PEROSH: collaboration for improving the quality of OSH research
PEROSH, the Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health1, is committed to empirical research and development activities for a healthier, longer and more productive working life. The partnership, founded in 2003, comprises 13 occupational safety and health (OSH) institutes affiliated to ministries and accident insurance systems and employing approximately 1,000 researchers and advisors.
With increasing globalization of the world of work, new forms of work and technology are leading to new risks, while a number of classical risks remain. Joint and transnational collaboration for maintaining, improving and transferring available knowledge on occupational health and safety issues will be fundamental if the health and safety of future generations are to be safeguarded and the competitiveness of the European economy maintained. PEROSH aims to give a wider European voice to research into working life. It reinforces and coordinates research and development efforts in occupational safety and health, creating a broad network involving not only the member institutes but also European organizations and stakeholders such as research consortia, social partners and government.
Besides sharing knowledge and information, the PEROSH partners collaborate in specific fields. More than 80 researchers are currently working together in interdisciplinary teams on the 9 different research projects that have been set up within PEROSH and are being conducted over the next 2 to 3 years: • Work and well being • Ageing of the workforce • Exposure measurements and risk assessment of nanoparticles • Identification of toxicological hazards presented by nanoparticles
• Development of a clearing house for systematic reviews in OSH
• Development of a cross-culture methodology and criteria for improved comparability of data from the EU Member States
• Workplace protection factors for respiratory devices
• Safety culture and the promotion of a zero accident vision
• Health intervention strategies for tackling musculoskeletal disorders
PEROSH research related to standardization
Standards-related research within the partnership is specifically focussed at present upon the determination of workplace protection factors for protective devices. Respiratory protective devices (RPDs) are subject to formal certification schemes throughout the world. The certification process often includes an assessment of the likely protection that can be expected from a given RPD. Studies carried out in many countries have established that the actual protection provided by a given class of RPD may be much lower than that indicated by the certification test. In view of this, a number of countries no longer use the protection factors obtained during the certification test or the nominal protection factors for assessing adequacy of the selection and use of RPD in workplaces.
One of the objectives of the PEROSH project is to deliver a standardized method and strategy for the determination of workplace protection factors for various RPDs. Besides this, a series of measurements is to be undertaken during workplace studies in order to obtain figures for the real performance of up to three types of RPD. Finally, the project will consider the effectiveness of training by comparing the “as is” situation with that following the provision of training to the wearer.
In addition, several PEROSH partners are carrying out standards-related research at their institutes. A recent example is the IFA project on safe human–robot cooperation (see article on Page 4).
The challenges of tomorrow
In order to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, PEROSH has recently convened a group in charge of dealing with the “priorities for the future”. The group includes representatives of all PEROSH members, and held its first meeting in November 2010. The basis for the discussions were the results of the PEROSH seminar organized by the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NRCWE) and the Danish Working Environment Authority in 20092.
Nele Roskams firstname.lastname@example.org