Systematic health, environmental and safety activities in enterprises (full text)

Dette er en engelsk oversettelse av forskriften Systematisk helse-, miljø- og sikkerhetsarbeid i virksomheter (Internkontrollforskriften). Det er også gitt kommentarer til forskriften. Disse følger samlet etter forskriftsteksten.

Laid down by Royal Decree of 6 December 1996 in pursuance of section 16a, cf. section 2, subsection 8, of Act No. 4 of 4 February 1977 relating to Worker Protection and Working Environment etc.; section 14 of Act No. 47 of 21 May 1971 on Inflammable Goods and Liquids and Gases under Pressure; section 14 of Act No. 39 of 14 June 1974 on Explosives; section 4 of Act No. 26 of 5 June 1987 on Fire Prevention etc.; section 52b of Act No. 6 of 13 March 1981 on Protection against Pollution and on Waste; section 8 of Act No. 79 of 11 June 1976 on Control of Products and Consumer Services; section 41, cf. section 48, of Act No. 9 of 17 July 1953 on Civil Defence; section 3, cf. section 9, of Act No. 4 of 24 May 1929 on Supervision of Electrical Installations and Electrical Equipment and section 17, second paragraph, of Act No. 38 of 2 April 1993 relating to the manufacture and use of genetically modified organisms (Gene Technology Act). Amended by Act No. 1352 of 17 December 1999, Act No. 270 of 9 March 2000, Act No. 127 of 1 February 2002, Act No. 1599 of 19 December 2003, Act No. 1395 of 8 October 2004 and Act No. 51 of 28 January 2005.

Section 1 · Object

Through requirements as to systematic implementation of measures, these regulations shall promote efforts to improve conditions in enterprises in regard to

  • the working environment and safety
  • prevention of damage to health or disturbances to the environment from products or consumer services
  • protection of the external environment against pollution and improved treatment of waste

so as to ensure that the objectives of the health, environmental and safety legislation are achieved.

Section 2 · Scope and extent

This regulation applies to enterprises encompassed by

  • Act relating to inspection of electrical installations and electrical equipment (Act No. 4 of 24 May 1929)
  • Section 48, cf. section 41, of the Civil Defence Act (enterprises required to maintain safety and emergency preparedness measures) (Act No. 9 of 17 July 1953)
  • The Product Control Act (Act No. 79 of 11 June 1976)
  • The Working Environment Act (Act No. 4 of 4 February 1977)
  • The Pollution Control Act, where the enterprise employs staff (Act No. 6 of 13 March 1981)
  • The Gene Technology Act (Act No. 38 of 2 April 1993)
  • Act on radiation protection and use of radiation (Act No. 36 of 12 May 2000)
  • Act relating to fire and explosion prevention (Act No. 20 of 14 June 2002)

This regulation is not applicable in Svalbard or to enterprises as mentioned in section 2, subsection 3, of the Working Environment Act, cf. Royal Decree of 27 November 1992 on Worker Protection and Working Environment in Petroleum Activities.

Section 3 · Definitions

In this regulation the following definitions apply:

Internal control
Systematic measures designed to ensure that the activities of the enterprise are planned, organised, performed and maintained in conformity with requirements laid down in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation.

Health, environmental and safety legislation
The statutes mentioned in section 2, first paragraph, and regulations laid down in pursuance thereof.

Section 4 · Obligation to maintain internal control

The person responsible for the enterprise shall ensure that internal control is introduced and performed in the enterprise and that this is done in collaboration with the employees and their representatives.

The employees shall participate in the introduction and performance of internal control.

Section 5 · Content of systematic health, environmental and safety activities.
Documentation requirements

Internal control shall be adapted to the nature, activities, risks and size of the enterprise to the extent required to comply with requirements set out in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation.

