hors du réseau hospitalier de soins de courte durée. Les recommandations de ce groupe de travail ont été diffusées dans le document « Vaccination contre l’hépatite B de certains groupes de travailleurs hors du réseau hospitalier de soins de courte durée » publié en 1999 par la Direction de santé publique de Montréal. Le présent document est une mise à jour du document de 1999 et contient aussi, en majorité, des groupes de travailleurs non évalués en 1999. Les situations et lieux de travail examinés ou visités sont situés dans différents endroits de la province de Québec. La prévalence du virus de l’hépatite B, de certains comportements ou situations à risque parmi la population générale ou certains sous-groupes de cette population peuvent être différents selon les régions concernées.
Urgent action needed on testing and regulation of nanomaterials
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) has issued a news release that announces there is an urgent need for more testing, extending existing governance arrangements and creating new arrangements for the control of the rapidly developing field of nanomaterials.
Biocides and pesticides answers
Searching for answers - frequently asked questions. Recently relaunched site with improved facilities for information on biocides and pesticides.
New chemicals at work portal
There is a new chemicals portal page to help users navigate quickly to their area of interest.  The page provides a simple signpost and direct link to the different parts of the website covering health and safety in chemical manufacturing, marketing and supply, carriage or use of chemicals as well as latest news.
Antibiotic Resistance Effects of Biocides
The European Commission has given a mandate to the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) to prepare an opinion on the potential of biocidal substances to cause resistance to antibiotics.
The SCENIHR has approved a preliminary version of the opinion which addresses this issue and identifies priorities for further research in this field.
Should Influenza Immunization Be Mandatory For Healthcare Workers?
Two studies with opposing viewpoints on whether or not influenza immunization should be mandatory for healthcare workers.
Diacetyl and Food Flavorings
Commercial flavorings used in the food service industry are often complex mixtures of flavoring chemicals, many of which are volatile, meaning that they evaporate into the air from their liquid or solid form. Diacetyl is a prominent chemical ingredient in butter flavorings and is a component of the vapors coming from these and other flavorings. Inhalation of butter flavoring chemical mixtures, including diacetyl, has been associated with severe obstructive lung disease popularly know as "popcorn lung." In many symptomatic individuals exposed to flavoring who have undergone lung biopsy, an irreversible type of lung damage called constrictive bronchiolitis has been found. In this condition, the smallest airways carrying air through the lungs, the bronchioles, are scarred and constricted. This can decrease or block air movement through these airways.
Nanomatériaux : concilier innovation et sécurité sanitaire
L'essor des nanomatériaux s'accompagne d'une prise de conscience croissante des risques potentiels associés, que ce soit pour la santé ou pour l'environnement. Alors que les initiatives en matière de nanomatériaux se multiplient, l'Afsset est désormais identifiée comme un pôle de référence dans son périmètre d'activité : le risque sanitaire lié aux milieux de vie et de travail.
Reducing Cytotoxic Drug Exposure in Healthcare: Determinants Influencing Cleaning Effectiveness
Many cytotoxic drugs used to treat cancer and other diseases are known to be carcinogenic or mutagenic. Health care workers who handle these drugs may be at risk of developing adverse health effects such as organ toxicities, reproductive problems, tumours, and cancer. Although several guidelines for cytotoxic drug handling exist, studies have shown that contamination can occur even when proper engineering controls are in place. Using laboratory research methods, this project examined the effectiveness of the cleaning agents used to clean surfaces contaminated with the three cytotoxic drugs most commonly used in B.C. health authorities.
