General information on topic

The employer must immediately report severe occupational accidents to both the police and to the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Regional State Administrative Agency. The notification duty is based on the Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces.

The occupational accident is severe if the employee dies or if he or she suffers a permanent or severe injury. Severe injuries are for example:

  • long bone fractures or fractures which may need surgery, difficult spinal fractures, viscerocranial fractures, multiple rib fractures and hemothorax, severe skull compound fractures, severe fractures to neck, chest or lumbar spine
  • severe dislocation causing permanent injury
  • loss of limb for example a finger or part of it, shortening of limb
  • injury to the abdominal cavity organs requiring surgery
  • brain injury leaving also light injuries
  • loss or permanent weakening of speech, sight or hearing, loss of eyes
  • burn or similar injuries to skin requiring skin transplantation, extensive burns or frostbites
  • severely disfiguring deformities, for example loss of ear lobe or nose or part of it or other severe deformity
  • permanent severe health harm or a life-threatening disease or lesion.

When the final severeness of the injury is not clear, the accident must be reported, as the nature of the injuries may become clear only through later examinations.

Serious injuries must also be reported to the police, who must conduct a police investigation at the scene of the accident.

Neglecting to report an accident to the Regional State Administrative Agency and the police is a penal offence as well as not reporting all accident to the insurance company.

The Occupational Safety and Health authority investigates all severe occupational accidents

The Act on the OSH Enforcement obliges the OSH authorities to investigate all severe occupational accidents they are notified of. In general, the OSH authority does not investigate accidents occurring between the home and the workplace in areas or situations where the employer´s responsibility for the safety is minor or non-existent.

The OSH authorities urgently investigate occupational accidents which they have been notified about. In the investigation, the course of events as well as the cause of the occupational accident and the crucial factors preventing similar accidents will be analysed.

The progress of the accident investigation carried out by the Occupational Safety and Health authority is presented in the Enforcement Instruction 4/2016 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Investigation of severe occupational accidents (pdf, in Finnish).

 

Instructions for employee

If you are exposed to an occupational accident you must immediately report the accident to the employer or your superior. He or she will give you an insurance certificate. You will need the insurance certificate to receive treatment free of charge in the hospital or health centre. Should you not have the insurance certificate with you, you will have to pay for the treatment and the medication. The insurance company will then compensate your expenses against receipt.

Inform your superior about the occupational accident and make sure the accident report is filled out.

The compensation application process begins when your employer sends the accident report to the insurance company. Make sure your employer gets all the information needed for filling out the report. Make sure your employer has filled out and sent the accident report to the insurance company. The treating doctor will send the medical certificate needed in the process directly to the insurance company.

Should the employer not report the accident, you may yourself start the process for compensation. Make a written report to the insurance company in which you state your personal information, the name and address of the employer and the time and place when the accident occurred as well as your description of how the accident happened.

The accident report must be made to the insurance company where the employer has taken out the insurance policy. The name and address of the insurance company must be available at the workplace, for example on the noticeboard. If you cannot find out the name of the insurance company, you may send your notification to any accident insurance company.

Should the employer have failed to take out an insurance policy, the claim will be processed and the compensation paid by the Workers’ Compensation Center (TVK).

 

Instructions for employer

The employer must take out a statutory accident insurance for the employees in an insurance company of his or her choice. The Treasury pays compensation for occupational accidents occurring to central government employees. The accident insurance compensates expenses and loss of earnings caused occupational accidents and diseases. The information of the insurance company must be available for the employees at the workplace.

The employer is obliged to report a severe occupational accident to the occupational safety and health authority.

The employer must report severe accidents

If the occupational accident results in death or a severe injury, the employer must immediately notify the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Regional Sate Administrative Agency, the police and the insurance company.

An injury is regarded as severe when it with high probability will remain permanent and will impede normal functions of the injured person. When the final severeness of the injuries is not clear, the accident must be reported, as the nature of the injuries may become clear only through later examinations.

Accidents on the way home or to and from work occurring outside the workplace area, for example on public roads, must not be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Regional Sate Administrative Agency.

Neglecting to report an accident to the Regional State Administrative Agency and the police is a penal offence as well as not reporting all accident to the insurance company.

You can report severe accidents to the OSH Division by phone or by e-mail. Contact information of the OSH Divisions.

Use the form (pdf, in Finnish) to report an accident to the OSH Division.

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) must be notified of electrical accidents. You can report electrical accidents on the form in the online service of Tukes (in Finnish or Swedish).

The accident and the causes must be investigated

The employer must investigate the accident and the circumstances causing the accident. The online-service of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health offers instruction for the investigation. The employer must keep record of all the accidents which have occurred at the workplace.

After severe accidents, the working community must be offered psychological debriefing (defusing). The debriefing aims at easing the stress caused by the incident and help the personnel to recover. The occupational health care will assist in organising psychological debriefing.

 

Legislation

Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002)

Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces (44/2006)

  • Chapter 2 Section 6 Accident investigation
  • Chapter 7 Section 46 Notification of an occupational accident and occupational disease
  • Chapter 8 Section 51 Penal provisions (violation of the obligation to notify the Regional State Administrative Agency)

Occupational Accidents, Injuries and Diseases Act (459/2015) (in Finnish)

 

Court decisions and precedents

Supreme Court (KKO:2012:105) (in Finnish) the foreman was considered to have committed an occupational safety offence by neglecting to supervise the use of a detracting lower blade in the circular saw.

Glossary

Debriefing Therapeutical session in the aftermath of critical incident (for example a severe work accident). Debriefing aims at reducing psychological distress and preventing the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after traumatic events.
Work accident Accident which occurs at work or between a person´s home and workplace.
Identification of risks Measures taken to recognise and define existing risks.
Risk The probability of a hazardous incident.
Risk Management Systematic activity including risk assessment and planning, carrying out and following up of the measures needed and corrective measures.
Risk assessment Assessment of the severeness of the harm and its probability based on based on the recognition of the risks and the risk factors. Risk assessment aims at finding the most important development areas as for the working conditions and safety at work to which planned and preventative risk management may be concentrated.