Internal control entails that the enterprise shall: Documentation
1. ensure that those Acts and regulations in the field of health, environmental and safety legislation that apply to the enterprise are accessible, and have an overview of requirements of particular importance for the enterprise.
2. ensure that the employees have sufficient knowledge of and proficiency in systematic health, environmental and safety activities, including information on changes made
3. ensure employee participation so as to utilise overall knowledge and experience
4. establish health, environmental and safety objectives must be documented in writing
5. have an overview of the enterprise's organisational set-up, including allocation of responsibilities, duties and authority in regard to the work on health, the environment and safety must be documented in writing
6. identify dangers and problems and against this background assess risks; draw up appurtenant plans and measures to reduce such risks must be documented in writing
7. implement routines to uncover, rectify and prevent breaches of requirements established in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation must be documented in writing
8. carry out systematic surveillance and reviews of the internal control system to ensure that it functions as intended must be documented in writing

Internal control shall be documented in the form and to the extent necessary in the light of the nature, activities, risks and size of the enterprise. Documentation resulting from requirements set out in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation, for example instructions, authorisations, proof of qualifications, certifications and the like, shall be included.

Written documentation pursuant to this regulation shall encompass at least the second paragraph, subparagraphs 4 to 8 inclusive, of this section.

Voluntary certificates may also form part of the documentation.

Section 6 · Coordination

Where two or more enterprises perform work on the same worksite, they shall, where necessary, agree in writing which of them is to be responsible for co-ordinating the internal control of their joint activities or areas. Failing such agreement, the supervisory authorities may decide which of them shall have this responsibility. If considerations of health, environment or safety indicate a different allocation of responsibility, the supervisory authorities may reverse an agreement that has been entered into.

Where an enterprise engages an independent contractor to carry out assignments on the enterprise's own premises or site, the contractor's internal control shall as far as possible be made the basis for the work encompassed by the assignment. This applies where the assignment is performed by the contractor in person, by the latter's own employees or by others. The enterprise shall furnish information on joint rules and the like and see to it that any defects are rectified or necessary adjustments made in its own internal control or that of the contractor.

Section 7 · Supervisory authority

The supervisory authority pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation shall supervise and provide guidance on implementation of and compliance with these regulations.

Section 8 · Exemptions

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs may after consulting the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health*, grant exemption from this regulation when special conditions obtain.

* now Ministry of Health and Care Services

Section 9 · Appeal

Individual decisions made pursuant to these regulations may be appealed to the administrative agency that is immediately superior to the administrative agency which made the decision, cf. the Public Administration Act.

In the case of individual decisions made pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation, provisions of the Acts mentioned that govern the right to appeal apply.

Section 10 · Sanctions

The provisions on penalties and other sanctions set out in the health, environmental and safety legislation are applicable in the event of contravention of the provisions of these regulations.

Section 11 · Commencement

These regulations come into force on 1 January 1997.

As from the same date the regulations on internal control laid down by Royal Decree of 22 March 1991 shall be repealed.

 


 

Comments on the Regulations realting to Systematic Health, Environmental and Safety Activities in Enterprises

(Internal Control Regulations)

Re Section 2 · Scope

The regulations apply to enterprises covered by the Acts mentioned in this section. They cover public and private sector enterprises of all kinds and all types of commercial activity, including consumer services. The public administration and public services are also included. Private individuals/consumers, on the other hand, are not covered by the regulations. For closer definition of how the term «enterprise» should be understood, attention is drawn to the individual Acts. Any doubt as to the scope of the regulation may be clarified by contacting the supervisory authority in question.

In order for the regulations to apply in the area covered by the Pollution Control Act, the enterprise must have employees. As a general rule the same is true in regard to the Working Environment Act. Hence one-man enterprises are not expressly required to establish internal control for compliance with the Pollution Control Act or with regulations pursuant to the Working Environment Act. Such businesses may however come under a co-ordinated internal control system if they perform work together with other firms at the same workplace; cf. section 6 of the regulation.

