Chief Medical officer for the Australian Government Session: Environmental Health – the Science, Emotion and Politics
Professor Brendan Murphy is the Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government and is the principal medical adviser to the Minister and the Department of Health. He also holds direct responsibility for the Department of Health’s Office of Health Protection and the Workforce Division. Apart from the many committees he chairs, co-chairs and serves on, he is the Australian Member on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Governing Committee and represents Australia at the World Health Assembly. Prior to his appointment, Professor Murphy was the Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria. Professor Murphy is a Professorial Associate with the title of Professor at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians and Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Whilst much of the responsibility and public health response to environmental health issues sits with the States and Territories, the Commonwealth CMO is drawn into this space when there are issues of national co-ordination, involvement of Commonwealth agencies and, often, where there is no other willing ‘owner’ of a particular issue. In nearly two years into this role, there has been considerable learning which can be shared. Most of the talk will use Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as the example, as this has dominated this space for the last 2 years and will do so for many years to come. Other examples will include an upcoming Parliamentary Enquiry into Biotoxin-related illnesses and proposals for a National Dust Diseases Register.
In the PFAS example, the absence of good human epidemiological data leads to a confused and emotionally charged space. Different countries and their agencies draw from the animal data and poor quality human data in diverse ways. There is little international consistency in recommendations and responses. Measurements in human blood, water and food take on an unwarranted significance. Given the inability, largely because of biological persistence, to provide definitive reassurance about health impacts, members of affected communities and elements of the media make unwarranted assumptions about conspiracies and cover-ups. This challenging PFAS journey will be the main focus of the presentation.
DR KURT STRAIF
Head, Section of Evidence Synthesis and Classification International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, Lyon, France Session: The IARC Monographs, the burden of occupational cancer and the need for better exposure assessment
Dr. Straif heads the section of Evidence Synthesis and Classification at IARC/WHO. He directs the WHO Classification of Tumours, the IARC Monographs and Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, serves as Director of the IARC Summer School and on national and international committees on primary and secondary prevention of cancer. He is boardcertified
in Internal Medicine and Occupational, Environmental and Social Medicine and received his MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The IARC Monographs programme is the longest running program of cancer hazard identification, and is also on the cutting edge of the latest scientific developments. A short history of the evolution of the program with a focus on causal inference and changing contributions from the different scientific domains (exposure data, cancer bioassays, epidemiology and toxicology) will be followed by the latest developments in terms of systematic review, key characteristics of carcinogens, high through-put/high content data, and quantitative risk characterisation. The integration of evidence streams into an overall evaluation will be illustrated with a selected carcinogen. The Monographs’ evaluations often serve as the basis for the estimation of the burden of occupational cancer. Refined and harmonized exposure data are critical for accurate global data on occupational cancer, and can also help to identify priorities for exposure control as well as document and benchmark our success in reducing the burden of occupational cancer.
DR DOUG BOREHAM
Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and Division Head for the Medical Sciences Division Session: Genetic Susceptibility to Occupational Exposures – Harm Prevention or Not?
Dr. Boreham is also the principal scientist at Bruce Power, Manager of the Integration Department, and is the NOSM/Bruce Power Research Chair in Radiation and Health. Dr. Boreham is a recognized leader in the field of radiation health and environmental effects. He was selected as an expert Canadian delegate for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) in 2012. He has earned several awards including: McMaster President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction (2004),
Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award for outstanding Education and Communications (2005), Canadian Radiation Protection Association – Distinguished Achievement Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Radiation Protection (2009), The International Dose-Response Society selected Dr. Boreham as recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Leadership Award in the field of Dose Response.
Modern molecular technologies are changing the way human and environmental health can or should be monitored and protected. However, there are significant ethical and legal challenges when genetics are involved in understanding and adapting to occupational risks. An overview of the potential merits of genetic susceptibly testing for risks associated with workplace exposures will be presented. The absence of testing in the workplace will be addressed from the ethical, societal and legal perspectives. The merits and detriments of new legislation passed in Canada in 2017 to prevent genetic discrimination will be discussed.
