I’m just leaving the Congress and reflecting on the past few days. I am convinced everyone associated with CCOHS would be proud of the stature of our organization in the international forum. The Centre’s name and reputation for credible and evidence-based work is recognized globally. Due in no small part to the long term commitment of people like Abey.
I go home enriched with new knowledge and an increased network of collaboration.
There is a renewed vigour to address the growing dichotomy in occupational health and safety: from adapting to emerging psychosocial risks and implementing sophisticated controls for exposure to nanoparticles – which one researcher described as “the new asbestos” – to the most basic awareness needs amongst the expanding migrant and SME worker population in developing nations. There are great challenges ahead for CCOHS.
The Turkish Prime Minister addressed the congress about how Turkey had passed major occupational health and safety legislation this year. He spoke about the major economic and job growth in his country, but that there cannot be growth without social justice, and health and safety is one of the pillars. A very progressive vision of a country.
A lot of discussion on global strategy on health and safety in light of the present economic environment.
Outside the Halic Congress Centre in Istanbul, Turkey.
There is a need to build bridges between developed and developing countries – how appropriate from a city that is between two continents, Europe and Asia. We had been discussing the “casualization” of work and “precarious” employment (working poor) due to the new global economy, and the resulting health effects. CCOHS has to respond with a
holistic and integrated approach leading to cultural change and the sustainability of the workforce through occupational health and safety.
New H & S challenges will come from the emerging global activities such as: climate change; green jobs; nanotechnology; and, biotechnology. As well, there is an increase in migrant workers in 3D jobs (dirty/demanding/dangerous).
Just taking a quick break during the XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Istanbul, Turkey.
I have not had much time to absorb the culture, but the sights and sounds of the city are spectacular and the reception has been warm and the people friendly.
The meetings started on the Sunday before conference opening for me with the CIS Centres global network, of which CCOHS is an active member. Discussions were about best practices and what was effective in different parts of the world; then how we make the CIS more effective in getting the information to workers around the globe.
Side meetings with the ILO, WHO and others have taken up my time to establish collaborations and agreements on new programs and services that would be mutually beneficial.
There is an appetite for progress and change but all organizations are struggling with the challenges in light of restructuring and budget constraints.
I have just left the opening ceremony for the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences in Port Alberni, B.C.
Totem pole dedication ceremony
The program started with one of the most endearing traditions of the Pacific Northwest – a totem pole dedication ceremony and blessing from the elder of the local native group. This region has embraced the local culture and history of the First Nation people.
This University is about our investment in our young and their future, but they first stop to honour and reflect on the past.
In recognition of the safety and health mandate of the school, the native artists created a totem depicting a shaman healer during a healing ceremony.