Enhancing Bulgarian OSH professional development standards

24 October 2018

An international tripartite collaboration has created new continuous development opportunities for health and safety professionals in Europe, IOSH announced today during European Week for Safety and Health at Work (22–28 October).

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IOSH has supported the Bulgarian Foundation Center for Safety and Health at Work (FBCZR) as a partner in a European Knowledge Exchange project, together with the Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA), to enhance skills, competencies and access to training and professional development for occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals in Bulgaria.

Earlier this year, Ljupcho Kochovski and Ekaterina Borisova from the FBCZR met with representatives from IOSH’s professional services, in a benchmarking visit focused on learning more about IOSH’s membership and CPD schemes.

The collaboration has resulted in the development of a new Continuing Professional Development system by FBCZR to be introduced in Bulgaria which will increase the knowledge and competence of OSH professionals. 

Results of the project will be shared with health and safety professionals at an event in Tryavna in Bulgaria on Friday 26 October.

Malcolm McIntyre, Chair of IOSH’s New Accession Countries Working Party and an ambassador for IOSH’s ‘No Time to Lose’ (NTTL) campaign, will be presenting during the event, outlining IOSH’s approach to CPD and support provided to IOSH members looking to develop their professional skills as well as making the business case for investing in OSH. 

Malcolm will also be speaking at an event in Sofia on Thursday 25 October, organised by the FBCZR with the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, supported by the Ministry of Labour in Bulgaria in the framework of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU-OSHA) ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances’ campaign.

Malcolm McIntyre said: 

“The opportunity to present on NTTL Asbestos in Sofia is yet another chance to raise Bulgarian colleagues’ awareness of occupational cancer and importantly, to exchange practical solutions to prevent it. The Foundation has been very supportive at the various stages of the campaign. 

“We have also been asked to share good practice case studies from the IOSH Life Savings campaign, which demonstrates how good health and safety management saves lives, and is worth investing in.

“Earlier this year Ljupcho visited IOSH and there has been regular dialogue discussing our CPD as it has been a something they have wished to develop to suit their own needs. I am delighted to be supporting the launch of the Foundations own CPD and wish them every success in the future.”

Ljupcho Kochovski said: 

“The CPD system that we will introduce, inspired by IOSH’s own CPD system, will enable us to facilitate the professional life of our members, increase their professional capacity and strengthen the profession and their role in the hierarchy of each company.

“For us, IOSH is like an older brother from whom we have a lot to learn – a brother who helps us to move more easily in the right direction and a brother to whom we also want to show that we are implementing changes and building upon the areas we discuss.

“The IOSH campaigns are welcomed because we are a small organisation with limited resources, but with great enthusiasm, we manage to implement them and to extract the practical things that help in everyday life.”

Both IOSH and FBCZR are official partners to EU-OSHA’s campaign and decided to join efforts to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances, including carcinogens, in the workplace during this European Week for Safety and Health at Work. 

Dangerous substances include chemicals such as paints, glues and disinfectants; carcinogens including asbestos, diesel engine exhaust emissions and silica dust; and natural materials like grain dust and crude oil.

Many workers are exposed to these substances at work. In Europe, almost 80,000 people die a year from cancer caused by carcinogenic exposure at work.

The FBCZR has worked with IOSH to adapt and localise the ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign’s materials into Bulgarian and is working to raise awareness about carcinogenic exposure issues in Bulgaria. The website with more information is available here

To tackle this significant health issue, Malcolm will be highlighting the current phase of the ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign, focused on tackling asbestos exposure in the world’s workplaces by providing businesses with free practical resources to help them take action.  

In the European Union, at least 10,000 people a year die from mesothelioma – a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. 

The campaign is helping businesses engage and inform the workforce by providing resources including a factsheet, pocket card, posters, real life stories, a good practice case study, presentations and flowcharts.  

Previous phases of the ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign include silica dust, solar radiation and diesel engine exhaust emissions.

Image: Ljupcho Kochovski (centre) with IOSH representatives. 

Notes for editors

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the world’s leading chartered professional body for people responsible for safety and health in the workplace. We have more than 47,000 members in about 130 countries.

We act as a champion, adviser, advocate and trainer for safety and health professionals working in organisations of all sizes. Our focus is to support our members in their efforts to create workplaces that are safer, healthier and more sustainable.

Our shared objective is a world where work is safe and healthy for every working person, every day. Through our 2017-2022 strategy, ‘WORK 2022 – shaping the future of safety and health’, we will seek to enhance the occupational safety and health profession, build strategic collaborative partnerships across industry and strengthen our influence globally through impactful research and development.

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