Functions of the occupational safety and health authorities

The occupational safety and health authorities operate in five divisions, one at each Regional State Administrative Agency. Under the occupational safety and health divisions we enforce regional compliance with legislation and regulations on occupational safety and health. 

We also issue advice and guidelines concerning occupational safety and health and concerning the terms and conditions of employment relationships. 

In our capacity as occupational safety and health authorities, we have four duties:

  • we are responsible for occupational safety and health enforcement at the initiative of both customers and other authorities, 
  • we investigate the causes of serious occupational accidents, occupational diseases and work-related diseases and take action to prevent them, 
  • we engage in product control, and 
  • we contribute to the investigating of employment-related offences.

We also collaborate closely with employers’ and employees’ associations in occupational safety and health matters.

Enforcement steered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

The Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces, also known as the OSH Enforcement Act, provides for a procedure to be followed by occupational safety and health authorities in monitoring compliance with provisions on occupational safety and health and on employment relationships. The Act also provides for a procedure on monitoring cooperation on occupational safety and health between employers and employees at workplaces. 

The Department for Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health issues instructions on occupational safety and health supervision for the purpose of consistency in enforcement, improving the quality of occupational safety and health inspections and increasing transparency in operations. The performance management process for the divisions is described, and the performance objectives determined, in the four-year framework plan. 

Each occupational safety and health division signs a performance agreement with the Department for Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health concerning the operating goals for the next year, within the constraints of the resources allocated.