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ls Work Bad for You?

Popular perception is that working conditions are now so over-regulated the only people likely to be injured at work are bosses, strangled by red tape. But beware a hidden epidemic raging in British workplaces. ln this post-industrial age, when most jobs are in light industry, information technology and the service sector, we expect working life to be relatively comfortable and at the very least safe. We don’t expect to be maimed, laid off for life or to work ourselves into the ground.

Think again. ln the UK there are still 1.6 million workplace injuries every year as well as 2.2 million cases of ill health caused by work. Some of these injuries wouldn’t have been out of place in Charles Dickens’ England. Last year 350 people died as a result of building site accidents, a large increase on previous years. But some of the worst dangers are the hidden ones. 400,000 cases of asthma are caused by working conditions, exposure to high levels of dust or traffic pollution, and asbestos still kills over 4,000 people a year.

There are no regulations at present requiring owners to record the presence of asbestos, meaning that builders and firefighters have no way of anticipating the problem. However, a non-profit organisation has taken up the issue with a new database launched in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress.

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Exploring the internet

The internet has swiftly become an indispensable tool for travellers, with the travel sector, established as one of the mainstays of e-commerce. Much like an unfamiliar city, however , the Web can be a daunting place to explore on your own. Even if you have some idea of where you’re heading, you can stumble into many blind alleys along the way. All you need to know is how to go online in the first place; if you don’t know that, buy our excellent companion volume, the Rough Guide to the Internet.

The most obvious appeal of using the Net for travel arrangements is that if you know exactly what you want – a flight or ferry from A to B, the cheapest possible rental car, a cut-price all-inclusive package – there are great deals to be found. That’s just one small part of the process, however. The Net can help you to choose a destination in the first place, using sites that cover the whole world as well as those focusing on particular countries or cities and to decide where you want to stay and how you’re going to spend your time.