In Sweden, you, as a safety representative, have a unique position where your role is to monitor the work environment management at the workplace.
Employers and employees should cooperate in work environment management
The Work Environment Act states that the employer and the employee should work together in the work environment management. Even if the employer has the utmost responsibility for the work environment, it is a stated requirement that the organised work environment management should be run together with the employees and their representatives. The employees’ representative is the safety representative or the work environment representative, as it is also called.
The safety representative has, in the Work Environment Act, been guaranteed a number of powers. The safety representative has, among other things, the authorisation to:
- receive training
- be a part of actions which concern the relationships in the work environment
- participate during the planning of new premises as well as changes in the premises.
Even those who are studying have, to a certain extent, the possibility to influence their work environment. The Working Hours Act also gives the safety representative certain authority.
The right of the safety representative to demand measures
It is to the employer that you as a safety representative should turn with demands for measures for a satisfactory work environment.
If you feel that the employer does not follow the stipulations of the Working Hours Act about extra time, extra overtime and emergency overtime, you can also make demands for measures. If you are not satisfied with the answer to your request, or if there is no answer at all, you can turn to us at the Work Environment Authority. If the Working Hours Act regulations are replaced by a collective agreement, then it is the labour market partners who should monitor that the agreement is followed.
With immediate or serious danger for the lives of the employees you can decide to stop work (a so-called safety representative stop) and wait for us to take a position in the matter. This does not apply to student safety representatives.
The safety representative’s request for an injunction or ban according to 6 chapter 6 a § of the Work Environment Act
The employer and safety representative should cooperate to create a good work environment. This applies to both local and regional safety representatives, as well as student safety representatives.
If you as a safety representative discover shortcomings in the work environment, you can ask the employer to fix these shortcomings. If you do not know which measure is necessary to solve the shortcomings in the work environment or are unsure of the scope of them, you can demand that the employer carry out an investigation.
You will find more information in the Work Environment Act 6 chapter 6 a, 17-18 §§.
The safety representative can make a report to the employer
If the employer has not carried out the investigation or fixed the shortcomings that you have requested, you can make a formal request to the employer, a so-called 6:6 a report.
From the report it should be clear to the employer which investigation or measure you are requesting. It should also be clear by which date - at the latest - you wish to have notification from the employer.
The employer should then sign that the request has been received. If the employer should refuse to sign the report, you can make a report to us at the Swedish Work Environment Authority later.
When the time to answer has passed
When the time to answer is over, the employer should give you an answer with information about which investigations or measures are planned or carried out. If the employer has done this and you are satisfied with the answer, no report to the Swedish Work Environment Authority should be made.
If you do not receive an answer from the employer before the answer time is up, or if you are not satisfied with the answer, you can hand the question over to us at the Swedish Work Environment Authority. It is, however, important that the employer has had enough time to answer the report. Only after that is it possible for us to take a position in the question. Do not, therefore, send a report to us before the answer time is over, or just to inform us.
If you have partly accepted the employer’s answer, but for example have not accepted the time plan for measures, this should be clear in your report to us. Thus you need to write an explanation to us about what you are not satisfied with.
Form for 6:6 a report
If you wish to hand the question over to us you can make a report with the help of this form below.
You need to enclose the following with the form:
- the 6:6 a report that was given to the employer
- the employer’s signature or information that the employer has not signed the document
- the employer’s answer or information about an answer being missing.
Send the completed form to us via email to email@example.com or regular mail to Arbetsmiljöverket, 112 79 Stockholm.
Observe that when the matter has been handed over to us, you cannot sharpen the demands. However, you as a safety representative always have the possibility to recall your report at any time.
Safety representative work suspension
With immediate or serious danger for the life of the employee, you can decide that work should be interrupted (a so called safety representative work suspension) while waiting for us to take a position in the question. This does not apply to student safety representatives. You will find more information in the Work Environment Act 6 chapter 7 §.
Chief safety representative
When there are several safety representatives at a workplace, the chief safety representative must coordinate their activities and represent the safety representatives externally. The chief safety representative should, for example, take up issues that concern more than one safety area and the chief safety representative works at the entire workplace. If there are chief safety representatives from several different trade union organisations at the workplace, the organisations may decide which chief safety representative has the authority for the different safety areas.
How the local safety representative and the chief safety representatives allocate their tasks is decided by the trade union organisation that appointed them. The trade union organisation should document the arrangement decided upon in minutes or similar.
The chief safety representative has the right to stop work and make proposals according to 6 chapter 6a § of the Work Environment Act. The best is if the chief safety representative is in agreement with the local safety representative in this matter.
Regional safety representative
Normally a regional safety representative is appointed if there is no local safety representative, but can also be appointed if there are local safety representatives. Regional safety representative do not have right of access to workplaces that have a safety committee. There must be at least one member in the regional safety representative’s trade union organisation at the workplace for the representative to have authority there.
Regional safety representatives have the same tasks and authority as other safety representatives. It can sometimes be an advantage that the regional safety representative is not employed at the workplace when demands about work environment improvements are presented. The relationship between the chief safety representative and the regional safety representative are not affected by the legislator. This means that the main rule is applied, that is to say that the chief safety representative represents the other safety representatives externally.
The safety representative can act for temporarily hired employees
The safety representative can act towards those who manage a workplace according to 3 chapter 12 § of the Work Environment Act and also towards work that is carried out by temporarily hired manpower. There is nothing in the law, comments about this or precedent that differentiates between a local, regional or chief safety representative in this authorisation. In other words all may act on behalf of hired employees and towards those who manage the workplace (Work Environment Act 3 chap.12 §, 6 chap. 6a and 7 §).
Last updated 2023-02-16