About BSN

The BSN aims at bringing the essential country information in OH&S to everybodys reach in constantly transmitting up-to-date information in the Network data sources. It offers an easy and immediate access to country information in the Baltic Sea region also for users in other countries. The Network facilitates the search of information in keeping up useful links to other OH&S information sources.

The BSN is a forum for transmitting and developing good models and good practice guidelines, and for disseminating information on training possibilities in OH&S in the member countries.

In creating permanent contacts between experts and OH&S institutions, the Network can provide support to OH&S authorities when needed, and encourage the countries to develop national networking arrangements in order to strengthen the collaboration between OH&S institutions and organizations and to develop the OH&S infrastructure within each country. Further, the Network offers a framework and stimulation for joint bilateral and multilateral projects among the member countries.

 

Background

The Baltic countries, as well as Poland and Russia, are in transition, and this poses great demands for streamlining their occupational health and safety systems. In order to facilitate the restructuring of occupational health and safety (OH&S) in these countries, consultations have been held, especially within the framework of the WHO  programmes. One of the central conclusions of these meetings has been the realization of immediate needs for strengthening information systems that support the development of occupational health and safety in these countries, especially by supporting the expert advisory services.

The idea of establishing a telematic network first came up in a WHO Consultation in 1995. The Consultation was organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and its purpose was to chart the present situation and planned programmes in OH&S in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with the aim to strengthen their occupational health and safety services. Additional purposes were to review and discuss the technical and educational support rendered so far to the Baltic countries, and to investigate the type of support needed in the future. The meeting also discussed the possible mechanisms and ways of international assistance to support the development of the work environment, safety and health services in the Baltic countries.

The establishment of the telematic information network was agreed upon by the participants of the Consultation. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) was appointed the secretariat of the Network. The web-site was opened in 1997.

 

Strategy

The Baltic Sea Network on Occupational Health and Safety (BSN) is a regional network of ten countries around the Baltic Sea. The participants are the occupational health and safety (OH&S) institutions in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Northwest Russia, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

1. Background

The establishment of a telematic information network was agreed upon in a meeting dealing with the strengthening of occupational health services in Baltic countries, organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in 1995. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) was appointed the secretariat of the Network. The web-site was opened in 1997.

2. Mission of the Network

The Baltic Sea Network is an expert information network. Its purpose is to strengthen peer-to-peer networking and collaboration of expert institutions and respective bodies in OH&S, between and within countries in the Baltic Sea region. A major function of the BSN is to make OH&S information accessible through internet.

3. Structure of the Network

The Network has a decentralized architecture between fully autonomous national focal points in each country. All institutions participate on a voluntary peer-to-peer basis, and are responsible for the content, quality and maintenance of their own country information. The focal points produce, collect, reposit and update the information on their pages in their national servers.

The following institutions act as focal points of the Network:

  • National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark
  • Ministry of Social Affairs, Working Environment Department, Estonia
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland
  • Kooperationsstelle Hamburg, Germany
  • Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, Riga Stradins University, Latvia
  • Occupational Health Centre, Institute of Hygiene, Lithuania
  • North-Western State Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • National Institute of Occupational Health, Norway
  • Directorate of Labour Inspection, Norway
  • Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Poland
  • Swedish Work Environment Authority, Sweden.

The regional main homepage of the Network is maintained by the FIOH. As a technical focal point, the FIOH gives secretarial support e.g. in organizing meetings, and technical support especially for the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia.

Regular meetings for Network country coordinators are organized once or twice a year. These meetings discuss and agree on guidelines and directions for improving the structure and contents of regional and national information, also from the technical point of view. The Network offers one forum for regional collaboration of experts in the field of OH&S in an integrated Europe.

The Network is an independent arrangement without official connections to any organizations and it complements other existing networks in the field of OH&S.

4. Tasks

The BSN aims at bringing the essential country information in OH&S to everybody’s reach in constantly transmitting up-to-date information in the Network data sources. It offers an easy and immediate access to country information on the Baltic Sea region also for experts in other countries. The Network facilitates the search of information in keeping up links to other OH&S information sources.

The BSN is a forum for transmitting and developing good models and good practice guidelines, and for disseminating information on training possibilities in OH&S in the member countries.

In creating permanent contacts between experts and OH&S institutions, the Network can provide support to OH&S authorities when needed, and encourage the countries to develop national networking arrangements in order to strengthen the collaboration between OH&S institutions and organizations and to develop the OH&S infrastructure within each country. Further, the Network may offer a framework and stimulation for joint bilateral and multilateral projects among the member countries.

5. Contents of the Network www-pages

The Baltic Sea Network uses Internet technologies for information distribution. The regional main homepage contains information about the Network, links to international organizations, and electronic publications. It also gives access to each participating country’s national homepage. Besides producing pages in English language, the BSN encourages the participating countries to produce and collect network information in their national languages.

The basic structure of the Baltic Sea Network www-pages has been standardised. Country homepages have the following main categories:

  • background information
  • contact information
  • organizational profiles
  • occupational health and safety information sources
  • information by subject areas
  • news and activities
  • training, courses and conferences
  • legislation.