Coronavirus chemicals update, 20th October 2021

Dear Friend,

Happy Wednesday!

It’s Day 576 of Semi-lockdown, and it’s currently dry but cloudy, and due to rain later on. Dreich, as we Scots say.

Masks for coronavirus in Scotland – a correction

On Monday, I made something of a throwaway comment on the mask rules in Scotland, as I have a funeral to attend there on Friday, and I think the mask rules will make an already desperately sad situation much worse.

My exact words were: Interestingly, this article notes that “In Scotland, which still has mask rules, cases per capita are higher despite the tougher restrictions“. Surely that means that mask wearing is not affecting the spread of coronavirus, in which case why is it still required there?”

However, as Peter Robins has pointed out:

Correlation is not Causation…

This doesn’t necessarily apply either, but is an alternative hypothesis:

we are entering the “colds and flu season” with a general increase in respiratory diseases. Yesterday was very Autumnal here but it was the first real such day, but I would suppose that the season starts earlier, the further north that you go. In which case we in the effete South have that delight yet to come.

And Alan Ritchie of WSP said:

I think you might want to be fairly cautious about drawing conclusions about the efficacy of the mask mandate based on comparison of English and Scottish COVID rates. The reasons for the statistics might be any one or more of the following:

  1. Although there is no mask mandate in England, mask mandates may be being ignored in Scotland by some individuals and, additionally mask wearing remains the norm in England on public transport and quite a significant number of people are still wearing them in crowded areas, supermarkets etc.
  2. Social habits may differ.
  3. Scots are tougher than English people (of course)!
  4. I’m sure there are other reasons as well, but can’t think of any!

Both Peter and Alan are correct, of course, it was a comment made through grief rather than logically. I think it just shows how easy it is to put a spin on a situation when you are emotionally involved in it, something we should all try to avoid as scientists and engineers (much easier said than done!).

PCN portal acceptance document

Heidi Rasikari of ECHA, who runs their excellent Poison Centre Notification discussion group on LinkedIn (if you have to use ECHA’s portal, you can join this group here:, has mentioned that the only place you can get the most up to date document on Poison Centre Portal acceptance is in the group itself.

Apparently this is due to problems with ECHA being able to publish pdfs. Given that this document was published in August this year, it is clear that these problems have been around for some time.

I’ve downloaded it in case this of interest to any readers, it’s version 8.1, August 2021: Implementatino of Annex VIII to CLP Regulation version 8.1 August 2021.pdf .

The member states which are listed as not accepting Poison Centre Notification via the Portal, but only through their own systems are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Slovakia.

The EU’s Green Deal workload for 2022

The headlong rush towards “greening” the EU continues. Aaron McLoughlin of Fleishman Hillard has posted their workload document:… and comments on LinkedIn – “No sabbatical for 2022 for anyone working on the European Green Deal”.

Hydrogen is unlikely to be the answer to the energy crisis

Here in the UK we are not immune from people rushing headlong from proven technologies into an unknown, allegedly greener future.

It’s not just the child-like faith of the green lobby in the idea that you can somehow replace hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones which will still be effective, and do it quickly and easily, as if there’s a Magic Chemicals Tree….

It’s also true of the rush to Hydrogen, as if that somehow will solve the UK’s current, structural energy problems. Tom Baxter has an excellent article in The Chemical Engineer on some of the problems with Hydrogen as a domestic fuel:… . Tom also notes that some large businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, whether they have any expertise in this area or not:… .

Job and Skills

There are 2,047 Regulatory Affairs jobs, and 57,044 Health and Safety jobs in the UK posted on LinkedIn this morning, both figures have increased significantly since last week. There are obviously rhythms to job postings on linked in, a bit like waves, and if you’re looking for work, it can help to accept that the numbers of jobs available will fluctuate.

There is a new sales and customer adviser job at Vickers Labs, who are at Pudsey in Leeds:…

Yara are looking for a glasshouse technician at their Pocklington site near York:

Process Safety Corner

Recent incidents:

Tony Ennis of Haztech Consultants one of my chemical engineering colleagues, is a DSEAR expert, and has recently come across a wiring set up which is completely illegal, not to mention unsafe, see…

Following last week’s podcast on Delta Hazop, the IChemE Safety Centre have published a document about it:…. and… (where you can download all their free documents from).

Nippin Anand is running a free webinar with Rob Long on Ethos and Ethics on Oct 28, 2021 at 08:30 AM: . What is particularly interesting about this is that Rob Long thinks that Health and Safety should be seen as a “helping” profession, like medicine.

Nippin is also running a paid for session on Networks of influence maps and accidents/ incidents: . and…. This is a paid-for workshop, held online in 4 sessions on successive days, on a very interesting concept.

Reasons to be cheerful

Continuing our Griff Rhys Jones/ Holsten Pils clips, today we have Griff Rhys Jones and Edward G Robinson:

; and Griff Rhys Jones and Steve McQueen: 


Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter today. As usual, if you have anything you’d like to share, please email me and I’ll do my best to include it in the next newsletter.

I hope you and your family and friends are all safe and well, and I hope to be able to write to you again on Friday.

Kind regards,


Janet Greenwood

TT Environmental Ltd