WHWB first identifies projects in need of occupational hygiene resources. Examples of projects we work on include assisting in knowledge transfer and training to educate other NGOs in basic occupational health and safety principles and practices, partnering with other NGOs on specific projects requiring occupational hygiene to prevent injury or illness, and work with multi-national corporations to educate workers in occupational hygiene topics.
WHWB is interested in investigating possible cooperative ventures with local post secondary institutions, or government agencies interested in partnering to offer training in occupational hygiene or to establish ongoing educational programs in occupational hygiene. WHWB can provide access to experienced senior occupational hygienists with extensive academic and industrial experience who can advise on program design and curriculum development.
WHWB intends to develop core funding through individual and organizational memberships, support activities through the acquisition of grant money, and obtain support from multinational companies to provide assistance in ensuring good occupational hygiene practices.
In some cases where project funding allows, our projects will involve volunteers traveling to the host country. These projects will bring occupational hygiene expertise to bear on problems that represent threats to workplace health. Evaluating exposure hazards such as respirable crystalline silica and asbestos are typical of projects initiated by WHWB.
To ensure that our limited resources are deployed where they will produce the greatest benefit to the workers involved, WHWB has developed specific criteria that projects must meet.
Project Selection Criteria
- Projects selected will be consistent with WHWB objectives and principles, as set out in our Strategic Framework.
- Financial need: the beneficiaries would not otherwise be able to pay for the assistance being provided.
- Non-partisan: wherever possible, WHWB will work jointly on prevention with workers and employers.
- Capacity-building: when the project work is completed and WHWB withdraws, members of the host community should be able to continue the occupational hygiene work.
- Time-limited: the project should not create on-going dependency on WHWB or other external agency to continue the work associated with the project.
Although all of our activities are projects, this page introduces those activities involving collaborations between WHWB members from different countries who have come together to conduct studies of OHS hazards in a particular industry or class of workplace.
Examples of projects our members have been or are engaged in are shown below.
Silica Exposures from Agate Polishing
In India, processing of agate quartz used in jewellery and ornaments is a cottage industry exposing workers and their families to fine silica dust. This increases their risk of silicosis, tuberculosis and cancer. The high respirable quartz levels generated also can cause accelerated silicosis. Many agate workers conduct this work at home, putting their families and community at risk. In Gujarat province, the National Institute for Occupational Health of India found the silicosis in 29.2% of surveyed workers and 11.0% in family members, compared to 6.8% of nearby community members in Khambat.
WHWB is working with the University of Toronto and a local charity partner in Gujarat initiated the development of a toolkit of approaches to preventing silica linked disease.
Brick Kiln OHS
The Brick Kiln Committee is an international group of researchers who engage in collaborative research on the health and safety hazards associated with brick kilns in countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Egypt. To date, the primary concern has been assessing worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust, which is a major workplace hazard worldwide.
Waste Workers Occupational Safety and Health (WWOSH)
WWOSH was started by a group of South American academic researchers with an interest in improving working conditions for workers engaged in informal recycling at large open air dumps. These dumps present many potential safety and health hazards due to the presence of sharps, potentially infectious medical waste, toxic chemical substances andmore recently an increase risk of infectious respiratory diseases such a Covid-19. During the last year the group has expanded to include researchers and OHS professionals from around the world.
The WHWB Nail Salon Working Group
In many countries, the nail salon workforce consists of predominantly immigrant and newcomer women as it is a field they can often get into without dedicated training or certification and without command of the dominant language of the country. It is thus a field where, in addition to health issues, workers can face wage exploitation, other labour rights violations, verbal abuse and racism.