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The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was set up in 1996 by the European Union to meet the need for information on the part of individuals and institutions with an interest in occupational safety and health. It is an important source of information on safety and health at work in Europe.
The Agency is led by a Director and has a Governing Board, comprising representatives of the governments, employers and workers from the 27 EU member states and representatives of the European Commission. With its headquarters in Bilbao (Spain), the Agency now co-ordinates a global network of bodies responsible for occupational safety and health from around 40 participating states/organisations. All EU member states, the EFTA states, Turkey, states from overseas and international organisations are members of this network. On their websites, current and quality-tested information is provided on safety and health, such as legislation and regulations, (EU) strategies and current focal topics, good practice solutions, research, statistics, publications, etc. The member states are each represented with a "Focal Point (FOP)" (a national contact point).
The German Focal Point is the Department IIIB2 (Occupational Safety and Health) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is part of this information network alongside the accident insurance institutions, the federal states and the social partners (DGB - German Federation of Trade Unions and BDA - Confederation of the German Employers' Association).
The support work provided by BAuA covers expert comments on Agency reports, the collection of information on topics specifically asked about, contributions and events within the framework of the European campaigns for the Agency and much more. Furthermore BAuA is represented in the Governing Board, in the Bureau and in various advisory and expert groups of the Agency.
In relation to content the largest co-operation of BAuA with the Agency is proceeding in the so-called Topic Center Occupational Safety and Health (TC OSH). In 2008 the Agency concluded a framework contract with a consortium in which BAuA is involved. Specific projects are currently being conducted on behalf of the Agency.
Topic Centres (TC) have been part of the information network of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) for more than ten years. In consortia of national research institutes the most recent information on research and good practice in the range of occupational safety and health is collected and evaluated by national experts. Reports are finally delivered for further use in publications issued and campaigns run by the Agency. The target groups of the Agency's products are, for example policy makers, company stakeholders or workers in the EU Member States.
Currently 13 partner institutes and seven subcontractors from 16 European countries collaborate in the new TC OSH (established in 2008). BAuA has been an active partner in Topic Centre networks since 1999.