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Work environment

IT health and safety inspection

The Work Environment Act states that the employer has the primary responsibility for the work environment at the workplace. That also includes responsibility for work tasks that are linked to digital tools and necessary support systems. The work environment work that the employer/management is to carry out is to be preventive to ensure that no employees suffer ill health as a result of their work.

The employer's work environment work is to be conducted systematically, i.e. regularly and with annual reviews. Systematic work environment work must be a natural part of daily work. The IT work environment must also be part of this work. Systematic work environment work includes health and safety inspections, and IT must be included in this. Any risks or problems that are identified must be dealt with by the employer in an appropriate manner, just as with other work environment issues.

A good IT work environment, with systems suitable for the activities of the organisation and adapted to the users, is important for creating the conditions for efficient activity and a good and sustainable working life for the employees. It is both an operational issue and a work environment issue.

It may be wise to look at IT issues separately, so that health and safety inspections are not too overwhelming.

The questions suggested below have been adapted to the needs of the higher education sector and are intended to be used as a survey for an entire or a specific part of a workplace. The questions should be regarded as a framework that can be supplemented according to local needs.

Some of the questions can also be used in staff development dialogues, where issues are discussed from an individual perspective. These suggested questions are marked with an asterisk *.

Suggested questions to ask:

1. Are there routines for finding out how teachers/researchers/other administrative staff perceive their digital work environment?
2. Do we have all the systems we need? *
3. Are the systems easy to use? *
4. Are the systems clear? *
5. Do the systems do the jobs they are supposed to do?
6. Does the communication between different relevant systems work, e.g. speed and number of logins?
7. Are there too many systems? Could any be removed? *
8. Do we have all the software we need? *
9. Does the software do the jobs it is supposed to do?
10. Do the networks work as they should?
11. Are there good manuals/guides for how the digital systems work? *
12. Are there good manuals/guides for how the software works?
13. Is there information on who is to be contacted in the event of breakdowns/problems in the systems? *
14. Is it easy to get in touch with support when problems occur? *
15. Is there sufficient support when problems occur? *
16. Can the support function solve the problems that occur? *
17. Is there sufficient equipment (computers etc.) to perform the tasks?
18. Are there up-to-date anti-virus programs on all computers?
19. Does regular and automatic backup of documents take place?
20. Are there routines for finding out whether and to what extent teachers/researchers/other administrative staff experience stress when using the necessary digital tools and support systems?
21. Do people receive sufficient training to be able to use the necessary IT systems? *
22. Do people receive sufficient training to be able to use the necessary software? *
23. Do people receive sufficient training to handle the peripheral equipment and tools, for example?  *
24. Is it possible to have training in these areas in normal working hours? *
25. Is there time set aside to learn to apply/work in new systems? *
26. Is information provided prior to changes to systems and software? *
27. Is there a checklist or set of written procedures when new IT systems/software are introduced? *
28. Is information accessible about who is to be contacted in the event of general problems in the digital work environment? *
29. Has the total workload increased as a result of the introduction of digital systems? *
30. Has the administrative work linked to the digital systems increased? *
31. Do users experience stress when using the digital tools? *
32. Is the digital work environment an issue that is raised in the staff’s annual development dialogues?
33. Is the digital work environment a standing item on the agenda at workplace meetings and similar?

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