OSH system at national level - Sweden

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Riitta Sauni, Kirsi Koskela, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and Peter Westerholm, Uppsala University


Occupational safety and health legislative framework

In Sweden, the Work Environment Act (1978, Arbetsmiljölagen) [1] is a framework law which provides direction in general terms and sets the goals for achieving a good work environment. The Work Environment Act applies to all areas of occupational life, including students, self-employed persons, military conscripts and inmates in institutions. A central provision of the Act is that the work situation and the working environment must be adapted to human needs. This law lays down the responsibility for the working environment primarily on the employer.

In Sweden, many other laws and regulations are concerned with the work environment, such as the Occupational Injury Insurance Act (Lagen om arbetsskadeförsäkring) [2], the Ordinance on Flammables and Explosives (Lagstiftningen om brandfarliga och explosiva varor) [3], the Environment Protection Act (Miljöbalken) [4], the Radiation Protection Act (Strålskyddslagen) [5], the Working Hours Act (Arbetstidslagen) [6], the Law of Equality of Men and Women (Jämställdhetslagen) [7] and Anti-Discrimination Law (Diskrimineringslag) [8].

According to the Work Environment Ordinance[9] the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket)[10] is authorized to issue and enforce secondary regulations (directives). The secondary regulations issued by the Swedish Work Environment Authority are compiled in the Authority's own Statute Book (Arbetsmiljöverkets författnings samling, AFS) which defines more closely the requirements to be met by the work environment. [11] The directive on Systematic Work Environment management (Systematiskt Arbetsmiljöarbete)[12] is an example of a strategic regulation enforced by the Swedish Work Environment Authority. The role of the Swedish Work Environment Authority is more closely defined in the Work Environment Authority (Standing Instructions) Ordinance[13].

Main legislative acts are:

  • Work Environment Act[1],
  • The Work Environment Ordinance[9]
  • Work Environment Authority Ordinance[13],
  • Systematic Work Environment Authority[12],
  • Medical examinations at work[14].


National OSH strategy and programmes

In Sweden, the principle national strategies on occupational health and safety are set by the Labour Market Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet).[15] The Swedish government's work environment policy is to contribute to a work environment that prevents ill health, accidents, people being excluded, and opportunities for development in the workplace for both women and men from working life[16].

In winter 2015, the Government started to develop in consultation with the social partners the current Work Environment Strategy for Modern Working Life[17] (En arbetsmiljöstrategi för det moderna arbetslivet 2016–2020[18]). The Strategy covers the period from 2016 to 2020 and indicates the direction of the work environment management over the course of the next five years. Within the scope of the strategy, the relevant work environment issues will undergo further work in dialogue with the social partners.

Modern working life involves new challenges, including those of technical, physical and psychosocial nature. The Government is raising the level of ambition in its work environment policy by basing this strategy on concrete measures within three prioritised areas:

  • Zero tolerance of fatal accidents and the prevention of accidents at work
  • A sustainable working life
  • Psychosocial work environment

Moreover, it is mentioned that also work environment research is of high relevance.

Details of the three prioritised areas are listed in table 1.

Table 1: Details of the three prioritised areas

Prioritised area Details
Zero tolerance of fatal accidents and the prevention of accidents at work
  • Accident prevention measures for employees working at or on roads
  • Foreign workers in the green sectors (Forest, agriculture, horticulture etc.)
  • Market supervision against unfair competition
  • Provision on of information form the authorities to foreign employees, employers and selfemployed
A sustainable working life
  • Completed criteria for the inspection
  • Series of seminars in collaboration with EU-OSHA during its campaign on a sustainable working life 2016/2017
  • Knowledge summaries on new ways of work organisation
  • Supervision of the personal services sector
  • Employers’ actions for adaptation and rehabilitation
Better psychosocial working life
  • Guidance on work without borders
  • Strengthened inspection and information campaigns concerning the working time.
  • Supervision of psycho social working conditions in the elderly care sector
  • Analysis of the working conditions in household services

A midterm evaluation of the strategy is planned for 2018.

Social dialogue

Sweden has a long tradition of social dialogue, a high level of union representation, and a generally high awareness of occupational health and safety[19].

