The Baltic countries, as well as Poland and Russia, are in transition, and this poses great demands for streamlining their occupational health and safety systems. In order to facilitate the restructuring of occupational health and safety (OH&S) in these countries, consultations have been held, especially within the framework of the WHO programmes. One of the central conclusions of these meetings has been the realization of immediate needs for strengthening information systems that support the development of occupational health and safety in these countries, especially by supporting the expert advisory services.
The idea of establishing a telematic network first came up in a WHO Consultation in 1995. The Consultation was organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and its purpose was to chart the present situation and planned programmes in OH&S in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with the aim to strengthen their occupational health and safety services. Additional purposes were to review and discuss the technical and educational support rendered so far to the Baltic countries, and to investigate the type of support needed in the future. The meeting also discussed the possible mechanisms and ways of international assistance to support the development of the work environment, safety and health services in the Baltic countries.
The establishment of the telematic information network was agreed upon by the participants of the Consultation. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) was appointed the secretariat of the Network. The web-site was opened in 1997.