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Study and work environment

It is important for Lund University that its students have a good work environment for their studies. Read more here about what the student work environment entails in different situations and who is responsible for ensuring its proper functioning.

The concepts of study environment and student work environment are used synonymously in many contexts. At Lund University we speak of the work environment of students/student work environment since students are largely considered to be the same as employees in the Work Environment Act. This means that when studying you are entitled to a safe and secure work environment. It also means that the University has a responsibility to work preventively to keep students from becoming ill or getting injured while studying. 

As a student you are also obligated to take part in work environment management, for example by exercising caution and adhering to the University’s rules and decisions regarding the work environment and safety. 

Lund University has a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of harassment, abusive conduct, hatred, threats and violence.

What does the student work environment entail?

The student work environment comprises all aspects of your study situation that can impact your wellbeing and health. It comprises physical, social and organisational aspects. 

  • Physical aspects might pertain, for example, to ventilation, noise, chemical substances and machinery. 
  • Social aspects might pertain, for example, to how we perceive support from members of teaching staff, the atmosphere in your study group/study programme/course and how you are received by other students and employees. 
  • Organisational aspects might pertain, for example, to how your scheduled time is organised, how much recovery time is possible during your studies and how your study programme or course is organised.

A safe study and work environment at Lund University involves several aspects that are listed below.

  • Efforts are to be made to ensure that all students get sufficient scheduled time to get to know their fellow students and thereby gain a positive study atmosphere and increase their chances of good study results.
  • New students, both on degree programmes and stand-alone courses, are to get a scheduled introduction to student life and where to turn for questions concerning student welfare.
  • A satisfactory indoor climate (ventilation, lighting, acoustics).
  • There is to be access to a reasonable number of study places and group study rooms with appropriate furnishings and equipment.
  • There is to be access to common rooms allowing students to warm up food they have brought with them where this can be considered reasonable in relation to the number of lectures and required attendance in the study timetable.
  • Rest areas are to be accessible or easy to arrange.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of lavatories is to be planned so as to ensure good hygienic conditions at all times.
  • It is to be possible to store clothing so that it does not get dirty or damaged and so as to reduce the risk of theft.
  • It must be possible to store valuables that are compulsory for study work safely and securely.

If your studies include laboratory work

The following also applies if your study programme or course includes laboratory work:

  • The right to medical check-ups in case of work with laboratory animals and certain chemicals, for example.
  • The right to the appropriate protective equipment to work safely, such as lab coats and protective goggles, free of charge.

You are welcome to contact Disability Support Services if you have a long-term disability and require support to help you succeed in your studies on the same terms as other students.

Students with disabilities

There might also be other situations that call for some form of adaptation of studies. The Work Environment Acts states that “Working conditions must be adapted to people’s differing physical and mental capabilities”.

Notify your lecturer, study counsellor, head of department or equivalent if you have a temporary need for adaptation of your study plan due to medical or other reasons. This also applies if you go on sick leave, regardless of whether the reason is related to your studies or not. Read more about what applies if you become ill while studying at Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) website.

If you get sick – Swedish Social Insurance Agency website

Students doing an internship or who are on work placement are entitled to a good work environment during this part of their studies as well. This applies regardless of whether the period is long or short.

The University has general responsibility for preventing students from doing an internship or going on work placement that could lead to them becoming ill or getting injured due to a dangerous work environment. However, it is the organisation in which you will do the internship that is responsible for ensuring that you are protected from ill health and accidents at the workplace.

During your work placement/internship, you are personally responsible for

  • following the instructions and procedures at the workplace 
  • using the protective equipment required for the task
  • speaking to your manager/supervisor at the workplace if shortcomings in the work environment are discovered, as well as with the designated person at the University if required; if possible, also speaking to the health and safety representative at the workplace.

If something happens during your internship/work placement

  • The manager/supervisor at the workplace is to be informed if you are involved in an incident or suffer an occupational injury. The University is also to be informed at an early stage in accordance with the pre-arranged agreement.
  • The University is to make a report of the incident or occupational injury/accident.

If you are subjected to a serious accident or serious incident during your work placement/internship, the University is responsible for reporting the accident or incident to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket).

Responsibility for the student work environment

Responsibility for the student work environment always ultimately lies with the Vice-Chancellor; however, the Vice-Chancellor allocates responsibility for the performance of work environment duties to the organisation. The head of department is generally responsible for working preventively in relation to the work environment, but they can also allocate this responsibility to others. 

The head of department/equivalent is regularly to investigate, risk assess, remedy and check/follow up the various factors that affect the student work environment. This is achieved primarily through physical and student welfare health and safety inspections.

Physical health and safety inspections mean that the person in charge, along with the student health and safety representative, investigates what potential risks may exist in the physical work environment for students. This is usually done by visiting the premises in question to establish whether everything is working as intended.

At least once per academic year, the student organisational and social work environment is to be investigated through student welfare health and safety inspections. 

Student welfare health and safety inspections take the form of structured discussions, with the aim of investigating the factors that affect students in their study work environment and to discovering potential risks in the work environment before they cause health issues among students. The purpose is also to investigate, discover and analyse whether there is a risk of discrimination or reprisals, or whether there are other obstacles to individuals’ equal rights and opportunities within the organisation. 

These student welfare health and safety inspections are to be based upon relevant information from course evaluations, reported incidents and accidents, relevant statistics and so on. 

The person in charge is always to carry out the student welfare health and safety inspections along with a student health and safety representative and/or another appointed student representative. The University is always responsible for the organisation, planning and carrying out of the student welfare health and safety inspections, however.

Speak to your head of department/equivalent and/or the student health and safety representative if you would like to know more about the process for your course or study programme.

Role of the student health and safety representative

The student health and safety representative is a student who has been elected to represent the students at a department or within a specific field of study on issues related to the work environment. The student health and safety representative does not have any personal responsibility for work environment management; rather, their role is to represent students and collaborate with the head of department/equivalent in the preventative work. 

Find your student health and safety representative

Contact information

For general questions about the student work environment:

Marie Gruvhammar
Work environment coordinator
+46 46 222 03 42
marie [dot] gruvhammar [at] stu [dot] lu [dot] se (marie[dot]gruvhammar[at]stu[dot]lu[dot]se)

A selection of rules and decisions at Lund University

The University's regulations

National regulations