The existing main agreement (Saltsjöbadsavtalet) was negotiated in 1938 between the social partners and it gives the partners the right and responsibility to regulate pay and employment conditions. The social partners are often represented in advisory bodies or reference groups to government committees or enquiries. In Sweden, tripartite negotiations are rare because the social partners do not welcome the government or any other party intervening in collective bargaining. The idea of self-regulation through collective bargaining by the social partners is strong in Sweden.[20]

When new provisions have been drafted, the draft version is circulated for comments to the labour market parties, industrial organisations, certain national authorities and others concerned. New provisions are adopted by the Work Environment Authority.[21]

Social dialogue at national level

The Swedish Work Environment Authority, SWEA has had an established consultation procedure together with the social partners [22]. These are:

  1. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) which works for the improvement of working life. LO negotiates with employers on conditions of pay and the work environment and also works to achieve a better future and better working life for its members, who for example include house painters, motor mechanics, restaurant employees, retail staff, nursing staff and factory workers [23];
  2. The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (Tjänstemännens centralorganisation, TCO) which represents salaried workers, e.g. engineers, teachers, police officers, secretarial staff, banking staff and nurse, belonging to various national federations. TCO pursues work for all, with job satisfaction and opportunities of development, with a good work environment, e.g. with computers meeting the requirements of good ergonomics and with income security in the event of illness or childbirth [24];
  3. The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganization, SACO) which is a confederation of 24 unions for professional personnel in both private and public sectors, all of whom have an academic education [25];
  4. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) which represents companies in private sector, both large and small, belonging to industrial and employers’ associations [26];
  5. The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket, SAGE) which is the employers’ association of national authorities and State-owned utilities. As such it is responsible for central negotiations with the unions and for the development and co-ordination of governmental employer policy[27]
  6. Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting, SALAR) which represents the governmental, professional and employer-related interests of municipalities and county councils[28].

Social dialogue at sectoral level

The sectoral dialogue has a long tradition in Sweden as well. For example, in 1942 the employees' union (LO) [29] and the employers' union (SAF) [30] made an agreement on general regulations for local organization of safety at work (Allmänna regler för den lokala säkerhetstjänstens organisation) that was effective until 1992. Today, there are many stipulations in different branches of business, which are commonly based on local agreements between employers and trade unions, and a stipulation of occupational health care for employees in the public sector.

The social dialogue in Sweden is well functioning at both the central and a local levels. This is in one hand a result of the trade unions extended coverage of Swedish work places, and on the other hand the result of the employers being well organised. Furthermore, the Employment (Co-determination in the workplace) Act [31] (1976:580) supports a social dialogue, as it encourages trade unions to exert influence on the decision-making and regulations on the area covered by this act. This further enables and facilitates the presence and organisation of so-called "co-operation groups" (samverkansgrupper) in the work places.[19]

Social dialogue at enterprise level

According to the Work Environment Act [1]employers and employees shall co-operate to establish a good working environment.

Enterprises with 50 employees or more are obliged to have a safety committee, which consists of representatives of the employer and of the employees. A safety committee shall also be appointed at places of employment with smaller numbers of employees if the employees so require. [1]


OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: Basic structure of the Swedish actors in the OSH field


Source: Overview by the authors


National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

A number of Government bodies are active in the work environment field:

  1. The Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet) has a Division for Working Life dealing with issues related to the working environment, working hours, employment legislation etc. [32];
  2. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Socialdepartementet) is responsible for questions regarding social security legislation, sickness certification, work ability assessment occupational injury insurance, pensions etc. [33];
  3. The Ministry of the Environment (Miljödepartementet) is responsible for environmental protection, indoor environment, chemical products, etc. [34];
  4. The Central Government Social Partners' Council (Partsrådet) is the labour market parties´ joint council on work environment and work life matters in the government [35], [36].
  5. The Swedish Work Environment Authority, SWEA (Arbetsmiljöverket, AV) [10] is the central administrative authority for questions relating to the work environment and working hours. The framework for Provisions issued by the SWEA is defined in The Work Environment Act [1]. The principal functions of SWEA are to issue ordinances and general recommendations for the implementation of legislation[10], to have a lot of information material on its website (www.av.se) as well as inspect workplaces.

