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Sustainability and democracy in the Norwegian labor market

Through a multi-year research project, SINTEF researchers aim to generate new knowledge about the work environment and working conditions for employees in Norway.

Contact persons

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By following a large sample of members from both the Fagforbundet, Fellesorganisasjonen (FO), and Norsk Sykepleierforbund (NSF), the aim is to gain more knowledge that can contribute to stronger and more systematic health, safety, and environment (HSE) work in both the public and private sectors.

Senior Researcher at SINTEF and initiator of the study, labor market economist Solveig Osborg Ose:

We are particularly concerned about employees who provide help and assistance to people in various stages of life. These are typically, but not necessarily, female-dominated occupational groups.

Important topic

The topic of health, safety, and environment (HSE) in services where employees provide services to the population is of great interest to many in society, and Ose has been researching this for many years. She has published two books on the subject (Ose 2020, 2016) and gives numerous lectures each year based on her books. A well-established collaboration with the Norsk Sykepleierforbund (NSF) has laid the groundwork for the idea of involving more trade unions in research on working conditions and the work environment.


Fagforbundet has members in such professions, both in the public and private sectors, and it is therefore of great value that they participate in the research project. Members of FO primarily work in public services. The overarching vision is strengthened HSE work.

Digital survey

Members from the three unions will receive a survey via email during the spring of 2024, which they will complete individually via PC or mobile.

Of those receiving the survey, a sample of 30,000 members from Fagforbundet, representing selected occupational groups, will be included. These groups include healthcare workers, assistant nurses, care workers, ambulance workers, child and youth workers, hairdressers, animal caretakers, traffic officers, ticket inspectors, fire prevention officers, bus drivers, lifeguards, employees at NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration), school secretaries, health secretaries, and ambulance workers.

The survey will be sent to all approximately 36,000 members of Fellesorganisasjonen, the largest trade union for social workers in Norway. The occupational groups in FO include child welfare educators, welfare workers, social educators, and social workers.

The survey will also be sent to the already established cohort from the Norsk Sykepleierforbund, who participated in a similar survey in 2021.

Creating a more equitable workplace

The themes of the survey include work environment factors, with an emphasis on organizational, social, and relational factors. Other main themes are working conditions, such as working hours, salary, leadership control, freedom, and autonomy, as well as job satisfaction, burnout, desire to quit, planned retirement age, and sick leave.


Those who respond to the survey are completely anonymous and are required to answer both through multiple-choice questions and in free text. Through this important project, we aim to better understand the mechanisms that cause some to become ill from work and how it can be prevented. It is also a goal to acquire knowledge that can help reduce inequalities.

Long-term project

Through the project "Sustainability and democracy in the Norwegian labor market," an initial database is established for a larger cohort study among members from several trade unions.

Following the same sample over time offers more opportunities for robust analysis than different cross-sectional studies, and research results from cohort studies will provide more reliable findings.


Ose, S.O., Lohmann-Lafrenz, S., Kaspersen, S.L. et al. Registered nurses’ exposure to workplace aggression in Norway: 12-month prevalence rates, perpetrators, and current turnover intention. BMC Health Serv Res 23, 1272 (2023). 

SO Ose, S Lohmann-Lafrenz, VH Bernstrøm, H Berthelsen, GH Marchand (2023): The Norwegian version of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ III): Initial validation study using a national sample of registered nurses. Plos one 18 (8), e0289739

SO Ose, SL Kaspersen, T Leinonen, S Verstappen, A de Rijk, S Spasova, S Hultqvist, I Nørup, J Pálsson, A Blume, M Paternoga & J Kalseth (2022): Follow-up regimes for sick-listed employees: A comparison of nine north-western European countries. Health Policy 2022

SO Ose, H Færevik, T Håpnes & L Øyum (2022): Perceived Causes of Work-Related Sick Leave Among Hospital Nurses in Norway: A Prepandemic Study. Safety and Health at work, 2022.

