Workplace safety and health is a global issue. So, it is no accident that the United States joined with the European Union to create an ongoing forum to address improvements in worker safety and health protections.
More than 120 participants gathered last month for the 7th Joint US-EU Occupational Safety and Health Conference in Brussels, Belgium. The conference theme, “Critical Issues on Worker Health and Safety,” provided opportunities to engage in four main topics: 1) Nanotechnology in the Workplace; 2) Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemical Substances; 3) Occupational Safety and Health in a Green Economy; and 4) Prevention of Catastrophic Accidents.
This year’s U.S. delegation to the conference was led by Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of the labor for occupational safety and health. In keynote remarks, he spoke extensively about the value of “learning from each other.” Michaels also emphasized, “…sharing ideas, leveraging resources, and finding common solutions to address occupational safety and health hazards that concern us all.” Dr. Michaels was accompanied by William Brumfield of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
During the three-day event, there was a government-to-government Special Session on Occupational Safety and Health Statistics in which the United States and the EU agreed to conduct a joint project to compare work-related fatality data. In addition, the conference plenary provided a forum to highlight collaboration on the launch of the first dedicated global wiki on occupational safety and health in 2013.