In the area covered by the legislation on electricity, fire prevention, product control, gene technology and radiation protection, the fact that an enterprise has or does not have employees has no bearing on the application of the regulations. This has to do with the purpose of the particular legislation. All businesses, including one-man enterprises, coming under the provisions of electricity, fire prevention, product control, gene technology and radiation protection legislation are encompassed by the internal control regulations unless it is specifically stated that the regulation is not applicable.

The obligation to maintain internal control also applies to any enterprise that engages independent contractors to carry out construction assignments. Such enterprises must have internal control encompassing the health, environmental and safety requirements imposed on them by virtue of their construction activities and their relationship with the contractors. They are accordingly required to incorporate in their internal control systematic measures to satisfy the requirements of the Regulation concerning Minimum Safety and Health Requirements at Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites (otherwise called the Construction Sites Safety and Health Regulations (Construction Client Regulations), laid down by Royal Decree of 21 April 1995.

In regard to the Product Control Act, the regulation applies to enterprises which manufacture, process, import, market or utilise a product or treat a product in any other way, and enterprises which offer a service to consumers. Enterprises which offer the use of products or services are subject to the regulations regardless of whether or not they receive payment for doing so.

Municipalities offering for example the use of goalposts, playground equipment etc., are subject to the regulations.

The regulations also encompass the municipalities' obligations under the Act relating to fire and explosion prevention to ensure the establishment and operation of a fire service. Internal control as a principle of management and supervision has been introduced in several areas. Hence many enterprises are required to operate internal control encompassing several different acts and associated regulations, among them the food and fisheries industry and schools and day care institutions. Enterprises coming under several different internal control provisions must consider the most appropriate way of complying with the requirements. In many cases a practical approach would be to draw up an overall system which takes all the relevant legislation into account.

Re Section 4 · Obligation to maintain internal control

The obligation to introduce and operate internal control rests with «the person responsible » for the enterprise. By this is meant the management or owner of the enterprise. Who, or which functions may be entailed, varies according to the enterprise's organisational set-up. Although internal control must be performed at all levels of the enterprise, the main responsibility for initiating the system (i.e. for «introducing» internal control) and for maintaining it (i.e. for «performing» it) is vested in top management of the enterprise. This section makes clear, however, that internal control must be introduced and operated in collaboration with the employees, the working environment committee, safety delegate(s) and/or employee representatives where such exist.

Who is «responsible» for the enterprise will depend on the various acts underlying the regulation. Examples of persons responsible for implementing the regulation are:

  • the employer (under the Working Environment Act)
  • the management as shown in the enterprise's organisational set-up or structure (under the Pollution Control Act)
  • anyone in charge of the manufacture, storage, transport (including loading and unloading), procurement, use and import and export of explosives and trade with such goods (under the Product Control Act)
  • owners and users (under section 48 of the Norwegian Civil Defence Act, cf. section 41)
  • undertakings (under the Act relating to fire and explosion prevention)
  • owners and users of electrical installations and electrical equipment; producers, as well as importers and other distributors, of electrical equipment; electro-fitters and the like (under the Supervision of Electrical Installations and Electrical Equipment Act)
  • the management of undertakings as shown by the undertakings’ organizational or company structure (under the Gene Technology Act)
  • the management of undertakings as shown by the undertakings’ organizational or company structure (under the Act on radiation protection and use of radiation)

It is implicit in section 4 that the person responsible for the enterprise is obliged to see that internal control is monitored and reviewed to ensure that it functions as intended. This requires continual assessment of internal control activities to enable shortcomings to be identified. It also entails a complete review at regular intervals, i.e. a review of the entire internal control system; cf. section 5, subsection 8.