SWEA is Sweden’s “focal point” to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work[36]. SWEA also represents the Swedish government on the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) which is a tripartite committee which assists the European Commission by preparing, implementing and evaluating all occupational health and safety activities. [37] The SWEA is also represented on the Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee (SLIC), which advises the European Commission and comprises senior officials from the Member States’ occupational health and safety authorities or their equivalent.[38]

The Inspection Department of the Swedish Work Environment Authority supervises the implementation of safety and health at work regulations at company level. Annually some 20.000 inspections are carried out by 280 inspectors. The inspections check that the employer has an effective organisation for systematic work environment management. The work environment is checked from a holistic perspective of the risks (physical, mental and social), but there are cases when the inspection is targeted to a particular hazard (such as a type of machine or a type of job). SWEA ensures that the working environment meets the requirements set out in occupational health and safety legislation.[10].

OSH services

Internal OSH services The Work Environment Act[1] defines that it is the employer who is ultimately responsible for the working environment. The law especially emphasizes the employer´s responsibility for internal control, introduction, instruction, training and education, job modification, rehabilitation and consideration for the worker´s individual qualifications and conditions. The law points out that employers should seek external help on safety and health matters when their own operational competence is not sufficient. However, it is left to the employers’ own discretion to judge whether this is needed. Internal control means that an employer should ensure that he is intergrating health and safety measures in his day-to-day management. This relates to five areas: the planning, management and inspection of preventive activities, the permanent assessment of the working environment and the compilation of documents about problems and planned measures.[39]

Co-operation between the employer and the employees is also a key factor in practice. According to the Swedish Work Environment Act, a safety delegate must be appointed in enterprises with more than five employees. Safety representatives shall also be appointed at other workplaces if work conditions so require. Alternates should also be appointed for safety officers. The safety representative represents the employees on work environment matters. Safety delegates have a legal right of access to all information necessary to fulfil their duties. The employer must allow them the paid time needed for the job, and the necessary training.

Enterprises with 50 employees or more are obliged to have a safety committee, which consists of representatives of the employer and of the employees. A safety committee shall also be appointed at places of employment with smaller numbers of employees if the employees so require.[1]

In addition, a regional safety representative can be elected by a local trade union if the union is represented by at least one employee in the company. The government finances the regional safety representative scheme, and most commonly the regional safety representative's work is part time, whereby most safety representatives have another job as well. At enterprise level safety committees, only local, and not regional, safety representatives are elected.[19]

The main duty of the regional safety representative is to stimulate safe work practices in small companies without safety committees. The local trade union organisation may appoint a "regional safety delegate". Large companies mostly have their own built-in OHS while joint OHS centres provide services to small and medium-sized companies. Traditionally, an OHS team includes a physician, a nurse, a physiotherapist, an industrial hygienist or safety engineer and, in some cases, a psychologist.[36]


Occupational (external) OSH services According to the Work Environment Act [1] the employer shall provide occupational health services to the extent that the work conditions require. If the employer lacks the necessary competencies inhouse to perform prevention work, he/she may use an external occupational health service or expert[39]. The law defines occupational health service as an independent expert resource in the field of work environment and rehabilitation [1] and describes the role of occupational health services as advisory. There is no specific obligation for employers to organize occupational health services (Företagshälsovård).[40]

Occupational health care providers in Sweden have many tasks; prevention of work place accidents and sicknesses are among the most important activities. These activities include, for example:

  • to offer a resource for workplaces in preventing actions of work environment aiming at identify and prevent risks for accidents and health at work;
  • to offer resources when rehabilitation or adjustments for work are needed because of sickness of an employee and
  • to contribute in maintaining and improving employees' health and working capacity, including health promotion[41].

The occupational health services also assist employers, enterprises and organizations in implementing "Systematic Work Environment Management ("Systematiskt Arbetsmiljöarbete")[42].

