Commissioned by British Glass, our members and the IOSH Research Committee, a research project into reliable industrial measurement of core body temperature in industrial environments through non-intrusive means has now reached publication.
The project aimed to establish a consistent relationship between core body temperature and that of the tympanic membrane of the ear in order to identify a non-intrusive method of monitoring workers’ core body temperature.
The project involved field data study in workplace environments where individuals are exposed to elevated temperatures, including furnace operations in both glass and cast-metals manufacture. Individuals in these organisations volunteered to participate in the study and ingested a temperature-sensitive intra-gastric pill – which provides a reliable measure of the core body temperature. Field study by IOM’s professional staff compared the data from these intra-gastric pills to temperatures taken using a non-intrusive infra-red thermometer.
At this time, the only reliable method for establishing an individual’s core body temperature has been the use of rectal thermometers or through the use of the temperature-sensitive intra-gastric pill – neither of which are feasible in most industrial environments where the threat of Heat Stress can be a concern.
This project, “Reliable Industrial Measurement of Core Body Temperature”, identified a methodology for the use of non-intrusive infra-red thermometers however at this time has not established sufficient reliability for this to be used as a monitoring or screening tool to prevent excessive heat exposure, but provides useful guidance and feedback for management of hot-work processes.
Conducted by the Institute of Occupational Medicine Ltd ( IOM), this project was funded by British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation and its’ members, IOSH and a number of trade unions and trade federations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who supported this initial project have now released additional funding for a second project, which aims to improve the reliability of the test-method through device and measurement errors.
In his Pre-budget report the chancellor effectively indicated through changes in tax rules that he would increase the cost of UK manufacture of essential basic materials for the construction of wind turbines, solar panels, photovoltaics, insulation and advanced thermal glazing. The argument being that this would save energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
The flat and fibre glass industry in the UK makes products which everyone knows, apart from the chancellor it seems, go into products which either reduce energy consumption or actually generate green, renewable electricity. Without these products, listed in the UK Low Carbon Transition Strategy, it is impossible for the UK to meet its own targets and those it is pushing others so strongly for at Copenhagen. Yet in his Pre-budget report the chancellor has just increased the cost of manufacturing these products in the UK, preferring it would seem that customers source these materials more cheaply outside the UK and allowing the UK government to claim that the UK has reduced its own carbon emissions.
Like all UK businesses the flat and fibre glass sectors pay the Climate Change Levy. Because energy intensive industries (EII) would be shut down if they had to pay the full tax (you can’t melt sand without energy!) glass and other EIIs qualify for an 80% relief if they meet the government agreed, tight, energy reduction targets. Glass has consistently done this for nearly ten years despite continued target tightening. After the 2004 review, targets in practice became aspirational, so they purchased carbon credits thus diverting money into the carbon trading markets for others to take advantage of where it is actually possible under the laws of physics to make such savings. Despite this financial haemorrhage the UK flat glass industry invested heavily to produce the coated glasses needed to meet the new mandatory building regulations to combat climate change and now they are trying to invest in the production of essential low iron glasses for solar applications.
The chancellor’s Christmas gift in this Pre-budget report has been to drop the tax relief from 80% to 65% without apparently a thought for the consequences either from the point of view of UK employment or ultimate carbon reduction. Across the glass industry this means that each year the whole of UK glass manufacturing will have to find another £2.25M. Key climate change manufacturers, flat and fibre glass will have to find getting on for another £1M each year. The timing of this change coincides with the proposed increase in national insurance costs. If UK industry can pass these costs on, it will put the cost of these products up for the people who are being encouraged by the government to install them. The result being that if customers won’t buy them at UK prices then inevitably there will be more imports and more carbon leakage. It is one thing for the country to boast about being green but not if it is merely shifting its manufacturing carbon emissions abroad!