A lot of attention is paid to safety at work in Finland. Employers are responsible for everyone’s safety while they work. Employees themselves must also ensure that they carry out their work safely and follow the work instructions.
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 the work is clearly dangerous, an employee can refuse to do it.
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 there are five occupational health and safety divisions. These monitor that work safety instructions are observed at workplaces in accordance with the law.
The health and safety divisions 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.
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.