Ose, S. O. et al. (2020). Should GPs ask patients about their financial concerns? Exploration through collaborative research. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 2020, 1-10.

Ose S O, MS Tjønnås, SL Kaspersen, H Færevik (2019): One-year trial of 12-hour shifts in a non-intensive care unit and an intensive care unit in a public hospital: a qualitative study of 24 nurses’ experiences. BMJ open 9 (7), e024292

Ose, S. O., Lilleeng, S., Pettersen, I., Ruud, T., & van Weeghel, J. (2017): Risk of violence among patients in psychiatric treatment: results from a national census. Nordic journal of psychiatry, 2017. 1-10.

Kaspersen, S. L., Pape K, Carsen F, Ose S.O. & Bjørngaard JH (2017): Employees’ drug purchases before and after organizational downsizing: a natural experiment on the Norwegian working population (2004–2012). Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 43.4 (2017).

Kaspersen, S. L., K. Pape, G. A. Vie, S. O. Ose, S. Krokstad, D. Gunnell, og J. H. Bjorngaard. 2016. "Health and unemployment: 14 years of follow-up on job loss in the Norwegian HUNT Study." European Journal of Public Health nr. 26 (2):312-317. 

Kaspersen, Silje L, Kristine Pape, Solveig O Ose, David Gunnell, og Johan Håkon Bjørngaard. 2016. "Unemployment and initiation of psychotropic medication: a case-crossover study of 2 348 552 Norwegian employees." Occupational and environmental medicine:2016-103578.

Strømholm T, Pape K, Ose SO, Krokstad S, Bjørngaard JH (2015). Psychosocial Working Conditions and Sickness Absence in a General Population: A Cohort Study of 21,834 Workers in Norway (The HUNT Study). Occupational and environmental medicine. 2015 Apr;57(4):386-92

Bjørngaard JH, Bjerkeset O, Vaag J & Ose SA (2015): Anxiety and depression and work participation in 9300 Norwegian auxiliary nurses. Scandinavian Journal of Organizational Psychology, June 2015 Volume 7,Is. 1.

Støver M, Pape K, Johnsen R, Fleten N, Sund ER, Ose SO, Bjørngård JH (2013): Work environment and disability pension–an 18-year follow-up study in a Norwegian working population. Scand J Public Health. 2013 Aug;41(6):587-96.

Støver M, Pape K, Johnsen R, Fleten N, Sund E.R, Claussen B, Ose S.O. & JH Bjørngård (2012): Rehabilitation time before disability pension. BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:375

Ose, S O (2005): Working conditions, Compensation and Absenteeism, Journal of Health Economics, 24 (2005). 161-188. 

Ose S.O, Haus-Reve S, Mandal R & I. Pettersen (2011): Sykefravær i kommunale tjenester. Søkelys på arbeidslivet (Vol. 28, nr. 4):335-354

Ose, S.O, Jensberg, H, Kaspersen, S, og Kalseth B (2009): Arbeid og psykisk helse. Behov for nye tilnærminger? Søkelys på arbeidsmarkedet 1/2009. Side 75-92.

Ose, S O og Dyrstad J M (2005):” Problemstillinger og resultater i sykefraværsforskningen”. Søkelys på arbeidsmarkedet, 1/2005, s 104-116.

Ose, S O (2004): "Arbeidsmiljø og sykefravær: Kartlegging og analyse på bedriftsnivå", Søkelys på arbeidsmarkedet, 1/2004, s 85-100.

Ose, S.O. and H.J. Busch (2020): "HMS i offentlig sektor – Forebygging av sykefravær og tidlig avgang frå arbeidslivet". Gyldendal Akademisk, fagbok. ISBN/EAN: 978-82-05-52240-4.

Ose S.O. (2016): Sykefravær, HMS og inkludering. Gyldendal Akademisk, fagbok. ISBN/EAN: 978-82-05-49039-0.

Key Factors

Project duration

2023 - 2033

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