The Norwegian Act of Public Health states that municipalities shall promote the population’s health and well-being, contribute to good environmental conditions and prevent mental and somatic illnesses and injuries. Preventive efforts are given broad attention. The same focus is echoed in other laws and regulations.
This gives Norway a supportive framework, and a potential to gain interest for safety work on community level. But public health work is mainly focused on lifestyle diseases and the prevention of these. Much less interest is put into injury prevention and safety promotion, although life lost due to injuries is a major cause of death up to 45 years of age and caring for injuries is costly for national health service. We need to increase awareness about the scope of injuries, causes of injuries and the potential for injury prevention and safety promotion.
The Norwegian Safety Forum (NSF), is a non-profit organization, a national advocate for safety supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Health. NSF is also the national center for Safe Community-work in Norway. To promote a local infrastructure for safety and support the municipalities NSF has developed a national program for community safety based on local challenges and opportunities, Norwegian laws and regulations, global WHO visions, and Safe Community experiences.
This program is developed to meet the specific political and administrative demands on Norwegian municipalities and will guide them towards better multi-sector cooperation and systematic evidence-based safety efforts. It promotes sustainable projects and broad participation from all parts of society. NSF offers advice and guidance, networks and seminars.
The model is a useful tool for municipalities wanting to turn global visions and national policies into local realities. NSFs work with community safety is specifically mentioned in the National Program for Public Health and the National Plan for Road Safety.