Spain to Host Int'l Congress on Workplace Safety, Corporate Responsibility

Spain's Ministry of Labour, along with the Galician Institute of Occupational Health and Safety and the Prevevida Foundation, will host the First International Congress of Workplace Safety and Corporate Responsibility in SMEs Nov. 27-28 in Santiago de Compostela . Announcing the event this week, Industrial Relations Director General Pilar Cancela said the event is "meant to be a discussion forum on corporate social responsibility, under the perspective of the concept of integrated management of prevention of occupational hazards," particularly in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The event will include presentations by risk preventionists and other representatives of international and state organizations, as well as experts representing autonomous regions in Spain, geared toward the congress's mission of making occupational health and safety a pillar of the SME work environment, Cancela said. The aim, she added, is to provide attendees with a "map" of resources that employers and government officials can use to prevent workplace hazards.

Ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) also will be on the agenda, according to the Ministry, which promised a discussion of "what is the reality of companies and their suppliers [for] SMEs today." Keeping in mind the "social demands that the markets themselves are imposing on business," the Ministry said it believes a commitment to safety and health is "demonstrably cost-effective," which the congress will reflect. Similarly, the Xunta de Galicia said it believes socially responsible companies are those that assume "a genuine culture of prevention at all hierarchical levels" and go beyond "a formal compliance of regulations," philosophies the congress also will espouse.

Expressing hope that the event will be "a landmark in the world of prevention," providing "knowledge and the necessary actions for a business world more committed," Cancela said the congress will be founded on workplace hazard prevention and CSR as elements of internal business growth and the public image of SMEs. "Likewise, new social needs and their realization within the business world will be debated," she said. For more information, visit www.prevencionyresponsabilidad.com/alojamiento_ing.html or call 902 88 33 77.

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