The Baltic Sea Network on Occupational Safety and Health (BSN OSH) has been operating for over 20 years. The Network started in 1995 as a small-scale endeavor of the Nordic countries and the three Baltic States under the umbrella of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Today it covers all ten countries around the Baltic Sea. The participants are the occupational health and safety institutions in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Northwest Russia, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. It is also an official knowledge network for the Northern Dimension Partnership on Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS), and a sister network to the South East European Network for Workers’ Health (SEENWH).
CENTRAL TOPICS OF DISCUSSION
The network aims at strengthening collaboration and the exchange of information on a wide range of issues concerning OSH development in the participating countries. Its topics cover OHS policy and strategies, the professional development of OSH personnel, and the creation of a knowledge base and tools, which are needed at the practical level.
ANNUAL MEETINGS AND JOINT PROJECTS
The network holds Annual Meetings. The last meeting was in Tampere in September 2016, in which the international organizations, WHO, the ILO, EU-OSHA and ICOH were also represented. It was agreed that more focus would be placed on externally funded research, the surveillance of OHS, and developing methodologies and recommendations for best practices at work. Some of the latest reports include a study on the “Severe underreporting of work injuries in many countries of the Baltic Sea region”, “Training of occupational health personnel in the BSN countries” and “Reliable occupational accident registration – indicator for prevention”.
At the beginning of 2017, a new two-year project was launched, funded by the The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): “Better prevention, identification and reporting of work-related and occupational diseases and emerging risks – Prevention Reporting Identification Work-Related and Occupational Diseases”. The expected results are lists of “comparable” occupational diseases, information on their criteria and recognition practice in the NDPHS member countries and Belorus, the estimated number of work-related diseases, and recommendations for reliably recording work-related and occupational diseases.
The network activities are currently co-ordinated by Dr Ivars Vanadziņš from the Rīgas Stradiņa Universitāte, Latvia.
The next BSN Annual Meeting will be organized by the NDPHS Expert Group of OSH on 28-30 September 2017, St Petersburg, Russia. It will be hosted by the FSBSI “Research Institute of Occupational Health”, Director Igor Bukhtiyarov and Professor Nina Rubtsova.
Timo Leino, Adj. Professor (occup. health), Chief Medical Officer
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, timo.leino(at)ttl.fi