international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Sweden: The Swedish Work Environment Authority Introduces a New Regulatory Structure

Author: Karolina Sundqvist

The Swedish Work Environment Act was introduced in the 1970s, and since then, the Swedish Work Environment Authority has issued several provisions and general recommendations in addition to the Act. Today, the Work Environment Authority’s Statute Book (“AFS”) consists of 67 provisions, resulting in difficulties in overviewing the rules and understanding when and to whom they apply. Furthermore, changes over the years have resulted in a lack of uniformity since the Work Environment Authority, in certain areas, has handled the same issues differently. The purpose of the new structure is, therefore, to create a more coherent and transparent regulatory framework.

In short, the current 67 provisions will be merged into 15 more comprehensive provisions, where the current sections are sorted in a new way. In many cases, what is today a separate provision will in the new framework be a section of a more comprehensive provision. The 15 new provisions have been divided into three groups: basic rules, other rules, and product rules. The basic rules apply to all employers and other actors with responsibilities regarding work environment, while the other rules and the product rules apply differently depending on the type of business.

The premise is that the levels of protection for the work environment and the requirements for employers will remain unchanged. However, there is an important exception with regards to regulations aimed at actors in construction work. In AFS 2023:3, the Work Environment Authority has introduced new requirements to clarify responsibilities and tasks for such actors, especially in the early stages of the construction process.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

Employers and others concerned by the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s new regulatory structure must familiarize themselves with the changes. Furthermore, references to provisions and paragraphs in the employer’s documented procedures or support and guidance material must be updated before 1 January 2025.