The annual UIMC (International Union of Railway Medical Services) congress was hosted by Finnish Railways (VR Group) and their medical service from 19 – 21 September in Helsinki. The congress was opened by Mr Timo Koskinen, Vice-President of VR Group, and by Dr Otso Ervasti, VR Group’s Chief Medical Officer.
The UIMC General Assembly was held during the congress on 21 September 2012. 20 members sent 36 representatives to Helsinki.
The UIMC Management Committee met on the afternoon of 18 and on the morning of 19 September. Three candidates have recently joined the UIMC, namely the Norwegian Railway Authority, Russian Railways (represented by their Vice-President Prof Oleg Atkov) and the medical service of Russian Railways (Russian Medical Society of Railway Transport).
During the congress, Drs Palma and Ceccarelli presented the final results of the working group, which had conducted a study on the use of alcohol and illegal drugs for staff carrying out safety-critical duties. The results of this study were distributed to the HR directors of CER member railways during their last meeting in Thoune, Switzerland (June 2012).
In accordance with the mandate given to them by the General Assembly and the Management Committee in 2011 and 2012, Drs Alberga and Van Diijk presented an update of the UIMC/CER vademecum of criteria for medical aptitude. This document will be distributed to all members, who will be asked to send their feedback by the end of 2012. This new version of the vademecum will be officially published in the UIMC’s three working languages during the course of 2013.
The technical day on 20 September was dedicated to a visit to the main maintenance and repair workshops in Hyvinkää, north of Helsinki, and to how VR Group organises its maintenance sector. The day ended with a visit to Finland’s national railway museum, also in the same town.
The gala dinner was held in a real ‘Lapland’ atmosphere in the city of Helsinki, and was attended by Mr Koskinen (Vice-President of VR Group). The scientific congress provided members the opportunity of holding an in-depth discussion on relevant topics such as traffic medicine, occupational medicine and social medicine. The following presentations were delivered:
- Occupational health in Finland – From research to practice: Professor Kari Reijula, University of Helsinki
- Between work and disability – Fainnish employment pension scheme: Jukka Kivekäs, Medical Director Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company
- Finnish transport safety Agency and Railways employee health surveillance: Markku Vanhanen, Medical Officer Transport Medicine
- Finnish transport safety agency / Finnish national work wellbeing programs: Professor Heikki Savolainen
- Works for wellbeing in VR Group: Liisa Ilvesmäki, Manager of Wellbeing, VR Group Ltd
- Promoting work-related wellbeing in changing work: The developmental dialogues in traffic control: Heli Heikkilä, M. Sc, Researcher, Finnisch Institute of occupational health
- Musculoskeletal pain and workload among city bus drivers and long-distance bus drivers: Paula Kärmeniemi, M. Sc, Research Scientist, Finnish Institute of occupational health
- CER survey on drug and alcohol test: results and statistics: Dr Gianluca Ceccrelli, RFI
- The implementation of a new colour vision test and standard: Dr Olivia Carlton, London Underground
- The national Standard: 5 Years on : Dr Armand Casolin, RailCorp
- Asbestos on railway carriages: Dr Pierre-Albert Voumard, CFF / SBB
- Pressure pain sensitivity and stress: Dr Milan Tucek, CD
- Managing psychologically traumatic incidents and preventing post-traumatic stress – Presentation of DB and UIC activities: Dr Christian Gravert, DBAG
- Screening of alcohol consumption on French Railways: Dr Catherine Cothereau, SNCF
- Relationship between coronary-artery calcification by spiral CT and arteriosclerosis risk factors in railway workers: Dr Toru Ishii, IJR
- Psychological screening of train drivers in Belgium: Dr Ludo Smeekens, SNCB
The next meeting of the UIMC Management Committee will be held in Paris on 19 April 2013.
The 2013 annual UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly will take place from 9 – 11 October 2013 in Sydney, Australia, at the invitation of RailCorp.