On 27 January 2021, EFEE and ETUCE jointly organised, in cooperation with the Irish partner from the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (EFEE member), the second interactive workshop within the project “OSH4Edu – European Sectoral Social Partners in Education Enhancing Risk Assessment in Education Institutions”. Initially aimed to be held in Dublin, the participants of this second workshop, targeting northern European countries, conferred online due the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Michaela Seifert (EU-OSHA), opened the workshop with an introductive presentation to the Online Interactive Risk Assessment tools (OiRA). Ms Seifert outlined its many benefits and welcomed the active engagement of the social partners as they play a crucial role in the development and implementation of these tools. Hereafter, Isaline Ossieur (EFEE) and Marie Raverdeau (ETUCE) provided the members with both a practical rundown of the tools as well as an overview of the current OSH4Edu project and its objectives for the implementation of these OiRA tools. Following these presentations, John Irwin (EFEE) and John MacGhabann (ETUCE) introduced the participants to the Irish national tools and shared examples of good practices and obstacles to the effective use of the OiRA tools within their national settings.
After a lunch break, the first afternoon’s session was dedicated to a panel discussion on the role of social partners in the use and improvement of existing OiRA tools in education institutions. Practical examples were illustrated from the Belgian-Flemish perspective by Dirk Debroey (EFEE) and Jean-Luc Barbery (ETUCE) on the one hand and Polish perspective by Mieczyslaw Blonski (EFEE) and Tomasz Gryzcan(ETUCE) on the other hand. Most importantly, the utility of the OiRA tool, in detecting common problems in schools or in conducting benchmarks with other EU Member States was highlighted during this panel discussion.
The two next sessions explored the possibility of developing an OiRA tool for the Higher Education & Research sector on the one hand and the VET sector on the other hand. The specific needs and challenges regarding the development of an OiRA tool in Higher Education were addressed through a Finnish perspective, by Heikki Holopainen (EFEE) and Teija Golnick (ETUCE). Emphasis was put on the importance of creating a safety culture in universities, currently jeopardised by topical challenges such as remote work or the emergence social media accelerate the digital transition and the consequences of the pandemic. Regarding VET, Ulrike Bollmann (ENETOSH) and Tatjana Babrauskiene (ETUCE) provided the members with a comprehensive presentation on the implementation of the OiRA tool into this specific sector. Both presenters stressed the importance to promote the integration of OSH into education systems to improve the quality of education and build a culture of prevention.
Finally, the second online interactive workshop within the OSH4Edhu project was brought to an end by the closing remarks from Susan Flocken, European Director of ETUCE, and Daniel Wisniewski, General Secretary of EFEE, who thanked the participants for the sharing of the different experiences and best practices and invited them all to join the final conference on 6 May 2021.
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