Working on health and safety in a wider context

Tim Tregenza

EU-OSHA is a key information provider not only for Europe but also the world. With the importance of the EU's role in raising labour standards around the globe clearly stated in the Community Strategy on Safety and Health at Work, the Agency works hard to improve collaboration and communication between all stakeholders in the globalised work environment. As part of this task, EU-OSHA participated in the ILO CIS regional meeting held in London for national and collaborating centres in European and Central Asian Countries.

The meeting, held on 23 and 24 November 2010 had participants from all over the region, including CIS centres from a diverse range of countries, including CIOP (Poland), IOSH (UK), and the inspectorates of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

CIS is the knowledge management arm of the ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork). Its goal is to ensure that workers and everyone concerned with their protection have access to the facts they need to prevent occupational injuries and diseases. CIS was founded in 1959 as a joint endeavour of the ILO, the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the European Coal and Steel Community (one of the predecessors of the European Union) and OSH institutions in 11 European countries. Very quickly, the CIS network of centres expanded to include members from other continents, and by now it has grown to cover 110 countries all over the world.

The meeting was focused on how the network could be developed, and considered in particular how support could be given to smaller centres, particularly during this time of economic crisis. The need for information for stakeholders to make good decisions on safety and health at work was noted and that this need was even stronger when budget pressures are strong. Good health is good business, but to achieve financial savings as well as reducing risks to workers it is necessary that those in control of budgets know how to spend the money wisely on good solutions. Information from the CIS network is instrumental in supporting these decision-makers.

Closing the meeting  Gabor Sandi, the long-time worker for the network based at the ILO in Geneva, announced that this was his last meeting as he is due to retire. All the centre representatives wished him well for the future, recognising his sterling work in promoting occupational safety and health and the CIS network.