October 23, 2021

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1 in 3 companies violate infection control regulations – VG

Stopped: This photo was taken from a detached house where five people lived. Everyone had their own bedroom, but shared a living room, kitchen and bathroom. Photo: Orbitstillsnet

During corona epidemics, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission conducted unannounced and digital inspections at various workplaces.


After 5,600 inspections of infection control, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission has found violations in one of three companies, but the violations are now lower than in the first half of 2021.

VG has previously written about infection control violations on boats Construction industry, industry and commerce.

In 30 percent of inspections so far this year, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission has found one or more violations. In 81 cases, due to the risk of spreading the infection, the researchers immediately stopped an operation. 63 of these cases violated accommodation regulations. Most violations still face repair orders, most of them.

– Stopping is the best tool we have in the short term, for example, it has been used when we identify employees who should have been isolated in private rooms and lived with others, says the director of the Norwegian Labor Study Authority, Trudeau Walheim.

To date, the Norwegian Labor Review Commission has decided on fines for irregularities in 31 cases, and this has been reported in a number of other cases.

– The fee is in the order of 50,000–1,100,000 kroner, and this, among other things, is determined by the risk of infection and the financial condition of the company, says Walheim.

Better Conditions: Trude Wahlheim, director of the Norwegian Labor Review Commission, believes the approval plan is one reason for the improvement in shelter conditions. Photo: Thor Nielsen

Progress around the shelter

Although violations have not yet been discovered, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission sees a trend towards improving accommodation conditions. Earlier this year, the government tightened the rules for accommodation, which must be approved by the employer before a space can be used. If no approval was obtained, the isolation had to take place in an isolated hotel.

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Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Dorborn Ree Isoxen (H) believes the pre-approval worked best.

– Under the guidance of the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission and the supervision of hostels, this has made the accommodation better, says Issaksen.

– There are still some serious violations, are the rules so hard to follow?

– The majority of employers follow the rules, and in most violation cases, the employers want to do things right. With changes in the rules, it is challenging to get all the changes with you, but it is the responsibility of the employer to stay updated at all times. Unfortunately, there are a few who do not care, and such behavior is completely unacceptable. Need to pick up the villains.

Challenge: Labor and Social Affairs Minister Dorborn Ree Isoxen believes it is challenging for many employers to follow changes in regulations. Photo: Hagon Mosvold Larsen

14 approvals were withdrawn

During the approval period, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority processed 6,740 applications for isolated accommodation. Of these, 5,115 were admitted.

– We have now done the 310 audits allowed in recent months. In 94 per cent of cases, the verified accommodation is subject to regulations, but in 14 cases the approval is withdrawn after we come to a study, Walheim says.

They carry out both unannounced surveys and digital surveys, where they engage in dialogue with companies about what they want to do to control the epidemic.

– Whether we choose to meet physically or conduct a digital meeting is based on the risk assessment and knowledge of the company and industry.

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According to Trudeau Walheim, the Norwegian Labor Review Commission has always focused on shelter conditions, but more demands have been made than on a normal daily life during corona epidemics.

– Now there are requirements for private rooms and your own kitchen. Walheim says that’s not usually the case.

– You may get the impression that the construction industry is too bad, is that right?

– We do not consider it appropriate to point out when an industrial infection control rule is violated because it is widely affected. But Walheim says following the rules can be very difficult in some industries.

And Dorborn Ree Isoxen agrees.

– We know that there are challenges that other companies in the construction industry do not have, including integrating infection control practices on construction sites with many companies, but following the rules is very important, Isaacson says.

Described house: Five people carried out entrance isolation here, but this was stopped by the Norwegian Labor Inspection Commission. Photo: OrbitStilcinet

Favorable for the future

Wolheim emphasizes that a greater focus on accommodation in relation to entry isolation may contribute to employers on a general basis.

– has a positive effect, which will also contribute to the provision of unsafe shelter for fewer workers in the long run.