Traditionally organisations looking to establish operations outside their home country were generally major corporations who would have their own in-country professionals or have developed a limited number of professionals with multi-country knowledge. Other organisations either hired in local consultants or relied upon their country business managers to provide such knowledge. Few small enterprises would be engaged in any significant activity outside of national boundaries.

The globalisation of markets and the increase in outsourcing of work and services is making demands on more and more safety professionals to understand how things work outside their own country. Whilst employing consultants is still a valid approach, there is a need to broaden the understanding of professionals who are advising more and more companies on setting up or acquiring operations or ventures around the world. Networking of professionals through institutions is increasing and mechanisms to support them when distributed across globe are starting to evolve. More importantly the ability to obtain basic information about relevant safety legislation and aspects of enforcement now exist if you know where to look. The internet offers safety professionals the ability to access information about a country of interest from their office PC, what is more the majority of this information is free, if you can find it!

In the UK the professional institution for safety professionals, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health - IOSH, established an International Specialist Group to look after the increasing numbers of members with interests outside their home country. Firstly the Group established the names of over a thousand people who were working, or had interests, outside of their native country. A questionnaire was developed and sent to them, asking for their assistance in establishing requirements for information and services of interest to likeminded practitioners.

We identified that a number of organisations already had good websites and principally the following were likely to be of general interest:

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists

American Society of Safety Engineers

Association of Societies for Occupational Safety and Health (ASOSH) (Southern Africa)

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA

Chemical Abstracts Service

Department of Defense for Health and Safety, USA

Department of Energy, USA

Duke Occupational and Environmental Medicine, USA

Environmental Protection Agency, USA

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

European Commission

FedWorld (Government info USA)

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Health and Safety Related links (US)

Index of Occupational Safety and Health Resources (Finland)

International Standards Organisation

Luxembourg Health Server - Santel

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health USA

National Institute for Working Life, Sweden

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, USA

National Institutes of Health, USA

National Technical Information Service, USA

New Zealand's Health and Safety Net

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - computerised information system

Occupational Overuse Syndrome resources and information, New Zealand

Safety Technology Institute, Italy

World Health Organisation

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