This week saw the latest meeting of the British Glass working group on occupational health – which is working towards sector-specific guidance on workplace exposure limits and a survey to establish the baseline and priorities for glass sector health services.
This occupational health working group has been set up, under British Glass’ Health and Safety Forward programme, to understand current health provision and challenges in the glass sector, and promote good practice. Data from the Health and Safety Executive indicates that in 2015/16 the UK lost 25.9 million working days due to work-related illness – so this group’s work is providing vital intelligence of direct commercial benefit.
Open to all British Glass members, the meeting was attended by glass sector representatives with roles spanning health and safety, occupational health and human resources.
Compiling a list of workplace (or occupational) exposure limits is currently a key area of focus for this group. Just about every workplace contains hazards – and levels that are acceptable for short or long term exposure vary depending on their nature. While much work goes on at glass sites to ensure all legal levels are met, the glass manufacturing industry is working to create its own definitive list of occupational exposure limits for the full range of hazards that are specifically relevant to this sector – including factors such as noise and vibration as well as substances.
Member companies had already contributed examples and exposure limits/guidance, and as part of the meeting the participants reviewed and discussed this draft list of workplace exposure limits and proposed additions.
British Glass members are now considering the updated list with colleagues before the working group further considers how to publish this as sector guidance.
The meeting also discussed updates from British Glass on the HSE’s draft Health and Work strategy and developments in EU legislation, and how the sector would respond to the strategy.
The wording of a survey, to be sent to British Glass members in the autumn, was also reviewed. This survey will assess the status of health services in the industry and highlight any areas requiring more work; the results will also serve as a baseline for future comparison.
British Glass’ senior environment, health and safety adviser Jenni Richards said:
“Continuing the tradition established in the first meeting, there was a wide-ranging discussion on occupational health in the sector, with lots of useful suggestions and advice shared. I am always impressed by just how supportive and practical the discussions are.
British Glass runs a provision for continuous safety and health improvement for its members: Health and Safety Forward – the core principle of which is to ensure and demonstrate that the glass sector is forward looking, and thinking, in terms of health and safety.
The Health and Safety Committee meets twice a year with separate working groups meeting in between. Please contact Jenni via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.