Working Environment Act

Chapters 2 to 7 of the Working Environment Act contain provisions on requirements for the working environment, responsibility for the working environment and arrangements for the requirements to be met.

These are provisions that apply to the public and private business sector. In addition, the Working Environment Act Chapter 18 gives the Norwegian Labor Inspection access and the possibility that they can pass judgements on activity that violate  the working environment Act.

Requirements for the working environment

The central provisions and requirements can be found in the Environment Act 4-4, employers have responsibility and requirements for factors that affect employees in regards to their  health and well-being.

More concrete details are in the subsequent provisions , such as technical equipment requirements, organization of work, and responsible for preventing toxic or other health threatening situations in the work place.

Work place mandates

Section 4-4 of the Working Environment Act stipulates that the work place must be a safe place for employees and this must be top prioritized in the organization of the work environment. In particular there should be a pleasant temperature, good lighting and air quality.

There is also requirements that the environment will not be polluted in any way, noise or vibrations are prevented are reduced. The sanitary facilities and welfare rooms are satisfactory and the office is furnished in a way that avoids adverse physical strain. A number of regulations have been issued which provide more detailed rules about this.

Requirements for technical facilities and equipment

4-4 of the Working Environment Act states that the technical equipment and devices must be designed and equipped with protective devices so that employees are protected against injuries.

This is particularly important in production companies where dangerous equipment is used. There are a more regulations and details in regards to the use of dangerous equipment.

Organization of the workplace

Section 4-1 of the Work Environment act states that the work must be organized in all respects to the employees’ safety and that they are not exposed to adverse physical and psychological stress. There is also a requirement that working conditions mut be facilitated so that employees are given a responsible opportunity for professional and personal development through their work.

Employer’s duties

The employer is obligated to ensure that the business is set up in accordance to the above mentioned requirements. This means that the employer has a legal obligation to ensure that the law’s requirements are complied with.

Failure to do this can be sanctioned by fines from the Norwegian Labor inspection authority c. 18-7 of the Working Environment Act. Violations can also result in criminal liability for the employer.

The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority right to inspection

The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority’s  according to Section 19-1 of the working environment act,  gives the right to Representatives for the Norwegian Occupational Safety and Health Administration free access to every place of work covered by the act, including buildings, warehouses, mean of transport and areas where machinery etc. is located. In connection with a notification of a breach of the rules in a business, The Norwegian Labor and Welfare Authority has a duty of confidentiality with regards to all parties involved in the reported incidence.

Protection agent / representative

In accordance with Section 6-1 of the Working Environment Act, all businesses must have a safety representative. The protection or safety representative is elected by the employees, for a period of two years.

Safety representative’s task is to look after the employees’ interests in matters concerning the work environment, cf. 6-2 of the Working Environment Act. The person must be consulted in all matters concerning safety at the work place. The representative has authority to stop work if there is an immediate danger to the worker’s lives or health.

Working environment committee

It is mandatory to have a Health and Safety committee for all companies that have more than 50 employees. There must be a representatives from management, an employee, safety representative, and a health representative. The committee must work for the implementation of a fully responsible working environment and participate in the planning of the protection and environmental safety work. More details can be found in 7-2 of the Working Environment Act.