The Working Environment Act (WEA) is the basic legislation governing the world of work in Norway. It can be viewed as a framework and a recipe book, with goals, requirements and rules of the game on how to ensure a good working environment for each employee, for the enterprise, and for society. 

Adopted to ensure secure employment terms and equal treatment in working life, the WEA is also intended to protect against physical and mental harm. In addition, it aims to secure a healthy and meaningful working day and contribute to a more inclusive workplace. 


Workers may be exposed to a number of hazards – termed risk factors – in their working environment. Good management can identify and deal with these, so that they present the lowest possible threat to employee health. 

While a good working environment is important in itself, it is also a precondition for keeping the major accident risk low. 

In order to understand the causes of major accidents and thereby take effective countermeasures, factors which are interdependent – such as technology, management systems, organisation, people and corporate culture – must be viewed in relation to each other. 

Human factors are an important discipline at the interface between working environment conditions and major accident risk. 

Risk can be managed 

Working systematically and preventively is important for success in reducing risk and creating a good working environment. The requirements set by the HSE regulations for the petroleum sector are reflected in the steps shown in this model for managing working environment risk. 

Planning. What requirements and which goals and strategies are being pursued by the company to improve the working environment? 

Mapping. Exposure to working environment factors. 
Risk assessment. Degree of exposure and possible consequences. 

Measures. Implement risk reduction measures. 

Verifying and learning. Do these measures have the intended risk-reducing effect? Lessons learnt are carried forward to a new plan. 
Involvement of employees and use of specialist working environment expertise.