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Notification of censurable conditions

The ability to notify censurable conditions at work (whistleblowing) is an important right in Norwegian working life. Employers are obliged to facilitate such notification and must have systems in place for this.

Contact us
Do you want to blow the whistle/notify us of censurable conditions at your workplace?

Contact us at postboks@ptil.no

One role of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway is to provide guidance to employers and employees about the notification rules in the Working Environment Act. We also monitor that employers are fulfilling their obligation to facilitate employees' notification rights.

The objective is for cases to be resolved internally within an organisation. The need to notify the authorities arises when the ordinary channels prove unsuccessful.

How the PSA follows up whistleblowing:

When we receive notification of censurable conditions, this is registered in our filing system, in order to ensure that the incident is documented. If we are notified by phone, during a meeting or while we are out performing an audit, we request that the notification is made in writing, to avoid potential misunderstandings.

Right to anonymity
When we receive a report, the whistleblower's name will be kept confidential. When we reply to freedom of information requests or make enquiries to the company in question, the whistleblower's name will be disclosed only with their agreement. Whistleblowing by trade unions will not normally be anonymised.

Assignment to supervisory group or specialist domain
The notification will be assigned to the appropriate supervisory group or specialist domain, to be acted on. If the conditions being notified do not fall within the PSA's remit, the notifier will be referred to the correct agency.

Has the issue been notified internally in the company?
We then ask if the issue has been raised internally in the company and the reasons why this may not have been done. We also explain how we will take the case forward – to the extent that we are able to take action.

Further work on a whistleblowing report depends on the content of the notification.

What can we NOT help with?
On occasion, the PSA finds that there is a difference between what notifiers expect from us and what we have the authority to assist in.

We are unable to resolve specific disputes of a private-law nature between employers and employees. Being of a private-law nature makes them explicitly between employer and employee. The PSA has no authority over companies in such cases, but we can provide general regulatory advice.

If a person is dismissed after they have made a notification, and they believe this to be an illegal reprisal, the case must be settled in court. 

Terminological confusion?
There is no clear distinction in Norwegian law and practice between 'notification of censurable conditions' and 'whistleblowing'. The terms are used interchangeably.

This causes some confusion in our area of responsibility, since the concept of notification in the HSE regulations is linked to the regulatory notification/report of hazards and accidents in the industry. The companies have an obligation to notify us of incidents that have, or could have, caused serious or acute injury or illness, serious weakening of safety functions or acute pollution.

To avoid misunderstandings, we therefore often use the generic term whistleblowing for what the Working Environment Act refers to as 'notification of censurable conditions'.