CIS 50th Anniversary

CIS Newsletter

No. 237
June 2009


CIS Newsletter celebrates 21 years & still going strong!
Bringing news from Members to Members in over 154 countries in the CIS Network!


  1. Editorial
  2. Celebrating 50 years of CIS - contributions
  3. News and OSH Briefs from around the World - Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Macedonia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, UK and the USA to name a few!
  4. OSHE websites to explore
  5. Diary of Events

The CIS Newsletter is a monthly newsletter for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Occupational Health and Safety Information Centres and is edited by Sheila Pantry OBE. The CIS Newsletter is NOT an official publication of the ILO but a newsletter containing information from Members in CIS Centres and other sources and is intended to be shared by anyone who finds the data contained useful. Users are free to use and reuse the data in these newsletters.


Dear CIS Colleagues

Welcome to this very special edition of your CIS Newsletter June 2009 that celebrates with you this very special year - the 50th anniversary of the CIS network. The network has grown from the 11 founding members to over 154 National, Collaborating and Regional centres!

I do hope that you will enjoy the various contributions.

Thanks for all the publications, emails and news - these are always gratefully received and are used as soon as possible.

It is amazing how much the CIS Newsletter content gets re-used around the world. Take advantage of free publicity! Remember you can see CIS Newsletters on the web site where back issues are stored.

Details of the 2009 CIS meeting in Geneva in October 2009 are in the CIS Newsletter May 2009 edition.

Make my day... please send your news items to your Editor!

Remember... Publicity... tell them, tell them and tell them again...

All good wishes to you, your families and your colleagues.

Sheila Pantry, OBE

Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK
Tel: +44 1909 771024
Fax: +44 1909 772829

50 years of the CIS - message from Assane Diop, Executive Director
Social Protection Sector, International Labour Office

It is 50 years since the ILO's International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) was launched. Now, over 150 partner CIS centres span the globe. In managing this worldwide network of information centres and acquiring the latest research in the field of occupational safety and health, the CIS has helped reach millions of information seekers around the world, guiding them to make the right choices in all areas of workplace safety and health.

Access to reliable information on OSH means policies can be kept up to date; awareness on OSH matters raised; regulations effectively implemented; and the motivation for taking prevention measures maintained.

That is the relevance of the CIS, which has spent the past half-century giving voice to OSH issues and encouraging its information centres to spread the word.

Ignorance and misconceptions have always been the main challenges for safety and health at work. Employers may regard it as a nuisance with no effect on productivity. Workers may believe they are safe, healthy and risk-free. Decision makers may not see the need to develop policies and regulations. If we do not raise awareness of safety and health threats in the workplace, accidents and diseases will continue to claim millions of lives every day.

That is why knowledge of OSH must be shared, to make it a priority on national agendas.

Today, especially in the context of the economic crisis, international and national action needs to be mobilized. Awareness-raising on the OSH implications of the crisis can help high-level decision makers understand the scale of the problem. And working people need to be informed of the existence of effective legal and technical tools, methodologies and measures to prevent occupational accidents and diseases.

A comprehensive response to the impact of the crisis on OSH must therefore make use of the shared body of knowledge, experience and good practice in this field.

This is just one of many reasons why the CIS will go on spreading knowledge of safety and health at work as accurately and widely as possible. Only then can we hope to change attitudes, behaviour and culture, and move towards a prevention-oriented, actively engaged, responsible society.

Assane Diop
Executive Director
Social Protection Sector
International Labour Office
Geneva, May 2009

CIS - the first fifty years
by Gábor Sándi, CIS Coordinator, Geneva

CIS is approaching its 50th anniversary.

50 years is a long time in the life of an organization. It is particularly long if it deals with information in a field that deals with scientific, technical and social matters at a time of very fast change.

Let us look at what CIS was set up to do in 1959, under the direction of Mr Marcel Robert, a man of many talents, a man whom most of us can only hope to emulate. Marcel Robert had the vision to establish an information service for the (then) nascent science of occupational safety and health (OSH). People who worked in this field, or related fields, had no possibility at that time to keep abreast of all important developments in their field. In some subsets of this discipline - medicine, chemistry, engineering - they had ways of keeping up with the latest developments through indexing services (such as Index Medicus and Chemical Abstracts), especially if they lived or worked near a university library or a major research facility. But OSH is a multidisciplinary field, and it would be well nigh impossible to keep up with its various subfields even if one lived close to such a library and facility - and most people did not.

Mr. Robert had the vision to set up a service supplying cards with bibliographic and analytical information on the latest publications covering OSH - books, journal areas, laws. In order to be able to do this, he had to establish a network of centres that would supply the newly established CIS with the publications it was to analyze and index, and that would then disseminate the cards carrying CIS's output. Let us remember that all this was done in a world where electronic information processing and dissemination was not yet possible - computers were large, cumbersome (and overheating) machines that were useable for large-scale business, administrative and military applications, not for what CIS was doing.

But more than this, he assembled the human team that was to do the work. Only coherent organizations can produce coherent products. CIS from its very beginning was a team, headed by a capable leader with a vision.

Throughout the 1960s CIS grew in influence. From an all-Western European beginning in 1959 (all 11 founding members were from there), its network of centres quickly expanded to cover all inhabited continents and most major countries. From early on it had members from the other side of the Iron Curtain, and it had membership in developing countries, thus helping OSH experts from everywhere to develop a truly global approach to safety and health matters.

As time went on, CIS itself adapted to the brave new world of computers. It would not have survived if it did not. In the early 1970s, CIS established a database for the information it was handling. Today we consider this kind of thing natural - at that time it was revolutionary. The database grew and prospered, and it managed to survive several transformations into more up-to-date computer infrastructures. Significantly, it survived, while its competitors, maybe more subject to budgetary cutbacks, disappeared or lessened their scope.

Not only did the CIS information service survive, so did its network. Annual meetings, held around the world, have cemented the human network that keeps it going. These meetings came to be held in conjunction with the triennial World Congresses of Safety and Health at Work, which helped to bring people and organizations into the network who might not have heard of it otherwise.

The CIS network would not exist if it was not for its enthusiastic supporters. One of the key people among these is the editor of the CIS Newsletter, Sheila Pantry, and I can only salute her for the tremendous job she is doing boosting CIS and publicising its work.

Although CIS and its network survive, we have to worry about its future. CIS is not a stand-alone organization, it is part of the hierarchical structure of the ILO. The ILO, like all organizations, is subject to financial constraints and to the shifting priorities of its constituents: governments, labour unions and employers' organizations. These constituents must be made more aware of what CIS is doing, and to what extent its work contributes to the safety and health of workers everywhere. Only through such understanding can it assure itself another fifty years of existence.

Fifty Years of the CIS
Jukka Takala

The title sounds overly-ambitious and regrettably I can only cover a few of the very many important milestones the CIS has witnessed by touching upon some memorable occasions and hopefully providing you with some snapshots of this period.

I recall my first encounter with CIS information when I started my career in occupational safety and health as a temporary inspector at the Labour Inspectorate of the ministry in Finland in early 1973. We were working on new guides and regulations for the safeguarding of machinery and the CIS Information Sheet 10, Ergonomics of Machine Guarding of 1964, was very useful in that work. And right after that, we identified the brand new version of the 2nd edition of the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety published in 1972-73. Little did I know then that these issues would become my major preoccupation some 15-20 years later.

The first Head of CIS, its founding father Marcel Robert, had a long history in the ILO. He was the Chief of the Occupational Safety and Health Branch in the early 1950s and after constant discussions between the medical professionals on the importance of occupational health, or at that time occupational medicine, he decided to do something different. CIS was established in 1959 by the ILO Governing Body with WHO, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) - the predecessor of my present employer, the European Union - ISSA and key ILO Member States as godfathers. Marcel Robert became the first Head of CIS and played a major part in shaping the role of the CIS for some 20 years. It included a large collection of safety and health materials, a punch card system to find the documents, as well as a number of Information Sheets, publications and then later an electronic database on CIS Abstracts. And of course it included the CIS National Centres ( originally covering nine countries.

One interesting and historically significant achievement of Marcel Robert was his invention with an artist, Henri Robert, his father. Marcel asked his father to draw symbols of chemical hazards in the early 50s for an ILO Chemical Industry Committee Meeting and report, that considered the labelling of chemicals. One could not expect a wider dissemination of a piece of art. These symbols were adopted by the ILO, later by the UN Committee for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, and further by the European Communities (EEC, Euratom and ECSC). Now you find them on containers and packages of chemical substances in shops and stores in practically every Member State of the ILO and UN. They continue to be used until their gradual replacement by the new system responsible called GHS, the Globally Harmonised System for Classification and Labelling of Chemical Substances

The new GHS was equally linked to CIS when the whole process started with a comparative report of existing classification and labelling systems that was written in CIS by Isaac Obadia at the end of the 1980s. In fact, the new labels are based on the old ones while some additional pictograms were added by the CIS desktop publishing system, Ms. Christiane Melin, on the request of the GHS Committee and Isaac (;

When I started my career as the Head of CIS after Guy Juvet and Herbert Siegel in 1986 I had already been involved in setting up one CIS Centre in Thailand in 1986 and, earlier in 1981, a nucleus of another one that later became a CIS Centre in Kenya. I recall at that time in 1986 we had some 30-40 centres all in all.

View from Jukka's office window

View from my office window over the lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. In front the International Red Cross and behind the Palais des Nations

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The start was a bit of a shock in 1986 with a forceful German Georg Kliesch, micromanaging the "change" of CIS. After the Budapest Meeting of the National Centres and after many new ideas were put into practice, the number of national centres and a new category of collaborating centres started to grow.

The new issues included placing already computerized (mainframe or "minicomputer") CISDOC databases on the first ever CD-ROMs in the UN system in 1986 (SilverPlatter) and 1987-1989 (CCOHS in Canada). I recall these major achievements at the time when we "could not afford" a microcomputer and I had to bring my second private microcomputer to the Office - an IBM compatible after the first Apple fake both bought and extensively already used in the ILO Project in Bangkok. The CD-ROMs and the microcomputers were used despite the negative views of Mr. Kliesch who felt that these new inventions were just toys. However, to be fair to him, he orchestrated the start of the GHS in the ILO Conference by adopting a Resolution proposed by India after the major industrial disaster in Bhopal. Equally, the two new Conventions C 170 and C 174 on Chemicals and Major Hazards respectively were really pushed in a timely manner by him.

World Congress in Hamburg, 1990

First CD-ROMs were issued in 1987. Here they are demonstrated at a World Congress in Hamburg in 1990.
Note also the first ever mobile data link on occupational safety and health. CISDOC database was accessed wirelessly through a small - almost "pocket size" - black mobile Nokia computer next to the plasma screen used by Emmert Clevenstine, Abey or P. K. Abeytunga on the left.

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I was at that time already out of CIS (2001) and heading the InFocus Programme on SafeWork while this job included the overseeing of CIS.

Celebration in 1987

Celebration in 1987, from left Michele, Igor, our short term expert from Trinidad and Tobago, Emmert, Christiane and Jukka, also politically incorrect: drinking

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Events related to CIS between 1986-2006 I recall include most definitely the IPCS Cards and - in addition to the major ten year undertaking of establishing the GHS - very active international collaboration on chemical safety including all relevant UN organisations, OECD and later the World Bank. The UNCED 1992 Conference in Rio de Janeiro on Environment and Development was preceded by a number of preparatory conferences, and it was quite impressive to be the Head of CIS together with 105 Heads of States in the same conference room. I recall definitely Mr. George Bush senior, my earlier contact Mr. Daniel arap Moi from Kenya, and the then Prime Minister of Norway, later WHO Director General, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was sitting next to me listening to the boring statements of other Heads of State. But the real input for CIS and the ILO was the agenda 21, Chapter 19 on chemical safety, written by our international civil servants of the ILO, WHO, UNEP, that was finally adopted. As a result, not only the plans for GHS but in general all joint undertakings were endorsed at the highest possible level. Five years later I represented the ILO also at the UNCED +5 at the UN building in New York, and at that time the guest of honour was Mr. Bill Clinton.

Globally Harmonised System for Classification and Labelling of Chemical Substances (GHS)

One interesting process took place at CIS in the early 1990s: the development of the world wide web and the e-mail system. Already in 1986 there was a simple e-mail system using the European Space Centre mainframe computer and the ILO's - and those of other non-intelligent terminals. Messages of national CIS centres were left on the ESA computer in Frascati, near Rome, and accessed throughout Europe and elsewhere. In the early 90s, the first e-mail systems used the International Telecommunication Union system in Geneva. I remember also how exciting it was to "chat" online with my daughter studying at LSE in London, through the MS-DOS and UNIX commands of course. The CERN colleagues then established the first browser that became then the "Mosaic" and CIS - again the first in the ILO - established its first home pages in 1994.

First ever CIS web pages, 1994

The first ever web pages of CIS from 1994, ILO did not have any until many years later

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Using Google in May 2009 I identified the following story:

4. ILO/CIS Home Page:

Dr. Takala described this WWW initiative, which was begun just after the December, 1994, GINC meeting. This web site offers a number of resources on chemical safety, including training modules and information about data available on compact disk. Dr. Takala noted that the site had more than 1000 hits during a recent 3 week period.

Future additions to the site may include chemical safety cards in different languages, and possibly some MSDSs, although Dr. Takala noted that many MSDSs are already available on the internet

This was also one of the rare occasions in Tokyo, when I represented the ILO and Stina, my wife, represented the WHO, the secretariat of the International Programme for Chemical Safety, IPCS, a joint ILO, WHO, UNEP undertaking.

At one time I ended up in a special conference representing the ILO in a chemical safety event organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the State of the Holy See (Vatican). Pope John Paul gave a presentation and while already ageing he was very sharp and clear and spoke several languages. My colleague representing the WHO was Dr. Plestina - originally from Croatia - and he said that the Pope spoke the Croatian language Hravatska well, which I did not really believe until they indeed had an exchange of words of which I understood nothing. Probably the Vatican wanted to improve its poor relationship with natural scientists - since the time of Galileo Galilei - and radioed excerpts of our conference presentations on Chemical Safety through the Vatican Radio to tens (hundreds?) of millions of Catholic listeners.