There are no official statistics on the occupational health service units or occupational health services personnel. According to the Sveriges Företagshälsor, FSF [43], [44] the current estimate of the number of the Swedish occupational health service organisations is about 700. The estimated numbers of full-time OHS staff are: occupational health physicians 800, occupational health nurses 1500, physiotherapists/ergonomics 600-700, work environment or safety engineers 300, psychologists 250-300 and others (social workers, occupational therapists, health promotors, etc.) 200. [44]

Problems of occupational safety and health requiring expert studies are referred to clinics for Occupational and Environmental Medicine situated in the university and regional hospitals.[36]

The actions of occupational health care include participating in planning changes at work to make sure that new processes and workplaces are optimal for those who work there. At individual level, the actions include health examinations, health profiles and health promotion. In addition, general medical care services are sometimes included in occupational health care services. The OHS services may be called upon by the National Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan, FK) to agree to assist in clarifying the working capacity and ability of workers with long-term sickness absence from work.

The occupational health services are delivered by private companies, but their activities are regulated by the legislation. In 2011, about 65% of the employees were covered by occupational health care services. The coverage was lowest in the companies with less than 50 employees. The rate of affiliations with units providing occupational health services vary in different branches of business and also the contents of the affiliations vary. About 20% of the occupational health care services are arranged as part of companies' internal services [36], [45].

External service for technical control The National Electrical Safety Board (Elsäkerhetsverket)[46] is a Swedish administrative authority working under the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Employment and Communications[47]. The National Electrical Safety Board works to ensure a high level of electrical safety and to prevent interference between electrical equipment. The National Electrical Safety Board conducts inspections which are divided into different types: repeat inspections, project-based inspection, indication-controlled inspection and market control. The purpose of the inspection is to check whether or not the object of the inspection complies with the requirements and conditions that have been laid down in law. The National Electrical Safety Board also conducts preventive inspection work in the form of giving advice and information.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten)[48] is an authority under the Ministry of the Environment (Miljödepartementet) [49] with national responsibility within the areas of radiation protection, nuclear safety and nuclear non-proliferation. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority checks that those conducting activities involving radiation follow appropriate rules and regulations and inspects for instance nuclear power plants as well as hospitals, industries and universities that use radiation.

The Swedish Board for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment, SWEDAC (Styrelsen för ackreditering och teknisk kontroll) [50] is a government authority under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikersminister) [51] and the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications [52]. SWEDAC's public authority duties are funded by a Government grant, while its commercial work is funded by fees. SWEDAC is the government authority that accredits companies and organisations that perform testing, certification and inspection in open competition. For example, organisations that meet the requirements for accreditation are allowed to inspect elevators or vehicles, verify scales or analyze water samples. SWEDAC is also the regulatory and surveillance public authority in the field of legal metrology. Most measuring instruments used for determination of volume or weight are, when used in connection with sale to private consumers, subject to periodic re-verification.

Compensation and insurance bodies

The Occupational Injury Insurance Act[53] applies to all persons employed in Sweden. All gainfully employed persons (employees, temporary workers, self-employed persons, certain students) are covered by an occupational insurance scheme (TFA, Trygghetsförsäkring vid arbetsskada, TFA) [54] . There are four types of occupational injuries covered under the scheme: accidents at work; travel accidents; occupational illnesses; and infection/contagion. There is no authorised list of occupational diseases, so an occupational disease must be determined "with a high degree of probability" that factors on the job have caused the injury. The scheme compensates the loss of income, additional costs, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, disability and injury.[55]

In a case of sickness (not related to work) the first day is a waiting period when no compensation is paid. The employer pays sick pay compensation during days 2-14 of the sickness to the amount of 80% of the employee's salary. After the sick pay period, sickness benefit to the amount of 80% of the work income is paid by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan)[56] which administers social insurance in Sweden. A sickness benefit can be granted for a maximum of 364 days during a 15 month period. Extended sickness benefit can be obtained for at most 550 days. The amount of the extended sickness benefit is 75% of the work income. If the sickness lasts for more than seven days, a doctor’s certificate is required. In certain cases the employer or the Swedish social insurance agency may require a doctor’s certificate from the first day of the illness. A doctor’s certificate should include the description about how the illness affects the work capacity and the estimate of the length of the illness. If the work ability is permanently reduced for at least a one quarter, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency may replace the sickness benefit with sickness or activity compensation. The amount of full income-related sickness compensation is 64% of the assumed income.[56]

