The working environment system

There are three important players which are able to influence the development of new regulations and the interpretation of the Working Environment Act and applicable regulations. The Working Environment Act describes these as:

  • Authorities (the Labour and Employment Ministry and the Working Environment Authority) which administer the Act and supervise enterprises to ensure compliance with the Act.
  • The party system (the Working Environment Council and the eleven sector health and safety committees), comprising representatives of the trade unions and the management and employer organisations. The party system is involved in amendments to working environment legislation and promotes good working environment practice among enterprises’ managers and employees.
  • The Council of Appeal on Health and Safety at Work, which deals with complaints relating to Working Environment Authority decisions. This Council is independent. Its chairman is appointed by the Labour and Employment Minister, while its members are from the organisations.

According to the Working Environment Act, other institutions may also assist enterprises with preventing working environment problems.

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  • Working environment organisations are enterprises’ own working environment units which become involved in preventing working environment initiatives on the instigation of the management.
  • Industrial medicine clinics and wards at hospitals can examine whether ailments or illnesses are caused by work. These clinics can also work in cooperation with enterprises to help prevent injury.
  • The National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA) implements research and development projects which may assist authorities, parties and enterprises to examine and chart working environment problems and develop better prevention methods.
  • Authorised working environment advisors, approved by the Working Environment Authority, can help enterprises to chart and resolve working environment problems.