Have your say on model Work Health and Safety legislation for the mining industry

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Bulletin Board

September 2, 2011

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*While Chemwatch has taken all efforts to ensure the accuracy of information in this publication, it is not intended to be comprehensive or to render advice. Websites rendered are subject to change.



Have your say on model Work Health and Safety legislation for the mining industry


Further draft model Regulations, Codes of Practice and an Issues Paper released for public comment on 15 July 2011 are available to view on the Safe Work Australia Website. “Regulatory reform is particularly important to the mining industry where the incidence rate of work-related injuries and fatalities is one of the highest of all Australian industries, with 2395 workers’ compensation claims in 2008-09,” said Mr Phillips. “Model work health and safety laws will ensure organisations can comply with one set of laws regardless of the number of states or territories in which they operate. This will ease the burden on business owners operating across the country” “The public comment period is a good opportunity for businesses, industry and workers to express their opinions on key aspects of the mining industry.” Further information on the model work health and safety laws is available at: http://safeworkaustralia.gov.au/Legislation/PublicComment/Pages/PublicComment.aspx.

Safe Work Australia, 29 July 2011 http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

TGA advisory committee guidelines - Declarations of interests, managing conflicts of interests and confidentiality obligations


The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently a number of guidelines to provide guidance for members, chairs and secretaries of the TGA’s statutory expert advisory committees (and their sub-committees) established under Part 6 of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 on:

declaration of interest requirements;

the management by committees of members’ interests in relation to matters coming before the committee; and

members’ obligations of confidentiality.

Currently these committees are:

the Therapeutic Goods Committee,

the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines,

the Advisory Committee on Non-prescription Medicines,

the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines,

the Advisory Committee on Medical Devices,

the Advisory Committee on Complementary Medicines, and

the Advisory Committee on Biologicals.

Content of the guidelines includes:

Purpose of the guidelines

Significance of the management of ‘conflicts of interest’

Relevant legislative provisions

Declaration of interests

What kinds of interests must be included in these declarations?

Personal interests

Process for members to declare interests

Disclosure of interests in relation to matters being considered by the committee

Regulation 42(4) to (7) requirements in relation to a committee meeting

What does the committee consider in determining whether a member should be present?

What options does the committee have?

Obligations under the Deed in relation to interests

Process for dealing with potential conflicts

Obligations of confidentiality

Deed relating to confidentiality

Communication with the media

Other matters

Freedom of Information (FOI)

Comcover arrangements

Invitees at committee meetings and members of subcommittees

Attachment A: Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 - Reg 42

Attachment B: Declaration of interests in support of an application for membership of a TGA expert advisory Committee

Attachment C: Annual declaration of interests for members of TGA expert advisory committees

Attachment D: Meeting disclosure of interests declaration for members of TGA advisory committees

Attachment E: Deed of undertaking in relation to confidential information and conflict of interest

A copy of the new guidelines can be found at: http://www.tga.gov.au/pdf/committees/committees-expert-guidelines.pdf

TGA, 12 August 2011 http://www.tga.gov.au/

Zinc phosphide pest poison approved with controls


New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the import and manufacture of a new poison for the ground control of possums. MZP Paste will be used to target the brush-tail possum. The application was made by Pest Tech Limited, with support from Connovation Ltd, Lincoln University and the Animal Health Board. MZP Paste has been designed as an alternative to 1080 and other vertebrate poisons in certain situations. MZP Paste may be toxic to humans and other vertebrates. Strict conditions have been placed on its use to protect applicators, bystanders and the environment from potential adverse effects arising from use of the substance. These conditions include requiring operators to obtain permission from the Department of Conservation (for operations carried out on Conservation land) and Ministry of Health to use the substance, ensuring the substance is only handled by trained and licensed users and that MZP Paste is only applied using certain types of bait-stations. It cannot be used for aerial application.

New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency, 11 August 2011 http://www.epa.govt.nz

Taiwan publishes English translations of chemical regulations


The Law Library of the Environmental Protection Administration in Taiwan, responsible for publishing Chinese and English translations of environmental laws and regulations, has released English versions of the following documents:

Permit Registration and Approval Regulations for Toxic Chemical Substances

Regulations Governing the Transportation Management of Toxic Chemical Substances

Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act Enforcement Rules

Toxic Chemical Substances Labelling and Materials Safety Data Sheets Regulations

Further information is available at: http://law.epa.gov.tw/en/

Chemical Watch, 12 August 2011 http://chemicalwatch.com/news


EPA, USDA Create a Partnership to Improve Drinking Water Systems


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a national partnership to protect Americans’ health by improving rural drinking water and wastewater systems. Nationwide, small water and sewage treatment facilities with limited funding and resources face challenges due to rising costs and aging equipment and pipes. The recent agreement will send federal resources to support communities that need assistance and promote job training to help put people to work while addressing the growing workforce shortage in the water industry. “EPA and USDA have joined forces to leverage our expertise and resources to improve drinking water and wastewater systems in small towns across the country,” said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “A critical part of this agreement is to ensure that we have a well trained, professional workforce available to replace workers when they leave “The agreement we are announcing today represents an exciting partnership between USDA and EPA that will greatly enhance our investments in water systems and also in developing a skilled workforce to oversee them,” said Jonathan Adelstein, administrator for USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. “By working together, our agencies will strengthen their capacity to provide rural residents with safe, clean, well-managed water and wastewater systems for years to come.” Under the agreement, EPA and USDA will work together to promote jobs by targeting specific audiences, providing training for new water careers and coordinating outreach efforts that will bring greater public visibility to the workforce needs of the industry, and develop a new generation of trained water professionals. EPA and USDA will also facilitate the exchange of successful recruitment and training strategies among stakeholders including states and water industries. Furthermore, the agencies will help rural utilities improve current operations and encourage development of long-term water quality improvement plans. The plans will include developing sustainable management practices to cut costs and improve performance. Since taking office, President Obama’s administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans. For instance, the administration has set goals to modernise infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are thriving economically. In June, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies that will help realise the administration’s goals for rural communities. More information is available at: http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/partners.cfm#moa

