ACHEMA 2018: International Symposium "Safety and Health Protection in the Supply Chain of Chemicals"

Frankfurt/Main, June 12th 2018

The significance of transport across the borders of nations and continents is constantly increasing within the global network of our work and living environment. Safety and health protection when handling dangerous goods and hazardous substances are important concerns of ISSA Chemistry Section and ISSA Transport Section. Both sections organized a joint, international symposium on June 12th, 2018, during the world’s largest chemistry fair ACHEMA with the title “Safety and Health Protection in the Delivery Chain of Chemicals”, which was able to unite about 80 experts. The speakers elucidated current topics on the transport and storage of chemicals, as well as the interface between dangerous goods and hazardous substances.


Pdf-files of the presentations:

ACHEMA 2018: Safety and Health Protection in the Delivery Chain of Chemicals
Rules and regulations concerning transport of dangerous goods Jörg Holzhäuser
Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Verkehr, Landwirtschaft und Weinbau in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Dangerous good meets hazardous substance: intersections regarding transport and handling – responsibilities, congruency and differences Dr. Joachim Brand
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany
Safety instruction via video Dr. Stefan Engel
BASF, Germany
Dr. Thomas H. Brock
ISSA Chemistry Section, Germany
Packaging and securing requirements for the transport of dangerous goods Anne-Sophie Valladeau
Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), France
Safety of vehicles Dr. Klaus Ruff
Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehrswirtschaft Post-Logistik Telekommunikation (BG Verkehr), Germany
Risk assessment Dr. Josef Drobits
Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA), Austria
Requirements for transportation of dry ice Philipp Steimer
Berufsgenossenschaft Rohstoffe und Chemische Industrie (BG RCI), Germany
Preventing chemical risk during transport unloading of shipping containers Dr. Francois Xavier Keller
Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), France
Health hazards when getting in contact with chemicals Jose Luis Sanz Romera
Centro Nacional del Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo (INSHT), Spain
Storage and availability for transport and use Prof. Dr. Herbert Bender
Gefahrstoff Consulting Compliance (GCC), Germany
Lithium batteries: Development of transport regulations Dr. David Manuel Gilabert
Bundesamt für Straßen, Switzerland
Interior tank cleaning for the tank container and road barrel industry Thomas Sye
Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehrswirtschaft Post-Logistik Telekommunikation (BG Verkehr), Germany
Emergency measures and organization following TUIS Jörg Roth
Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), Germany


ACHEMA 2015: International Symposium “Men and machine”

Frankfurt/M., June 17/18, 2015

“Men and machine – a safe and sure combination!” Ensuring a safe interface between humans and machines, especially in regard of ergonomics and demographic change, was the focus of an international symposium co-organised by the ISSA Chemistry Section and the ISSA Section on Machine and System Safety as part of ACHEMA 2015 in Frankfurt in June 2015. Renowned speakers from Europe and overseas discussed the issues of “Tampering with safety systems”, “The human factor” and “Communication and risk assessment”.

The “Tampering with safety systems” subject block dealt with key issues in occupational safety. All too often, safety systems are disabled in the workplace because they are found to interfere with the work itself. The most frequently named reasons for this are supposedly or actually making work easier, productivity pressure, bad ergonomics, convenience and ultimately ignorance and a lack of hazard awareness. A study by the German Statutory Accident Insurance discovered that around one third of all safety systems on machinery are tampered with. Thousands of severe and fatal accidents involving machinery every year result from safety systems that have been disabled. What is the best way of addressing this issue? How can companies and employees be made more aware of safe behaviour? Key experiences from Switzerland and Germany highlighted tried-and-tested approaches that have been developed for practitioners on site in the companies.

The “Human factor” provided the focus for the second subject block. Demographic change is affecting a wide range of aspects of social security. Prevention plays a key role in dealing with the challenges associated with demographic change. How can social insurance schemes respond to this? How can internationally active companies respond with preventive measures to ensure their workforces stay healthy in their working lives? What role do diversity issues play in a globalised world?

