Table of Contents

Regulating Workplace Risks

Regulating Workplace Risks

A Comparative Study of Inspection Regimes in Times of Change

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

It examines the implications of the shift from specification to process based regulation, in which attention has been increasingly directed to the means of managing OHS more systematically at a time in which a major restructuring of work has occurred in response to the globalised economy. These changes provide both the context and material for a wider discussion of the nature of regulation and regulatory inspection and their role in protecting the health, safety and well-being of workers in advanced market economies.

Chapter 6: The Regulation of Systematic Work Environment Management in Sweden – Higher Ambitions in a Weaker Swedish Work Environment System

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

Subjects: business and management, human resource management

Extract

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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