Jukka Takala with Pope John Paul II

CIS receiving visitors or was it the other way around? Chemical Safety for Developing Countries, Workshop by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The "keynote address" was delivered by the Pope John Paul II

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One important issue that I introduced to CIS was the technical cooperation activities with developing countries. I managed to get some funding from Finland for both Africa (English-speaking) and Asia and as a result, a number of programmes were carried out. See for example: African Newsletter and the Asian-Pacific Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety.

I have been working with a number of directors in the ILO starting from Mr de Givry and Mr Eric Hellen, to Mr Spyropoulos followed by Ali Taqi, Kazu Kogi, Chandra Pinnagoda and Claude Dumont, and finally Assefa Bequele, before becoming a director of SafeWork when I first reported to the Assistant DG Mrs Chinery-Hesse, and then to Assane Diop, with the new title "Executive Director". It is difficult to compare all my bosses but probably the impact of Mr. Kliesch was the greatest, independently from his imposing style, while Claude Dumont was the one who was most supportive to CIS; it even became an independent programme under him.

We had once an evaluation by an outsider and one of his comments was that SafeWork was full of individual stars while the CIS was a "star team". Good or bad I think this was a fair comment after talking to each of our staff members.

Many of the star team members followed me as the Head of CIS starting from Michèle Nahmias, to Emmert Clevenstine and now Gabor Sandi. And I really appreciated the collaborative spirit of all the CIS team members including Christian Bolufer's effort in putting some of the history not only in an electronic format but also using his talent in drawing caricatures. I am also proud of recruiting a number of key colleagues to CIS: Igor, Begoña, Annick, Andras, Jeanne Stellman as recommended by Kliesch, she was the editor of the Encyclopaedia, Chantal, and Antero, David and others for the technical cooperation projects.

Jukka Takala with Begoña Casanueva Urcullu

My colleague Begoña Casanueva Urcullu, originally from Bilbao, one of the key reasons for me now to work at the Bilbao Agency: "it's all her fault", teaching me elementary folk dancing in a politically incorrect way - smoking.

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Celebration of the French version of the ILO Encyclopaedia

This is the celebration of the completion of the French version of the ILO Encyclopaedia. Finally it was produced in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and parts in Korean and Portuguese.
From left: Chantal, Annick, Françoise, Jukka, Gabor, Begona, Christiane, Christian (Begona baptised the last two as "los Christianos"), Emmert (all accents missing, sorry)

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I cannot finish without mentioning Sheila Pantry and all the other active members of the network - this is the lifeline and channel through which all real things take place. These excellent and relentless efforts, such as the continuous electronic Newsletter are really appreciated.

My last official function in the ILO was to participate in the National CIS Centres' meeting on Friday 13 September 2006.

National CIS Centres' meeting, 2006

National CIS Centres' meeting, 2006

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Sabine Sommer came from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in Bilbao replacing the earlier CIS link (Finn Sheye) and Sabine then welcomed me to the EU-OSHA on the following Monday.

I wish CIS and its network all the best for the future. I believe and the European Union believes that collecting, analysing and disseminating information on occupational safety and health using a network of national centres is as important as ever.

Jukka Takala
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Members around the world send their greetings

We are a CIS Centre: Canada's Tribute to the 50th CIS Anniversary

Dr. P. K. Abeytunga, Vice President and Director General, Canadian Centre for Occupational

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Congratulates CIS on their 50th Anniversary

Over the past 50 years, the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) has been providing one of world's most useful occupational health and safety services equally beneficial to both developing and developed countries. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is proud to be an active member of the CIS global network, and congratulates the CIS on its 50th Anniversary.

Cooperating with various CIS member organizations all over the world, CCOHS has had a long-standing history of close collaboration with the CIS.

"CCOHS has been member of the CIS network of national centres since CCOHS' inception almost 30 years ago, and have been an enthusiastic partner contributing to many of CIS' programs," says Dr. P. K. Abeytunga, CCOHS Vice President and Director General.

Established to facilitate the exchange of information about occupational health and safety, CIS was one of the world's earliest international cooperative information networks. Long before the advent of electronic networks of today, CIS established its service of abstracting and indexing selected documents from the occupational health and safety literature contributed by the members of its global network. For most developing countries this service was the primary unique source of access to useful occupational health and safety information emerging from around the world. The bilingual (English and French) abstracting and indexing service, first initiated in print form was subsequently computerized. In 1980, for the first time, CCOHS made this bilingual database called CISDOC available for public on-line access to users from around the world. CCOHS also was the first organization to make CISDOC available on CD-ROM for distribution throughout the world.

When the CIS created the latest version of the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health, CCOHS worked closely with the CIS in developing it on the World Wide Web and providing access to the global population.

"We'd like to congratulate CIS on celebrating their 50th Anniversary and we look forward to a long lasting relationship where we can continue to join forces on projects for the benefits of working people throughout the world," said Abeytunga.


The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), an agency of the Government of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario is Canada's national resource for the advancement of workplace health and safety. CCOHS promotes the total well-being - physical, psychosocial and mental health - of working Canadians by providing information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health and safety programs and the prevention of injury and illness. CCOHS partners and collaborates with agencies and organizations from Canada and around the world to improve the quality and quantity of resources and programs, as well as expand the breadth of usage of occupational health information to many different segments of society.

Members around the world send their greetings

CIS recollections from Finland
Irja Laamenen, FIOH, Finland

I am thinking of the 50th anniversary and what has happened to CIS and national network. I have just read my predecessor Annaliisa Larmo's reports about the meetings from 1970s and 1980s. I have summarized various events as they were reported to FIOH.

CIS started in the beginning of 1974 electronic/database based information services (ISIS system, IBM computer). Already then CIS thesaurus was used. It looks that a lot happened in 1974. ILO also moved to a new headquarter and the importance of national centres was emphasised. CIS expected national centres to be active.

In 1975 CIS meeting was in Geneva - the director of CIS was Guy Juvet (before him Marcel Robert). I wonder how many directors there has been?

In 1979 CIS celebrated its 20th anniversary and in the beginning of meeting there were welcoming addresses and compliments. Director Guy Juvet made a review of the function of CIS after 20 years in existence. CIS database became available online, but may be not all over just like today. CIS centre in Sweden was involved in this kind of development and the database was in Scannet, a Nordic network. There was a plan to connect the CIS database to EURONET, common European network. FIOH started to use CIS database. Before it we had a card catalogue.

In 1980 CIS meeting in Amsterdam Guy Juvet retired and Herbert Siegel started. It was not yet possible to search information online from Geneva, but it could be used locally in France, and Nordic countries.

Herbert Siegel retired at the end of 1985 and Jukka Takala followed him. (Not in Annaliisa's report - before taking this job Jukka visited FIOH and wanted to learn about our information services and library. Both Annaliisa and I presented the services to him). Jukka started at the ILO in Geneva in September 1986. Previously Jukka had been working in Thailand and established a new CIS centre there.

The negotiations to connect CIS database to some commercial global network had not yet succeeded despite of negotiations.

In 1982 CIS meeting was in Yugoslavia, NIS.

In 1986 the CIS meeting was in Hungary, Budapest. In Budapest was discussed about intensifying CIS work.

Members around the world send their greetings

We cooperate with you from the beginning!
The Polish National CIS Centre activities

The Polish National CIS Centre would like to convey the best congratulations to the International CIS Centre on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary!

Such a good cooperation with the Centre in Geneva as well as with other CIS Centres gives us the opportunity to spread OSH Polish information abroad and to get the latest, valuable information on the OSH research and practice in other countries. We would like to thank you very much for this cooperation!

