International dimension of safety
An extraordinarily dynamic development in the Institute’s international cooperation has taken place within the last decade, especially following Poland’s accession to the EU, and this cooperation now constitutes a very important part of the Institute’s activity. It mainly appears in the form of international projects; bilateral cooperation with foreign centres, scientific networks and international organisations; participation in the works of advisory bodies to the European Commission; and the participation of Institute employees in foreign scientific conferences, as well as the organisation of such conferences and other meetings at the Institute. The Institute has also participated in projects within European Union Framework Programmes. The first of those projects were realized under the EU 5th Framework Programme (1998-2002), and the participation gradually increased in successive EU Framework Programmes.
The most important international projects conducted with significant Institute participation within EU Framework Programmes include:
- Centre for Testing and Measurement for Improvement of Safety of Products and Working Life – TEST-PRO-SAFETY-LIFE (FP5, 2002-2004)
- Investigation of Premature Departure from Work – NEXT Study (FP5, 2004-2005)
- New and Emerging Risks in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) – Anticipating and Dealing with Change in the Workplace Through Co-ordination of OSH Risk Research – NEW OSH ERA (FP6, 2006-2010)
- Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields: from Science to Public Health and Safer Workplace – EMF-NET (FP6, 2006-2008)
- Development of a European Psychosocial Risk Management Framework PRIMA-EF (FP6, 2006-2008)
- Inflammatory and genotoxic effects of engineered nanomaterials NANOSH (FP6, 2006-2009)
- Intelligent PPE system for personnel in high risk and complex environments – i-Protect (FP7, 2009-2012) – the idea of the project topic and of the consortium formation was developed by the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, which subsequently assumed the role of project coordinator
- Novel Concepts, Methods, and Technologies for the Production of Portable, Easyto - Use Devices for the Measurement and Analysis of Airborne Engineered Nanoparticles in Workplace Air – NANODEVICE (FP7, 2008-2011)
- Innovative Nanostructured Optochemical Sensors – INGENIOUS (FP7, 2009-2012).
Since 2004, the Institute has also been conducting Topic Centre
projects funded with EU resources by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
headquartered in Bilbao, the subjects of which include examples and analysis of best practice, and analysis of occupational safety and health research and other data originating from Member States. Three such projects, coordinated by the Institute, have been conducted by countries applying for EU membership. Between 2005 and 2008, the Institute participated in further projects – the Topic Centre Risk Observatory and the Topic Centre Working Environment
, and, since 2009, in the Topic Centre Occupational Safety and Health
Moreover, the Institute participates in international projects funded with EU resources (e.g. PROGRESS, Leonardo da Vinci, COST or service contracts) or by other sources, such as non-refundable foreign aid programmes. As part of the PROGRESS EU programme planned for 2007-2013 on employment and social solidarity, established to financially support the implementation of European Union objectives in employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, as set out in the Social Agenda, the Institute participates in several projects on ‘Working conditions’.
The Institute also cooperates internationally within network structures. At present, they include:
- International Group of Directors of Occupational Safety and Health Research Institutes – the Sheffield Group is an informal group established in 1989 on the initiative of the UK Health and Safety Executive/Health and Safety Laboratory. Group members include CEOs of leading institutes in European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, and others; all members meet annually.
- PEROSH – Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health – a network of institutes dealing with occupational safety and health in EU countries. The aim of PEROSH activity is cooperation and
coordination in research conducted by individual institutes to achieve a healthier, longer and more productive professional life for employees.
- EUROSHNET – EURopean Occupational Safety and Health NETwork – the Institute also participates in this network, established in October 2001, which focuses on the issues of standardisation, testing and certification.
For many years now, the Institute has been cooperating with the most prominent international organisations operating in occupational safety and health – the International Labour Organisation and its component unit – the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS)
– as a national CIS centre
, as well as with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, as the Agency’s Focal Point
nominated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
The Institute employees have frequently been delegated by the Polish Government / Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to represent Poland on such European Commission bodies as:
- EURAB – European Research Advisory Board – between 2001 and 2004
- Managing Board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao – since 2004
- ACSH – Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work with the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and its working groups – since 2003 or to participate in their work as national experts, e. g. on SCOEL – the Scientific Committee for Occupational Exposure Limits to Chemical Agents – since 1995.
The participation of Institute employees in the most prominent international scientific conferences and seminars, and their presentations of the results of research conducted at the Institute in the form of lectures and posters, have made it possible to create and popularise the image of the Institute as a competent scientific entity in occupational health and safety and ergonomics which is recognised on the international forum. In practice, this has resulted, among other things, in the Institute’s scientific employees being invited to participate in numerous international projects.