You have the right to a safe working day
Everyone working in Sweden has the right to a safe and good work environment. Make sure that you receive a good introduction and instructions which you understand, in order to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents at the workplace.
What you as an employee should think about
You as an employee can participate in work environment management in several ways:
- Inform your employer about risks, incidents, illness and accidents.
- Suggest preventive measures for your manager and colleagues.
- Provide feedback on the steps that have been taken.
- Follow the instructions on which your workplace has decided.
- Use personal safety equipment.
When you start a new job, there is much that is new. It is therefore important that you receive a proper introduction in which you find out your tasks and the risks involved.
If you have questions about salary, employment contracts, collective agreements, or the right to annual leave, please refer to local employee or employer organisations, because this is not regulated in work environment legislation.
Contact the Swedish Work Environment Authority
The Swedish Work Environment Authority can answer your work environment questions and support you in the use of our e-services. In addition to English we speak a variety of languages, for example, Russian, German, Polish and Arabic. You can also tell us about bad conditions at a workplace.
How are things for you at work?
A good work environment means you are not at risk of falling ill or injuring yourself at work. You should not have pain in your body due to sitting incorrectly or carrying out the same movements for several hours in a row. Also, you should not lose control of a vehicle or hurt yourself on a machine. It may also be about having the right lighting, being able to lift without pain, or to avoid feeling threatened at work.
It is equally important to have good mental and social work environment. An example of a bad working environment is if you have an excessive workload or if you feel that you are inadequate even though you work hard. The social work environment is about how you feel at work with your colleagues. Those who feel lonely, like outcasts, or marginalised at work can fall ill.
You who are a seasonally employed immigrant or newly arrived in Sweden have the same right to a good work environment as everyone else. In Sweden, Swedish laws and regulations apply irrespective of your nationality as a worker.
You have the right to an introduction
When you start a new job, there is much that is new. It is therefore important that you receive a proper introduction where you find out your tasks and the risks involved.
During an introduction you must receive information on
- the tasks and how to carry them out
- manuals, checklists and other written instructions needed at work
- what accident risks are present in the work and how to protect oneself from them
- any personal protection equipment available and how to use it
- how any tools, machines and other equipment work
- where fire and first aid equipment is available, and how alarm procedures work.
It is also important that you receive information about
- the general procedures at the workplace, premises, coffee breaks and lunch areas, as well as other things that make it easier for you to feel a part of the activities
- who to turn if you have questions about the work environment
- who your closest managers - and possibly supervisors - are. You should also receive information about the safety representatives and union representatives.
Speak up if you do not understand or if you are still unsure how to perform the tasks. It may take time to learn a new task, so make sure you receive the time you need. This is important - a good introduction reduces the risk of injury on the job.
You have the right to introduction and guidance
When you start a new job, there is a lot that is new. That is why it is important that you receive a good introduction, during which you find out about your tasks at work and the risks that exist. If you are under 18 years of age you should, in addition, have a supervisor you can turn to.
In the introduction you should find out:
- what your tasks and duties are and what you are not allowed to do
- how tools and machines work
- which work environment regulations apply
- what risks exist and how you can protect yourself from them.
Dare to say no
You shouldn’t fall ill or be injured by you job, nor shouldn’t you get pain in your back or become stiff from performing the same movements for several hours in a row. Your boss must ensure that the work environment is good, but cannot know everything that happens. You therefore also have your own responsibility regarding the work environment. You must follow the instructions at the workplace and use any safety equipment necessary. Make sure you receive a good introduction, and if you find any shortcomings in the work environment that can lead to injury, you should immediately contact the manager at the workplace.
Someone at your workplace must
- give you a good introduction to the workplace
- instruct you about your working tasks
- show you any accident risks and how to protect yourself
- inform you to whom you can turn if you have questions about your work environment or discover any risks that can lead to illness or injury.
- You also have your own responsibility for your work environment:
- You must follow the instructions at the workplace.
- You must use any safety equipment necessary.
- Contact your boss at your workplace if you find that there are shortcomings in the work environment that can lead to illness or injury. If there are safety representatives and union representatives, you can also contact them.
- Dare to ask if you do not understand!
A workplace with more than five employees must have a safety representative. The safety representative can represent you in the case of problems in the work environment, and ask the employer to do something about them.
There are two types of safety representative
- local safety representative
- regional safety representative from the trade union with which you are affiliated.
What happens if you injure yourself at work?
If you should be seriously injured at work, inform the manager at your workplace. You must also inform your employer if you encounter a situation that could have led to an accident, a so-called incident. The manager will then report the injury to the Swedish Work Environment Authority and to the Social Insurance Agency.
Picture books from Prevent – illustrated instructions for foreign workers
The Prevent organisation has produced picture books that easily, without text, show how to work safely within agriculture, landscaping, forestry and horticulture.
These books are aimed at you who do not have Swedish as a native language, for example seasonal employees. Please use them! The books can be downloaded or ordered free of charge from Prevent.
Last updated 2020-12-14