In Poland the role of the Polish National CIS Centre is fulfilled by the Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB) in Warsaw ( The Institute started to be a CIS Centre in 1960, so only one year after the establishing in 1959 the International CIS Centre and its CIS Centres Network.

CIOP-PIB is a research institution whose main activity aims at working out new technical and organizational solutions in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH), ergonomics and the working environment. In particular, CIOP-PIB activities in the field of OSH include: research and development; determination of exposure limits values; standardization; testing and certification of machinery and manufacturing devices as well as personal and collective protective equipment; implementation and certification of OSH management systems; certification of the competence of personnel and educational bodies active in OSH; education and training, consultations, promotion, information and publishing activity. The CIOP-PIB portal is one of the most important OSH information sources in Europe.

The Institute is also involved in foresight activities aimed at identification and assessment of future needs, opportunities and risks connected with social and economic development as well as preparation of appropriate anticipating measures.

CIOP-PIB conducts wide cooperation taking part in international projects on OSH as well as eagerly undertakes new challenges and looks for partners to run new projects.

The Polish National CIS Centre services for Polish and foreign users are performed by the Centre for Scientific Information and Documentation with its Library and Section for Documentation, as well with the help of scientific personnel in the Institute.

The Polish CIS Centre's activities are carried out as a part of the Polish National Programme: "Improvement of safety and working conditions" (Phase 1 to be realized in 2008-2010), and are aimed at using the CIS network to promote Polish OSH literature and OSH achievements internationally as well as using the CIS international occupational safety and health information system to help Polish users to stay informed about foreign publications and data. The main activities of the Polish National CIS Centre include:

  1. Promotion of Polish OSH achievements and publications by the international CIS Centres network,
  2. The National CIS Centre information service for foreign and Polish OSH specialists based, among others, on CIS resources,
  3. Dissemination of information on the International CIS Centre and the network in Poland,
  4. Development of cooperation with the CIS Centres network.

The Polish National CIS Centre took part in the elaboration of international OSH information sources, connected with CIS information system, cooperating with the International CIS Centre on elaborating the CISDOC database and the electronic journal: "Virtual Bulletin". In cooperation with a group of Polish OSH institutions, the Polish Centre selects important Polish OSH publications, as books, journal articles and legal regulations and prepares their abstracts, according to the rules of the International CIS Centre, which inserts selected Polish literature abstracts into their sources.

It contributes to the world promotion of Polish OSH achievements. The Polish CIS Centre runs its information activities for foreign users, answering queries on Polish OSH, running and updating in English its website and the database on Polish literature OSH-BHP. The Centre's information activities for the Polish users are also fulfilled, among other - by spreading the electronic and printed information, updating Polish language website, answering questions, lending literature etc. The Polish CIS Centre also promotes in several ways the CIS network in Poland as well as ILO activities and documents. Spreading information in Poland on CIS Centres network gives the Polish OSH specialists, researchers and students the possibility to acquire and use the latest achievements of foreign specialists in their projects and practical works.

The Polish Centre takes part also in the international events, popularizing and promoting information and materials on e.g. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The Centre participates in the common works, meetings, exchange information and cooperation of the CIS network.

The CIS network consists of many important OSH institutions from all over the world and is very useful for getting and spreading world OSH information.

The information resources of the International CIS Centre and other Centres are very important and useful for OSH information activities.

We wish the International CIS Centre all the best for its further development, continuation of taking so useful role in the raising the standard of the world occupational safety and health, in the protection of human in the work processes!

We wish also all the colleagues from this Centre all the best!

Barbara Szczepanowska
Polish National CIS Centre
CIOP-PIB, Warsaw

Members around the world send their greetings


Greetings to all CIS Members wherever you are located in the world on this very special occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the CIS Network. This unique network provides the opportunity to meet and exchange information on a regular basis.

Helena Jimenez Goy
Information Manager, ISCIII Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Biblioteca Nacinal de Ciencias de la Salud, Pabellon 8, Cuidad Universitara, Madrid 28040, Spain

Members around the world send their greetings


Milestones in my journey with CIS by Sheila Pantry OBE

My journey with CIS started soon after I became Head of Information Services with the UK Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) way back in 1977. I was asked to attend a meeting to discuss how the HSE Information Services could become involved in the ILO CIS network. Although the UK had been one of the earlier founding members in 1959 not much involvement had taken place in the intervening years. Now that there was an active UK HSE Information Services it seemed reasonable to get involved.

1979 - 1980s

Earliest recollections were - a nice group of people who all seemed to want to explain and discuss how their occupational safety and health (OSH) information service was being developed in their own country. Lots of synergy and energy.

By 1979 I had organised for the UK a collection of worldwide information in a database called HSELINE that was made publicly available on the European Space Agency host computer in Frascati, Italy that had some spare capacity!

The US National Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Information Services had started their NIOSHTICs database and at the same time the ILO CIS was moving the abstracts to the CISDOC database.

The technologies were developing fast - computers and CD-ROM technology were really coming onto the scene in the early 1980s. After discussions at one of the ILO CIS meetings I organised with the UK based SilverPlatter Ltd that we should put all three databases (named above) onto a CD-ROM - so OSH-ROM was launched in 1983!

I note from my annual reports during the 1980s the following:

In the early 1980s the CIS annual meetings were extremely formal but exciting in that members were meeting with representatives from behind the so-called Iron Curtain and hearing how these countries were collecting and disseminating OSH information.

The 1982 CIS meeting and Conference held in Nis, Yugoslavia was a really memorable meeting, lots of dynamic people attended all wanting to improve standards in OSH. The celebration dinner in the hills at a wine co-operative village was very different to what most people had experienced before. We even had a brass band to serenade us!


I chaired the 1985 CIS annual meeting in Geneva that voted to accept the invitation from Lazlo Sulacik of the Hungarian CIS Centre, the MKK Institute (now sadly closed down) to host the next meeting of the CIS network in Budapest. Despite some initial opposition from Georg Kliesh, then Chief of the Occupational Safety and Health Branch (SECHYG) that is now Safework it was held in Budapest. Dr. Herb Siegel was head of CIS at this time.

The 1986 CIS meeting held in Budapest was dubbed "the wind of change" meeting - when new ideas began to flow and new kinds of organisations and people became part of the CIS network. The meeting was most memorable because of the fantastically warm hospitality of the Hungarian hosts, including a wonderful boat trip down the Danube.

People that I remember on the scene at this time included Ted Schoenborn and Vivian Morgan from US NIOSH, Paul Peters from the Netherlands Labour Inspectorate, Madeleine Thanh from INRS, France, Annaliisa Larmo from Finland, Dr Gordon Atherley and Dr Abeytunga from Canada, Maria Luisa Lucernoni from Italy, Josefina Pinto Marvao and Bernadette Oliviera from Portugal, Christina Olivecrona from Sweden, Dragoslav Radulovic from Yugoslavia, Wolfram Jeiter from Germany, Laszlo Sulacsik and Gyula Nagy from Hungary, George Kleisch, Jukka Takala, Emmert Cleventine, Gabor Sandi and Michele Nahmias from the ILO.

Perhaps we should start a computerized roll call of names and countries that have been involved with CIS over the years?


