Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Powerful work safety delegates

Recent research has shown that Norwegian work safety delegates are not afraid to exercise their right to stop company activity. In 85 percent of cases, their action solved the underlying work environment problem.

“This study of the role and function of work safety delegates is the first of its kind”, says project manager Hans Torvatn of SINTEF, who does research on working life. Torvatn and his colleagues have gathered data from no fewer than 1647 Norwegian work safety delegates on behalf of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise and the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions. In Norway, companies with more than ten employees have been legally required to operate a safety delegate system since 1977.

“These results demonstrate that safety delegates are more important and more active than we had previously thought, and that they are regarded as partners by company management. Our main finding is that delegates actually make use of their strongest weapon – their right to call a halt to operations, and that this seldom produces negative consequences in the form of sanctions or career damage for them,” says Torvatn.

Twenty percent of the work delegates had exercised their right to halt operations, while as many again had considered doing so. Exercising this right contributed to a permanent solution of the problem in no fewer than 85 percent of cases. Those who had considered stopping operations said that management had promised to solve the problem in 70 percent of cases, and in 58 percent, the problem found a concrete solution without operations having to be halted.

“This shows that the right to bring work to a stop significantly raised the percentage of successful outcomes.”

Negative consequences

One of the questions asked by the researchers was whether the right to stop work led to sanctions or negative consequences for safety delegates’ careers.

“Here we come up against a sort of “whistleblower” problem”, says Torvatn. While as many as 84 percent of those whom we questioned were quite certain that their decision to call a halt to company operations had no negative effects on their careers, six percent wholly or partly agreed that their careers subsequently suffered. One out of every ten respondents answered that they were later subjected to sanctions.

“There is quite obviously a good deal of room for improvement in the management teams of these companies. Generally speaking , this is a matter of raising the level of consciousness regarding the rules of the game in Norwegian work life.

The right of Norwegian safety delegates to halt the activity of a company is something special in an international context. That the employees’ representative can demand such a stop on grounds of health, safety or the environment would be unthinkable in most other countries. But now we can confirm that we have a system that largely works in practice. This is probably due to the fact that we tend to have low levels of conflict in Norwegian companies”, says Torvatn.

The project was financed by the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise via the General Agreement Joint Measures Scheme.

Aase Dragland | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>