The Baltic Sea Network on Occupational Health and Safety (BSN) is a regional network of ten countries around the Baltic Sea. The participants are the occupational health and safety (OH&S) institutions in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Northwest Russia, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.
The establishment of a telematic information network was agreed upon in a meeting dealing with the strengthening of occupational health services in Baltic countries, organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in 1995. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) was appointed the secretariat of the Network. The web-site was opened in 1997.
2. Mission of the Network
The Baltic Sea Network is an expert information network. Its purpose is to strengthen peer-to-peer networking and collaboration of expert institutions and respective bodies in OH&S, between and within countries in the Baltic Sea region. A major function of the BSN is to make OH&S information accessible through a user-friendly telematic information system (Internet).
3. Structure of the Network
The Network has a decentralized architecture between fully autonomous national focal points in each country. All institutions participate on a voluntary peer-to-peer basis, and are responsible for the content, quality and maintenance of their own country information. The focal points produce, collect, reposit and update the information on their pages in their national servers.
The following institutions act as focal points of the Network:
The regional main homepage of the Network is maintained by the FIOH. As a technical focal point, the FIOH gives secretarial support e.g. in organizing meetings, and technical support especially for the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia.
Regular meetings for Network country coordinators are organized once or twice a year. These meetings discuss and agree on guidelines and directions for improving the structure and contents of regional and national information, also from the technical point of view. The Network offers one forum for regional collaboration of experts in the field of OH&S in an integrated Europe.
The Network is an independent arrangement without official connections to any organizations and it complements other existing networks in the field of OH&S.
The BSN aims at bringing the essential country information in OH&S to everybody's reach in constantly transmitting up-to-date information in the Network data sources. It offers an easy and immediate access to country information on the Baltic Sea region also for experts in other countries. The Network facilitates the search of information in keeping up links to other OH&S information sources.
The BSN is a forum for transmitting and developing good models and good practice guidelines, and for disseminating information on training possibilities in OH&S in the member countries.
In creating permanent contacts between experts and OH&S institutions, the Network can provide support to OH&S authorities when needed, and encourage the countries to develop national networking arrangements in order to strengthen the collaboration between OH&S institutions and organizations and to develop the OH&S infrastructure within each country. Further, the Network may offer a framework and stimulation for joint bilateral and multilateral projects among the member countries.
5. Contents of the Network www-pages
The Baltic Sea Network uses Internet technologies for information distribution. The regional main homepage contains information about the Network, links to international organizations, and electronic publications. It also gives access to each participating country's national homepage. Besides producing pages in English language, the BSN encourages the participating countries to produce and collect network information in their national languages.
The basic structure of the Baltic Sea Network www-pages has been standardised. Country homepages have the following main categories:
- background information
- contact information
- organizational profiles
- occupational health and safety information sources
- information by subject areas
- news and activities
- training, courses and conferences