The European Space Agency offered their DDS (Data Dissemination Service) to users and the CIS network started to use this (remember this was a long time before the Internet and world wide web). From the UK we found it a useful way exchanging and requesting information within the network - and produced an HSE Electronic Notice Board updated twice per week giving new HSE publications and other information. Also suggested that CIS Network have a Bulletin Board and in conjunction with the Netherlands CIS Centre produced extensive "Information Note on Construction" that gathered together all OSH information on construction from other national centres.

As the UK representative I produced a training module for the CIS on "How to set up an occupational health and safety information centre" which was distributed at the May conference and CIS Meeting in Stockholm in 1987.

Subjects discussed were:

  1. need for training for staff from National Centres,
  2. the need for the production of topic packs on a number of subjects
  3. that time spent listening to each other presenting annual reports could be better spent on discussions and training.

Went on from Sweden to see the Finnish national centre headed by Annaliisa Larmo.

HSE had a never-ending stream of visitors from the UK and also from Australia, Canada, China. Hong Kong, Jordan, Poland, Singapore and Sweden seeking advice on how to set up information centres.

During this period HSE Information Services also ran a Prestel service (teletext) containing 1,200 frames /screens of full text OSH information. This was used as another way of disseminating OSH information and was able to handle requests for publications that saved time on the telephone enquiry service.


Wrote for the CIS network "Promotion of the ILO/CIS national centres'" which was widely distributed. A later edition is on the CIS Newsletter web site.

Noted that:

1989 -1990

The 1989 International Conference for Occupational Safety and Health Information Specialists proposed by the UK HSE Information Services was additionally supported by the European Commission Health and Safety Directorate under Dr W. Hunter - and was coordinated by Kevin Gardiner and myself and held in Luxembourg on 26 - 28 June 1989. Many CIS members attended, amongst the 230 attendees from 25 countries. One of the outcomes highlighted the need for more exchange of information, and as result the Janus magazine was created by the European Commission Health and Safety Directorate from which the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was created.

Noted that there was increased demand from the public for OSH information after major disasters such as the Zeebrugge, Kings Cross Railway Station Fire and Piper Alpha all of which had major media coverage.

At the 1989 CIS meeting were people such as Annaliisa Larmo - Finland, Kristian Kristiansen - Denmark, Vivian Morgan and Roger Tatken - USA, Gordon Atherley and PK Abeytunga - Canada, Elly Goos and Gerda van Thienen - the Netherlands, Penny Campbell from Australia, Francoise Cousin - France, Philip Marshall - New Zealand, Kevin Gardiner - European Commission DGV and Sheila Pantry, UK.

At this 1989 CIS meeting I proposed that there should be a CIS Newsletter with the first edition coming out in July 1989! This was the printed version!

Noted that:


Went to New Zealand to carry out a consultancy for the NZ National Centre.

Also went to see the US NIOSH National Centre in Cincinnati.



The CIS 1992 annual meeting was held on 29 - 30 June 1992 at the Health and Safety Executive, Sheffield, UK and was followed by the 1992 2nd International Conference on Occupational Health and Safety Information: a worldwide view that was organised by the UK Occupational Health and Safety Information Group (OSHIG)... speakers included Dr Kogi, ILO, Ron Haigh from the European Commission, Rodger Tatkin from US NIOSH, Dr Abeytunga from CCOHS, Dr Danuta Koradecka from CIOP, Poland, Dr Chaiyuth Chavalitnitikul from the National Institute, Bangkok, Thailand, and John Reid from SilverPlatter Information Services Ltd, UK. The Chairman was Jim Hammer, President of the International Association of Labour Inspection. Those taking part in both the CIS meeting and the conference came from all over the world. For some people such as Maria Purchera from Romania it was their first visit to the UK.

It was a wonderful opportunity to attend and meet others working in OSH. The conference was attended by 120 delegates from 30 countries.

As part of the twinning arrangement I went on a British Council sponsored visit to ISGUM, Ankara, Turkey to make assessments of available OSH information in Ankara.


1993 CIS Meeting held in New Delhi in April 1993 - topics included the IPCS Chemical Safety Cards, datasheets on occupational hazards by professions, the new edition of the Encyclopaedia, databases on CD-ROM and online.

I resigned as Head of Information Services at the Health and Safety Executive to set up my own consultancy business, but decided to keep the CIS Newsletter going.

The ILO, funded by Finland's Finnida Project organized two training courses for representatives from 21 English speaking African countries to be held at ARLAC, Harare, Zimbabwe. Trainers included Antero Vahapassi, Maria Mdzekenyedzi, Wiking Husberg, Igor Fedotov and myself.

An idea coming out of the training courses was the need for "Prompt Sheets" to help Centres improve their services. These were subsequently included in the CIS Newsletters!

Computerized sources of information were really developing during this time and some organisations such as the HSE, CCOHS and NIOSH were getting involved in using the technologies.

Looking back at the CIS Newsletters in the 1990s there was a constant stream of news from centres e.g. Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Fiji, India, Lesotho, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Solomon Islands, Sweden, Uganda, USA to name but a few countries. The Asian-Pacific Newsletter on OSH in collaboration with the Finnish Institute was launched in 1994.


Celebration of the ILO 75th anniversary and CIS 35th anniversary - at the time there were 76 National Centres and 11 Collaborating Centres. The new edition of the ILO Encyclopaedia was discussed - Dr Stellman, the editor gave a presentation at the CIS annual meeting and informed that the Encyclopaedia would be available in printed format and also on CD-ROM.

By 1994 the UK Health and Safety Executive Information Centre had keyboarded, duplicated and posted thousands of copies of the CIS Newsletter around the world - some 63 issues but was not able to continue this task that started in 1989. Eventually and very generously ANPAT, now PREVENT in Belgium came to the rescue in 1994 and continued up to 2006 sending the printed CIS Newsletter all over the world. The CIS Newsletter had become electronically held from 2002 so it was felt that most people could access it electronically from 2006 onwards!


In January 1995 the ILO CIS published the "Guidelines for establishment of the CIS National Centres" that I compiled with Mr J. Pesonen. The Guidelines covered all aspects of establishing a National Centre or Collaborating Centres - including networking, locating sources with a country and how to link with other similar organisations. Also include information on building up the services and promoting the centre.

Noted also the technologies were further developing - therefore it seemed reasonable to start to include full text on CD-ROM and then onto full text via the Internet in the mid 1990s onwards.


The CIS Meeting in 1997 was generously hosted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland and was preceded by a week-long training course that I organised on the use of computerized information - trainers included Colleen Herrington, US NIOSH, Irja Laamanen, Finland and myself. Very well attended - about 40 people came and were amazed at what was now available electronically. We first met Roman Litvyakov from the St Petersburg Institute who has since moved onto working in Russia for the ILO.


In his New Year message Jukka Takala wrote... "how about OSH information for all by the year 2010"... you decide if that is being achieved!

ISPESL generously held the CIS Meeting in Rome on 2-3 October 1998 - this was linked to the International Network for the History of Occupational and Environment Prevention Conference. Wonderful, interesting meetings. Our Italian CIS hosts were Sergio Perticaroli, Sergio Tavassi, Maria Castriotta, Julia Roseo.

During the 1990s the Internet was starting to make an impact on the dissemination of OSH information and the CIS Centres network. I was involved editing, negotiating, teaching, lecturing, demonstrating various electronic products that I have brought together and still publishing some such as FIREINF and OSH UPDATE.

