Role and working methods of the work environment group
The work environment group, consisting of employer and employees, of which at least one is to be safety representative, meets regularly to collaborate on work environment issues concerning the department/equivalent.
It is suggested that the work environment group consist of at least the head of department/equivalent, safety representative and any student safety representatives/student representatives. The student safety representative/student representative can be invited to attend when issues concerning the students are to be addressed. If there is no local safety representative, the chief safety representative may be called in where necessary. It is suggested to ensure as far as possible that the employer representatives are represented, as they have important knowledge of matters such as HR, the chemicals representative and the equal opportunities representative, for example. The composition should as far as possible include representation of the employees’ various employment categories, working groups and backgrounds based on grounds of discrimination. Remember that the group can also have members co-opted into the group where necessary, but they do not need to be present at all of the group’s meetings. It is important for those involved in the group to be interested in work environment management.
There should be at least as many employee representatives as those for the employer. However, the group should not exceed 10 participants. At a small department – fewer than 25 employees – the department board can also serve as the work environment group. If the department board takes up this double role, it is important to review whether anyone needs to be co-opted into the group to ensure there is employee and student representation.
Suggested issues for the work environment group:
It is important to remember that the head of department/equivalent or another employee has been allocated the systematic work environment management tasks and is responsible for implementing them.
- The work environment group can take the initiative to raise work environment issues concerning the department/equivalent and/or issues raised by employees and/or students within activities.
- As part of its systematic work environment management, the work environment group can draw up a plan for systematic work environment management. This plan could comprise an annual cycle for different activities within systematic work environment management and a risk assessment with action plan for the work environment. The head of department/equivalent is responsible for drawing up the plan for systematic work environment management in collaboration with the employer and employees.
- The work environment group can work continuously on the plan for systematic work environment management by ensuring that the identified work environment risks are/will be risk-assessed, that all risks that cannot be remedied are immediately documented together with an action plan used as a basis for management and by planning follow-ups to ensure that the measures have had an effect on identified risks. The work environment group can also ensure that the follow-up is implemented and plan for future actions based on its results.
- The work environment group can plan to and, where necessary, implement risk assessments prior to changes.
- As long as specific individuals cannot be identified, the work environment group can follow up on occupational injuries and incidents.
- The work environment group can carry out an an annual follow-up of the plan for work environment management and systematic work environment management.
- The work environment group should have regular meetings at which minutes are taken. Ensure that the minutes are accessible to all employees at the department/equivalent. Template for agenda for work environment group meetings. The template can also be used as a template for writing up minutes from the metting.
Note that individual cases may not be discussed at work environment group meetings.
More information on proposals for how a work environment group can be started can be found here
- The Work EnvironmentAct (Swedish Work Environment Authority)
- AFS 2001:1 Systematic work environment management (Swedish Work Environment Authority)
- Safety representative