10th EWHN Conference for labour & occupational health and safety representatives and professionals
“Workers finding a voice in a new Europe"
Friday September 29th to Sunday October 1st 2006, 
Baltic Beach Hotel, Majori, Jurmula, 



Key workshops

Info meetings

National networks

Topical workshops

go to conference report



Topic-based Workshops (2 sessions)

These workshops are based on more specific issues

Only very brief summary information is available for some of these workshops at the time of producing this programme.


Topic workshop title



Chemical Management in SMEs

Many indices are confirming severe problems and shortcomings within smaller enterprises regarding the management of dangerous chemical substances. This may be due to the specific characteristics of SMEs, the lack of supportive structures, or the limited capacity of regulatory inspectors and OHS professionals to reach and influence the smaller enterprises.

This workshop will

·     exchange experiences and

·     discuss selected examples of best practice techniques to manage chemical risks in SMEs, applied in different European countries.

Henning Wriedt (D) & Günther Kittel (A)



Consideration of the current move towards reducing regulation in business to allow for less impact on employers. 

How does this affect workers’ rights and safety?

Charles Woolfson (Sco)


Diversity, health and safety at work – Whose health and safety is it anyway?

This workshop will look at

·     the challenges facing us in improving health and safety at work for an increasingly diverse workforce

·     the opportunities that exist for developing strategic approaches to the treatment of diversity in occupational health and safety (OSH)

·     the key principles underpinning the diversity agenda

·     strategies and practical steps that could help take the equality and diversity agenda forward in workplaces in different parts of Europe

·     examples of good practice, and lessons learned from experience in different countries

There will be opportunities for group activities, contributions and discussion of shared experiences. At the end of the workshop there will be time for action planning. Participants will be able to identify action points for government, trade unions and employers in the context of their own national situations as well as for Europe as a whole.

Jane Paul (ENG) & Gea Breet (NL)



Particles blowing in the wind; Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return; Raise plenty of dust; Bite the dust; Throw dust in a persons eyes; Not having a particle of common sense.

Dust and particles are in every language part of a lot of sayings. Maybe because dust and particles are everywhere.  At the shop floor dust and particles are not a laughing matter.  Millions of workers in industry, agriculture, wood and building industry and those who work in laboratories are exposed to all kinds of particles and to dust.  Sometimes there are maximum exposure levels but most of the times it is just dust!

This workshop will share experiences, list problems, do's and don'ts; discuss possible answers, opportunities and how to involve allies.

Nol Verhaaff and Johan Huver, (NL)


Labour Inspectorate

How do different national labour and safety inspection regimes work and how effective are they?  Is there an agenda of reduction of enforcement in favour of self-regulation?  Is there an agenda of reducing the inspectorate levels?  If so, how does this affect worker safety?

Janne Hansen (DK) & Elsbeth Huber (A)


Mobbing, Bullying and Harassment

The issues of violence and harassment in the workplace have aroused considerable interest across Europe in recent years. There remains a great disparity between awareness and recognition of the problem in the different European countries. The real extent of the problem remains unknown, but findings from surveys on working conditions suggest that the problem affects a substantial part of the workforce in Member States.

Workshop tasks

1.      Evaluate and estimate the impact of the problem at European level

2.      Recognition and identification of workplace mobbing, bullying and harassment

3.      Recognition and identification of workplace mobbing, bullying and harassment as Company strategies particularly at multinational level

4.      Establishing a network among European workers, TU and experts to:

a. identify and face the problem, including action at Governments’ and Commission level

b.  act as “help centre” for Workers, Organisations and Groups at European Level

c.    Indicate struggle strategies against the phenomenon

d.    Indicate strategy for counselling, care and compensation

Graziano Frigeri (I)


Occupational Health Services  Finding a common basis for defending workers' health

In the 'old' EU member states there was a kind of agreement (together with the framework directive) to make OH services comparable within the member states.  Even where the tasks and types of Professionals working in an OH service vary a lot, (some focussing on medical examination, some dominated by unions, main action on the workplace, some focused on sickness absence, others on prevention, public or private, compulsory/partly compulsory/voluntarily provided etc.), the overall outcomes are not always the same.

The accession of new member states to the EU represents a major development. While their specific needs in OH must be addressed, the structure and functioning of the OH services in the accession states cannot be assumed to follow models in the 'old' EU. While OH related questions are becoming increasingly  complex the financial and human resources in all EU member states remain limited.  From our various points of view a common strategy across the EU is necessary from the very beginning.

In our workshop we want to share our experiences and to look for a common basis to defend all our interests.  Also we should face very clearly the historically different circumstances and developments.  Only good communication at grass-roots level can avoid us being played off one against the other.

Questions we should touch at least:

·         Are OH professionals a help or hindrance to workers who are off work through ill health/injury and in their return to work?

·         Is health promotion “beating” prevention? Is the responsibility slowly drifting to the workers themselves? How can we work on this?

Brigitte Schigutt (A) & Simon Pickvance (ENG)


Workplace Health Promotion

Workplace Health Promotion can mean different things to different groups of people.  How do trade unions, employers, governments see it?  What do we mean by health promotion in the workplace?  The workshop will explore the relationship of workplace health promotion to occupational health and health and safety and the importance of collaboration and integration between three disciplines/activities.  We will look at the principles of health promotion, as agreed internationally and articulated through the World Health Organisation.  Important gaps in the present management of occupational health and safety will be identified.  The process of developing workplace health promotion programmes will be discussed.  We will also look at the problems people often face in undertaking this work and  how they might be overcome. Delegates will have an opportunity to talk about health promotion work they are involved in or know about in their own countries and to hear from others.  There will be time to think about the key hazards/risks/ areas of activity for workplace health promotion, for example, working hours/work-life balance; mental health/stress; violence and aggression; alcohol/drugs/smoking….We will also discuss current political pressures on workplace health promotion and some of the potential  pitfalls, for example workplace health promotion being used to cover up poor management of basic health and safety.  We will aim to pull together key points and recommendations for participants and the conference.

Gerhard Elsigan (A) & Cathy Jenkins (SCO)



Campaigning on asbestos; an introduction based on the Scottish
experience. To be discussed the need for local, national and international campaigning networks. 
The experience of local government in Scotland; focussing on the activities COSLA Asbestos Working Group. This allows for a discussion on the responsibilities of local, national and regional governments and the role of enforcement agencies and democratically-elected bodies.
Compensation for asbestos victims; A presentation on UK facilitating a discussion which aims to compare and contrast support systems in participating countries.

Tommy Gorman (UK)