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EUROSHNET Conference 2015: Improving the quality of working life

"Quality of working life" is a current buzzword. The EUROSHNET network of experts invites interested parties to its 5th European conference, to be held in Seville from 14 to 16 October, to discuss the challenges presented by the "quality of working life" for standardization, testing and certification in occupational safety and health.

The term "quality of working life" encompasses a number of different aspects, ranging from income and job security, through qualifications and further training, to the reconciliation of occupational and private life. Occupational safety and health is a key aspect. Fundamentally, the concept's intent is for people to work in a healthy environment and with safe work equipment. All stakeholders share this objective: employers benefit from high productivity, employees are protected against avoidable health hazards.

How, though, can the stakeholders and instruments all be brought together efficiently in such a way that the shared objective is reached? One conclusion from the 4th EUROSHNET conference, held in Helsinki in 2012, was that market surveillance has an important role to play in product safety. In consideration of the scarcity of resources however, a call was made for closer co-operation between the market surveillance bodies and for a division of labour at European level, for example by further development and wider use of the ICSMS network. Users, public authorities and market surveillance bodies were also encouraged to become more involved in standardization, since they possess valuable experience from the field that would not otherwise be used. Product users in particular have lacked opportunities to provide feedback of their experiences, both within companies and to manufacturers and standards committees.

An invitation to Seville

The 5th conference, to be held in Seville and hosted by INSHT, the Spanish OSH institute, takes a fresh look at how people can remain healthy and work productively, longer. What contribution can be made to this by the various instruments of occupational safety and health, such as standardization, testing and certification, regulation, market surveillance, research and co-operation? How can these elements be used intelligently in combination such that the quality of work is improved effectively?

Come to Seville to discuss these issues with manufacturers and users of products, delegates from European and national authorities, employees at OSH institutions, and other OSH stakeholders. Interactive programme elements such as the "World Café" will give participants the opportunity to contribute their own experience and ideas.

Delegates from the European Commission will report on changes planned by the EU in the area of product safety and occupational safety and health. Further talks will address the controversial ISO standardization project concerning OSH management systems, the growing standardization of services, and the opportunities for and limits to the certification of the qualifications and skills of persons.

An entire afternoon will be devoted to workshops that will examine the OSH instruments referred to above more closely. Participants can choose from six topics and share their experience, develop their ideas and extend their personal networks in small groups.

On the final day of the conference, delegates from the spheres of standardization, testing and certification, regulation, research, market surveillance and co-operation will summarize how these instruments can be further developed and combined for the purposes of occupational safety and health in the coming decade.

In the accompanying poster exhibition, experts have the opportunity to present projects in progress or the results of their work. The deadline for the submission of poster proposals is 12 June 2015.

Practical information

The main conference language will be English. Simultaneous translation into German, French and Spanish will be provided for lectures and panel discussions.

Register by 31 May 2015 to take advantage of our early-bird discount.

The detailed conference programme, information on the venue, hotels and travel information and the registration form.

Sonja Miesner

Michael Robert