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Good examples will help improve the working environment in the installation industry

Published: 15 January 2021

Small companies in the installation industry (for example plumbers and electricians) often have limited resources to invest in the work environment at the same time as they tend to be particularly exposed to work environment risks. A new research project studies good examples where collaboration between small companies in the installation industry and occupational health care has led to an improved working environment. The result will be presented in the form of a book for inspiration.

In addition to purely medical competence, occupational health care usually has competence in a number of other work environment-related areas, including ergonomics, systematic work environment planning and behavioral science.

– Companies tend to underutilize non-medical expertise. It is quite common for occupational health care to be hired only to carry out annual health examinations, says Leif Berglund, senior lecturer in work science and project manager.

Long-term cooperation

Previous research shows that a prerequisite for occupational health care to be able to contribute to a healthy working environment is that there is a long-term collaboration between them and the customer companies and that the occupational health services receive sufficient information to be able to identify the needs.

– A possible explanation is that it takes time to establish personal relationships between companies and occupational health care. Hopefully, our project can provide a clearer picture of the mechanisms behind successful work environment work, says Leif Berglund.

The study will be conducted in the form of interviews with representatives from small companies in the installation industry with the experience of good collaboration with their occupational health care. The interviews will primarily be conducted with the person responsible for the business agreement with the occupational health service, usually the owner, and the company's safety representative. Representatives from the contracted occupational health service will also be interviewed. Furthermore, the researchers will analyze the companies' documentation of the working environment 

The result in a book for inspiration

The results of the project will be collected in a book for inspiration.

– Although the ibook is primarily aimed at those who work in the installation industry and occupational health care, we hope that the content will be relevant in other industries as well, says Maria Johansson, PhD in work science.

The project, which is part-financed by the Swedish Construction Industry Development Fund (SBUF) with SEK 1 million, is carried out in dialogue with representatives of the social partners. It started in January 2021 and lasts for two years.