Changes should be planned and carried out in such a way that employees are ensured a satisfactory work environment both during and after the change (AML § 4-1).
A change process is any change in working conditions that may affect the work environment of one or more employees.
Examples of change processes are restructuring regulated by a restructuring agreement, organisational changes, relocations and regrouping, rebuilding that causes short or long term changes, new procedures, introduction of new technology or changes in administrative systems etc.
The guidelines include all changes that could cause consequences for the employees' work environment.
The Work Environment Act and the Internal Control Regulation’s requirements must be fulfilled.
- The Work Environment Act: "... the employer shall ... d) during planning and implementation of changes in the business, assess whether the work environment is consistent with statutory requirements and take appropriate action ..." [AML § 3-1 (2) d)].
- The Internal Control Regulation: "Internal control means that operations should ... 6. identify dangers and problems, and with this in mind, assess risks and draw up appropriate plans and measures to reduce such risks ... "[IK Regulations § 5, 2nd paragraph. 6]. The regulation requires written documentation on this point.
Roles and responsibilities
The line manager in charge of the branch responsible for controlling the change process must follow the requirements for the planning and implementation of the change process.
Employees must be given the opportunity to participate (AML § 4-2). If multiple units are affected by the changes, the line managers must together work to facilitate participation.
The consequences of the planned changes must be assessed with respect to the employees’ work environment. They must be documented in accordance with internal control regulations. The assessment should be carried out early in the process so that the conclusions can be taken into account in the execution of changes.
The safety deputy must be consulted in the planning and implementation of measures that affect the work environment [AML § 6-2 (4)].
If the change process is organised in projects, the project leader together with line manager(s) must cooperate in carrying out the duties and guarantee communication with the employees. The project establishes a framework for the employees' power of influence.
Employees, safety deputies and union representatives must be involved in the planning as early as possible. For major changes the Occupational Health Service (OHS) must participate in the planning process.
Plans for changes in the faculty / public administration must be submitted to LWEC.
Plans for changes that are involving several units or that are of fundamental or enterprise-overriding nature, must be taken to WEC.
The HSE unit must be informed of all plans for structural change.
Facility matters are managed by the guidelines for facilities management.
A project plan for the change process must be drawn up and the following elements must be included:
- Purpose of the changes. Every change project, big or small, should have a clear purpose that must be communicated to the affected parts
- Clarification of roles; clarification of the line organisation's role and responsibilities, and a description of the distribution of duties between the line manager and any other actors.
- Scope; what the change(s) consist(s) of.
- User involvement; description of how, and within what limits, the users are involved in planning and implementation.
- Risk assessments; impact assessment of work environment conditions.
- Overview of how the results of the risk assessment are incorporated into the project.
- Information plan.
- Work schedule.
The scope of the change(s) determines how extensive the various elements of the project plan will be.
The following documentation must accompany all change processes and be presented before the changes are implemented:
- Project plan
- Statement by safety delegates