The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is a governmental agency under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, focused on occupational safety and health.
The Labour Inspection Authority has approximately 600 employees and consists of a central office - the Directorate, seven regional offices and 16 local offices throughout the country. The Directorate in Trondheim regulates the agency's overall strategy, programmes and information. The district offices guide and supervise individual enterprises in local communities.
Laws and Regulations
Laws and regulations are the foundation of all the Labour Inspection Authority's activities. We have administrative, supervisory and information responsibilities in connection with the following acts:
- The Working Environment Act
- The Annual Holidays Act
- The National Holidays Act
- Certain sections of the Smoking Act
The Working Environment Act
The Working Environment Act applies to all land-based operations with employees.
The employer is responsible for complying with the requirements of the act, and for ensuring that the enterprise maintains a healthy and safe working environment. These responsibilities are explained and reinforced by the regulations relating to internal control.
Consequences of violating the Working Environment Act
In dealing with enterprises that do not comply with the requirements of the Working Environment Act, the Labour Inspection Authority may respond with:
When statues and regulations are violated, the authority may give the enterprise an order to correct the situation within a given time limit. This is done in writing, and the recipent has the opportunity to lodge an appeal.
- Coercive fines
If the order is not complied with, coercive fines may be imposed. The size of the fine is dependent upon several factors, but the main rule is that it shall be unprofitable to violate the Working Environment Act.
- Shutdown of operations
An enterprise may be shut down with immediate effect if the life and health of it's employees are in imminent danger. Shutdowns may also be imposed when enterprises fail to comply with orders given.
The authority may report enterprises to the police for serious breaches of the act. A serious violation can result in fines, or, in the worst case, imprisonment.
Systematic Health, Environmental and Safety Activities in Enterprises - Internal Control Regulations
These regulations require enterprises to have written objectives in relation to health, environment and safety activities. Roles and responsibilities regarding health and safety issues must be clarified. Risk analysis and assessment must be carried out, and plans of action made and carried out according to assessments.
The person responsible for the enterprise must ensure that internal control is introduced and performed in the enterprise and that this is done in collaboration with the employees and their representatives.
Overall Objective and Strategies
The agency's overall objective is a healthy working environment for all, safe and secure employment conditions and meaningful work for the individual.
The Labour Inspection Authority encourages enterprises to work systematically towards compliance with the working environment laws and regulations.
The Labour Inspection Authority oversees that enterprises comply with the requirements of the Working Environment Act. Supervision will mainly be aimed at enterprises with the poorest working conditions, where there is little willingness to correct problems and where the agency's efforts will have the greatest effect. This is done by:
- Internal control audits
Reviews of enterprises' internal control systems to reveal whether regulations and procedures are being followed. An audit can take place over several days.
Intermittent tests are used to check whether internal control systems function well and that companies meet legal requirements.
- Investigating accidents
All serious and life threatening accidents are investigated by the Labour Inspection Authority.