Section 4, second paragraph, expressly states that employee participation is obligatory. This is also a general condition of employment contracts. Hence participation in internal control activities is a requirement. Sections 24 and 26 of the Working Environment Act expressly require safety delegates and members of working environment committees to participate in establishing and maintaining internal control. Moreover, under section 12, subsection 3, of the same Act employees and their union representatives are entitled to be consulted in connection with management and planning systems. Indeed, internal control is regarded as a management and planning system coming under section 12, subsection 3, of the Act. For firms which are bound by a collective pay agreement the same provisions are set out in chapter IX of the Main Agreement between the main worker and employer organisations.

It is absolutely essential that internal control be integrated in the overall management and planning of the enterprise. More and more enterprises are now concerned to integrate their relationship to the external environment into their organisation strategy and profile, and internal control is an instrument suited to strengthening this work within the enterprise. Employees too will be interested in giving their enterprise an environmental profile and in contributing to a more environment-friendly community. Internal controlmust also incorporate requirements in regard to the external environment, and is therefore an instrument which the employees and their elected representatives can use to influence dispositions by the enterprise affecting the environment. Moreover, it is clearly essential
to turn employees' experience to account to ensure that internal controls function properly. Their familiarity with, for example, various inputs in production, procurement, waste treatment etc., represents valuable knowledge which can contribute to a systematic review of all aspects of the enterprise that affect the external environment. The scope for conflicts of interest would appear to be limited inasmuch as consideration for the working environment and the external environment generally pull in the same direction.

Enterprises encompassing both employees and customers/users - e.g. hospitals, schools, day care institutions and hotels - have a responsibility for the health, environment and safety of both groups. Where this type of activity is concerned it is important to keep in mind that the legislation can impose requirements directed at one of the above groups - employees or users - or at both groups. The Product Control Act deals with the safety of the pupils etc., while the Working Environment Act covers the employees. The Act relating to fire and explosion prevention sets requirements concerning the safety both of hotel guests
and the hotel staff. In the latter case the internal control system must include all the acts making up the legal basis for the regulations to ensure that it encompasses both employees and users.

Re Section 5 · Content of systematic health, environmental and safety activities. Documentation requirements

Section 5 sets requirements as to the content and documentation of internal control. Subsection 2 requires all employees to possess the knowledge and skills they need to perform their work in a safe and, from a health and environment angle, proper manner. Hence they also have to be aware of changes made to the internal control system. Some knowledge requirements are fixed by rules or collective agreement, for example in the case of safety delegates, industrial safety personnel, etc. Other requirements naturally follow from the nature of the enterprise, its activities and inherent risks.

Subsection 3 requires the collaboration and involvement of the employees in regard to drawing up, performing and making changes to the internal control system; cf. also section 4.

The enterprise must have an objective for its health, environment and safety activities in the same way as for other areas of its operations. This is set out in subsection 4. Objectives are an important precondition for plans and activities and should be cast in as concrete a form as possible. Overall objectives must also be established. Objectives must be documented in writing.

The third paragraph points out that documentation of internal control will vary according to the nature, activities, inherent risks and size of the enterprise concerned. Some enterprises will make thoroughgoing risk analyses, while others will make do with simpler documentation. Internal control requires good order and a carefully prepared system. Implicit here is the need for all employees to be familiar with the enterprise's practice of internal control in regard to health, environment and safety, and the supervisory authorities must be given a clear view of the enterprise's policy and practice as regards health, environmental and safety activities.

Where routines and procedures in regard to health, the environment and safety already exist, the enterprise will be required to further develop such routines and procedures into a coherent system. This will include systematising work routines, instructions and the like that already exist in writing in such a way that they can be incorporated in an internal control system. Where regulations impose requirements as to certification, certificates must be subject to internal control. It may also be useful and expedient for other documentation obtained by the enterprise - e.g. voluntary certificates confirming that a product, a service or an activity, or a person's competence, are in conformity with specified requirements - to be included in the documentation

Re Section 6 · Co-ordination

This provision applies in situations where two or more enterprises perform work/activity together, or for each other, at the same workplace. The first paragraph covers, among other things, situations mentioned in section 15 of the Working Environment Act, while the second paragraph covers situations where an enterprise engages independent contractors to perform work on its behalf - e.g. maintenance or construction work.

