2012-09-01 12:00 - Messages

Sensory displeasure reduces complex cognitive performance in the heat

The aim of this study was to verify that in a hot environment, the subjective state could affect cognitive performance before any increase in core temperature. Eighteen volunteers performed a planning (OTS) and a reaction time task in hot and control environments. Before starting the cognitive assessment, subjects completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and provided subjective measures of thermal comfort and thermal sensation. Our results showed that while simple tasks were not affected, complex cognitive task performance was significantly reduced in the HOT. Furthermore, although subjects responded faster during the complex task (OTS) they took longer to find the correct solution. Within the 15 min of heat exposure, skin temperature (Tskin) significantly increased by ∼3 °C. However, core temperature remained unchanged and there were cortical excitability alterations that could have influenced cognitive performance. Therefore, the increase in Tskin appears to be a sufficient physiological response to alter the subjective state of individuals and impair effective decision-making that could have important consequences in occupational settings.

Source : Gaoua N, Grantham J, Racinais S, El Massioui F. J. Environ. Psychol. 2012; 32(2): 158-163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.01.002
Attention; Planning task; Brief exposure; Heat; Affects

Shale gas extraction in the UK: A review of hydraulic fracturing

The health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (often termed 'fracking') as a means to extract shale gas can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.

Source : Source : http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Shale_Gas.pdf

Worker-Inspired Safer Chemicals Database Launched

Workers wanting safer workplaces now have a new tool to help them: the ChemHAT (Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolkit) database. The free, online database was designed in consultation with workers who deal with hazardous chemicals every day. The ChemHAT database allows workers to quickly search 10,000 commonly used chemicals and see their acute and chronic health effects. In the near future, the database will provide the ability for users to identify safer alternatives to the chemicals they are using. The BlueGreen Alliance will host a webinar on the ChemHAT database on September, 25, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. EDT, the webinar registration link is below.


Components for Evaluation of Direct-Reading Monitors for Gases and Vapors

NIOSH has released new guidance, Components for Evaluation of Direct-Reading Monitors for Gases and Vapors , along with an associated addendum, Hazard Detection in First Responder Environments. These documents are part of the Direct-Reading Exposure Assessment Methods (DREAM) initiative on direct-reading methods and monitors.

Source :

Banding the world together; the global growth of control banding and qualitative occupational risk management

Control Banding (CB) strategies to prevent work-related illness and injury for 2.5 billion workers without access to health and safety professionals has grown exponentially this last decade. CB originates from the pharmaceutical industry to control active pharmaceutical ingredients without a complete toxicological basis and therefore no occupational exposure limits. CB applications have broadened into chemicals in general - including new emerging risks like nanomaterials and recently into ergonomics and injury prevention. CB is an action-oriented qualitative risk assessment strategy offering solutions and control measures to users through "toolkits". Chemical CB toolkits are user-friendly approaches used to achieve workplace controls in the absence of firm toxicological and quantitative exposure information. The model (technical) validation of these toolkits is well described, however firm operational analyses (implementation aspects) are lacking. Consequentially, it is often not known if toolkit use leads to successful interventions at individual workplaces. This might lead to virtual safe workplaces without knowing if workers are truly protected. Upcoming international strategies from the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers request assistance in developing and evaluating action-oriented procedures for workplace risk assessment and control. It is expected that to fulfill this strategy's goals, CB approaches will continue its important growth in protecting workers.

Source : Zalk DM, Heussen GH. Banding the world together; the global growth of control banding and qualitative occupational risk management. Saf. health work 2011; 2(4): 375-379. http://dx.doi.org/10.5491/SHAW.2011.2.4.375

Chemical hazards in the organisation

The use of hazardous chemicals in organisations represents a substantial risk to occupational health, safety and the environment (OHSE). Organisational directors and managers have a responsibility to provide and maintain organisational management systems that manage these risks. The risk management approach of establishing organisational considerations, identifying chemical hazards (health and environmental), assessing and controlling risks and evaluating management activities has become the de facto means of managing organisational hazards in general and may be satisfactorily applied to the management of chemicals in the organisation. The Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is now at the forefront of major regulatory issues facing the chemicals manufacturing industry and downstream users of chemicals. The GHS offers one system for the classification of all dangerous, toxic and environmental (ecotoxic) effects of chemicals. Organisations should develop occupational health, safety and environment (OHSE) management systems which contain programs and procedures that contain systems for inventory control, hazard communication, competency training, risk assessment and control, transport and storage, monitoring and health surveillance, chemical emergencies (including accident investigation), waste minimisation and disposal, record keeping and management system review.

Source : Winder C. Molecular, Clinical and Environmental Toxicology. Experientia Supplementum, 2012, Volume 101, 1-19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7643-8340-4_1

Metalworking Fluids & Legionnaires Disease

New guidance on the risk of Legionnaires' disease from water mix metal working fluids (MWFs) has been published. Recent research shows there is a minimal risk of Legionella bacteria contaminating such a system, if the system is properly managed. It is suggested that, following HSE’s existing guidance on managing bacterial contamination of metalworking fluids, should be sufficient to control the risks. Under normal circumstances there is no need for any additional measures.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/metalworking/legionella.htm?ebul=gd-engineering&cr=3/sept12

EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits has been amended

EH40 has been updated to include new and revised workplace exposure limits (WELs).  This 2011 edition replaces the previous version, first published in 2005, and takes account of new substances and limits introduced in 2007 and 2011. You can download a copy of this free publication from HSE's Website.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/eh40.htm?ebul=gd-engineering&cr=8/sept12

UK Nanosafety Partnership Group publishes guidance to support safe working with nanomaterials

The UK Nanosafety Partnership Group (UKNSPG) has developed and published guidance to support safe and responsible working practices with nanomaterials in research and development laboratories. The document aims to provide guidance on factors relating to establishing a safe workplace and good safety practice when working with particulate nanomaterials. It is applicable to a wide range of nanomaterials, including particles, fibres, powders, tubes and wires as well as aggregates and agglomerates, and recognises previous and current uncertainty in developing effective risk management when dealing with nanomaterials and advocates a precautionary strategy to minimise potential exposure.

Aimed at employers, managers, health and safety advisors, and users of particulate nanomaterials in research and development, this guidance should be read in conjunction with the Approved Code of Practice on COSHH, together with the other literature referred to in the document.  The document has been produced taking account of the safety information currently available and is presented in the format of guidance and recommendations to support implementation of suitable protocols and control measures by employers and employees. It is intended that the document will be reviewed and updated on a periodic basis to keep abreast of the evolving nature of the content.

Source : http://www.safenano.org/Portals/3/SN_Content/Documents/Working%20Safely%20with%20Nanomaterials%20-%20Release%201%200%20-%20Aug2012.pdf

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