2000 - to date

2000 CIS Meeting held in Dublin, Ireland hosted by the Health and Safety Authority - I was involved in the organisation of the CIS Meeting and also organised the "e-OSHE World: Seeing the Future 2000" conference very kindly hosted by the Dublin based European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. A new world of sophisticated ways of disseminating OSH information was beginning to take off. Speakers such as Koichi Igarashi, the Director of the Japan International Centre of Occupational Safety and Health (JICOSH) showed how technology was helping in dissemination of OSH information.

Vienna, was the city for the 2002 CIS Meeting - held alongside the ILO World Congress.

2003 The CIS meeting, workshops and visits took place in London - hosted by yours truly. Gabor Jablonkay, Hungary - long time CIS supporter retires and Katalin Balogh becomes the Hungarian representative for CIS.

Prevent, in Brussels Belgium hosted the active and enjoyable 2004 CIS meeting, workshops - see some of the reports from it on web pages.

2005 annual meeting held in Orlando, USA.

The first regional meeting of CIS National and Collaborating Centres was held at CIS Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 17-18 May 2005. The meeting was held at the request of a number of representatives of CIS Centres in the region who were not able to attend the USA meeting. It was a very interesting meeting concentrating on the future activities of the CIS Network. See

2006 CIS Annual meeting held Geneva very active and enjoyable meeting and well attended workshops that I organised with Irja Laamanen, Roman Litvyakov, Barbara Szczepanowska and members of the CIS Team.

We said "farewell" to Dr Jukka Takala, who was leaving the ILO to start his new job as Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. See Jukka's own recollections of CIS in this newsletter.

Chaired the 2007 Meeting in Dusseldorf, Germany at which Gábor Sándi introduced Dr Sameera M. Al-Tuwaijri the new Director of SafeWork.

We held a brainstorming session on the future content of the Encyclopaedia - see

In September 2008 some of the CIS members and Gabor Sandi held a regional meeting in London and produced a number of reports/presentations - looking at the future of the CIS network. See

We hope that the CIS network will benefit from the many ideas in this report.

As Gabor Sandi says in his article above CIS members must make all the constituent bodies more aware of what CIS and the network does and could do given the proper financial support.

In conclusion

... I hope that this whistle stop write-up will give some idea of the joys of working in the health and safety information world over many years and the opportunities it has given me to work all over the world, not only with CIS connections but with others, being involved with the conferences, seminars and workshops and the electronic developments that have taken place (and are still taking place), the OSH products that have been produced that engage the developing technologies - from microfiche to full text via the Internet. Not to mention the ease with which we can access some information - but remembering at the same time my constant warning "it is ALL NOT there on the Internet and free of charge". There are still many challenges ahead. Is the CIS Network up to these challenges? Only time will tell!

My thanks are to all the lovely and helpful people in the CIS Network - both past and present, including all the CIS Staff. If I have not named you please accept my apologies - but you have been part of it all. It has been really wonderful working with you all... long may it continue!

Sheila Pantry OBE
Sheffield, UK
May 2009

News from around the World

News from Canada

IRSST guide: Machine Safety - Prevention of Mechanical Hazards

A new guide published by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) discusses the prevention of mechanical hazards. It describes methods for eliminating hazards at source and ways to protect against them by using fixed guards.

The risk reduction or distance protection principles presented in the guide are appropriate for the majority of machines. However, before applying the generic solutions proposed in this guide for conveyors, metal presses, drills and rubber machines, it is necessary to consult Quebec regulations and standards relating to these machines.

The guide covers some of the currently known protection principles; however, it is not an exhaustive collection of solutions.

The download the document:

News from Finland

Cochrane Occupational Health Field

We at the Cochrane Occupational Health Field (COHF) prepare and update Cochrane systematic reviews (CSRs), run training programmes, advocate for evidence based decision making in occupational health, develop methodology for systematic reviews, and disseminate information on all these activities via its website. We have several products which might interest you.

Are you familiar with the products of the COHF?

See our web pages for how to subscribe to our News Bulletin.

Do you know our occupational health and safety (OHS) interventions databases with primary studies and OHS reviews?

Do you know COHF training materials and OHS economics? These are all available on our web site.

Follow this link to browse our efforts in OHS economics:

Kind regards,

Irja Laamanen

News from Germany

The latest edition of KANBRIEF no. 1/09 presents New KAN studies

KAN - Kommission Arbeitsschutz und Normung's latest edition of KANBrief No. 1/09 has recently been published. KAN endeavours to exert influence upon standardization activity at the earliest possible opportunity. For this purpose, it commissions studies and expert reports in the run-up to standardisation activity proper that provides guidance during subsequent technical work.

This latest issue of KANBrief contains amongst other items information on

KANBRIEF is available on the web

KANBRIEF is published quarterly.

Contact: Werner Sterk, Alte Heerstr. 111. D-53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany | Tel: +49 (0) 2241 231 3463 | Fax: +49 (0) 2241 231 3464 | Email: |

News from Israel

The Israel Institute For Occupational Safety And Hygiene (IIOSH) Information Centre Marks Its 20th Anniversary

The idea to create an information centre in the framework of the IIOSH that would provide health and safety information to the working population was conceived in the eighties.

It took about 4 years [1989 - 1993] to finalize and make it operational: to formulate its modus operandi, define its target populations, information sources, forms and methods of information delivering, to determine the most important areas of involvement, and so on. The establishment of an information centre, which would adequately address the issue of health and safety information provision in response to the pressing industry needs, was a serious challenge in view of the fact that there was no similar professional body functioning in Israel at that time, and many of the solutions to ensure a smooth running in and operation have been without precedent.

The growing popularity of the IIOSH information centre in the Israeli and in the international OSH community, now at the twentieth anniversary of its operation, is a conclusive testimony that the right form, methods and contents have been chosen at the beginning of the project. These continue to develop and change together with the ever changing challenges of the world of the occupational safety and health.

The information centre is the place where working people at all levels can obtain vital and reliable OSH information in a wide range of subjects, written or explained in the language that is understandable to them, tailored to meet their needs - all by means of cutting edge information technology. The information centre continuously expands the range of subjects it covers as required and improves the quality of its services through searching for the best information sources, through strengthening its ties with the information sources providers and with other information centres.

To provide the highest quality information selection the information centre is staffed with highly qualified personnel specializing in various occupational safety and health subjects, some widely known and valued for their professional expertise.

The total number of the verbal and written answers issued by the information centre throughout its existence exceeds 80,000. In 2008 the information centre provided over 3000 written and 2700 verbal answers, published 7 information brochures and a number of articles in the IIOSH electronic newsletter or in the bi-monthly IIOSH "Safety" journal.

However, today the information centre is much more than its founders have probably envisioned. It is a reputable professional body whose missions embrace, in addition to provision of safety information to the workplaces, a range of various other activities:

Taking their mission with great pride and responsibility and realizing the importance of that mission the centre's employees and management are driven and motivated to continuously improve and expand the services of the information centre to promote the occupational safety and health issues and goals and thus to continue to play a pivotal role in saving lives and health of the working people.

