Do you want to get to grips with your work environment measures, but are feeling unsure about where to start?
In Sweden there are many laws and regulations that regulate the work environment at our workplaces*, and the term “systematic work environment measures” has been in use for more than 20 years and is still part of applicable Swedish legislation within the area. The regulations on systematic work environment measures apply to all employers in Sweden, and such measures relate to everyone at the company.
But let’s start from the very beginning – you don’t actually need to get to grips with everything at once. In fact, that’s probably not even possible. Instead, you should start by creating and developing the procedures and checklists that feel most important and most appropriate for your particular company!
Here are five helpful hints to begin with:
- Two good websites from which to draw inspiration are the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s* website and www.ansvarsfullt.se. Here you will find inspiring methods and tools that are easy to use.
- Involve your employees in the work environment measures. Ask them to help identify risks in the work environment, and discuss solutions, procedures and improvements that minimise the risks for everyone. The aim is to create and maintain a good environment in which people enjoy their work, perform well and stay healthy.
- Make sure that work environment issues are kept alive by deciding on a regular interval at which to address and discuss such issues.
- Our psychosocial work environment is just as important as the physical work environment. On 31 March 2016, new provisions came into effect in Sweden regarding the organisational and social work environment (AFS 2015:4)*. The objective of these new provisions is to counteract ill-health, stress, threats and violence. You can read more about this on the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s website.
- Gender equality is an important aspect of the work environment, and all employers should work actively with gender equality issues. If you have 10 or more employees, this work must be reported in writing in the form of a gender equality report. Check with your employees to get their views on the current status of gender equality at the workplace. What can be improved?
Inspiration and knowledge for successful work environment measures can be found on the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s website and at www.ansvarsfullt.se. At ansvarsfullt.se there is a self-assessment tool that provides you with a good analysis of the current status of your company, along with the possibility to compare yourselves with other companies in your industry or sector, or in the country as a whole.
It is important to begin with the issues that are most pressing and of most importance, and to work at a level and scope that inspires and motivates your employees to want to improve the work environment for everyone. Once the fundamentals are in place, you can then build on them by tackling additional issues at a rate that is manageable.
When work environment measures feel important and engaging, it is then that they do the most good and create the greatest value for the company and its employees.
*If you are working from outside of Sweden we can recommend you the European Union’s website Health & Safety; EU Requirements & Rules or turn to your local authorities for more information.