According to the Swedish Work Environment Act[1] the employers are responsible for organized work rehabilitation and must make a rehabilitation investigation when an employee has been sick-listed for more than 4 weeks. The employer arranges a rehabilitation investigation in collaboration with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

The employer must notify the Social Insurance Agency about injuries at work[10]. If the injury is severe or someone has died at work, the employer has to report to the Swedish Work Environment Authority, SWEA[10] immediately[57]. The Swedish Work Environment Authority, SWEA is responsible for official work environment and work injury statistics (ISA statistics) [58] in Sweden.

Other OSH bodies

Prevention Institutes

Prevent Sweden (Former Joint Industrial Safety Council, Arbetarskyddsnämnden)[59] works to prevent accidents and improve the work environment, and provides training and training materials. Prevent Sweden is a non-profit organisation and acts on behalf of Sweden´s labour market principals: The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) [26], The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) [60], and The Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services (Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK)[61].

Suntarbetsliv works as a communication agency in the public sector. It is owned by the social partners.

Professional associations

Swedish Association of Occupational Physicians (Svenska Företagsläkarföreningen, SFLF) aims at safe, healthy and health promoting work environment, which prevents diseases and at the same time contributes to the utility of the companies that they serve. SFLF offers training for occupational physicians. [62]

Association of Occupational Nurses (Riksföreningen för företagssköterskor) promotes and develops the profession of occupational nurses in Sweden. It works for education and training of nurses and research about work and health. [63]

Swedish Association of Ergonomists (Ergonomi och Human factors Sällskapet Sverige, EHSS) strengthens the role of ergonomics in working life, research and society, with the aim to optimize health and wellness of the individual, performance in the design of products and systems and quality, productivity and corporate profitability.[64]

Swedish Association of Registered Physiotherapists (Legitimerade Sjukgymnasters Riksförbund, LSR) supports therapists in their work and professional development. [65]

Swedish Association of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (Svensk Yrkes- och Miljöhygienisk Förening, SYMF) is an association for Hygienists working in both Industry and Health Care Centrals. SYMF is focusing to increase the knowledge of working environment. [66]

The Swedish Association of Occupational Therapists (Förbundet Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter; FSA) is both a professional organisation and a trade union. FSA handles professional and training issues, monitors pertinent political developments, salaries, collective agreements, and questions related to professional development and the formation of public opinion. [67]

HälsoAkademikerna is a trade and professional association for people with an academic education in the areas of health, wellness /health and sport including professionals who can give personal advice like stress management, personal training or massage, but they may act also in health education at the group level. They may plan courses in companies and take part in rehabilitation. [68]


Education and training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

Until 2007 the Swedish National Institute for Working Life (NIWL; Arbetslivsinstitutet) was responsible for providing training in occupational health. When the institute was closed, specialized training was transferred to universities and colleges. The aim is to improve the quality of professional training and education in occupational health. As a result of the development work, universities and colleges in Lund, Stockholm, Umeå and Örebro have collaborated to create education for different occupational groups working in occupational health. Consequently, the earlier education for occupational health has been converted to an advanced level [69], implying an aim to achieve academic university degree on a Master-level (M.SC.). Physicians who wish to specialize in occupational health and who are legalized after 1 July 2006 have to train themselves in a new specialty. It is a combination of occupational and environmental health. A complete specialist training takes at least five years [69].

For example, at least one out of three nurses working for a company that is a member of the Sveriges Företagshälsor [70] has to be a competent occupational nurse, with specialized training. The physicians can specialize in “Occupational and Environmental Medicine at university clinics.

Other vocational training

Safety and health in the workplace are based on collaboration between employer and employees. All employees are supposed to receive training in these matters, not only those who are directly involved in safety work. The Work Environment Act [1] emphasises the responsibility of the employer to provide training for the employees.