Under the first paragraph, enterprises which perform work at one and the same workplace simultaneously must agree in writing which of them is to be responsible for co-ordinating internal control of joint activities or areas. This provision is grounded in the obvious need for someone with responsibility for, and an overview of, the overall health, environmental and safety situation at such workplaces. The requirement is confined to cases where co-ordination is considered necessary. Co-ordination is mandatory where two or more enterprises together have more than 10 employees working at the same workplace at the same time, cf. section 15 of the Working Environment Act. Also in cases where the number of employees is smaller than 10, situations are conceivable where the risk associated with having two or more enterprises at the same workplace is considered great enough to warrant co-ordinating the enterprises' internal control systems.

In addition to establishing which enterprise has co-ordinating responsibility, the agreement should also specify the areas and/or activities to which this responsibility applies. Which enterprise singles itself out to take care of co-ordination will vary from case to case. In some cases it will be the one that contracts out an assignment, while in others a particular enterprise may be required to assume responsibility for co-ordination by virtue of the terms of its licence.

Rules governing co-ordination of two or more enterprises are set out in section 15 of the Working Environment Act and in the Construction Sites Safety and Health Regulations (Construction Client Regulations), among others. An enterprise assigned main co-ordinating responsibility under section 15 of the Working Environment Act will as a rule also have such responsibility under the Internal Control Regulation. According to the Construction Sites Safety and Health Regulations, the enterprise for which building operations are carried out and/or the project supervisor is/are responsible for designating a health, environment and safety co-ordinator at the building or construction site. The assumption is that the interests of co-ordinated internal control and health, environment and safety are best taken care of if one and the same enterprise bears responsibility for all the statutory obligations involved. Where there are two or more enterprises, each discharging obligations pursuant to different bodies of rules, they must co-ordinate operations to ensure that the overall result is in conformity with the law. At enterprises operating at e.g. shopping centres, industrial parks and the like, it may in many cases be natural for the operating company or holding company to assume co-ordinating responsibility. The enterprise in question must in all cases have the necessary overview, competence and authority.

If no agreement has been reached, the authorities may decide which of the enterprises shall be responsible for co-ordination. In special cases the supervisory authorities can also reverse an already formalised agreement. The precondition is that an enterprise assigned responsibility for co-ordinating internal control on a site where two or more different enterprises are working simultaneously must have the necessary overview, competence and authority to assume such responsibility. If the supervisory authorities find that the enterprise that has formally agreed to take on such responsibility is unfit to do so, the agreement may be cancelled.

The second paragraph deals with internal control in relation to independent contractors. This provision only applies to contract work done in connection with assignments on the commissioning enterprise's own site or installation.

The point of departure is that an enterprise carrying on activities connected with a physical installation etc., is obliged to ensure that all activities on the site are encompassed by internal control, regardless of whether or not those performing the activities are employed by the commissioning enterprise. The reason for this is that it is often immaterial whether the persons exposed to risk while working are employed by the enterprise or not. The same will naturally apply where there is a risk of polluting the external environment, and otherwise in connection with safety and protection measures needed to prevent dangerous or harmful situations from arising as a result of an enterprise's own activities. The internal control employed will be that of the contractor who performs the contract. This entails that the commissioning enterprise has to assess the risks arising when suppliers and contractors carry out activities on its site. Where contractors are engaged as a standing arrangement or on a frequent basis, fixed routines for this may need to be included in the enterprise's own internal control system. Where contractors are engaged only by way of exception, risks must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. What is essential is to assess any environmental or other hazards associated with the assignment.

According to the rules the person responsible for the enterprise must investigate whether the contractors engaged by the enterprise operate satisfactory internal control. In many cases it will be necessary to assess whether the enterprise's own internal control includes general routines and measures dealing with, say, the working environment, use of fire, protective equipment or pollution risks.