The theme of the third set of presentations was “Communication and risk assessment”. This is an important area of international occupational safety and poor communication can lead to huge risks if employees do not receive sufficient training. How can safety briefings be organised in such a way that the messages are also implemented? What role do ergonomic considerations play in the design of workplaces to prevent hazards occurring in the first place? And how can complex hazards in the workplace be correctly assessed using a practice-oriented tool, so as to develop and implement effective and efficient protective measures?

Safety – Ergonomics – Demographics. Exciting themes from a successful ISSA Chemistry Section symposium. The symposium showed that the interface between humans and machines is still and will remain an important issue.


Pdf-files of the presentations:

ACHEMA 2015 “Men and machine”
“Stop defeating”, a campaign in Switzerland carried out by Suva Markus Schnyder
Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva)
Results of the project group of ISSA and examples of technical solutions Leonhard Blümcke
German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Foodstuffs Industry and the Catering Trade (BGN)
Occupational safety and health through the design of human-system interaction in reality and virtual reality Dr. Peter Nickel
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA)
Demographic change in the world of work: Challenges for prevention - Information and recommendations from the ISSA Special Commission on Prevention Dr. Sigfried Sandner
German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Health and Welfare Services (BGW)
Demographic change: Examples of preventive company health protection management Dr. Günter Rutkowski
Diversity Mag. Barbara Libowitzky
Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA)
Participatory ergonomics Dr. Benjamin Amick
Institute for Work & Health
Safety briefings Dr. Joachim Sommer
German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry (BG RCI)
Using Hazard Rating Numbers (HRN) for assessing hazards at machines Gerhard Salzmann
Sapa Extrusion Nenzing GmbH
Managing chemical risk: Models for its assessment and INAIL training and information activities Maria Rosaria Fizzano
National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL)


“Embracing new aspects and maintaining established ones“

Paris, June 1-3, 2016

The flyer can be found here.

The symposium of ISSA Section Chemistry and INRS informed about endocrine disruptors and sensitizing substances.

More than 250 participants from the industry, politics, science, authorities, and accident insurance companies; around 30 speakers from nine nations; three exciting days in Paris; two current topics: Section Chemistry of International Social Securities Association (ISSA) and Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS) gave insight into scientific and political discussions of current interest.

On one hand, we would like to pay special attention to endocrine disruptors, a group of substances which has been getting a lot of political and scientific focus. On the other hand, we would like to discuss already known risks, such as the ones connected with sensitizing substances, since the development here has also not come to a standstill. Where these two topics are concerned, we would like to embrace new matters, and at the same time not lose our focus on already known ones. New insights must constantly be monitored, and prevention concepts refined, in order to be able to pass on information about the results on an international basis. These were the words with which the auditorium was greeted by Stéphane Pimbert, General Director of INRS, and Niels Schurreit, Secretary General of ISSA Section Chemistry.

According to the definition of the World Health Organisation (WHO), endocrine disruptors are externally added substances or compounds which change the function of the hormone system and can thus cause adverse health effects in the intact organism, its offspring, or (sub-) populations. (WHO, 2002: Global Assessment of State-of-the-Science of Endocrine Disruptors).

Based on this definition, the first block of topics dealt with the complex interaction with other substances and the hormone system, the non-linearity of dose-effect-relations especially concerning very low concentrations, and the special sensitivity within certain time frames of the biological development of the human organism. All of this encompasses new challenges for defining work place limit values and evaluating occupational risks. In order to evaluate the internal exposure, a method of biomonitoring was established for endocrine disruptors by recording metabolites as biomarkers from biological material like blood and urine.

Endocrine disruptors can be found, for instance, in synthetics, biocides, pesticides, as well as cosmetics. Furthermore, they can pollute the environment through incineration, disposal, or sewage. These products or their contents are subject to different fields of law within the European legislation. This is why the focus is on various European regulations. One of them is the REACH Regulation (Registration Evaluation, Authorisation, Restriction of Chemicals).

Not all hormone-active, i.e. endocrine-active substances have adverse health effects. This is why the necessity to define clear criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors and their adverse health effects was one important, recurring aspect in the contributions to the topic.

