A Comparative Study of Inspection Regimes in Times of Change
Chapter 6: The Regulation of Systematic Work Environment Management in Sweden – Higher Ambitions in a Weaker Swedish Work Environment System
1 THE SWEM REFORM AS AN EARLY AND BROAD OHSM REGULATION This and the next chapter describe how the Swedish Work Environment Authority (SWEA2) interprets and supervises the provisions on Systematic Work Environment Management (SWEM3; AFS 2001). Dating from 1993, the SWEM reform and its implementation is of general interest. It is an early and broad approach to the regulation of occupational health and safety management (OHSM) (Frick et al. 2000) implemented in a country with a still relatively strong work environment system. The SWEM provisions also go beyond the regulatory requirements in the EU’s Framework Directive (89/391/EEC). Swedish workers have a stronger right of representation and participation in how employers manage their work environment than is the case in the Directive. A further feature is that employers have to regularly audit and improve the effectiveness of their SWEM. This secondary learning loop through internal monitoring is absent in the Framework Directive. SWEA has much freedom to formulate, interpret and enforce SWEM. However, it is only one of several actors in the Swedish labour market, 1 Kaj Frick is the author of the chapter but it is based on a study of SWEM that he and Anders Bruhn (Örebro University) conducted during 2003–06. 2 In this and the next chapter, SWEA also stands for the National Board of Occupational Health and Safety (ASS in Swedish) and the labour inspection districts that merged into SWEA in 2001, unless there is a need to differentiate between them. 3 The duty to...
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