Senior Consultant Industrial Hygiene and Safety at Arbo Unie Expert Centre of Chemical Risk management, The Netherlands Session: Visual communication with the emphasis on the PIMEX method
In 1983 Andre started his career as a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in the USA on the topic of indoor air quality. Since 1984 he has been working as a consultant at Arbo Unie OHS in Arnhem in a range of functions, but always involved in projects in the field of occupational health and safety, for a broad range of organisations. Andre specialises in chemical exposure and health effects. From 1996 until 2004 he was the co-founder and board member of the Dutch Certification Authority for Industrial
Hygienists. Since 2005 he has been involved in organizing the annual Dutch Occupational Hygiene Conference. In 2014 he became a member of the Dutch knowledge platform on
Electromagnetic Fields. In 2016 he started as a member of the supervisory board for the Masters education “Safety” at the Technical University Delft. Since December 2017 he is a
board member of the International Occupational Hygiene Society.
At the moment we are confronted with a generation of workers that do not anymore read on a daily basis. New social media such as YouTube, Instagram etc. are almost completely visual. As a result it is getting more and more difficult to get the messages across by using traditional written word format.
On the other hand it is difficult for most workers to understand what exposure really means and what the effect of preventive measures are. So if exposure can be visualised there will be better understanding by workers of the hazards in their work. PIMEX is a video exposure monitoring technique which aims to make invisible hazards in the work environment visible and in this manner facilitate the reduction of hazards in workplaces. The name PIMEX is an acronym from the words PIcture Mix Exposure. It implies that the method is based on mixing pictures, in this case from a video camera, with data on a worker’s exposure to different types of agents. In the Netherlands Pimex is a very successful tool for risk communication. At the moment more than 200 films are available and used by industry, the government and many different industry organizations. Most of them are used for training purposes and available on the internet. Pimex films have been made about different exposure types like noise, chemicals, vibrations, physical load, heat stress and nano particles. At the moment we are trying to modernize the technique together with our German and Swedish colleagues. A couple of films are translated in English and will be shown. Pimex can be used worldwide to train workers to use control measures and PPE in the right manner. It will enlarge the knowledge of risks and can be used to motivate workers and management to use safe working procedures, to identify hazards and visualize good practices. Pimex has been proven as a strong, easy and cheap tool for risk communication
Recently retired from the Québec Research Institute in Occupational Health and Safety (IRSST) in Montréal, Canada Session: IHSkinPerm/IHMod
Daniel has worked 33 years at the Québec Research Institute in Occupational Health and Safety (IRSST) in Montréal, Canada. His main research activities deal with the development of laboratory analytical methods and exposure assessment strategies, adjustment of OELs to unusual work schedules, chemical mixtures management ... He has developed with many collaborators numerous applications for both laboratory and industrial hygiene uses, for the benefit of the industrial hygiene community (MIXIE, Heat Stress tools , ProtecPo , Saturisk). Daniel is also an active member of the AIHA Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee and has been involved in their “cool new tools” development (Multilanguage IHSTAT, IHMOD, IHEST and IH SkinPerm). He has been selected in 2012 by AIHA to receive the Edward J. Baier Achievement Award in recognition of his significant
contribution to industrial hygiene in recent years.
Mathematical modeling to estimate exposures can be a powerful way to gain insights into past, current, or anticipated exposures. In the past, occupational hygienists have had limited options for easy to use modeling tools.
Here, we present a new development, IH Mod 2.0, and outline the development approach, show the main contents, demonstrate the operational ease of this new tool and provide examples. This Microsoft Excel suite of air concentration models provides Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) techniques and does not require any MCS software. IH Mod 2.0 runs the models in either deterministic or stochastic modes with intuitive interfaces throughout. The algorithms implemented are the same of IHMod version 1, but for key determinants of the model, the user selects either point values or the probability distributions and specifies the number of iterations for the simulation. Graphic data presentation includes point-in-time concentration curves or time-weighted averages at the 5, 25, 50, 75 and 95 percentiles of the results values' distribution. This new tool allows occupational hygienists to quickly and easily explore the probability distribution of exposures and risks, and understand how variability and/or uncertainty (or lack of knowledge) may affect the outcome. IH Mod 2.0 is available as freeware from the American Industrial Hygiene Association website, as is a companion support file. As translations are completed, IH Mod 2.0 will give the user a choice of language. The new IH SkinPerm version is now available in Spanish and Chinese and includes a new scenario allowing the user to estimate the absorption of airborne chemicals through the skin. This presentation will include live demonstration using examples from different workplace scenarios.
DR MICHAEL LOGAN
Director of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Research and Scientific Branch Session: What does Detection and Science have to do with HAZMAT Incident Management?
