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Background

The protection of people’s health is a fundamental right recognised in the Article 43 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which also alludes to the responsibility that public authorities have to “organise and protect public health through preventive measures and of providing benefits and the necessary services”. The health understood as a state of physical, mental and social welfare, according to the definition of the World Health Organisation, in its dimension both individual and collective is determined, both, by biological, environmental and social factors. The places and conditions in which work takes place are the main determinants of health and welfare of people, and therefore require appropriate evaluative and control measures that guarantee the health protection of workers. In the article 40 of the Constitution are established the responsibilities of public authorities to “ensure the safety and health at work”.

In the development of this responsibility, in 1995 was approved in Spain the Law of Occupational Health and Safety (Law 31/1995), the regulatory framework in which are established and developed a series of technical and organizational principles and provisions to guarantee the health protection of workers in the performance of their job. Thus, the companies are responsible for safe and healthy conditions and organisation of the work, involving in this to the managers and decision-making powers in the workplace, or the employees, with rights and obligations in terms of risk prevention, and the administration, guarantor of the compliance of the regulations, provisions and objectives about this topic. Also in the Law 31/1995, and especially in the subsequent Regulations of Prevention Services (Royal Decree 39/1997 and subsequent amendments) are stated the different modalities in which compulsorily have to organise all companies to ensure the compliance of its obligations in risk prevention. The called Occupational Health and Safety Services become one of the mains resources of companies for advice and technical support that requires the intervention in health and safety matters in the workplace. In turn, the modality of prevention services, of their own and others, these entities must have the facilities and human and material resources needed for the development of preventive activities that the company will develop. Particularly, the regulations establish that among the qualified staff in these services should be technicians with the training necessary for the compliance of higher-level functions, in turn defined in the Annex VI of the mentioned Regulations of the Prevention Services, in the different specialisations or preventive disciplines that also sets the regulation, concretely occupational medicine, safety at the workplace, industrial hygiene, and ergonomics and applied psychosociology.

Previously, the qualification of Specialist in Workplace Risk Prevention in its different specialisations was obtained from a variety of organisms and centres of all kinds, mostly without connection with the University. Currently, fortunately this qualification requires its adaptation to the academic offer of university degrees. Nowadays, the main Spanish universities include in its academic offer postgraduate studies for specialists in preventive specialisations determined by the regulations, that is to say, safety in the workplace, industrial hygiene and ergonomics and applied psychosociology. This training has to follow the programme collected in the Annex VI of the Regulations of the Preventive Services (RD 39/1997), being the only one valid for certifying a state level of the profession of Specialist in Workplace Risk Prevention. The RD 337/2010, introduces among others an amendment about this Regulations, concerning to the requirement for the exercise of the prevention of labour risks in its higher level, there is an official university qualification in the framework of the European Higher Education Area (called the Bologna Process).

With all this background, the University of Valencia-General Study is teaching the Master’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety without interruption since the academic year 2006-2007, being the centre responsible of this Master’s Degree the Faculty of Social Sciences and adapted in later reforms to the European Diploma Supplement and to the regulations of the University of Valencia (Agreement Governing Council 119/2006 of 6 June 2006, amended by ACGUV 208/2008, 28 October 2008, by which are regulated the Official Postgraduate Studies). On 24 July 2009 the Master’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety obtained its positive verification by the Verification Committee of the Curriculum of the National Agency of Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA). On this occasion was presented the corresponding application form following the procedure established by the Universities Council in the Resolution of 28 October 2008. On July, 2012 was obtained by ANECA the corresponding favourable report for the entire procedure (not abbreviated) of the verification of the Master’s.
 

 

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