Contractor safety in the mining industry is an unexplored field, especially in Sweden but also internationally. Subcontracting has become increasingly common and represents today a significant part of LKAB's total external workforce.
The research project maps how the client organization can work strategically towards external contractors, for example with policies, in order to avoid accidents. But also if subcontractors are overrepresented in accident statistics.
– It can be quite tricky with long subcontracting chains. The work needs to be organized and coordinated in a way that creates conditions for safety and health. We work among other things with the issue of responsibility, who takes responsibility at different levels of the chain, says Magnus Nygren, PhD student in the Human Work Science at Luleå University of Technology.
A great deal of the research is done on the spot through interviews and observations – both above and below ground – in order to identify how the work organization functions in everything from mining to processing. The project will be completed in autumn 2017.
– My research will result in an analysis and clarification of how the work is organized in this industry, and what the situation is like when it comes to health and safety for contractors. This can also be linked to a broader trend that we see both in Sweden and internationally, where people fall into various forms of flexible and temporary jobs. The consequences of this development, and how the working conditions look like for these groups, are important areas to explore, concludes Magnus Nygren.