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​​​​​​​Investigating the work environment

Here we have collected information for managers about work environment investigations.

Contents on this page:

  • Safety inspections
  • Staff appraisals
  • Workplace and staff meetings
  • Physical work environment measurements
  • Medical check-ups
  • Reporting incidents and occupational injuries
  • Risk and impact assessment
  • Staff surveys
  • Follow-ups
  • The OSA Game

One of the foundations of preventive work environment management is investigating the conditions of a workplace in order to identify any potential risks to health or safety.

Investigations into the physical, social, and organisational work environment must be conducted regularly and in collaboration with employees. Workplaces must have procedures that describe when and how investigations will be conducted and by whom. These procedures should be established by the relevant manager in consultation with employees and the health and safety representative(s).

Different methods of assessment offer different perspectives on working conditions. It is easier to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the working environment if several methods are combined.

Examples of investigation methods

Safety inspections

Safety inspections are an important part of work environment investigations. They are conducted by the managers responsible for work environment management, health and safety representatives and the relevant employees, by means of a systematic review of the premises or staff questionnaires. Safety inspections are to be conducted regularly. At least one organisational and social safety inspection, and one with a physical work environment emphasis, must be conducted annually for each workplace.

If particular issues need to be highlighted, such as organisational changes, there may be reason to perform the inspections at closer intervals, or with focus on specific areas, such as chemicals management or ergonomics. For targeted safety inspections, specialists from the Occupational Health Service or the Security and Environment Division should be involved.

Read more about safety inspections

Staff appraisals

Employees are to be given the chance to discuss their work environment during their annual staff appraisal.

Read more about staff appraisals

Workplace and staff meetings

The work environment must always be on the agenda for workplace meetings. Information about safety inspections and incidents should be provided, and employees given the opportunity to raise problems and issues related to their work environment.

Physical work environment measurements

Sometimes it might be necessary to take measurements related to the work environment in order to investigate conditions. These could be issues regarding chemical or biological substances, indoor climate, noise or lighting.

Contact the work environment engineers at the Occupational Health Service for advice on conducting these kind of measurements.

Medical check-ups

The Swedish Work Environment Authority’s regulations occasionally require employees to undergo medical check-ups, for example if they work in conditions where asbestos or thermosets are present.

Read more about medical check-ups

Reporting incidents and occupational injuries

One way to identify shortcomings in the workplace is to examine incidents, occupational injuries and absences due to illness.

Read more about incidents and occupational injuries

Read more about rehabilitation

Risk and impact assessment

Risk and impact assessments are used to identify shortcomings in the work environment.

Read more about risks in the work environment

Staff surveys

Interviews or questionnaires can be used to investigate both general and specific problems.


The annual follow-up of systematic work environment management is a fundamental method for identifying shortcomings in work environment management.

Read more about the annual follow-up of systematic work environment management

The OSA Game

Lund University uses a tool known as the OSA Game as a way of investigating the organisational and social work environment of a working team.

Read more about risks in the work environment


Contact your HR officer or your faculty/equivalent work environment coordinator in the event of questions.

You may also use the HR Division’s case management system to ask questions to the Division about different areas connected to HR encompassed in your role. 

A link to the case management system can be found on this page on the right