He has responded to more than 1500 HAZMAT incidents across Queensland, Australia and internationally. These have ranged from illicit labs, biological related releases,
radiological, incidents chemical fires, spills, and explosions. He has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of New South Wales and has been a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia. He also has various emergency management qualifications and is a HAZMAT specialist (NFPA 472). He has also been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal. He coordinates a number of programs across the QFES including enhancing capabilities within QFES to manage HAZMAT incidents.
The Emergency Services within Queensland respond every day to incidents involving the release or threated release of hazardous materials such as ammonia, ammonium nitrate and organic solvents.They are often the result of an accident, or unintended consequences despite the volumes involved varying from a litre to many thousands of litres. In recent years there has been a growing interest in the manufacture of reactive materials outside industrial settings and their intended uses ranged from the curious application to deliberate use to harm others and all in between. Queensland has been no exception. These extremes even within Queensland have included methods for cold fusion, synthesis of gold using mercury and sulfur to manufacture of reactive materials like Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP). To assist the Emergency Services safely and effectively manage these incidents there are a variety of capabilities distributed across Queensland including detection supported by scientific specialists available 24 hours a day. Detection and identification of the hazard most often a chemical is essential to underpin risk based decision making including the selection and monitoring the performance of risk control measures to safely and effectively resolve and incident whilst protecting our responders and community. This presentation will highlight a journey being undertaken in Queensland involving detection capabilities and decision support software to improve its preparedness, and response to HAZMAT Incidents. The discussion will range widely from detection capabilities available within the Emergency Services to application of detection capabilities using case studies to highlight what works, does not work, and how we have extended these detection capabilities to areas even the manufacturers were not aware of. To demonstrate how far our journey has come and is ongoing we will highlight some research and
development of decision support tools, such as the Emergency Response Decision Support Software using more real life examples. At the end of this presentation you will have a better appreciation of the detection challenges that confront the emergency service on a daily basis and how they are meeting these challenges.
Clinical Psychologist and Deputy Director of Psychology Professional Partnership, Monash Health Session: Psychological stress Identification and self-management
George Habib is a clinical psychologist and is employed as the Deputy Director of Psychology – Professional Partnerships at Monash Health. He currently maintains a clinical role in the area of psychological medicine and as part of Psychology and Specialist Services Design Team. Prior to his current role, George also held clinical leadership roles within Government, Health and the NGO sector. George is a current board member of the State Governments Therapeutic Treatment Board, and also sits on the Monash Care Steering Committee that is driving an organisation wide approach to the social and emotional wellbeing of its staff. George provides training on resilience and self-care, and is a trained peer supporter and critical incident responder.
There is an increased focus within organisations on the social and emotional health of their employees. Current estimates in an Australian sample are that one in five people aged 16 to 85 years will experience one of the common forms of mental illness in any year (2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing), and that people with mental health issues are also the least likely to be in the workforce with increasing economic costs including outlays by governments and health insurers. The rising costs of mental health issues within organisations has been highlighted in a range of reviews including with the Australian Defence Force, police, ambulance services and other organisations and has also led Worksafe to recently launch their $17 million Workwell Mental Health Improvement Fund The current presentation will look at the state of play regarding organisational approaches to the social and emotional wellbeing of their staff and elaborate on the evidence informed and best practice approaches currently being used within organisations. George will also discuss learnings from an organisation wide approach within a major public hospital network.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JODI OAKMAN
Associate Professor at the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors and Head of Public Health , La Trobe Session: Future of work for work health and safety professionals
Jodi Oakman is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors, La Trobe University. She is the Head of Department for Public Health. Her background is a mix of industry and academia. Jodi has worked extensively in industry across a range of sectors including health, manufacturing and logistics. Her PhD focussed on the ageing workforce and the impact of organisations on their employees’ retirement intentions. Jodi is passionate about using evidence to change practice in organisations, and this underpins her research program in which she works closely with industry partners in order to facilitate change. She leads a program of research focused on the impact of the psychosocial work environment on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and strategies to improve risk management in workplaces.
The nature of work is changing. The impact of technology and increased automation is disrupting traditional forms of work. A workforce that is more dispersed, older and engaged in different ways of working provides some challenges for Work, Health and Safety (WHS) professionals. Whilst many traditional hazards managed by WHS professionals remain, new hazards are emerging which require attention. To explore this further, the Australian Safety & Health Professional Associations (ASHPA) commissioned La Trobe University to undertake research to identify current and future issues facing WHS professionals. Three professional associations, the AIOH, HFESA and SIA, all ASHPA members, participated in the research. Members of the three professional societies were invited to participate in a survey which explored past, current and future aspects of their work in WHS. This plenary will explore findings from this research in the context of the changing landscape of work and offer insights into what might be future challenges for WHS professionals.
PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON
Director of the Appleton Institute based at Central Queensland University’s Adelaide Campus Session: Next generation fatigue management; Working safely whilst fatigued
Prof Dawson undertook his PhD at Flinders University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard and Cornell Universities. He is an organisational psychologist
who has spent the last 20 years building Australia’s leading research centre for basic and applied psychology research. Over the last 20 years Prof Dawson has established one of Australia’s leading research and consultancy groups in the area of shift work and labour relations. He has extensive experience in facilitating labour and management discussions around working time arrangements and fatigue risk management. He has worked as a bargaining agent facilitating labour negotiations for over 10 years.
Traditionally, fatigue management has focussed on interventions that reduce the likelihood of fatigue by altering the working time arrangement (WTA). While potentially useful, changes to the WTA are often difficult. Operational constraints, labour contracts and employee expectations around overtime and income make changes politically challenging. From a risk-based perspective, risk can be reduced by either decreasing the likelihood of fatigue or by decreasing the consequence of a fatigue-related error. What we have labelled as ‘fatigue-proofing’. In this paper we present a series of case studies describing informal protective behaviours that have evolved within workplaces to reduce the consequence of a fatigue-related error. Adopting Helmreich’s principles of threat and error management, we demonstrate a novel methodology for eliciting common fatigue-related errors and re-proceduralising the task environment to prevent or attenuate adverse outcomes. This approach holds considerable promise for reducing fatigue-related risk in operational environments where fatigue is unavoidable including defence, emergency services, disaster relief, medical and health care services.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DEBORAH YATES
Respiratory Physician in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at the St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and a Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW Session: Current and Emerging Occupational Lung Diseases
Deborah Yates trained in Medicine at Cambridge University and completed her medical training at several London teaching hospitals. Later, she joined the Central
Pneumoconiosis Panel in London and gained experience in a broad spectrum of occupational lung diseases including coal workers pneumoconiosis, silicosis, asbestosrelated disorders and occupational asthma. She completed an MSc in Occupational & Environmental Medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
including a thesis on asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening, and also the AFOM (UK) and the Dip Occ Med. Since permanently moving to Australia in 1995, she has continued her research and clinical interest in occupational and obstructive lung diseases. She is a Senior Staff Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Conjoint Associate Professor at UNSW and Co-Chair of the Coal Mine Dust Lung Disease (CMDLD) Collaborative Group and is active in the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) and Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).
Despite the widespread belief that occupational lung disorders have been largely prevented, there are disturbing trends worldwide with regard to the re-emergence of traditional dust diseases such as coal workers pneumonconiosis, and also description of new luing diseases from new exposures. Australia is not immune from these trends. This talk will outline current issues relevant to occupational lung disorders, which emphasize the need for vigilance, and the dangers of complacency.
Dr Jack Caravanos
Clinical Professor of Global Environmental Health, College of Global Public Health, New York University and Professor Emeritus, City University of New York, School of Public Health Session: The global burden of occupational health disease and its impact on low and middle-income countries
Dr. Jack Caravanos is Clinical Professor of Global Environmental Public Health at the College of Global Public Health at NYU. He is board certified in industrial hygiene (CIH) and author of the popular ACGIH study guide “Quantitative Industrial Hygiene”. He prides himself as being a practicing field-based environmental and occupational health scientist and since 2005, has worked with the international NGO Pure Earth helping to create its Toxic Site Inventory Program and profiling chemical exposures. Having travelled to over 22 low and middle-income countries he has assessed dozens of sites where worker exposures continue to devastate families and communities. He is presently Director of Research at Pure Earth where he coordinates research activities based on assessment and remediation projects.
The global economy has shifted numerous jobs to low and middle-income countries; most especially the processing of recyclables. Electronic waste, plastics, and used-lead acid batteries, often find themselves in communities where peoples health and welfare is already stressed. Using a series of cases studies, significant exposure issues and challenges facing workers in several growing “industries” will be presented and reviewed. These case studies will showcase the findings of the recent Lancet report on Pollution and Health with specific interpretations and applications to occupational hygiene.