Safety delegates and supervisors mostly study "Better Working Environment". This is a basic course produced by Prevent [71] for the private sector, and by the Central Government Social Partner’s Council [35] for the Government Sector. [36] There are no official requirements on the training of safety delegates or supervisors. The common themes in training include:

  • Systematic work environment management;
  • Risk evaluation and management;
  • Who is in charge and for what in systematic work environment management;
  • Communication in work environment problems.

There are training materials and also a number of advanced courses for those who want to improve their proficiency in various OSH topics. Conferences and seminars on safety and health subjects are held by several organisations in the Swedish OSH field[72].

Awareness raising networks

The Swedish Work Environment Association (Arbetsmiljöforum, former FFA, Föreningen för arbetarskydd) is a non-profit organisation which is a centre for work environment questions. It aims to promote safe working conditions and publishes the safety periodical Du&Jobbet (You and your job) and other literature, distributes warning signs and posters, etc.[73]

The Central Government Social Partners' Council (Partsrådet), previously called the Development Council for the Government Sector) [35] is a non-profit organization working for the development of national government workplaces by means of new knowledge, new working methods and new forms of partnership. The Council arranges conferences, seminars and training programmes and publishes books, reports, information and guidance material and the journal "utveckla.nu". The Council also provides financial support for projects initiated and run at the local workplace and agreed on by employers and unions. The Council’s members are: The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket, SAGE)[74], and its social dialogue counterparts; the Public Employees Negotiation Council (Offentliganställdas Förhandlingsråd) OFR/S, P och O (civil servants, police and military officers)[75] as well as the Professional workers with the state employees’ section SACO-S (Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganization SACO)[76] and Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees (Facket för Service och Kommunikation, SEKO) [77].

Branschföreningen för personlig skyddsutrustning (BPS), is an association of manufacturers and suppliers of personal protective equipment. BPS represents members in relation to authorities and users in matters of concern to the industry and works to promote good quality and service by encouraging interest in approved products for the prevention of accidents and injuries at work, participates actively in standards work and is officially consulted in matters of national policy. [78]

The Department of Occupational and Environmental Health (under the Stockholm Centre of Public Health and the Stockholm County Council) works for the promotion of good health and good working life in the County of Stockholm by scientifically charting work-related health problems, clarifying the causes of such problems, operating prevention and health promotion projects, examining patients and transmitting knowledge concerning work-related health problems. "Arbets- och miljömedicin" is a part of the Stockholm Centre of Public Health and the Stockholm County Council. Equivalents also exists in Göteborg (Gothenburg), Linköping, Lund, Malmö, Sundsvall, Umeå, Uppsala and Örebro.[36].

Sveriges Företagshälsor is an independent, non-governmental association of occupational health care providers in Sweden. Sveriges Företagshälsor works for the development of occupational health care through training, advisory activities, quality assurance and information through its home page and newsletters. [79]

The Swedish ESF Council is a newly constituted authority tasked with implementing European Social Fund programmes. The Council’s mission is to strengthen the position of the individual in working life and thereby to contribute towards growth and increased employment. [80]

Swedish Association for Occupational Safety and Health (FTF, Arbetsmiljö) [81] has activities covering the co-operation technology-human-environment with main point at working environment. Association members have broad and varied expertise in the areas of technical work and external environment.

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

The previous main research institute in the occupational safety and health field in Sweden, National Institute for Working Life (NIWL) was closed in 2007. Currently there are eight academic centres but not all of them cover a full range of OEM expertise, and it has been recognized that a central function for research and education is missing.[82]

