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26/11/2012

Is it possible to gather more than 800 people to an OSH conference?

Jesper Bejer

On 19-20 November the Director of EU-OSHA, Dr Christa Sedlatschek, visited Denmark in order to meet and exchange information with key stakeholders. A comprehensive programme had been organised by the Danish Focal Point and Head of Unit Ms Charlotte Skjoldager, the Danish Working Environment Authority.

On 19 November, the Director presented the status and future challenges in OSH in the EU to more than 800 people at a conference in Nyborg, Denmark. The annual conference is organised by the Association of Health and Safety Consultants and SAM (Society for Work) and gathers a broad spectrum of EU-OSHA’s target audiences – from policy-makers to practitioners. It is a source of optimism that so many people participate in an OSH conference.

At the conference, the Focal Point had set up a successful stand disseminating EU-OSHA information. While being in Nyborg, Dr Sedlatschek also participated in a workshop discussion on the role of EU-OSHA before meeting with the Danish tripartite Focal Point network. The discussions on tripartism throughout the visit were a very positive experience showing how the existence of a forum for cooperation and the will to cooperate are beneficial to all parties – and to OSH. The Focal Points together with their national networks are of key importance to the Agency in reaching its objectives. Meeting the Focal Points and their networks and learning from them are therefore a high priority.

In Copenhagen, Director General Mr Jens Jensen, Head of Unit Ms Charlotte Skjoldager, Head of Division Ms Bitten Højmark Døjholt, and Chief of Inspection Ms Anne Therese Schultz-Petersen from the Working Environment Authority informed about current developments in OSH in Denmark. Of particular interest were the risk-based inspection approach and the way the Danish OSH Strategy is being implemented with a very focused approach. What is also very positive is that the approach is shared between the social partners and the authorities.

There was also a chance to hear from the Chairperson of the Danish Working Environment Council, Ms Lisbeth Lollike and Head of Division Ms Birgitte Schmidt Berthelsen how the tripartite Danish Working Environment Council operates. Before going back to Bilbao, Director General Mr Palle Ørbæk, Professor Ms Ulla B Vogel, Professor Mr Reiner Rugulies and Senior Researcher Mr Andreas Holtermann from  the National Research Centre for the Working Environment informed about the status of research on nano-particles, MSDs and psychosocial issues.