Inhalation vs. aspiration of single-walled carbon nanotubes in C57BL/6 mice: inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and mutagenesis
Nanomaterials are frontier technological products used in different manufactured goods. Because of their unique physicochemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) are finding numerous applications in electronics, aerospace devices, computers, and chemical, polymer, and pharmaceutical industries. SWCNT are relatively recently discovered members of the carbon allotropes that are similar in structure to fullerenes and graphite. Previously, we (47) have reported that pharyngeal aspiration of purified SWCNT by C57BL/6 mice caused dose-dependent granulomatous pneumonia, oxidative stress, acute inflammatory/cytokine responses, fibrosis, and decrease in pulmonary function. To avoid potential artifactual effects due to instillation/agglomeration associated with SWCNT, we conducted inhalation exposures using stable and uniform SWCNT dispersions obtained by a newly developed aerosolization technique (2). The inhalation of nonpurified SWCNT (iron content of 17.7% by weight) at 5 mg/m3, 5 h/day for 4 days was compared with pharyngeal aspiration of varying doses (5–20 µg per mouse) of the same SWCNT. The chain of pathological events in both exposure routes was realized through synergized interactions of early inflammatory response and oxidative stress culminating in the development of multifocal granulomatous pneumonia and interstitial fibrosis. SWCNT inhalation was more effective than aspiration in causing inflammatory response, oxidative stress, collagen deposition, and fibrosis as well as mutations of K-ras gene locus in the lung of C57BL/6 mice.
International Alliance for NanoEHS Harmonization
Four NIOSH researchers representing combined interdisciplinary expertise in laboratory and field studies are part of a new international research partnership, the International Alliance for NanoEHS Harmonization (IANH). The alliance plans to establish scientific protocols to promote harmonization in the toxicological testing of nanomaterials. As research accelerates, this work is important for correlating studies, reducing uncertainties about results, and comparing with confidence the results of in vivo and in vitro studies. The effort builds in part on scientific methodology that NIOSH has developed or helped develop, and lessons learned from its pioneering research. More information on IANH is available at http://nanoehsalliance.org/
La CES réclame la mise en oeuvre du principe de précaution pour les nanotechnologies
Lors de son dernier comité exécutif, la Confédération européenne des syndicats (CES) a adopté une première résolution sur les nanotechnologies et les nanomatériaux. L’application du principe de précaution pour les nanotechnologies constitue la revendication centrale de la CES.
Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern brings new duties for companies
Today, ECHA has included 15 substances in the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for authorisation. The list was published on ECHA website today. It will be regularly updated when more substances are identified as SVHC. ECHA urges companies to check their potential obligations resulting from the Candidate List.
Clocks go back – HSE issues advice for safe working in winter
Now that the clocks have gone back, and winter is approaching, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is offering some timely guidance to ensure workers remain safe during the colder, darker months ahead.
HSE Principal Inspector of Construction Peter Black said: “For those working outdoors, the winter months bring additional challenges to keeping safe.  Cold weather and shorter periods of daylight mean there is more potential for accidents to happen.  With a little planning, and common sense, these can be avoided.
Surveillance des accidents avec exposition au sang dans les établissements de santé français en 2006
Sous l’égide du Réseau d’alerte, d’investigation et de surveillance des infections nosocomiales (Raisin) et avec le Groupe d’étude sur le risque d’exposition des soignants aux agents infectieux (Geres), les méthodes de surveillance des accidents exposant au sang (AES) font l’objet d’un consensus et d’un réseau national depuis 2002.
Chaque établissement documentait de manière volontaire, anonyme et standardisée tout AES chez un membre du personnel (étudiant ou stagiaire inclus) déclaré au médecin du travail du 1er janvier au 31 décembre 2006. Les données étaient recueillies sur une fiche adaptée du Geres documentant les circonstances de l’AES (nature, mécanisme, matériel en cause), son suivi (soins immédiats, suivi et prophylaxie éventuelle) et le statut infectieux du patient source. L’incidence des AES était rapportée au nombre de lits d’hospitalisation, aux nombres d’équivalents temps plein (ETP) de professionnels et à la consommation de certains dispositifs médicaux.
