'European safety and health manager'

A European standard for health and safety professionals is closer to becoming a reality.

Members of the ENSHPO Coordinating Committee have agreed to create a 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).

The draft document is being finalized and a Certification Committee, chaired by Professor Andrew Hale, is now in place.

This is a significant step forward for European health and safety professionals. It is intended that 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 the levels of competence of those offering services.

There is still further work for ENSHPO to do on the implementation arrangements. It is hoped to finalize the scheme for the pan-European certification standard in 2008 and also to work on producing a technician level European standard in the near future.