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October 25, 2006

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European standard moves closer

A European standard for health and safety professionals is closer to becoming a reality following an ENSHPO (European Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations) meeting held in Rome in September.

ENSHPO members agreed the new standard, and are currently working on Europe-wide certification and a Code of Conduct. The certification will allow eligible health and safety practitioners to use the designation EurOSHM (European Occupational Safety and Health Manager).

Richard Jones, IOSH’s director of technical affairs and the vice chair of the ENSHPO Executive Committee, said: “The new standard will be at a level that means all chartered IOSH members and those non-chartered members with sufficient qualifications and experience, will be able to apply for the award to ENSHPO’s Certification Committee, chaired by Professor Andrew Hale.

“This is a significant step forward for European health and safety professionals. It’s intended this will eventually help achieve a common standard of health and safety practice throughout Europe and lead to easier recognition of equivalent qualification across member states.

“Creating an agreed standard is important because we all work within a common legal framework and face similar challenges requiring similar competencies, such as tackling musculoskeletal disorders and stress, and dealing with the health and safety implications of migration, terrorism, climate change and ageing population. Increasingly, practitioners may work across borders and employers in different countries need an easy way to identify a certain level of competence in those offering services.

“Following agreement in principle, there is further work for ENSHPO to do on implementation arrangements. We hope to finalise the scheme for the pan-European certification standard in 2007 and also to work on producing a technician level European standard in the near future.”

IOSH is the Secretariat of ENSHPO and was a driving force behind its creation in 2001. There are 14 member countries at present, including the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

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