December 2009  
  Welcome to Collaborating Centre Connection!
In this issue:                       
Sign Up to Receive the Collaborating Centre Connection

8th Meeting of the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health
Spotlight on Claudio Colosio, International Centre for Rural Health, Italy
Roadway Work Zone Safety Online Library

  8th Meeting of the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health  

The World Health Organization (WHO) Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health held its 8th meeting from October 18-23 at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The 171 participants came from 42 countries and represented:

picture of plenary audience
8th Meeting of the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health
  • 57 of the 68 Collaborating Centres (CCs). This total includes 7 CCs in the process of designation as WHO Collaborating Centres
  • 3 Non-Governmental Organizations: International Commission on Occupational Health, International Occupational Hygiene Association, International Ergonomics Association
  • 5 WHO Regional Offices: Americas (AMRO), Europe (EURO), Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), South-East Asia (SEARO) and Western Pacific (WPRO)
  • International Labour Organization Headquarters
  • International Employers Organization
  • International Trade Union Confederation

Participants met in plenary and working groups to focus on ways forward in implementing the Global Plan of Action for Workers' Health (GPA).

The World Health Assembly, the forum governing the WHO, endorsed the Global Plan of Action for Workers' Health (2008-2017) in 2007. The plan is a follow up of the "WHO Global Strategy on Occupational Health for All", which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 1996.

The main objectives of the GPA are to:

  • Devise and implement policy instruments on workers' health.
  • Protect and promote health at the workplace.
  • Improve the performance of and access to occupational health services.
  • Provide and communicate evidence for action and practice.
  • Incorporate workers' health into non-health policies and projects.

WHO has developed a global workplan in collaboration with the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres, based on the objectives of the GPA for 2009-2012. The workplan organizes the activities of the Collaborating Centres into 14 priority areas.

Max Lum on panel at Plenary

Outcomes of the meeting include: a sharper focus on priorities to be achieved by 2012, identification of gaps in current workplan projects, and plans to further communication strategies such as the Wikipedia site,, and a Twitter group called "WHOWorkerHealth".

Workshops on capacity building, health workplaces, and occupational health of healthcare workers rounded out the successful meeting. Many partners, such as the International Labour Organization, collaborated throughout the meeting.

We invite you to learn more about the projects in the workplan, and to consider ways in which you might join us. For more information on the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health go to:


  Spotlight on Claudio Colosio, International Centre for Rural Health, Italy  

A Collaborating Centre currently in the process of designation, the International Centre for Rural Health is a unit of the University Hospital San Paolo of Milan and works in collaboration with the University of Milan. Claudio Colosio is leading a pilot experiment of basic occupational health services in agriculture.

Claudio Colosio
Claudio Colosio

In Italy, agricultural workers have a little access to occupational health services, compared with other workers. Often, agricultural workers are self-employed or work in small or remote enterprises. Surveillance of agricultural workers does not often take place at the workplace, and employers can be unwilling to send their employees far distances for surveillance.

To reach these workers at their workplace, Colosio's project aims to go to the agricultural enterprises with physicians in occupational medicine and transportable instruments. Agricultural enterprises and employers' organizations are supposed to find and make available rooms and premises adequate for workers' occupational health care. In the past year, there have been over 1,000 trips taken to do the surveillance of the agricultural workers in the Region of Lombardy. Colosio's team is collecting the data that has been gained and specific papers will be published in the next future.

For more information, please visit:

  Roadway Work Zone Safety Online Library  

Roadway work zone safety is a growing concern around the world, and many countries face the need to rebuild transportation infrastructure that was initially completed in the last half of the 20th century. As roadway users travel adjacent to construction workers and equipment, hazardous situations may arise that must be anticipated, avoided, or abated. Roadway owners can benefit by sharing information and learning from successful practices developed by other states, nations, and local governments. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse provides information in several languages in an effort to facilitate communication and learning that promotes work zone safety for users around the world.

  ILO newsletter  
  Click here to read the monthly newsletter for the International Labour Organisation's International Occupational Health and Safety Information Centres (ILO-CIS)  
  GOHNET newsletter  
  The World Health Organization's Global Occupational Health Newsletter (GOHNET), can be found on the right side of the following site:  
  Read past issues of Collaborating Centre Connection  
  Please visit to read previous issues of Collaborating Centre Connection.  
  Sign Up to Receive the Collaborating Centre Connection  
  Everyone is welcome to sign up to receive the Collaborating Centre Connection in your email inbox. To sign up, visit, click on “Subscribe to Collaborating Centre Connection," enter your email address, and then click “Go” and “Finish.”