Israel Shreibman, Deputy Director, IIOSH - Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, Tel Aviv, P.O. Box 1122, ISRAEL 61010 | Tel: +972 3 5266 432 | Email:

News from Macedonia

28th of April - World Safety Day

The Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association joint in worldwide activities in light of the World Safety Day. The main event took place in hotel Kontinetal, in Skopje, where more than 50 people were present, representatives from government institutions, social partners and members of the Association.

Those present included Mrs Grozdanka Tileva, State Labour Inspectorate, Mr Goran Jovanovski, Director of State Labour Inspectorate, Mr Agim Shakiri, State Labour Inspectorate, Mr Marko Soldic, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Mr Milan Petkovski, president of MOSHA, Mr Vanco Muratovski, president of Association of trade unions, Mr Dimitar Stojanovski, president of Organization of employers, Mr Mile Boskov, president of Confederation of employers).

Brief material of the 90 anniversary of forming the International Labor Organization was presented and 50 anniversary of establishing the network ILO/CIS centers. After the presentation of ILO/CIS collaborative centre in Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association, the central event of the day followed, the signing of memorandums of understanding with ILO/CIS collaborative centre and the Association of trade unions, Organization of employers in Macedonia, Confederation of employers in Macedonia and the Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association.

The signers of the memorandums addressed the present stating the importance of exchanging information on Safety and Health at work saying that the collaboration with the Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association is of special interest and should be increased in the upcoming period.

At the end, the Annual report for 2008 on accidents at work was presented, prepared by the Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association based on the received information by the media. The results and conclusions of the round table of topic: "Methods of recording accidents at work in Republic of Macedonia" were presented.

Special gratitude to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung for the financial support in organizing the event.

News from Poland

1st International Congress on Maritime, Tropical and Hyperbaric Medicine, Gdynia, Poland
4-6 June 2009

The 1st International Congress on Maritime, Tropical and Hyperbaric Medicine will be held in Gdynia 4 - 6 June 2009. It will be an element of celebration of the 70th anniversary of existence and activities of the Inter-Faculty Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine of Gdynia.

The Congress facing the challenges of modern world medicine is the meeting forum of prominent specialists in the various fields from the outstanding foreign and Polish centres. This meeting will be of great value to doctors (in the course of specializing) and to medical students. Welcome are also all professionals interested in health protection, safety of work at sea, tropical diseases, work management in tough conditions, environmental influences on human health and health insurance. Also psychologists, biologists, practitioners and scientists involved in the protection of maritime industry workers and persons who travel or work in the tropical areas are invited to take part in the Congress.

The Congress is organized by The Polish Society of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Authorities of the Interfaculty Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, and National Centres of Tropical, Maritime and Hyperbaric (DAN-Europe-Polska) Medicine. It is supported by International Maritime Health Association, Antwerp, Belgium. The President of the Congress is Prof. Bogdan Jaremin MD, PhD.

The vast and diversified programme includes lectures devoted to many subjects connected with tropical, maritime and hyperbaric medicine. Presentations will be held by the specialists from all over the world.

Barbara Szczepanowska

News from Tunisia

SST latest edition

The April 2009 edition of the Institute de Sante et de Securite au Travail (ISST) review Sante-Securite-Travail - SST - contains a 15 page Dossier - Le Secteur du Bois: Risques et Prevention. Also other articles are included. There are summaries in English of some of these.

ISST is also the CIS National Centre in Tunisia.

Contact: ISST, 5 Bd Mustapha Khaznader, 1007 Tunis, Tunisia | Tel: +216 71 561 636 | Fax: + 216 71 571 902 | Email: |

News from the USA

News from US NIOSH

In a new journal article, former NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., discusses NIOSH's strategic management initiatives over the past decade. The initiatives, Howard writes, are a case study in "managing for performance" by public health science agencies in an era of increasing complexity of challenges and dwindling resources. The article, "Informing Public Health Policy and Practice: The Strategic Management of Research Processes and Organizations," was published in the April 2009 issue of Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions (Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 203-216). An abstract is posted online at

NIOSH Research Influential In Evaluation of Carcinogens
Cancer due to workplace exposures is an important research priority for NIOSH. In March, NIOSH researchers participated in a reevaluation by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the evidence for the carcinogenicity of 10 metals, particles, and fibers, including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium(VI), nickel compounds, crystalline silica, leather dust, wood dust, and asbestos.

All 10 agents were reaffirmed as known human carcinogens, and specific cancer types known to be caused by these agents were identified (Straif K, et al. Lancet Oncology 10(5): 453-454, 2009). NIOSH studies were influential in the evaluation of beryllium, crystalline silica, asbestos, and chromium (VI). For more information, go to

Biological agents
NIOSH recently updated its "Recommendations for the Selection and Use of Respirators and Protective Clothing for Protection Against Biological Agents." The update reflects knowledge and experience gained since the document was developed 8 years ago.

Videos and presentations from the International Conference on Road Safety at Work which was held from February 16-18, 2009 in Washington DC, are now available at

News from the USA

Occupational Safety Subject of Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prizes are awarded annually for excellence in public interest journalism, but seldom are they given for reporting on occupational safety and health. This year is different.

Reporter Alexandra Berzon and the Las Vegas Sun won the Pulitzer for exposing the high fatality rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip. The paper's exposés led to improved conditions at work, Congressional hearings and a review of state oversight.

Beginning with Pace is the new peril on March 30, 2008, the paper ran 11 major pieces by Berzon on work conditions and death on the world-famous casino boulevard. The last story - Evidence of change: Six months, no fatalities - on December 28th, noted that although 12 workers died in the 18 months before a union walkout in June, none were killed in the ensuing six months. The story summarized a variety of factors that reversed the tide.

Berzon's series also won the 2008 Story of the Year, News Feature of the Year and First Amendment awards from the Nevada Press Association.

The only other Pulitzer awarded in the last 60 years for reporting on occupational safety and health was given in 2004 to David Barstow and Lowell Bergman of the New York Times. Ironically, their story was in the news again last week. They won for a three-part series that exposed the rampant abuse of workplace safety and environmental regulations at McWane, Inc., a cast iron pipe manufacturer with facilities in Texas, Alabama and New Jersey. Last week, four McWane executives were sentenced to jail for criminal violations of environmental law (see story, this issue of LIFELINES ONLINE).

OSH at the 98th session of the ILC

The 98th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO will be held in Geneva from 3 to 19 June 2009. Under the third item on the agenda (information and reports on the application of Conventions and Recommendations), a General Survey on ILO standards on occupational safety and health - Promoting a safe and healthy working environment has been submitted.

This general survey concerns the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), the Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation, 1981 (No. 164), and the Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981. It was prepared with a view to contributing to a better understanding and fuller application of the provisions of these instruments.

The survey examines the law and practice relating to the application of Convention No. 155 and its Protocol. It is based on information received from 123 ILO member States, and it concludes, inter alia, that national law and practice in a majority of ILO member States increasingly give effect to the provisions not only of Convention No. 155, but also to the additional guidance provided in Recommendation No. 164. The study highlights the crucial importance of tracing progress in the implementation of national policies through the collection and analysis of data on their practical application and statistics on occupational accidents and diseases as provided for in the Protocol of 2002 to Convention No. 155.

The relevance and importance of Convention No. 155 have been reaffirmed through the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187) and its Recommendation (No. 197), which provide further guidance on the systems approach to the management of occupational safety and health at all levels and the progressive establishment of a preventative safety and health culture.

