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Health and safety at work

In Finland, occupational safety must be well ensured. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the work does not endanger the safety or health of employees. The employer must also ensure that the workload and working hours do not burden employees to the point of endangering their health. Employees themselves must also ensure that they carry out their work safely and follow the work instructions.

If you fall ill or have an accident, read the instructions on the InfoFinland page If you fall ill.

Health and safety activities at the workplace

An employer must organise induction to the workplace for a new employee. An employer is also obliged to familiarise employees with the safety instructions of a workplace and to teach them correct work methods.

Employees must also look after safety at work themselves. The work must be performed according to instructions. If a work assignment is clearly dangerous, an employee can refuse to do it.

Always inform your supervisor if you notice that something can pose a risk to employees. Such things can include a hazardous work method, a broken tool or inadequate personal protective equipment. You can also suggest a safer way of completing a work assignment. If your supervisor does not react to the reported matter, call the telephone service of the occupational safety and health authorities.

The employer must pay for the necessary safety equipment needed at work. These can include:

  • a hard hat, safety shoes and high-visibility clothing if you work at a construction site
  • a respirator if you work with chemicals

Workplaces must have a sufficient number of persons with first aid skills and first aid equipment and instructions must be provided on how to act in emergency situations. Employers organise first aid training for their staff at work.

If a workplace has at least ten employees, the employees elect a safety officer to represent them. The safety officer familiarises themselves with the work safety issues that are relevant for the workplace, participates in workplace safety inspections and informs employees of matters relating to work safety and health.

For each workplace, the employer nominates a workplace safety manager who assists the employer in cooperation with the employees and health and safety authorities.

Health and safety authorities

Under the Regional State Administrative Agencies are five occupational health and safety divisions, i.e. occupational safety and health authorities. The occupational safety and health authorities ensure that employers comply with the regulations on occupational safety and health.

The occupational safety and health authorities provide guidance for both employees and employers on work safety and health, as well as in matters related to the conditions of the contract of employment. You can also ask the occupational safety and health authority for help if you experience harassment or discrimination at the workplace. The occupational safety and health authority can help if you cannot get, for example, a written employment contract, payslip, list of hours worked or a certificate of employment from the employer.

Work safety inspectors conduct inspections at workplaces. Among other things, they inspect whether safety regulations are being observed at the workplace, whether sufficient induction to the work has been carried out and whether foreign workers’ working conditions and conditions of employment comply with Finnish laws and agreements.

A work safety inspector is entitled to access every workplace and to see the documents that are necessary for work safety surveillance. A health and safety authority may oblige an employer to fix any deficiencies discovered in work safety at the workplace.