New Chief Safety Representative’s First Assignment, Corona Crisis

We meet up with her a few weeks later and ask about her work.

What prompted you take on the role of Chief Safety Representative?

"I have been looking for new challenges for a long time to move forward in my professional career. For some years, I have been a member of Saco, and union issues are very interesting and give me an opportunity to make a difference. Issues related to the work environment are important and are of personal interest to me. Therefore, it felt like a natural step to go into a role where I can contribute with both my skills and my engagement with this issue.”

What has your time as Chief Safety Representative been like so far?

"The week before I took over as Chief Safety Representative, I was thrown into work related to the novel coronavirus crisis and on my first day in the role I attended the first Crisis Team meeting. Since then, the “corona crisis” has taken up most of my time. It is indeed a challenge that no one has faced before and which is characterised by many decisions that need to be made and where there has not always been time to reflect on whether the right decision has been taken. At the same time, the corona crisis has given me the opportunity to establish contacts in the organisation and within the safety representative group; we work closely together.”

"But, of course, it's not all about corona. I also have other tasks to familiarise myself with, such as a series of risk and impact assessments for a number of new systems that will be implemented at the university shortly. We have renovations in the form of new exam halls and new open spaces in Balder for the students. I also lead our safety representative meetings and am to make sure that our work moves forward. But a lot of things about the role are not new to me. Through my union involvement, I have had good insight into issues related to both labour laws and work environment.”

What does it mean to be the Chief Safety Representative? Why is this role important?

"As the Chief Safety Representative, it is important to hold the safety organisation together and have an overarching perspective on what is happening at the university. I sit on the Central Health and Safety Committee and I lead the safety representative group and have a regular dialogue with the university's leadership and HR.”

"All safety representatives at the university are responsible for their protection area and sit in various local groupings, such as local health and safety committees. They are involved in safety rounds, monitor and are involved in risk and impact assessments, and more. We ensure that the employer complies with legislation on health and safety issues and that we have a safe and good work environment at the university in terms of both the physical and psychosocial work environment. It is important to remember that the safety representatives are for all employees and students at the university.”

What support do you have in your role as Chief Safety Representative?

"The support consists mainly of the other safety representatives at the university. Without them, I couldn’t do this work, because it is indeed a shared responsibility that we all take.  Since I am also a union representative, the unions are also a support. As a safety representative, you also have the opportunity to take part in training specifically for safety representatives. I also think that the safety organisation and the employer have a good dialogue and there is a mutual understanding of our different roles and our different assignments.”

You are also the safety representative for a Faculty and a couple of departments...

"The Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business currently lacks safety representatives, so I am currently the safety representative there until someone else can take over. And I am also the regular safety representative for Research and Innovation and for the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Office.”

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About Susanne Håkansson

Chief Safety Representative As of 1 March 2020. Permanent safety representative for the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Office and Research and Innovation. Is temporarily the safety representative for the Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.

Basic employment: Study and Career Counsellor
Degree: Work and Organisational Psychology
Started at the university: 2008
Passionate about in her leisure time: Art and music, right now, in particular, Hilma af Klint (Swedish woman pioneer in abstract painting) and Piero Fornasetti (Italian artist, set designer and designer). When it comes to music, I like classical music and musicals and have taken courses in improvisational musicals.

Text and photo: Solveig Klug
Translator: Eva Medin