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The waiter, the store employee, and the waste collector can all feel pain caused by repetitive strain on the body.

The waiter, the store employee, and the waste collector can all feel pain caused by repetitive strain on the body.

Martin Guttormsen Slørdal og Sissel M. Rasmussen

Working in Norway: Environment, health and safety (EHS / HMS), working environment, facilitation

Repetitive strain on the body: This is what your employer has to do to look after your health

In Norway, 40 per cent of sick leave can be related to working conditions and strain in the workplace, according to surveys. Your employer must provide a safe and secure working environment.

19.10.2021
11:15
19.10.2021 11:32

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

Glenn Rinden works as a rubbish collector with Norsk Gjenvinning Kristiansand. Since he was 22 years old, he has been a «garbage man». Now he is 34.

When Rinden started working as a rubbish collector, it hadn’t occurred to him that the occupation is tough on the body. Some rubbish bins for private households can hold up to 240 litres. Especially when it snows – and the snowbanks grow tall – the rubbish collectors can feel gravity working against them.

– Winter can be challenging, even for those of us with experience. I can feel it both in my back, shoulders, and knees, says Rinden.

He praises his employer for having good routines when it comes to environment, health and safety (EHS / HMS), but he thinks the industry, in general, could do more.

– I have been in this industry for a long time, and I have seen and heard of many people with neck, shoulder, and back problems.

Rinden believes there will always be some pains in the workplace. However, with good planning and facilitation, many problems could be prevented.

– This is related to how the companies perform when it comes to environment, health and safety (EHS), he says.

You may also be intereste in this article: These are the current minimum wages within nine industries in Norway

Strain injuries from working as a waiter

Despite strain and late-night shifts, Andreas Tharaldsen is happy working as a waiter. But he wonders what it will be like in 10 years.

– I already get tired after a long shift with overtime. We stand, walk, and carry all the time, says Tharaldsen, who has a certificate in the profession.

According to Tharaldsen, more and more employers demand that the waiters perform new tasks. The waiters must drudge, and the chefs must clean the dishes. The professions become unimportant, and more people get employed as hotel or restaurant workers.

– They call it efficiency, but it means that there are fewer people at work, with an increased workload and more health-damaging strain, he says.

What characterises the industry is many unskilled workers, high turnover, and few older workers. Unfavourable working hours, and a lot of evening- and nightshifts, also increase the risk for injuries and strain.

It is harder to implement a working environment that is good for health when so many leave the profession, Tharaldsen points out.

– There are a lot of strain injuries, such as pain in the wrist or lower arm. Gradually, many will experience problems with their shoulders, hips and back. There is often a lot to carry when setting and clearing tables. Decent work shoes are in short supply. The result is tired feet at the end of a long day, he says.

Article in Polish: Praca obciąża organizm: Oto, co musi zrobić pracodawca, aby zadbać o Twoje zdrowie

Article in Lithuanian: Darbas alina kūną: Darbdavio prievolė pasirūpinti jūsų sveikata

A facilitated workday

Store employee Trine Elbanna has worked at Coop for more than 16 years.

Five years ago, Elbanna was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. When she gets up in the morning, her body doesn’t always cooperate. She feels stiff and sore, and her joints are painful, especially in her fingers, hips and knees. When she tears open cartons or lifts heavy goods onto the shelves at work, she feels pain.

With Trine Elbanna’s work assignments facilitated, she can keep working there. She no longer has to lift the heaviest goods. And, if the pain is worse one morning, she can start work later that day. Her employer gets a wage subsidy from Nav.

Even though employers have a duty to facilitate employees with a reduced working capacity, Elbanna believes that not everyone who needs facilitation is taken care of like she is.

– I’ll give credit to my employer for that. Without facilitation, I would not be able to continue working in the store.

Working in Norway: Migrant workers are drawn to Norway by wages. For this couple, other things were more important

You are entitled to and obligated to this:

· As an employee in Norway, you are entitled to a sound working environment. It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that the working environment is safe and secure.

Your employer must:

· Assess possible hazards in the workplace in cooperation with the employees.

· Implement measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of workers being sick or injured at work.

· Ensure that workers use personal protective equipment, such as helmets, hearing protection, and safety goggles – when safety, health and welfare, cannot be protected in other ways.

· Ensure that you receive proper training in a language you understand.

· Facilitate workers with a reduced working capacity; and for workers who – due to an accident, strain, or similar – cannot perform their usual work during the employment relationship.

· All Norwegian companies must have a safety representative (verneombud) elected by the employees.

The safety representative shall ensure that the employer fulfils their duties regarding the employee’s health, safety and welfare.

If you have problems at work, you can take these up with your safety representative.

· As an employee, you are also obligated to contribute to safe and sound working conditions in the workplace.

You must follow the business guidelines, use mandatory protective equipment, and help prevent accidents and injuries. You shall inform your employer and safety representative about hazardous working conditions.

· All building and construction workers and cleaning workers must wear the mandatory HSE card (HMS kort) in the workplace.

That applies to all companies that carry out work in Norway, whether the assignment is short-term or long-term. The employer is responsible for ordering an HSE card for you. If you have not received an HSE card, you must talk to your employer.

Source: Know Your Rights / Arbeidstilsynet

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More articles in English:

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What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement (tariffavtale) is a written agreement between workers organised within a trade union (fagforening) and either an employers’ organisation or a single employer. The collective agreement provides a standardised arrangement for pay and working conditions.

You can now read news about Norwegian working life in English

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19.10.2021
11:15
19.10.2021 11:32

FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

Please share the articles with colleagues and friends.

Got a story to tell? Contact us: foreignworkers@lomedia.no

> Read more news in English

> Więcej wiadomości po polsku

> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba