MR. JORGE MARÍN RODRÍGUEZ DÍAZ - MINISTER OF LABOUR, INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE IN THE CANARY ISLAND GOVERNMENT

Prevention is one of the aspects that most concerns society as a whole. Prevention, as a global concept, affects every part of our lives; at home, travelling, in leisure areas and, of course, at work. That is why Occupational Risk Prevention is one of the central points that all initiatives, plans, regulations and projects should be focused on when they are adopted by the public administrations in their interventions on the labour market, and in creating awareness in society in general. With this conviction, the Canary Island Government has generalised a Prevention Culture throughout the islands, and the reduction of occupational accidents forms one of the five priority objectives in the area of Labour, Industry and Commerce for this Legislation.

The 1st Canary Island Conference on Prevention of Occupational Risks in 2007 had a regional scope. There we were informed of the detailed situation of occupational risks on the islands, and suggestions were made regarding which action lines to implement in order to achieve a safer labour market on the Canary Islands . Also, in 2007, the number of deaths from accidents on the islands fell by over 54% in comparison with 2006, and we managed to reduce total accidents by 3%. Thus, the Canary Island Autonomous Community was one of the communities with the fewest severe or fatal accidents in Spain as a whole. But we are not satisfied with this result; to the contrary, it obliges us to continue designing policies that will help to eradicate this 21st Century social blemish, with the collaboration of Social and Economic Stakeholders, and as one of the strategic points in the Social Pact.

We are convinced that we are on the right road to making sure that an increasing number of workers return home without suffering any damages at work. This leads us to making a more in-depth analysis of the point at which we now stand, with the organisation of this 2nd Canary Island Conference on Prevention of Occupational Risks, to be held in March 2009. On this occasion, our aim is to discuss economic globalisation, extending the scope of debate at Prevecan to labour markets throughout Europe, Africa and America .

In view of the fact that in this Autonomous Community we are labour recipients, the Canary Islands must not evade its responsibility in contributing to iron out the differences between world regions with which it relates. At PREVECAN 2009, the Autonomous Government would like to encourage persons who come to work on the Canary Islands, to be aware of their rights and duties in this area, and also for the Canary archipelago to serve as a tri-continental meeting point in the field of Occupational Risk Prevention.

The Regional Ministry of Labour, Industry and Commerce for the Canary Island Government aims to make Prevecan ‘09 into the great forum of debate that is warranted by an issue of such importance, as is Prevention of Occupational Risks. To achieve this, we invite everyone who feels they have something to contribute to join us and take an active part in the Conference that will be held in the Alfredo Draus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. There, over one thousand persons related to prevention will learn at first-hand about the initiatives and opinions of the principal associations and figureheads that stand out worldwide, who work to maintain the falling trend in occupational accidents and diseases, as a result of improved work conditions.

 

Ilmo. Sr. D. Pedro Tomás Pino Pérez - DIRECTOR GENERAL OF LABOUR AT THE CANARY ISLANDS GOVERNMENT

 

The 2nd Canary Island Conference on Prevention of Occupational Risks is one of the biggest priorities for the Canary Island Government in 2009, because it is convinced that it will create initiatives and knowledge in the field of prevention that will benefit the Canary Island society. There will be a place for discussion and dialogue, permitting prevention professionals from the Canary Islands to learn at first-hand about worldwide innovations in this subject.

On the Canary Islands we are busy negotiating the 5th Social Pact. With these pacts, our land has been characterised by a long, historical period of dialogue and understanding between the government and the different, most representative social and economic stakeholders, and this, particularly in the area of occupational risks, has made it possible to achieve a slow but on-going falling trend in occupational accidents. This should not make us complacent, but quite the opposite; we should renew our commitment to fight against occupational accidents. As part of this objective, we are immersed in the negotiations on the general debate for social agreements, the contents of which forms part of the Canary Island Strategy for Occupational Risk Prevention 2009/2013 that will be renewing the second plan on action against occupational accidents 2005/2008. On the occasion of Prevecan ‘09 we aim to bring together a large number of experts from America , Africa and Europe to the Canary Islands, so that we can learn at first-hand about their respective experiences in prevention and apply the new trends in this field.

The Conference is being organised with the invaluable support of the National Institute of Safety and Hygiene in the Workplace, and the two Canary Island Universities , as well as the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate of the Canary Islands . It will also be supported by numerous national and international organisations and different social and economic stakeholders, as well as entities and companies involved in occupational risk prevention on the Canary Islands .

In addition to tackling the majority of current subjects in prevention in twenty six papers and six round tables, we aim to focus the debates on three major priorities: corporate social responsibility; occupation risk prevention from an environmental perspective; autonomy of applied psycho-sociology as a discipline that is independent of ergonomics. To discuss these topics we will have three rooms running simultaneously and we hope to have the most outstanding prevention experts at an international level.

Alongside the Papers and Posters sections, we have also programmed an audiovisual competition a preventionist, and we hope this, together with the accompanying leisure programme, will make it into a comprehensive, entertaining event. From my position as event organiser, I invite everyone who would like to actively participate in the different parts of the conference to do so, so that we can make our conference slogan reality, “Marking the Future of Occupational Risk Prevention”.