  1. Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (Forskninsrädet rör arbetsliv och socialvetenskap, FAS) promotes the accumulation of knowledge in matters relating to working life and the understanding of social conditions and processes through the promotion and support of research and co-operation and dissemination of information. The Council supports basic and applied research relating to working life. [83]
  2. Institute of Environmental Medicine (Institutet för Miljömedicin, IMM) operates within the Karolinska Institute. It is an interdisciplinary research organisation within the field of environmental medicine. In addition to its extensive research activities, IMM is also responsible for several teaching programmes and for investigations and analyses, pertaining to physical and chemical aspects of environmental medicine and health protection. IMM is a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaboration Centre for environmental health effects. The scientific work at IMM is carried out within the following areas with an interdisciplinary focus: air pollutants and lung disease; metals; dioxins and other halogenated pollutants; indoor environment; tumour diseases; cardiovascular diseases; genetics and the environment; mechanisms of cell killing and toxic cell injury, development of methods; and education and information.[84]
  3. The KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Environmental Technology and Work Science (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, KTH) [85] conducts research into the main fields of environmental sciences: work science and environmental technology. The goal of the research is to achieve practical improvements in work environments and conditions, especially addressing environmental analyses and development of strategies and techniques to minimize waste and emissions of contaminating substances.
  4. Vinnova, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (Verket för innovationssystem) finances research and development in the field of innovation systems for a sustainable development of industry and society [86] . Vinnova does not engage in research; its task is to finance projects which will result in work environment improvements.
  5. The Central Government Social Partner’s Council (Partsrådet) [35] consists of representatives of the state sector organisations and of the state as employer. It is the partners' joint council on work environment matters in the government sector. For instance, its practical functions are observing and initiating scientific research on work environment problems and publishing information and training material.
  6. Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk stiftelsen skogsbrukets forskningsinstitut) [87] is a private research institute with the mission to pursue R and D aimed at long-term, profitable, and ecologically sound forestry. The institute is supported by the entire forestry industry and the government. One important field of research is human resources and work organisation.

Standardization agencies

Swedish Standardisation association (Sveriges Standardiseringsförbund) has since 1 January 2012 taken over most of the activities from the Swedish Standards Council (SSR – Sveriges Standardiseringsråd).The Swedish Standardisation association is a collaborative organization for the three Swedish standardisation associations: ITS – Informationstekniska Standardiseringen (for telecommunication standards) SEK – Svensk Elstandard (for electrical standards) SIS – Swedish Standard Institute


Institutions and organisations

Table 1: Key OHS actors in Sweden
Key social partners in the Swedish OSH field The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) [87]
Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting, SALAR) [88]
The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) [89]
The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges Akademikers Centralorganization, SACO) [90]
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket, SAGE) [91]
The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (Tjänstemännens centralorganisation, TCO) [92]
Federal OSH authorities and inspection services The Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet) [93]
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs [94]
The Ministry of the Environment [95]
The Central Government Social Partners' Council (Partsrådet) [96]
The Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket, AV) [97]
Key compensation and insurance bodies Trygghetsförsäkring vid arbetsskada (TFA) [98]
The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) [99]
Key professional associations Swedish association of occupational physicians (Svenska Företagsläkarföreningen; SFLF) [100]
Association of occupational nurses (Riksföreningen för företagssköterskor) [101]
Swedish association of ergonomists (Ergonomi och Human factors Sällskapet Sverige; EHSS) [102]
Swedish Association of Registered Physiotherapists (Legitimerade Sjukgymnasters Riksförbund, LSR), Ergonomisektion of LSR [103]
Swedish Association of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (Svensk Yrkes- och Miljöhygienisk Förening, SYMF) [104]
The Swedish Association of Occupational Therapists (Förbundet Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter, FSA) [105]
HälsoAkademikerna [106]
Key research institutes Swedish council for working life and social research (Forskninsrädet rör arbetsliv och socialvetenskap, FAS) [107]
The Institute of Environmental Medicine (Institutet för Miljömedicin, IMM) [108]
The KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, KTH) [109]
The Central Government Social Partner’s Council (Partsrådet) [110]
Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk stiftelsen skogsbrukets forskningsinstitut) [111]
The Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova) [112]
National standardization bodies Swedish Standardisation association [113]
Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) [114]


Source: Overview by the authors


References

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Links for future reading

Statistics Sweden (2 March 2010). 80 percent of hotel and office cleaners in Stockholm were foreign born. Retrieved on 26 June 2012, from: [115]

Menckel, E., Österblom, L., Managing Workplace Health: Sweden Meets Europe, National Institute for Working Life, 2002. Available at: [116]

Gustafsson, R.Å., Lundberg, I. (eds.), Worklife and Health in Sweden 2004, National Institute for Working Life, 2005. Available at: [117]

Workplace flexibility (2011). Sweden: A model for Work/Life Integration by Linda Haas. Retrieved on 26 June 2012, from: [118]