WHWB Forum

Welcome to the Workplace Health Without Borders Forum.

This is where all WHWB members are invited to  post news items related to WHWB projects and issues important to the international occupational hygiene community. In addition to this website, we communicate with one another through a monthly teleconference, using Calliflower, a web-conferencing application. To learn how to connect to the teleconference, go to this page.

If you have subscribed to the WHWB web site, please login using the Login link at upper right to post your ideas and comments on the forum. If you have not subscribed, but wish to do so, read this then send an email to the webmaster at: webmaster@whwb.org. If you have comments or questions, please contact the webmaster.


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Potential problem for users of datalogging equipment

Today I read an article on TechRepublic that reveals a potential problem for hygienists using older direct reading instruments that interface with their computers using the RS-232 (serial) interface. This interface was used on older hygiene equipment and used a  cable to connect to a 9-pin or 25-pin serial port of older computers, or through a USB-to-serial adapter to computers with USB ports. The concern is not with the instrument, but rather with Continue reading Potential problem for users of datalogging equipment

BreatheFreely.org.uk

On January 25, 2016, Mike Slater, past president of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and member of WHWB gave a presentation at the monthly WHWB teleconference on the BreatheFreely.org.uk web site.

Construction workers are at high risk of contracting lung disease from the work that they do. This is as true in the developed world as in the developing world. In the UK, BOHS  has established a web site to help assist construction workers and their employers to better understand the health risks associated with their industry and to demonstrate the benefits of working with an occupational hygienist to control these health risks. This web site, breathefreely.org.uk, is a terrific resource that presents its message in clear non-technical language.

Because of its obvious value in educating both employers in the construction industry and their employees, this site has been added to our General Occupational Health Resources page. We encourage all of our members around the world to have a look at the site, for ideas on how they can reduce health hazards in their local construction industry.

WHWB Strategic Planning

StrategicFramework2011WHWB Board members Tanya Bose and Kevin Hedges are heading a committee engaged in strategic planning for WHWB. They are presently revisiting the WHWB strategic framework document, originally developed in 2011, to ensure it remains relevant and continues to accurately reflect our vision and objectives.

If you are interested in assisting the committee in this important work, or have specific ideas you would like WHWB to include in its strategic planning, please contact Tanya at tbose@medgate.com, or Kevin at kevinhedges.kh@gmail.com.

At present they are looking at possible revisions to the sections on Vision, Mission, Goals & Principles. In order that they can incorporate any changes prior to the next committee meeting, they would like your comments no later than Feb. 3, 2016. To simplify processing of comments, can you please use “track changes” in Word and make your changes on the original document? Save it under a different name before sending it back to them.

The committee will hold its next meeting on Feb 23, 2016. If you are interested in attending, email Kevin and he will add your name to the contact list. A copy of the original Strategic Framework is available for download here.

OHS Initiative in Bangladesh

Initiative founding meeting #1

Garrett Brown has passed on information about the  OHS Initiative for Workers and Community  in Bangladesh. The initiative,  a collaboration among labour and public health organizations in  Bangladesh and California, will be a “trainthetrainer” model to recruit and train 75 occupational health and safety promoters who will go on to train at least 6,000 rankandfile workers in several industrial sectors over a three year period.  The initiative received some funding from the Institution for Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) and is seeking more funding.

Garrett passed on  a proposal description and other information you can access here, along with the following message:

Attached are a complete and revised set of the proposals we first sent last month for the “OHS Initiative for Workers and Community” in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  
Included are the proposal and budgets for the OHS Initiative; the Memorandum of Understanding that will govern the project; the secondary proposal and budgets for the California Collaborative to provide the Dhaka Initiative with ongoing technical support; and two photographs from the founding meeting in Dhaka in October 2015.
 We are now working to raise the needed funds for the OHS Initiative, and secondarily for the California Collaborative.  I am happy to report that the Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in the United Kingdom has pledged 5,000 British Pounds (US$7,350) for each of the next three years for the Initiative.

 We are hoping that other organizations will follow IOSH’s example and match their contribution to this important project in Dhaka that is unique in its focus on increasing the OHS knowledge of grassroots worker and community organizations.

 Please feel free to forward this material to anyone who you think might be interested. I am happy to answer any questions or provide any additional information you may need.
Garrett can be reached at garrettdbrown@comcast.net

ILRF Report: Our Voices, Our Safety

Last month the International Labor Rights Forum brought to our attention their new 100-page report  Our Voices, Our Safety: Bangladeshi Garment Workers Speak Out.

If you would like a short summary of the core issues addressed in this report, check out this piece on Huffington Post by Judy Gearhart.

Dalia Sikder
Ms Gearhart is anxious that this report be disseminated as widely as possible to draw attention to its core messages:

  1. Workers, especially women, are not safe because they are surrounded by a web of violence that silences them in their communities, their homes and at work;
  2. Excessively high production quotas and low wages exacerbate safety issues and trap workers in their jobs forcing them to endure the violence; and
  3. Current fire and building safety reforms must be the foundation for a new phase of social reforms grounded in respect for workers’ rights and dignity.

We hope you will read the entire report for the testimonies of the garment workers interviewed. These workers, the majority of them women, deserve to have their voices heard!

Kevin Hedges’ slides on Diesel Exhaust Emissions

WHWB Vice-President Kevin Hedges presented a seminar on Diesel Exhaust Emissions at Memorial University on Dec. 14.  You can view his slides here.