Interview with Andrijana Tomić – Project Officer – SAOSH

1.What is the reason to join on this project?

There are many challanges working on this project, first of all project has geographically dispersed project teams and according to this we need effectively to coordinate our activities.  Also one of the main challange is communicating and targeting the government and the government institutions especialy at local level.

2. In which way the participant- countries cooperate in the project, regarding the expansion of the five different geographical areas?

We created a network of professionaly gualifed partners entitled BALcanOSH net.  The primary role of our network regarding this project will be taking in all information, best practices transferred by other participants – countries with the objective to foster awareness on good practices and legal measures in target countries, to get knowledge of own territory and  raise the level of awareness in this specific matter and also to activate training programmes and initiatives.

During this project will be organized meetings and round tables discussions, taking into consideration the specific needs expressed by the professional groups, under the guidance of prestigious professionals, such as scientific and educational institutions, Unions, Organization of employers, CSO, media organizations and government organizations. The above meetings will offer an opportunity for discussion between partners, professional groups, local, national and regional authorities with the view of better targeting.Through the exchange of common experience and skills as well the envisaged partnership will foster an awareness of good practice and legal measures among citizens, industries and public institutions. Involvement of stakeholders, focal points and associate partners is a necessary social action to connect knowledge production and social changes: promotion of active participation is deeply linked to good results of planning changes, making an action as mirror of local community needs and perception. So our network is a fundamental base for sharing experiences, information and knowledge. Stakeholders, focal points and associate partners will play an active role in stimulating their respective States in harmonizing with the European values and principles in the field of OHS. All project activities and events we will publish on our website and other social media.

3.The project will have a lot of activities and it will take place till 2019 . What is your idea of the sustainability according the results of the project implementation?

In order to have continuation of a project’s goals, principles, and efforts we can use one well known model PDAC (plan, do, act, check). So all partners of the project need to review what has worked, what needs modification, what needs expansion, what budgetary issues have and also evaluation of all data. Sustainability in my view is extremely difficult but doable depending on what scope of    sustainability one is looking for. It’s unfortunate however that it’s so much dependent on the external environment than internal which makes it almost always difficult thing to attain especially in an environment where expectation eludes reality.

This is a journey that must be taken by stakeholders, participants. Involvement of stakeholders is a critical responsibility. What the stakeholders want remains an essential question to consider at each stage if there is to be true collaboration and movement towards sustainability. Resources for the project are different and are reduced to: people, equipment, a variety of materials and similar. Without adequate resources may not be desirable to achieve project in scope neither in the time required.  But it is not just money, it is about expertise and innovation in achieving results. It is necessary to achive sinergy in creating results.  Also during project can happen  political and economic changes that would distract and incapacitate the relevant institutions from undertaking serious strategic project or applying appropriate funding to related efforts.

I can’t say projects will permanently fill that gap in a system. But it is believed that project should enable the system to be resilient so that it can prevent the reappearance of a gap filled by the project. It is tough though. It would be a good idea to consider real-life projects to illustrate whether what we call ‘sustainability’ is real or just a scientific illusion.

One of the limitation of lack of complete understanding of sustainability my self included is the fact that we often times expect a whole range of things to sustain when a project’s life comes to an end. In that respect the queries stated above at least informs us to reasonably manage our expectation. Simple objectives – Keep it real/ be realistic!

4. An initiative was launched – to work together in a way we can defeat the occupational cancer on the workplaces. In your opinion, how can we affect to reduce the number of victims ?

Occupational cancer at work is the biggest individual threat when looking at the number of deaths in the developed world and this serious and preventable disease is rapidly becoming the biggest killer at places of work in most countries in the world. We can and should have a more ambitious target: to eliminate occupational cancer. This should be achieved via a stepwise and gradual reduction of occupational exposures, in particular, to carcinogens, substances and associated processes, arrangements and jobs that are known to cause or contribute to work-related cancers. This needs wide international collaboration to recognize and market new and evidence-based policies and practices that have been shown to produce results. Also we need to educate employers, employees about carcinogens at  their workplace, how to recognize them and finally we need more collaboration with occupational medicine regarding this in order to reduce occupational disease and therefore  the number of victims.

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