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WHO-CC - WHO Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health

As the "WHO Collaborating Centre", the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) in implementing the "Global Plan of Action on Workers' Health, 2008-2017".

The aim of the "Workers' health: global plan of action" is to ensure the health and well-being of employees worldwide. This is to be realised by various means, such as for example

  • the primary prevention of occupational risks,
  • the protection and strengthening of health at work,
  • the improvement of working conditions,
  • coordinated measures from the general health systems specifically targeted at workers.

This "global plan of action" was adopted by the 60th World Health Assembly in the Resolution 60.26 in 2007. For its implementation, a "Global Master Plan 2012-2017" was developed, which the members of the network of the WHO Collaborating Centres implement in joint projects.

What is the World Health Organization?

The World Health Organization is a special organisation of the United Nations (UN) based in Geneva. It was founded on 7 April 1948 and currently counts 192 member states (as of November 2016). As the United Nations Coordinating Authority for International Public Health, its objective is "the best possible health for all". The main task of the WHO is the fight against diseases, especially with regard to infectious diseases, as well as the promotion of general health. For this purpose, guidelines, standards and methods in health-related areas have been developed.

What are the WHO-Collaborating Centres?

The WHO Collaborating Centres (WHO-CC) are institutions such as research institutes or university institutes appointed by WHO's Director-General to assist WHO in the implementation of its objectives and tasks. Currently, there are more than 700 WHO Collaborating Centres in more than 80 member states of the WHO.

A WHO-CC appointment takes place for four years and is linked to specific tasks for this institution, which are defined in a "work plan". The WHO-CCs report to the WHO in their annual report about which activities they have undertaken to implement their "work plan". The WHO decides on a new appointment as WHO-CC depending on the fulfillment of the "work plan".

In the field of occupational health, there are currently 48 WHO-CCs (as of November 2016), of which 17 are located in Europe. Since 1992, representatives of these institutions regularly meet at intervals of two to three years, the last meeting took place in May 2015 on the island of Jeju in South Korea.

WHO's important partners in occupational health are, in addition to the WHO CCs,

  • the International Labour Organization (ILO),
  • the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH),
  • the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) and
  • the International Ergonomics Association (IEA).

Contribution of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a WHO-CC

The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cooperates with other WHO-CCs worldwide in the complex "Priority 3. Tools, standards and capacities for healthy workplaces" of the "Workers' health: global plan of action" in two projects:

  • Development of an inventory of tools for improving the physical work environment,
  • Development of an inventory of tools for improving the psychosocial work environment.

The first project aims at the determination and risk assessment of physical stress. The BAuA supports the project through contributions that are based on findings on the development of the key feature methods.

In the second project, which focuses on psychological stress, the BAuA develops the questionnaire to determine the "Psychosocial Safety Climates". The purpose of this questionnaire is to determine the extent to which enterprises consider the protection of the mental health of their employees to be important and to direct their actions accordingly.

History of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a WHO-CC

Already the precursor institution of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Central Institute for Occupational Medicine (ZAM) in the GDR, was a Collaborating Center of the WHO: The first appointment was in January 1976.

In December 2013, the BAuA was again appointed as WHO-CC for 4 more years and has committed to contribute to the work programme of the WHO, in particular the implementation of the "Global Plan of Action on Worker's Health". This commitment comes through its collaboration in two projects in the "Priority 3. Tools, standards and capacities for healthy workplaces" complex.