Many particular aspects - especially where the workplace is concerned - were elaborated during a gripping panel discussion between representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), ministries and regulatory authorities, science, as well as accident insurers. While substitution of substances would in many cases simply entail other problems, the principle of prevention, of minimizing exposure, was found to be a proven measure. In order to meet the challenge of risk management, knowledge of effects and methods of determination must be broadened; furthermore, already existing regulations must be put to full use.

Endocrine disruptors, as well as sensitizing substances, can involve both environmental and occupational exposure. Skin and respiratory allergies are still the most common occupational diseases. The range from substances to compounds as potential triggers of respiratory and skin allergies is constantly growing in our perpetually changing occupational world. The chemicals are used in a wide variety of fields, thus many employees are potentially exposed to them. The two vice presidents of ISSA Section Chemistry, Michel Pourquet of INRS, and Martin Gschwind of the Swiss Accident Insurance Suva, stressed in their introductory words that the required expert knowledge here must be translated into simple instructions and information as to occupational risks in combination with individual risks.

The entailing contributions dealt with current developments concerning respiratory allergies, asthma, and contact dermatitis with regard to occupational diseases in various countries. Since a derivation of toxicologically based limit values for inducing an allergy, or triggering an allergic reaction, is generally not possible for sensitized persons, the concept of risk-based limit values gains even more importance. For several allergens, exposure standards were derived via exposure-effect-relations.

For small and medium sized enterprises, specific, field-related prevention concepts are really important in addition to the independent support measures like the Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances" (TRGS 401).
Another example: Project BESI ” Safety information on sensitising drug substances: the BESI project “ is intended to support the evaluation of medical substances with sensitizing effects.

In addition to technical, organizational, and personal measures, there has been a shift in relevance - the employees` awareness for dangerous substances and for avoiding contact has become a focus. Motivating employees in terms of risk assessment and prevention should become a part of the culture of the prevention – thus stated by Séverine Brunet, Head of Prevention, and Didier Baptiste, Head of Research of INRS.


Pdf-files of the presentations:

Chemicals with special hazards: occupational risks and prevention
Overview of endocrine disruptors in industry (2005 - 2015) Nicolas BERTRAND
Levels of occupational exposure to sensitisers Frédéric CLERC, Nicolas BERTRAND, Florence PILLIERE
Understanding contact hypersensitivity: from mechanism to risk assessment Emanuela CORSINI
Universität Mailand (I)
Rubber, new allergens and preventive measures Marie-Noëlle CREPY
Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu (F)
Bisphenol A: An endocrine disruptor present in sales receipts Anne-Laure DEMIERRE
Bundesamt für Gesundheit (CH)
Sensitising substances in small enterprises Udo EICKMANN
Endocrine Disruptors and Occupational Exposure: An Overview Claude EMOND
Universität Montreal (CA)
Endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic effects Ursula GUNDERT-REMY
Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (D)
Exposure standards for allergens Dick J. J. HEEDERICK
Endocrine disruptors and epidemiological evidences: methodological challenges Jean-Bernard HENROTIN
Internal burden caused by endocrine disruptors present in the environment and at the workplace Holger KOCH
Exposure to chemicals with special hazards Antoine Leplay
Solvay (F)
Endocrine disruptors and effects on reproduction DEMETER Stéphane MALARD
Endocrine disruptors within the context of reach Simone MÜHLEGGER
Umweltbundesamt (A)
Occupational exposure to bisphenol A. Urinary biomonitoring Sophie NDAW
Occupational contact dermatitis Nadia NIKOLOVA-PAVAGEAU
Occupational respiratory allergy and astma - sensitizers and disease Monika RAULF
Occupational exposure to phthalates Urinary biomonitoring Alain ROBERT
Endocrine Disrupters: Determination of OELs and Risk Assessment for workers Christophe ROUSSELLE
Safety information on sensitising drug substances: the BESI project Sabine WERNER


Global Forum for Prevention: Symposium on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods

Singapore, September 5th, 2017

At the Global Forum for Prevention, which took place during the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at work in Singapore (3-6 September 2017), the ISSA Section on Transportation, together with the ISSA Section Chemical Industry, hosted an International Symposium, entitled: “Vision Zero: Transportation and Dangerous Goods”.

For more information, see: