Improving Workers’ Health Across the Globe: A Collaboration

June 14, 2016
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Nura Sadeghpour (202) 245-0673

Improving Workers’ Health Across the Globe: A Collaboration

Healthcare workers in Bangladesh, mercury substitutions in small-scale gold mining in the Philippines, pesticide use, health, and the environment in Bolivia, programs to eliminate silicosis in Brazil, the safe revitalization of the nutmeg industry in Grenada, occupational safety and health skills for farmers in Uganda; these are just a few of the stories told in a recent jointly published bookletpdf icon by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), both World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health.

The Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health, of which NIOSH is the chair, was established in 1990 in order to enhance international workplace safety and health through global collaborations. In 2015, the Network celebrated its 25th anniversary.

“NIOSH is all too aware of the hazards in the workplace, particularly among high-risk industries and vulnerable workers,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The achievements of the Collaborating Center Network and the examples of effective approaches to improving workplace health and safety globally is a shared goal of NIOSH, FIOH and the WHO Network, and are illustrated throughout this booklet.”

The network includes 55 global organizations and has carried out projects to advance the commitments made by the health ministers of the WHO member countries in the 2007 World Health Assembly Resolution 60.26 Global Plan of Action on Workers Health 2008–2017external icon. The projects have helped countries, particularly developing nations, those working in hazardous industries like construction, mining, transportation and agriculture, and vulnerable work groups, take actions to improve worker safety and health on a global scale.  

In 2014, WHO reviewed accomplishments during 2006-2012 and reported that the network had generated over 150 products and trainings during that period. Several of these are highlighted in this recent publication, and many are in the Geolibraryexternal icon, available for use.

The Network also includes 3 non-governmental organizations (NGOs): International Commission on Occupational Health, International Occupational Hygiene Association, and International Ergonomics Association. The recently published booklet recognizes the achievements of the Collaborating Centers and these NGOs and provides examples for Health Ministers, universities, professional associations, employers, unions, funding sources, and other interested parties across the globe. 

The full booklet,Improving Workers’ Health Across the Globe: Advancing the Global Plan of Action for Workers’ Health, is available at:

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit

FIOH is a research and specialist organization in the field of occupational health and safety. For more information about FIOH visit icon.

Page last reviewed: April 5, 2016