KANBrief 4/11

EUROSHNET organizes conference on product safety

In Europe, a large number of players are involved in regulation, standardization, testing and certification in the area of occupational safety and health. In order to assure, over the long term, the safety of products used at workplaces, it is essential that all stakeholders co-operate actively and pool information and new findings.

A modern form of such an exchange goes beyond participation in established working groups, and increasingly also involves the use of web-based platforms. The benefit of the latter is that contacts can be forged easily and discussions conducted informally, without travel and without substantial time commitment. The EUROSHNET network of experts is geared specifically to the needs in the sphere of occupational safety and health. It is open to experts from OSH institutions who are involved in standardization, testing, certification or research. At present, it is used by approximately 500 experts from 24 countries.

In order to step up personal discussion between its registered experts and other groups, EUROSHNET supplements the online discussions with conferences held at regular intervals. The most recent event, held in 2008 in Cracow, showed that EUROSHNET conferences have a long-lasting impact. At this conference, the Cracow Memorandum, which had been drawn up beforehand in EUROSHNET, was presented, discussed with representatives of the European Commission, and adopted. The CEN Strategic Advisory Body for Occupational Health and Safety (CEN/SAB OHS) is now using the memorandum, with its principles and proposals for European standardization, as a basis for its activities. SAB OHS and EUROSHNET have also agreed to exchange information at regular intervals.

4th European conference in Helsinki

EUROSHNET will be holding the 4th European conference on standardization, testing and certification in the field of occupational safety and health at Espoo near Helsinki from 26 to 28 June 2012, under the heading "Stakeholder interaction – the key to product safety". The event places particular emphasis upon the networking of all parties involved in product safety. The mix of papers and interactive programme elements offers the participants the opportunity to forge contacts. The target group includes European and national authorities, OSH institutions, the social partners, standards bodies, market surveillance authorities, testing and certification bodies, product manufacturers and importers, OSH experts active in standardization, testing and certification, and academic and research institutes.

Forging contacts and developing ideas

Following the opening papers, inspiration for the remainder of the event will be generated on the first day of the conference with a "World Café", in which the participants will address certain questions in a relaxed atmosphere in small groups. The results of these discussions will be taken up later in the conference, and discussed further.

On the second day of the conference, delegates will be able to choose from five parallel workshops in the morning and another five during the afternoon. The workshops will examine the topic of product safety and the networking of the stakeholders from a number of specialist viewpoints. The range of topics is broad: CE marking and certification marks, challenges facing the standardization of personal protective equipment in the future, standardization as an instrument for the implementation of research results, feedback of user experience to the standardization process, diversity among employees, new technologies and innovative products, risk assessment, etc.

What will the face of standardization, testing and certification, market surveillance and research be in 2022? On the final day, representatives from these areas will describe the developments and challenges they anticipate in the coming 10 years.

Practical information

The main conference language is English, with simultaneous German and French translation of papers and panel discussions. Take advantage of the early-booking discount, and register  by 31 March 2012. We look forward to welcoming you in Finland from 26 to 28 June 2012.

Sonja Miesner