Occupational safety and health is an area which calls for continued and sustained action to meet the challenge of ensuring the required continual improvements in a context of constant societal, technological and scientific change. Together with Convention No. 187 and Recommendation No. 197, Convention No. 155, its 2002 Protocol and Recommendation No. 164 continue to have a defining role and should be promoted, and given effect to, as a matter of priority.

Governments, employers and workers and their organizations all have a role to play in the promotion of a preventative safety and health culture and the development and enhancement of measures for social protection and healthy and safe working conditions as provided, inter alia, in the ILO Declaration of Philadelphia and confirmed in the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.


Changed your email, web site, name or organisation ...?

Some of you may have changed your email number, name etc and addresses in recent months, please let CIS Headquarters know your new email/address and also let me know as well - otherwise you will not get the CIS Newsletter or other news.

Your Editor
Sheila Pantry

Use the CIS LOGO

CIS Logo

Remember >>>> Please Use the CIS Logo on your web site and publications!

Remember that your News in the CIS Newsletter goes to over 154 countries and gets re-used in other magazines and websites. Also there are many people who are not CIS Members who receive the CIS Newsletters. And through its presence on the web many people are getting to know more about the CIS Network. So with many thousands of web hits per month... send your news to me and get even more publicity for your Information services!

I keep asking the question...Will you be Surviving in 2010?... perhaps you will if you make efforts in promotion, publicity and telling the World that CIS and its network exists!

Your Editor
Sheila Pantry

OSHE web sites to explore...

We look at websites in different parts of the world that are offering quality information. This month we look at a variety of websites.

Also look in for hundreds of links to authoritative and validated web sites... constantly updated.

If we do not have your web site please send it to me


Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI)   INDIA

Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes: Government of India, Ministry of Labour and Employment covers news, events, training courses, and has links. It also acts as the Centre of the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) Network.

Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)   INDIA

Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) - the Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health. PRIA is an International Centre for Learning and Promotion of Democratic Governance. It was founded in 1982, in response to the realisation that grassroot realities across much of India revealed that governments were unable to deliver relevant or sustainable development programmes. At the same time, local level initiatives were successful in raising awareness and mobilising community to participate in different aspects of their own development. PRIA works locally, nationally and globally. It also acts as a Collaborating Centre of the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) Network.

Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute   INDIA

The Department of Environmental Health Engineering is a part of the Basic Science Research wing of Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute Porur, Chennai. The Department of Environmental Health Engineering provides industrial consultancy services, conducts a variety of research and training activities. It also acts as the Centre of the International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) Network, International Labour Organisation, as Air Pollution Related Disease Diagnostic Center (APRDC) by the GAIL (India) Limited and WHO collaborating centre.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)   IRELAND

Environmental Protection Agency details of ingoing projects, publications, licensing, What's New, technical information, research and development, Newsletter.

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions   IRELAND
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions contains extensive information, European Working Conditions Survey results, publications, research projects. The Foundation is a European Commission Agency. A useful site with links to others worldwide.

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions: European Observatory on working conditions   IRELAND

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions promotion of quality of work means: ensuring career and employment security; maintaining the health and well-being of workers; developing skills and competences; reconciling a work-life balance. The Foundation continues to build on its research in these broad areas as it develops the European Observatory on Working Conditions.

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions: Freight transport   IRELAND

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Condition's Report on the European Union (EU) Road freight transport sector: Work and Employment conditions provides a snapshot of working conditions in the EU road freight transport sector, the trends and developments shaping the industry and the issues of concern. Based on analyses from the 15 Member States, the aim of this consolidated report is to analyse the work and employment conditions in the sector and to highlight major trends and changes in this area. Creating more and better jobs, while enhancing competitiveness is one of the major challenges facing the road freight transport sector. This report serves as a useful benchmark from which policymakers can shape a better, safer and more competitive future for the sector.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA)   IRELAND

Health and Safety Authority responsibilities and activities. Extensive site, containing the full text of publications, guidance and advice, forms, news, diary of events and links to national and international sites. HSA is the International Labour Office ILO Health and Safety Network National Centre, and also the Focal Point for the European Agency network.

Health and Safety Review (HSR)   IRELAND

Health and Safety Review HSR is the leading Irish journal of record on health, safety and environmental issues as they affect the workplace. Available in full text format and provides comprehensive coverage. It is published ten times a year and contains updates on both European and Irish legislation, news from Ireland, Europe and around the world, in-depth articles, topical issues, reviews of training videos and programmes, books and safety products, and special reports.

Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC)   IRELAND

Irish Business and Employers Confederation contains details of the activities, and also health and safety guidance and advice.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)   IRELAND

Irish Congress of Trade Unions contains details of the activities, information on health and safety activities, publications, and links.

JOIFF: The Organisation for Emergency Services Management   IRELAND

JOIFF The Organisation for Emergency Services Management works to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding of emergency response personnel and to improve standards of safety and of the working environment in which industry/commerce operates, with the aim of ensuring that whether employed or contractual, personnel manage risks safely.

National Safety Council   IRELAND

Ireland's National Safety Council promotes road and fire safety. Sites includes information on campaigns, publications, statistics.

Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent (OFAAA)   IRELAND

Ireland's Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent (OFAAA) gives a detailed letter outlining the changes to occupational first aid which came into effect on 1st September 2008. Details have been sent to all instructors and a copy of the letter can be found on the OFAAA web site.


Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene (IIOSH)   ISRAEL

Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene Information sources, some information in English, mostly the site is in Hebrew. Useful contacts.

Diary of Events

These events may inspire you and your organisation to offer similar type of events.
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7-10 September 2009 - ESREL 2009 Annual Conference: covering theory, methods and applications in the fields of risk, safety and reliability to a wide range of sectors and problem areas
Prague, Czech Republic
Contact: European Safety and Reliability Association (ESRA) |

9 September 2009 - Introduction to EMC
ERA Technology, Cleeve Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7SA, UK
Contact: Katie Taylor, Events Organiser, AccessERA, ERA Technology, Cleeve Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7SA, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1372 367 439 | Fax: +44 (0) 1372 367 009 | Email: |

7 October 2009 - SHP IOSH Awards
London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE
Contact: IOSH, Wigston, Leicestershire, UK |

12-16 October 2009 Indoor Air Quality: Links with Health, Environmental Perception and Productivity (4912)
Hotel Park Inn, Uppsala, Sweden
Contact: Annika Bärlund, NIVA Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A 00250 Helsinki, FINLAND | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 | Fax: +358 30 474 2497 | Email: |

15 October - EMC Measurement Techniques
ERA Technology, Cleeve Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7SA, UK
Contact: Katie Taylor, Events Organiser, AccessERA, ERA Technology, Cleeve Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7SA, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1372 367 439 | Fax: +44 (0) 1372 367 009 | Email: |

18-21 October 2009 - Ventilation 2009, the 9th International Conference on Industrial Ventilation: Clean Industrial Air Technology Systems for Improved Products and Healthy Environments
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

21-27 October 2009 - Introduction to Occupational Epidemiology (4911)
Hotel Gentofte, Gentofte (Copenhagen), Denmark
Contact: Zsuzsanna Renkó-Michelsén, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, FINLAND | Tel: +358 30 474 2498 | Fax: +358 30 474 2497 | Email: |