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EUROPEAN AGENCY AND OAS TO JOIN FORCES TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK

  November 20, 2003

Efforts to improve the safety and health conditions of over 200 million workers throughout the Americas have taken a major step forward with the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development,/a> (IACD) agreeing to join the online information network of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EASHW).

The joint website will serve as the portal for occupational safety and health (OSH) information and activities in the region and provide direct access to the IACD’s extensive European and international information network. At the same time the two organizations have agreed to look at how horizontal cooperation projects could be developed and implemented in the future.

Commenting on the arrangement, the Director of the European Agency, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, said: “Workplace safety and health is a matter of global concern and geographical barriers should not stand in the way of the flow of information that can raise safety and health standards in workplaces across the world. Through this cooperation arrangement, businesses, workers and experts in Europe and the Americas will be better informed in the future about regulatory demands, new research findings and best practices on both sides of the Atlantic. And therefore be in a better position to meet the safety and health challenges of globalization.”

IACD Director General Ronald Scheman, commented: “An exploding labor force, high levels of unemployment and the growing number of workers in the informal sector in many OAS's member countries has seriously affected occupational safety and health conditions. The IACD in coordination with the OAS's Unit for Social Development and Education is committed to assisting member countries to develop good workplace safety and health practices and legislation by identifying successful consolidated programs and transferring experiences and know-how. Our link up with the European Agency provides access to one of the world’s largest repositories of OSH information.”


Further information

Press contacts: Eke Heetveld or Finn Sheye, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Tel: +34 94 479 4386 or +34 94 479 4368 emails: heetveld@osha.eu.int or sheye@osha.eu.int
Antoine Chevrier, Inter American Agency for Cooperation and Development/OAS, Tel: (202) 458 6259, email: achevrier@oas.org
Other inquiries: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via 33, E-48009 Bilbao, Spain, email: information@osha.eu.int, fax: +34 94 479 4383

Notes for editors

1. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was set up by the European Union to help meet the information needs in the field of occupational safety and health. Based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency aims to improve the lives of people at work by stimulating the flow of technical, scientific and economic information between all those involved in OSH issues.

2. The mission of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development is to tap the considerable capabilities of the member and observer states of the OAS and forge new private/public-sector partnerships to help the people of the Americas overcome poverty, benefit from the digital revolution and advance their economic and social development. The IACD has placed high priority on the development of practical measures to implement corporate social responsibility in the Americas – including safety and health at work.

Reference: IACD-11-21