En 2006, 14 876 accidents d’exposition au sang étaient recensés dans 518 établissements. La couverture nationale du réseau peut être estimée à 18 % des établissements de santé et 42 % des lits, soit une forte progression par rapport à 2005 (respectivement 13 % et 34,3 %). L’incidence des AES trouvée pour 100 lits d’hospitalisation est de 8,0. Sur la base des 444 000 lits d’hospitalisation recensés en France (données SAE 2005), cela permet d’estimer à 35 418 (IC à 95 % : 35 064 – 35 771) le nombre d’AES qui auraient été déclarés en 2006 aux médecins du travail des établissements de santé français. La connaissance du statut du patient source vis-à-vis du VHC et du VIH, qui conditionne la prise en charge ultérieure du soignant, demeure encore inconnue dans plus de 20 % des cas. Le taux de prescription de la chimioprophylaxie antirétrovirale reste stable à 4,4 % en 2006 et interrompue dans 32,1 % des cas, le plus souvent en raison de la connaissance a posteriori du statut négatif du patient source pour le VIH. Le délai médian de prise en charge d’un soignant après son AES était d’une heure, démontrant le caractère très opérationnel de cette organisation en France.
Depuis 2004, les aiguilles à suture arrivent en première position des AES liés à des aiguilles, avant les sous-cutanés. Ces AES représentent 10 % de l’ensemble des accidents survenant dans les secteurs de chirurgie, d’obstétrique, mais aussi de réanimation et d’urgence. Il paraît donc toujours nécessaire de favoriser la sécurisation de ce geste et de promouvoir l’usage d’aiguilles à bout mousse. Une comparaison portant sur les 173 établissements ayant participé à la surveillance en 2004, 2005 et 2006 permet déjà de visualiser certains progrès significatifs. L’observance du port du gant chez les victimes et la proximité du collecteur sont passées respectivement de 60,6 à 66,1 % et de 65,2 à 68,6 % entre 2004 et 2006. L’incidence des AES pour 100 lits dans ces établissements a légèrement diminué, à savoir 7,2 en 2006 contre 7,9 en 2004. Une baisse significative de l’incidence des AES pour 100 ETP d’aides soignant(e)s a aussi été enregistrée (1,8 en 2006 contre 2,1 en 2004). Même s’il progresse un peu, le taux de sécurisation du matériel demeure encore faible dans notre cohorte avec 35,7 % pour les cathéters courts et 25,6 % pour les aiguilles des chambres implantables.
La mise en commun des données 2006 de surveillance des AES confirme la forte implantation de ce réseau en France et témoigne de l’implication des médecins du travail dans la prévention de ce risque. Les données Raisin permettent d’objectiver la poursuite de l’amélioration de l’observance des précautions standard avec pour la première fois une baisse significative des AES cette année. La poursuite de l’implantation des dispositifs de sécurité doit permettre une baisse du risque dans les années à venir et le dispositif national de surveillance est à même de pouvoir l’objectiver.
Skin diseases and dermal exposure: policy and practice overview
Skin diseases are the second most common work-related health problem in Europe. They represent more than 7% of all occupational illnesses and are one of the most important emerging risks related to the exposure to chemical, physical and biological risk factors. The fact that there is no scientific method to measure the level of the body’s exposures to risks via dermal contact and their physiological consequences, increases the importance of recognising risk factors and developing methods of assessing the level of exposure and controlling it. This report presents an overview of dermal exposures and occupational skin diseases. It also presents the principal policies relating to the recognition and recording of skin diseases, as well as the recognition, assessment and control of dermal exposure to chemical, biological and physical risk factors in the Member States of the European Union.
Projet de l’OCDE sur la Sécurité liée aux Nanomatériaux Manufacturés (NMs)
Dampness and Mold in Buildings
Dampness results from water incursion either from internal sources (e.g. leaking pipes) or external sources (e.g. rainwater).  Dampness becomes a problem when various materials in buildings (e.g., rugs, walls, ceiling tiles) become wet for extended periods of time.  Excessive moisture in the air (i.e., high relative humidity) that is not properly controlled with air conditioning can also lead to excessive dampness.  Flooding causes dampness.  Dampness is a problem in buildings because it provides the moisture that supports the growth of bacteria, fungi (i.e., mold), and insects. 
In the presence of damp building materials the source of water incursion is often readily apparent (e.g., leaks in the roof or windows or a burst pipe).  However, dampness problems can be less obvious when the affected materials and water source are hidden from view (e.g., wet insulation within a ceiling or wall; excessive moisture in the building foundation due to the slope of the surrounding land). 
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