Sustainable networking in OSH
Paolo Sacco: Occupational Hygienist Training, Qualification and Certification Systems
Gyula Szabó: Create, teach and apply ergonomics in educational institutions
Alison van Keulen: Renewed commitment to communicating and engaging on Vision Zero
Occupational Hygienist Training, Qualification and Certification Systems
ICS Maugeri, President of the European Platform for Occupational Hygiene (EPOH), Italy
The European Platform for Occupational Hygiene (EPOH) is a non-profit organisation founded by nine European associations of occupational hygiene professionals. Like IOHA, the International Occupational Hygiene Association, EPOH aims to improve, promote and develop the professional practice of occupational hygiene (OH). However, this commitment is developed in Europe, where specific regulations strongly influence the practice of occupational hygiene.
The figures of occupational diseases and accidents throughout Europe clearly point to inadequate management of occupational health and safety: The need for competent OH professionals is quite obvious. While legislation and international standards require competent advice in managing OH, what this competence entails is not defined, not even in the European context.
EPOH attaches priority importance to the objective of contributing to training, qualification and certification systems in the field of occupational hygiene in Europe. The EPOH is currently discussing how to fill this gap in order to involve other OSH stakeholders, including institutional and regulatory bodies.
Although HO training programs and requirements vary widely across EU countries, various advances, initiatives, and good practices provide a good starting point for creating a more homogeneous framework.
Here are some examples:
- In the UK, standards of competence and training for OH are set by the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene, part of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).
- The Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA) offers an international training scheme and qualifications framework, providing training materials in several languages. IOHA recognizes national occupational hygiene certification schemes through its National Accreditation Recognition (NAR) Committee.
- Outcome of an EU project for promoting OH in Eastern Europe, the OSHNET school, in connection with the Dokuz Eylul University of Izmir, offers courses for industrial hygiene professionals, in collaboration with two associations members of EPOH (AIDII and NvvA).
- An important standardisation effort was made by UNI, via the publication of UNI 11711:2018, which defines the requirements of knowledge, skills and competencies for the industrial hygienist’s profession.
Aware of this progress, EPOH plans to conduct a detailed analysis of the OH training and certification systems in place in each member country with the goal of reaching a minimum consensus. A special workshop, discussion documents and meetings with stakeholders are planned.
Paolo Sacco, ICS Maugeri, President of the European Platform for Occupational Hygiene (EPOH), Italy
Create, teach and apply ergonomics in educational institutions
FEES executive board member, Faculty of Mechanical and Safety Engineering, Óbuda University, Budapest, Hungary
The collaboration of the Federation of European Ergonomics Societies (FEES) and ENETOSH started in the frame of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's campaign for Healthy Workplaces.
In recent years, the two organizations jointly promoted the role of educational institutions in preventing work-related musculoskeletal diseases. In addition to the fact that the time spent in schools must not lead to health issues for students or teachers, e.g. by extended uncomfortable body position or carrying objects that are too heavy, they also have a responsibility to teach the correct sitting and standing posture, the accurate walking movements, and the right way of lifting weights.
The ergonomists in various educational institutions create, teach and apply ergonomics to ensure that educational institutions meet the requirements of healthy, safe, efficient and satisfying design. In the fit-to-human-use environment, we want to plant the need for good design into the students' values and provide all the skills and knowledge to create such environment, products or services during their work.
Ergonomics is usually taught as an independent subject or part of various professional topics. A crucial element is the practical application of ergonomics skills and knowledge when the student gains direct experience while independently solving an ergonomic problem.
The knowledge and methods of ergonomics and human factors encompasses all human characteristics, abilities and limitations, from the structure and size of the human body to cognitive and emotional functions, without forgetting the ability to work together, the resilience of the group in the event of incidents, etc. We must master methods to study human characteristics and behaviour and apply a human-centred system approach.
Ergonomics often appears in the context of furniture, machines, medical devices design, related to manual material handling, and in the creation of computer workplaces. A less well-known but equally important field of application is preventing human error and planning services. The software application field created "user experience" terminology, a recent synonym for ergonomics and human factors.
Gyula Szabó, FEES executive board member, Faculty of Mechanical and Safety Engineering, Óbuda University, Budapest, Hungary
Renewed commitment to communicating and engaging on Vision Zero
Alison van Keulen
Strategic Relationships Business Manager, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), UK
The International Section of ISSA on Education and Training for Prevention is excited to embark on a refreshed phase of focus, beginning in Autumn 2023.
As one of 14 International Prevention Sections within the ISSA Special Commission, the section brings together ISSA members who have a keen interest and passion for the role of education and training within a culture of prevention, and a strong belief that the principles of Vision Zero can and should play a key role.
The members advocate that educating on health and safety should have a place in school curricula; that highlighting risk and the importance of prevention should be commonplace to school leavers; and that safety training should be an integral part of an organisation’s safety culture.
With representatives from across the globe, representing health and safety organisations and social security focused entities, we are delighted to count ENETOSH as a member for almost ten years.
Beginning in September 2023, the section renews its commitment to communicating and engaging on Vision Zero and its essential role in education and training, by focused working groups on ‘Digitalisation’ and ‘Reaching the Unreachable’.
The working group on digitalisation will begin in earnest in discussing the role of digitalisation within a sustainable world of work. Discovering what opportunities and efficiencies it will present but also the challenges that may need to be overcome.
Further conversations will carry on in a working group focused on how essential safety and health messaging is delivered to those who are harder to reach; in countries, sectors or environments, that limit the impact of traditional conversations on health and safety.
If you would like to know more about the work of the International Section of ISSA on Education and Training for Prevention, please visit the website here.
Alison van Keulen, Strategic Relationships Business Manager, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), UK