International News

ASBESTOS NEWS - talc-based baby powder to be withdrawn from all markets

Johnson and Johnson have finally announced plans to withdraw its talc-based baby powder from ALL global markets in 2023.

The company continues to face multiple cancer claims from U.S. users of the product with tens of thousands of North Americans alleged to have contracted mesothelioma, ovarian and lung cancers because of the tainted powder. Outside the U.S. however the numbers remain unknown.

Since the company stopped sales in the U.S. and Canada, various groups have condemned exposing women and children to deadly fibres through the continuing sale of the product outside of North America.

Grassroots campaigner Mohit Gupta from the Occupational and Environment Health Network of India has been forthright in his condemnation:

“Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder is sold in India and is very popular. In fact, it has a dominant share in India’s very lucrative market for baby products. It is very shameful that the company has decided to continue sales in India as if Indian lives don’t matter.”

Welcoming the plan to end all sales of the toxic baby powder, Sugio Furuya, Coordinator of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network (ABAN), said:

“Whilst ABAN is relieved that Johnson & Johnson has finally done the right thing, there can be no doubt that its delay in acting will result in many more cancer cases – cases which could have been avoided had this toxic product been withdrawn simultaneously in all markets.”

Source: International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, Laurie Kazan-Allen, 15 August 2022

DHAKA: STRONGER WORKPLACE SAFETY FOR 10x BANGLADESH INDUSTRIAL SECTORS

The ILO and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)  have signed an agreement on 17 August 2022 to enhance workplace safety and health in ten priority economic sectors. Under the agreement, a number of capacity building and promotional activities will be carried out to strengthen workplace safety and health at institutional as well as enterprise levels. These activities will be supported by ILO’s RMG programme  funded by Canada and the Netherlands. The initiative will see 15 safety units established to build safety culture in ten industries: electronic & electrical, chemical, plastic, light engineering, leather, food processing, furniture, printing and packaging, domestic RMG and steel re-rolling. Simultaneously, 2400 safety representatives and 100 safety committees will be developed to improve awareness and capacity on workplace safety and health among employers and workers.

Source: ILO 17 August 2022

UK: EMPLOYERS TOLD TO PREPARE FOR A WARMER FUTURE

Employers need to act now to make sure their workplaces are ready for warmer weather in the future, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said. The safety regulator said it is asking employers to ensure extreme heat becomes part of their long-term planning. It said heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard, adding the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, which require employers to provide a reasonable temperature in the workplace. John Rowe, HSE’s acting head of operational strategy, said: “All workplaces need to acknowledge that the working environment is changing. There are low-cost adaptations to the structure of work, but things like improved ventilation and air conditioning should also be considered which will involve investment in the workplace. Extreme heat that we have witnessed of late isn’t going to stop and we want employers to plan and respond to this now.”

Source: HSE news release and temperature at work webpages. TUC too hot, too cold digital guidebook.

UK: COVID MUST BE CLASSED AS AN OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE

Ministers must class Covid as an occupational disease to strengthen protections for workers, the TUC has said. A new report from the union body notes many other countries already officially recognise Covid as an occupational illness, with important consequences for workplace safety and the support working people workers can access if they suffer long-term damage to their health. It says the existing evidence shows that Covid meets the qualifying rules for an ‘occupational illness’ and to qualify for industrial disease benefits. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “If you become sick due to your work, with life changing consequences, you should get proper support. But ministers have still not added Covid to the list of occupational diseases. Two years into this pandemic, that is shocking negligence. And it leaves workers unfairly exposed. Covid must be added as soon as possible.”

Source: Covid-19: an occupational disease, TUC, August 2022. The Guardian. Morning Star.

US: UBER DRIVER KILLED WHILE ON DUTY

A Montgomery County man has reportedly been shot and killed while working as an Uber driver. According to Police, the incident happened Wednesday morning in Temple Hills where officers found a man shot inside a car and subsequently pronounced him dead at the scene. Investigators later identified the victim as a 55-year-old working as an Uber driver at the time of the shooting.

Source: ConfinedSpace, Weekly Toll 22 August 2022

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