The degree of mutual modification and/or correction of the internal control of the commissioning enterprise and the contractor respectively will vary both with the type and scale of the contract, the enterprise's size and inherent risk factors and how satisfactory the contractor's internal control is considered to be. The aim throughout must be to ensure that internal control is co-ordinated to the degree required to ensure that the result is in conformity with the legislation.

As a rule no co-ordination of internal control will be called for where the enterprise purchases components, parts and equipment from another enterprise.

Re Section 7 · Supervisory authority

This provision establishes who is responsible for supervising compliance with the regulations. The following bodies are supervisory authorities pursuant to the regulation:

  • Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Working Environment Act)
  • Directorate for Fire and Electrical Safety - municipal fire prevention authorities (the Act relating to fire and explosion prevention)
  • Directorate for Fire and Electrical Safety - local inspections (Supervision of Act relating to inspection of Electrical Installations and Electrical Equipment, and parts of the Product Control Act as regards consumer services and the physical, thermal, mechanical and fire prevention properties of the products)
  • Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (Pollution Control Act and Product Con-trol Act)
  • County governors (Pollution Control Act and certain regulations in pursuance of the Product Control Act)
  • Industrial Safety and Security Organisation (Civil Defence Act)
  • Norwegian Maritime Directorate (Regulations relating to pleasure boats issued pursuant to the Product Control Act)
  • Directorate for Nature Management (Gene Technology Act; release of genetically modified organisms)
  • Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Welfare (Gene Technology Act; contained use of genetically modified organisms)
  • Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (Act on radiation protection and use of radiation)

The supervisory authorities utilise systems-based audits and verifications to assess the health, environmental and safety status at enterprises, placing the emphasis on preventive health, environment and safety work. The supervisory authorities do not confine themselves to assessing directly negative events such as injuries, emissions and absence from sickness. They also provide guidance on understanding the regulation's requirements and the principles of internal control. The scope of their obligation to provide guidance is regulated in the Public Administration Act. Trade organisations etc. can also give affiliated enterprises guidance on solutions appropriate to the branch of industry in question.

Re Section 8 · Exemptions

Assessments must take into account the consequences of exemption for health, environmental and safety activities at the enterprise.

Re Section 9 · Appeals

The supervisory authorities may make various types of decision to enforce this regulation. They may for example order an enterprise to comply with the requirement to establish internal control. Another example could be ordering an enterprise to comply with the requirements as to documentation of internal control. Such orders will normally take the form of «administrative decisions» which can be appealed to the immediate superior agency (see overview below). Orders to rectify breaches of an enterprise's internal control system and the like are issued pursuant to the internal control regulations. Orders to rectify concrete contraventions of the underlying body of laws and regulations are made in pursuance of the latter. Both types of order can be appealed to the agency superior to the agency which issued the order.

Decisions/orders made by the local Labour Inspectorate may be appealed to the Directorate of Labour Inspection. Decisions/orders made by the Directorate of Labour Inspection at first instance may be appealed to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Decisions/orders made by the Municipal Council or County Governor may be appealed to the Directorate for Civil Defence and Emergency Planning. Section 28 (2) of the Public Administration Act shall apply to other municipal decisions.

Decisions made by the local electrical safety inspection authority may be appealed to the Directorate for Civil Defence and Emergency Planning.

Decisions/orders made by the Directorate for Civil Defence and Emergency Planning at first instance, may be appealed to the Ministry of Justice and the Police.

Decisions/orders made by the county governor at first instance may be appealed to the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority.

Decisions/orders made by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority at first instance may be appealed to the Ministry of the Environment.

Decisions/orders made by Industrial Safety and Security Organisation may be appealed to the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning.

Decisions made by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate as regards pleasure boats may be appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Decisions/orders made by the Directorate for Nature Management may be appealed to the Ministry of the Environment.

Decisions/orders made by the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Welfare may be appealed to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

Decisions made by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority may be appealed to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

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