Employers within building and civil engineering work
When work is carried out outside the ordinary workplace, such as at a construction site, and where there is no supervision from the own company on site, it is important that everyone knows who one should contact in different situations. It is important that all staff know who is responsible for the work environment and to whom they should turn with different questions about the work environment.
The employers responsibility for the work environment is fundamental
The employer has the primary responsibility for it's employees' work environment and should, together with employees and safety representatives, assess the risks for health and safety in all work. The employer should take the measures necessary and check that the measures actually are carried out and that the work environment work is functional. The employer should have routines for the systematic work environment work and ensure that the employees have training for, and knowledge about the risks with, the work. This responsibility applies irrespective of whether the work is carried out at a construction site or at the own company.
This employers work with the work environment is called systematic work environment management. Here you can read more about the employer´s responsibility for the systematic work environment management:
Additional responsibility for those running a business at a construction site
At a construction site, every employer should assess what risks their own work can entail. This applies to both the risks that can affect their own employees, in accordance with the systematic work environment management, and the risks that can affect other employees' staff. In the risk assessment, the employer should describe every risks for health and safety and how the employer will prevent it.
The employer should leave information about the risks to the building work environment coordinator for the construction phase (Bas-U). Bas-U should coordinate the different contractors works so that they don't entail work environment risks for each other. Bas-U judges which works need to be coordinated.
The employer is obliged to follow the instructions from Bas-U when it comes to, for example, planning of the work and preventive measures. Every employer also has a responsibility to ensure that their own business, or the devices that the employer has brought to the construction site, do not entail risks for health and safety for anyone working at the common workplace. The different businesses should cooperate with each other in order to create a safe and healthy workplace together. Read more in 7 g § in chapter 3 in the Work Environment Act:
The employer should make sure that the employee receives instructions to prevent risks both for their own work and for other persons conducting adjacent work. The employer should also see to that the construction site’s common rules are presented to their own staff. All contractors should also contribute to the order at the construction site and regularly tidy up.
Arbetsgivaransvaret finns alltid kvar hos varje företag på en byggarbetsplats, trots att det finns en Bas-U som samordnar de olika verksamheterna. Vid in- och uthyrning av personal gäller särskilda regler.
The employers responsibility for his, or her, own staff always remains at a construction site, even though there is a building work environment coordinator (Bas-U) coordinating the different businesses. When it comes to temporary, hired staff, special rules apply.
Temporary workers – hiring staff
In the construction sector it is common that an employer can have a workforce that consists of their own staff, hired agency workers and self-employed staff (F-tax registration). In these cases it is particularly important to have clear management so that everyone know what applies in different situations, and who one should contact.
The responsibility for the employer who hires temporary workers can be compared with the responsibility one has for one’s own workers, with some exceptions. Those who hire in or hire out their staff in the construction sector should consider that many working tasks within the sector have requirements for specialised documented knowledge, training certificates, medical check-ups and many other things that must be completed before the staff can be hired out or in. It is therefore important that those hiring out or in temporary staff carry out checks and come to an agreement about what the current work demands, and make sure to hand over the necessary background documentation.
Self-employed workers are seen as hired staff if they are lead by management on site
If a worker is self-employed and carries out the work under the supervision of another company, it is to be considered as ’being hired in’.
This means that the company supervising the work is responsible for risk assessment, preventive measures, informing and giving instructions to the person. It is also important that the party who hired the person is informed about the persons prerequisites for the current work, for example knowledge and experience. It is particularly important that the self-employed workers know who they should turn to in different situations.
If a self-employed person is supervised by another entrepreneur, that person is comparable to temporary, hired staff.
At the construction site, the same regulations apply to everyone. There is no exception for those who are self-employed. The self-employed workers should, the same as everyone else, follow the collective work environment plan and submit information about the risks of their work to the building work environment co-ordinator for the execution stage, Bas-U.
It is important that those who are self-employed know in which role the work is carried out.
Hiring out staff
Within the construction sector, there are several companies who only hire staff out to different construction sites. It is particularly important that these companies thoroughly investigate the work their staff will have to perform and who is the responsible supervisor.
Unfortunately, today there are many examples of unclear structures at construction sites. It is not uncommon that staff are hired from several different companies and are expected to work side by side without any responsible manager on site. No management on site and an unclear organisation can give rise to an increased risk of both ill-health and accidents. A common language between employees and the management can have a decisive significance in some work situations. Both the company hiring out and the company hiring in staff must take these factors into account.
Staff from other countries at construction sites
A workforce from several different countries is very common today at construction sites. It can be contractors, self-employed workers or hired staff. Sometimes persons are employed or hired by a Swedish company and sometimes they are posted from a foreign company to work in Sweden.
When foreign staff should work in a construction project, one often need to clarify the rules for health and safety that applies in Sweden. Though there are common minimum rules for the work environment in EU, there are certain differences between the countries. Every country has the right to establish rules that are stricter than the minimum directive. This means that some foreign companies and their employees lack knowledge about the specific rules we have in Sweden, that they in fact are obliged to follow.
For foreign companies which are posting staff to Sweden, there are certain rules since 2013.
Here you will find more information:
Posting - foreign labour in Sweden
Safer Building, Brochures
Safer building and civil engineering work, Brochures
The brochure is based on the provisions about building and civil engineering work from the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
Last updated 2024-01-04