Swedish employers are required to use external resources such as Occupational Health Services (OHS providers) if their own knowledge of occupational health and safety is insufficient. Some large employers have their own in-house OHS units but it is more common to engage the services of an external provider. However, no studies have been carried out from a critical perspective regarding how ownership of the OHS provider is related to a successful collaboration with client companies.
This study explores the extent to which the six key factors for a successful collaboration are related to ownership and seeks to identify the challenges that the different models of ownership pose.
Interviews with 15 client companies and their OHS providers were conducted in order to identify key factors in achieving a successful collaboration with an OHS provider. This study utilizes existing data to identify challenges related to ownership.
Two key factors were identified with challenges related to ownership of the OHS provider: The importance of having a long-term perspective when building a relationship; and ensuring that collaboration extends beyond the client's HR Department to the various organisational levels of the company.
Whatever form the ownership of an OHS provider may take, each comes with its own specific set of challenges that must be managed in order to achieve a successful collaboration with the client company.