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Role distribution between the safety delegates and the union representatives

Consensus document between the safety service and the trade unions at HiOA.
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The trade union representatives and the safety delegates are key players who should contribute in making the HiOA workplace attractive and in developing and improving the working environment.

Safety delegates and union representatives are players on the same arena, but with different starting points and different regulations and agreements to adhere to. The table below provides a summary of the main differences.

The Safety Service

  • The role is laid down in the Working Environment Act and tasks are described in acts and regulations
  • Works within the public law section of the Working Environment Act; Section 1-7 (10)
  • The legal requirements for the working environment are mandatory
  • Must attend to the employees’ interests in cases concerning the working environment
  • Must receive training on regulations
  • Must ensure employee participation and that the employer follows up the statutory requirements for a satisfactory working environment
  • May bring cases up to WEC and LWEC
  • The Labour Inspection Authority is the supervisory authority and professional body

Trade unions

  • The role is laid down in the Basic Agreement and Adjustment Agreement
  • Work within the private law section of the Working Environment Act; Section 10-20
  • Agreements between the parties are governing
  • Must safeguard the working conditions of its members, individually or as a group
  • Must receive training on agreements
  • Assist members directly; their measures are regulated by members’ rights and by acts and agreements
  • Can bring cases up for discussion in IDN (information, discussion and negotiation) centrally or locally
  • There is no supervisory authority but the trade unions’ key paragraph may provide assistance

Safety delegates vs union representatives

The safety delegates will look at the working environment in its entirety and safeguard the interests of all employees. Thus, the safety delegate possesses a distinct role in working environments characterised by conflicts.

When it comes to conflicts between individuals or cases of a more HR-related nature, the safety delegate may easily be perceived as a party to the case. The trade unions and the chief safety delegate do not wish the safety delegates to enter into such cases. It is the college’s trade unions that will attend to their members’ interests in HR related cases. The safety delegate’s tasks in conflict situations between individuals will be to

  • notify the employer that measures must be initiated
  • further guide individuals

The safety delegates’ focus on the working environment is an important supplement to the Basic Agreement and the Adjustment Agreement. The faculties and the administration must facilitate good interaction and  cooperation between the safety line and civil service line in order to take advantage of the safety delegates’ and the union representatives’ expertise on different areas.

Both union representatives and safety delegates must be informed of matters located on the borderline between safety issues and working conditions, and have mutual knowledge of each other's involvement. Examples of such conditions are reorganisations, changes in working hours, change of work premises and other issues which may affect the employees' health or working environment.

Before dealing with cases with working environmental aspects in central IDN, these must first be sent to the chief safety delegate and to the unit for HSE to allow WEC to discuss  them. The minutes of WEC's processing must follow the case to IDN. The same applies at the faculty level and in the administration for local IDN, FSD and LWEC.


HiOA, 12/12/2013

The safety service at HiOA by chief safety delegate Erik Dahlgren

The trade unions at HiOA