Globalisation – a “meaningless buzzword” (Claus Leggewie) or signature-term of a new age? This was the question asked at the start of the workshop “Globalisation and training in occupational safety and health” which took place on 21 and 22 June 2010 in the DGUV Academy in Dresden. It was decided not to give a definition of the term “globalisation” at the start of the event, instead the long-term processes that are the building blocks of globalisation were explored using a “time’s arrow” and example scenarios for globalisation with regard to occupational safety and health were discussed. Afterwards 28 invited experts from inside and outside the accident insurance institutions discussed the significance of globalisation for occupational safety and health and resulting requirements for health and safety training in a total of four thematic forums. On the first day the focus was on the role of European and international standards for occupational safety and health as well as the issue of national and international safety culture and corporate culture. In his introductory lecture in forum I: “European and international standards” Karl-Heinz Grass from the German institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention for the foodstuff and catering industries (BGN) gave numerous positive examples in favour of spreading a culture of prevention in a globalised world. He sees European prevention alliances as an intermediate step towards developing an international, global culture of prevention. Niko Armbrust of GLOBALFOUNDRIES brought to life the vision of a global safety culture in a multi-national company in forum II “Safety culture and corporate culture”. In order to train qualified prevention experts he is calling for improved language skills but also for an increasingly generalist training approach.
The central topics on day two were “Responsibility and globalisation” (forum III) and “Consequences of globalisation for training in occupational safety and health” (forum IV). Ramazan Salman of the ethno-medical centre (Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum e.V.), who was awarded social entrepreneur of the year in 2008, spoke about the social responsibility of the entrepreneur in this time of globalisation. He illustrated the role companies can play for a fair globalisation process using the example of the ASHOKA Fellows, a global network of selected social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and the potential to solve social problems.
Before consequences of globalisation for training of certain target groups in occupational safety and health were worked out and consolidated, Dr. Thomas Rau from the rationalisation and innovation centre of the German industry (RKW) explained the significance of international education quality initiatives for future training endeavours. The implementation of education quality management, for example, should always be ISO compliant and take into consideration the key points of the European quality assurance reference framework for vocational education and training (EQARF).
Finally the results from the working groups were consolidated regarding consequences for training in occupational safety and health. One important finding of the workshop was that potential new training requirements in the age of globalisation should be in line with international standards.