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Federation of Occupational Health Nurses
within the European Union

Bilbao 2008

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Bilbao, Spain 2008



The 28th FOHNEU Board Meeting was hosted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, at their offices in Bilbao, Spain on 29th – 31st October 2008.

The meeting was attended by 17 representatives from member countries.

The meeting was held over 3 days and was divided into the normal FOHNEU business and presentations from the Agency heads of departments, providing the board with information about the agency's strategic plans and campaigns.

Brenda O'Brien, Brussels Liaison Officer.

Terry Taylor, Head of the Working Environment Information Unit.

Eusebio Rial-Gonzalez, Head of the Risk Observatory Unit.

Marta Urrutia, Corporate Promotions Manager, Communication and Promotion Unit.

Zinta Podniece, Project Manager, Working Environment Information Unit, Occupational Health Promotion.

The FOHNEU board would like to express their gratitude to the Agency and all the speakers. Members expressed the importance that FOHNEU should be included in the Agency’s campaigns as the Federation is the largest single group of OH professionals in the EU.

FOHNEU Board Meeting

The President, Julie Staun, welcomed everyone and in particular the representative from Hungary, Henriett Hirdi, who attended her first meeting sponsored by the Irish Nurses Organisation and organised by the Irish board member through the FOHNEU Twinning Project.

Highlights from the National Updates


According to the Danish government, the workforce has an increasing trend towards work related sickness absence.

Statistics show otherwise, the Danes taking less time off work than their neighbours in Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.

A campaign is underway to promote work as being good for health.


Certain ministers are to set an example for health promotion in nutrition and physical activity, gathering good publicity.

The government is working on gender equality a subject in which Finland has already a good record.

The FAOHN[1] will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in November.


The reform of OH services, involving both public and private sectors, remains the most important political issue for French OHNS. The GIT has been extremely active in raising the profile of the OHN and the association, illustrated by invitation to participate in talks at ministerial level.


In Greece changes to the social security system are ongoing. The 5 year early retirement because of hazardous and unhealthy working conditions is under review.


Hungary appears to have taken on all the good items of EU practice and legislation. This is the advantage of coming into operation now and being able to compare and learn from the mistakes and successes of others states.

Hungary has a very impressive OHN/ population ratio.

There are ongoing pay and reduced working week negotiations taking place by the INO, which include OHNs. The INO has agreed to sponsor the Twin Country Hungary to attend the first FOHNEU Board Meeting.


OH Nurses in the Netherlands report their lobbying activities to influence the government on their specialty. In addition there is an increase in the employment of specialist OHNs in private companies.

OH nursing is still not a recognised speciality. The Dutch Association is lobbying for this together with contact with the government.


The focus on the Portuguese national update is the inclusion of education of OH Nursing studies in the last year of their university course within the discipline of community health nursing.


The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently working on guidance on long term sickness absence and mental health in the workplace. The UK government has introduced a Welfare Reform Bill; At present they are consulting on this and the RCN SOHN/OHMF have been involved. A main point of one of the sections of the bill is getting people off benefits and back into work. Since the publication of the Black report, "Working for a Healthier Tomorrow", OHNs in the UK are being represented at key meetings with Dame Carol Black.

Twinning Project

Denmark/Slovenia. The FOHNEU President is in contact with Slovenia.

Finland/Estonia Finland is to invite to 60th anniversary celebrations

France/Romania The next Board Meeting will be hosted by the Romanian NNA

Greece/Cyprus Initial contact is now interrupted and Greece is trying to find someone else

Ireland/Hungary Ireland sponsored the Hungarian delegate to come to the Board Meeting

Netherlands/Poland All efforts to contact the named contact in Poland have failed

Portugal/Lithuania The Portuguese did not attend the Board Meeting.

UK/Malta/Latvia There is ongoing dialogue with the MUMN General Secretary. The MUMN will host the autumn 2009 Board Meeting.

FOHNEU Vice President has been in contact with the President of the Latvian Nurses Association to establish a link to their OH nurses.


The next FOHNEU congress will be held in 2011. A call for bids will be made at the next board meeting.

[1] Finnish association of Occupational Health Nurses

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Our partners

Healthy Workplaces
European Agency for Safety and Health at work
European Lung Fundation

Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union (FOHNEU)

You can contact Executive Officers of FOHNEU at the e-mail addresses here.