Environmental Protection News, 8 August 2011 http://www.epa.gov

The ‘Teeth’ of FDA’s Food Safety Law


The Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in January, has been called “historic” because it puts the focus of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prevention—working to ensure that unsafe foods are not distributed in the first place. FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg says the law directs the agency to oversee food safety in a way that applies “the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick.” What lends the new law additional importance is that it provides FDA with new enforcement and inspection authorities. “These new authorities are critical for the law’s success,” said Michael R. Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods. “They give the food companies strong additional incentives for keeping their products safe, and that helps us achieve the new law’s goal, which is to protect consumers from unsafe food.” Foodborne outbreaks are a significant public health burden that increases the cost of the nation’s health care and, as Taylor has emphasised, many of them can be prevented. Furthermore, keeping foodborne outbreaks from happening in the first place is what FDA intends to do by implementing the following key provisions:

Preventive Measures

Expanded administrative detention: The law gives FDA more authority to prevent the release into the marketplace of adulterated or misbranded food, including potentially harmful food. Food adulteration can be caused by many factors, including bacterial or chemical contamination, filth or decomposition, the presence of an unsafe food additive, being prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions, and leaving valuable materials out of the product or substituting other, inferior materials. Misbranding food can be caused by ways that include not declaring certain ingredients or major food allergens, and not complying with nutrition information content on labelling. This tool allows FDA to effectively remove the food from distribution channels while the agency pursues legal or other enforcement actions.

Records inspection: The law expands FDA’s authority to gain access to records about potentially hazardous foods. In addition to examining the records tied to a particular food that could pose a health hazard, the agency can now inspect records related to any other food it believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner.

Authority to deny entry: Under FSMA, if a food producer in another country does not permit FDA to inspect its facility, FDA can refuse to allow food from that facility into the United States.

Enforcement Measures

The new law also strengthens FDA’s enforcement tools in the event that potentially unsafe food has already entered the marketplace.

Suspension of registration: The law authorises FDA to suspend the registration of a facility under certain circumstances if the food it manufactured, processed, packed, received or held presents a serious health hazard. A facility with a suspended registration will not be able to legally offer food for sale in the United States until FDA lifts the suspension.

Mandatory recall: Before FSMA, FDA had to rely on a firm’s voluntary decision to remove food from the marketplace that could be hazardous to humans or animals. Under the new law, the agency can order a recall if the company does not cease distribution itself and recall its product. If there is reason to believe that the food is adulterated or misbranded and that use of the product could result in serious illness or death, FDA can order that distribution be halted and all implicated products recalled. Additionally, FDA has launched a new search engine where consumers can quickly and easily check on new and recent recalls.

In addition, FDA is directed by the law to upgrade its ability to track both domestic and imported foods. To do this, FDA will establish pilot projects to test how to rapidly identify recipients of food—this is critical information FDA needs to rapidly find the source of a foodborne outbreak and to understand its scope. “Product tracing doesn’t prevent an outbreak, as it’s more about response,” says Bill Correll at FDA’s Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “However, it can prevent further illnesses during an outbreak when FDA can determine the source, contain further exposure and get the product recalled and out of distribution and consumer households.” The new FDA authorities have been widely acclaimed by consumer advocates as well as industry. Caroline Smith DeWaal, the veteran food safety director of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, has hailed FSMA as a far-reaching improvement over previous food safety laws. “The bill contains important provisions for prevention, standard setting and enhanced enforcement. It will significantly reinforce the FDA’s food safety program,” she predicts, “and help the agency advance in its public health mission.” Kathy Means, vice president of the Produce Marketing Association, said that members of her organisation “regard FSMA as a law that takes a good, comprehensive look at food safety. It sets the expectations for food safety measures by the industry, and it sets the priorities for the FDA—all of which is important for keeping our food safe.”

FDA Consumer Update, 10 August 2011 http://www.fda.gov/

EPA’s Rule on Carbamate Wastes comes into force


On 13 June 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a direct final rule to revise the Land Disposal Restriction (LDR) treatment standard for carbamate wastes to ensure that the wastes are adequately treated before land disposal to minimise risks to people’s health and the environment. Carbamate wastes are wastes generated from the production of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Due to their toxicity, carbamate wastes are regulated as hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This action will extend Best Demonstrated Available Technology (BDAT) as an alternative treatment standard for all carbamate wastes. This alternative treatment standard will help industries comply with stringent hazardous waste disposal regulations and allow EPA to enforce these regulations to their fullest extent. The public comment period on the rule closed on 13 July 2011. The rule will be effective on 12 August 2011. More information on the rule: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/hazard/tsd/ldr/rules11.htm

U.S EPA, 12 August 2011 http://www.epa.gov

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