Regulating Workplace Risks
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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.
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Chapter 7: Implementing Systematic Work Environment Management in Sweden – Interpretation by SWEA and Supervision by its Labour Inspectors

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


1 THE SAM PROJECT ON SWEA’S IMPLEMENTATION OF SWEM In the previous chapter we outlined the Swedish Work Environment Act in force since 1978, and the Systematic Work Environment Management (SWEM) provisions in their historical context, including a focus on the state’s varying motives to intervene in the work environment of the labour market. In this chapter we report on a study of the way in which the Swedish Work Environment Authority (SWEA) has interpreted and supervised the SWEM provisions. Objectives and Research Questions Our SAM study (SAM is Swedish for SWEM) from 2003 to 2006 on how SWEA implements SWEM was conducted against the socio-political background described in the previous chapter. It was motivated by the fact that since 1993 SWEM is to be the major political strategy to improve health at work in Sweden, by requiring employers more proactively to assess and reduce occupational health risks. Yet, there have been only few, small and sometimes poor evaluation studies of how this strategy has been implemented and the results it delivers (Frick 2002). As the previous chapter has shown, what knowledge there is indicates that compliance with SWEM has grown gradually since 1993 but at a slow rate and is still low. A SWEA evaluation (AV 2001a) of its supervision of SWEM found that contraventions of SWEM were included in 40 per cent of the inspection 1 Kaj Frick is the author of the chapter but it is based on a study of SWEM that he and Anders Bruhn...

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