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News | 2023-04-28
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Anneli Julander (middle) discusses work environment with co-workers Klara and Maria.

Green transition places new demands on the workplace

A sustainable working environment is an important puzzle piece in the green transition. As Sweden makes this transition, both workplaces and duties are changing, and this results in new challenges in the work environment. On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Anneli Julander, one of IVL's work environment researchers, shared some thoughts on the future.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which falls on 28 April every year, is an initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It became an official UN day in 2003. Its aim is to highlight the importance of a safe, healthy and sustainable working life.

Matters relating to work environment are integrated into much of the research at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. In conjunction with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we spoke to Anneli Julander, one of IVL's work environment researchers.

Explain how work environment an important part of the transition to sustainability.

For Sweden to reach its environmental goals, Swedish industry must make a sustainable transition. When discussing this transition, the focus is often on industrial processes and emissions, while questions about how businesses can achieve a sustainable working life are not asked. For this reason, it is essential that employees are encouraged to participate in the processes, partly so that the businesses will understand the challenges that can arise in the work environment field. Here, IVL can contribute with research and strategic advice.

Which work environment issues are particularly important for the future?

For businesses, a key question is about analyzing the need for measures for a secure work environment in the green transition. Recruiting the right talent will be very important. Businesses will have to work with both risk- and health factors, i.e. a healthy working life, in order to attract appropriate new employees.

Many questions relating to the technical and chemical work environment will require scrutiny. As industries shift to new and partially unknown process methods, employees may be subject to new exposures, e.g. new process methods for well-known chemicals or metals, or standard process technology can result in exposure to completely new chemicals.

What work environment matters is IVL working with right now?

IVL is managing several different research projects about the green transition. In terms of the work environment, we have a project on how the work environment is affected when electronics and electronic equipment is collected, repaired and re-used in a safe way. It studies procedures for systematic work environment management, safety culture and the measurement of chemical exposure.

Falls among healthcare staff, and the causes of these, are studied in another project. This project looks at how falls can best be prevented, in order to avoid sick leave cause by falls.

In another project we focus on the skin's exposure to allergenic chemicals, and develop methods to measure exposure on the skin.

For more information, contact:
Anneli Julander, anneli.julander@ivl.se, tel: +46 10-788 66 63

The Green Transition Leap: Coaching – Work environment in the sustainable transition

IVL currently offers coaching in "Work environment in the sustainable transition", aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Here, our skilled work environment experts help companies achieve greater understanding of work environment issues in the sustainable transition. IVL also helps identify their greatest challenges, and how they can proceed. This work is carried out in collaboration with the Green Transition Leap project, which is financed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket).

Read more about the Green Transition Leap, and apply for your company to receive coaching

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