The working environment programme was established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and The Norwegian Labour Inspections Authority, The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration and The National Institute of Occupational Health.

The working environment programme support both priority areas in the IA-agreement (sick leave reduction and a reduction of withdrawal from working life) and include targeted industry and workplace-oriented knowledge development, communication and guidance in preventive working environment efforts.

The programme focuses efforts on the industries and sectors with the greatest potential for reduction in sick leave and withdrawal, to achieve the national objectives for the IA-agreement. Industries and sectors have different starting points, challenges and trends, and their contributions to achieving the national IA objectives will therefore vary. The industry and sector development in working environment, sick leave and withdrawal is important for the achievement of the agreement’s overall national objectives.

The working environment programme includes making research and knowledge-based information as well as guidance materials and recommendations available, to enable enterprises in their own local improvement work. Based on documented knowledge, specific objectives and indicators will be set for prioritised industries and sectors. Thus, the preventive working environment efforts will be knowledge-based and targeted.

Tools and activities in the working environment programme

STAMI is, as part of the programme, to contribute to the development of an improved knowledgebase for the working environment sector with a specific focus on factors that contributes to work related sickness absence and withdrawal from working life. By strengthening the surveillance, and through the use of focused systematic literature reviews within areas of importance for the IA-Agreement. Thus, contributing with research based and relevant knowledge on the most prevalent work environment challenges on branch level.

As the National Institute of Occupational Health, STAMI, provides the scientific base as well as the national statistics on the working environment status in Norway on branch/sector and occupational level.

The national statistics on working environment, compiled by the National Surveillance System for Work Environment and Occupational Health (NOA) at STAMI, consists of factors which have a documented, significant correlation with different health outcomes. Thus, these statistics forms a solid knowledge base for setting up preventive measures, activities, and tools, addressing the actual work environment challenges found in the different branches/sectors.

This knowledge base is the foundation of the working environment programme and the basis for all activities within the programme, whether these are guidance and educational activities delivered from the welfare administration, guidance, tools and information from the inspectorates or tools, education, and guidance as well as knowledge dissemination from STAMI.

The work environment portal and knowledge-based tools

As part of the programme a work environment portal was set up, promoting a scientific knowledge-based way to work with preventive measures at workplace level. The portal promotes knowledge-based tools, facts and figures on Norwegian working life as well as advice on preventive working environment efforts.

Within the programme three tools, based on facts on Norwegian working environment and health deriving from NOA at STAMI, are being produced and promoted.

These three tools are: STAMI’s two tools “A Great Day at Work” En bra dag på jobb and NOA+. The third tool is the “Work Environment Helper” (Arbeidsmiljøhjelpen) which is owned and developed by The Norwegian Labour Inspections Authorities.

STAMI has produced NOA+ for around 35 different industries/sectors. The knowledge-based tool for improving work environment: “A Great Day at Work”, has been produced for 25 branches, awaiting 10-15 more the next few years.