Table of Contents

  • This comparative study can be traced back to the program of Iceland’s Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2009. The program called for work on a harmonization of legislation concerning occupational health and safety in the Nordic countries.

  • The title of the study is: Comparative study of legislation and legal practices in the Nordic countries concerning labour inspection. One part of the study compares legal practices in the Nordic countries concerning labour inspection. It outlines provisions in legislation in the Nordic countries regarding how labour inspections are conducted, however, the process of making this study revealed that a comparative study of labour inspection in practice would be difficult to accomplish, the reason being that practical working methods for labour inspections are constantly being changed and revised. The project group decide therefore to delegate that part of the study to the Nordic countries themselves, allowing them to give an up-to-date description on labour inspection in practice in Annexes which are attached to this study. Those Annexes are published as prepared by individual countries.

  • The major finding of this study is that the legislation and legal practices concerning labour inspection does not differ substantially among the Nordic countries. This is mainly due to the membership of all the countries of ILO and either the EU or the EEA which oblige the countries to transpose EU directives concerning health and safety at work and labour law into their national legal systems and also to the fact that the Nordic counties share similar values and legal traditions. However there are some important differences among the countries as listed below

  • The Nordic countries have close mutual ties owing to their common cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Today, Scandinavia forms a common area of language and culture, and many social functions are based on common traditions. This extends to the development of traditional Scandinavian law, which has also been influenced by International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards and more recently by European Union (EU) legislation.

  • The Act on Working Environment, Health and Safety in the Workplace No. 46/1980, with subsequent amendments (hereafter the Working Environment Act) contains provisions concerning the working environment in Iceland. The purpose of the Act is to ensure a safe and healthy working environment in accordance with social and technical developments in society and to ensure that it is possible to resolve safety and health problems within workplaces in accordance with current legislation, recommendations from employer and employee associations and guidelines and instructions from the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health (cf. Article 1).

  • The Danish Working Environment Act (Arbejdsmiljøloven) consolidated Act No. 1072 of 7 September 2010 (hereafter the AML) covers rules about the working environment in Denmark. The aim of the AML is to create a safe and healthy working environment, which at all times is in accordance with technical and social developments in society. Furthermore, the AML is intended to create the basis for enterprises themselves to solve problems related to safety and health issues with guidance from the social partners and guidance and inspections from the Labour Inspection Authority. The main areas of the legislation are performance of the work, the design of the workplace, technical equipment, substances and materials, rest periods and young persons under the age of 18. The AML is supplemented by Executive Orders which further describe how the purpose of the AML can be achieved.

  • The Act of 17 June 2005 No. 62 relating to working environment, working hours and employment protection, etc. (Working Environment Act) covers rules about the working environment in Norway. The purpose of the act is to ensure safe working conditions and equal treatment among workers, and to ensure that the working environment forms a basis for a health-promoting and meaningful work environment.

  • The Working Environment Act No. 1160 of 1977 (hereafter AML) is the legislation covering occupational health and safety in Sweden. The AML is a framework law, which means that the act sets the outer framework for the work environment. The purpose of the Act is to prevent ill-health and accidents at work and generally to achieve a good working environment. The Government has issued Work Environment Ordinance No. 1166 of 1977 which contains certain supplementary rules to the AML.

  • The Finnish legal framework of occupational health and safety is based on two fundamental laws, the Occupational Safety and Health Act No. 738/2002 and Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Co-operation on Occupational Safety and Health in Workplaces No. 44/2006. The former regulates the general safety in work as related to, for example, employer’s general obligations, co-operation between employers and employees, provisions on working conditions and design of workplaces and exposure to chemicals etc. The objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act are to improve the working environment and working conditions in order to ensure and maintain the working capacity of employees as well as to prevent occupational accidents and diseases and eliminate other hazards from work and the working environment to the physical and mental health. The Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Co-operation on Occupational Safety and Health at Work (hereafter the Act of Enforcement) provides the procedure to be followed by occupational safety and health authorities in monitoring compliance with the Act. This Act is divided into three parts, first general provisions and authority enforcement, then cooperation on occupational safety and health and lastly appeal, notification, obligations, penal provisions, and miscellaneous provisions. Below is a description of the roles and functions of the Administration of occupational health and safety.

  • Overall, many similarities can be found between the five countries. This is not surprising because all the Nordic countries are members of the ILO. In addition they are all either members of the European Union or the European Economic Area and the rules regarding health and safety are therefore in principle similar.

  • The objective of this study was to find out how legislation and legal practices concerning labour inspections differ in the Nordic countries. To accomplish this, individual reports on each Nordic country were made. Three areas concerning labour inspection were investigated in each report: An examination on how labour inspection is administered in order to gain an insight into how labour inspection is governed in each country. Secondly, the scope of legislation concerning labour inspection was examined to establish whether the Labour Inspection Authorities in the Nordic countries are expected to enforce only legislation concerning occupational safety and health, working conditions in general, or whether the Authorities have been additionally entrusted other duties, e.g. enforcement with the terms and conditions of employment of workers. Furthermore, it was also examined to whom the legislation applies and the content of the provisions of the legislation. Finally, the follow-up systems of the labour inspection legislation were examined. This includes provisions of the legislation concerning enforcement and punishment. Those three areas were chosen for comparison because they reveal best the differences among legislation and legal practices concerning labour inspection in the Nordic countries.

  • If a driver has to transport goods classed as dangerous and they are over certain quantities/weights, then he/she must obtain a Vocational Training Certificate (an ADR) issued by the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health and receive adequate training.

  • The AOSH operates under the Act on Working Environment, Health and Safety in Workplaces No. 46/1980 and Executive Orders issued according to the Act. The AOSH acts under the Ministry of Welfare.