Course leader presentation: Carin Håkansta
19th – 22nd of November 2019, Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
What is your background?
I am Senior Analyst at the Swedish Work Environment Agency (SWEA) in Stockholm, Sweden. I also work for Karlstad University and Karolinska Institute, where I teach and do research on different aspects of work and health.
In the past 20 years I have worked with work environment questions at the International Labour Organization (New Delhi and Geneva) and three Swedish Government agencies. I am co-writer of two government white papers dealing with the dissemination of evidence-based knowledge in the field of occupational health.
In 2014, I received my PhD in Work science from Luleå University of Technology. I am currently involved in research about non-standard work and health as well as the consequences of increased work flexibility in time and space. In 2017 I wrote a report for SWEA on the effects of digitalisation and recently I published an article (in Swedish) on the effects of digitalisation on work, with labour inspection as the case study: https://journals.lub.lu.se/aoa/article/view/18852/17062
Why do you think that labour inspection in the age of digitalization is an important and current issue to discuss in 2019?
Automation, digitalisation and robots are transforming our societies and lives – including work. Some jobs disappear and new ones emerge. For the work environment, digitalisation has potential positive as well as negative effects. Automation makes certain dangerous jobs safer or even disappear but can also make work more monotonous; flexibility in time and space reduces stress if it improves work/life balance, but can also cause stress if work “spills over” into leisure time.
Labour inspectors are affected at two levels. Firstly, laws, methods and routines are not always equipped to deal with the changes taking place at work. This mismatch can lead to practical difficulties for inspectors as well as questions regarding their role. What is considered the work location when a worker brings work home or works on the train? Who is the employer and employee in work organised via a digital platform? Secondly, introducing digital methods and tools in the inspectorates’ work practices may have positive or negative effects on labour inspectors’ own work environment.
Labour inspectorates today face a double challenge of introducing digital solutions to make inspections more efficient and adapting practices and law to modern (digital) working life. This course is a unique opportunity to gain theoretical as well as practical insights related to this challenge from researchers and international colleagues.
What do you want to say to the participants of the course?
I am looking forward to leading this course which, I believe, will fill an important gap. My aim has been to balance theory from a number of renowned scholars with practical knowledge from inspectors in the field. The international character of speakers and participants also brings an additional and important value: learning from experiences and solutions in different countries. I wish you warmly welcome to Stockholm, where I will make my best to make your stay worthwhile.