Course leader presentation: Helena Palmgren
Good Occupational Health Cooperation (OHC) in Small Enterprises, 21st – 22nd of May 2019, Hotel Clarion, Helsinki, Finland
What is your background?
I am currently the Head of Development in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) in a unit focusing on work well-being and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. My background is in educational sciences and organizational psychology. Originally, I got interested in small enterprises while writing my dissertation on leadership in small enterprises. Since then, small enterprises and entrepreneurs have been focal in my research and development activities in my long career in FIOH. During the last years, I have mostly been involved in research and development aiming to provide us with both practical and system-level solutions to occupational health and safety challenges in small enterprises.
Why do you think that occupational health cooperation in small enterprises is an important and current issue to discuss in 2019?
Along with the growing importance of SEs in the Nordic countries and elsewhere, concerns about health safety and work ability in small enterprises have increased, as they are considered preconditions for productive work and profitable business. In Finland, we see that Occupational Health Cooperation (OHC) is the backbone of effective OHS that helps organizations promote and maintain work ability, health and safety. Successful OHC considers the characteristics and the needs of the client organizations. However, many occupational health and safety practices have been developed in the context of medium-sized and large organizations and may not be appropriate for/applicable to small enterprises, especially micro firms.
As the OHS problems in small enterprises are well recognized but not overcome, we need to discuss and share ideas and good or promising practices on how to develop and execute the best support to different kinds of small firms in collaboration with them. In Finland, we have developed and tried several strategies and practical tools to promote the collaboration between SEs and occupational health professionals. They also aim to improve the awareness of the importance of OSH for entrepreneurs, workers and the continuity of their enterprises. Still, improving OSH and workability in SEs is a huge challenge, and it is important that actors interested in OSH in SEs share their ideas, experiences, and tools and learn from each other.
What would you like to say to the participants of the course?
I am really looking forward to meeting all the participants from different countries and learning from their experiences and ideas. We have excellent lecturers with a long experience in research and practice, who will share their knowledge with us. In addition to insights and information, we hope that the course participants will get practical tools they can utilize in their own work. Hopefully, we have a very open and active course and enjoyable time together.