Agreement-based cooperation processes

Agreement-based cooperation processes

Agreement on occupational safety and health cooperation

Occupational safety and health cooperation activities are regulated by the “Supervisory Act”, i.e., the Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces (44/2006). 

Other agreements about occupational safety and health cooperation can be made by concluding a written agreement between the national associations of the employers and the employees. Government, municipal and church negotiation authorities in the public sector have the same right to make agreements.

National agreements

Agreements concluded by national associations of the employers and employees can specify different terms for the occupational safety and health representative or the occupational safety and health committee, for instance.

However, even a national collective agreement cannot be used to restrict the following rights of occupational safety and health representatives outlined in the Supervisory Act:

  • right to access to information
  • right to suspend dangerous work
  • right to protection against dismissal

or remove the following rights:

  • right to receive training (applies to deputy representatives as well)
  • time allocation right
  • right to compensation for loss of earnings.

Local agreements

Local agreements about the arrangement of occupational safety and health cooperation activities in a way that suits the workplace’s conditions can be made at a workplace insofar as permitted by the Supervisory Act. Even in such cases, at least the employees’ right to participate in occupational safety and health cooperation activities, as specified in the act, must be secured.

Local agreements can be made to specify shorter terms than two calendar years for the occupational safety and health committee or representative, for instance. For a reasonable cause, the term of the occupational safety and health representative can be made longer than four calendar years by the occupational safety and health committee or through another local cooperation procedure.

Local agreements cannot be used to restrict the right to elect an occupational safety and health representative and their deputy representatives or the following rights of the occupational safety and health representative:

  • right to access information
  • right to receive training (applies to deputy representatives as well)
  • time allocation right
  • right to compensation for loss of earnings
  • right to suspend dangerous work
  • right to protection against dismissal.

Furthermore, local agreements cannot be used to restrict 

  • the time allocation or compensation right of an occupational safety and health committee member
  • the right of an occupational safety and health representative or committee to access the required premises. 

The parties of a local agreement are the employer and the occupational safety and health representative or another representative of the employees. If the workplace has not appointed a person to represent the employees, the agreement can be signed by the personnel or a group of employees. 

The employer must provide the employees with a notification of the agreement in writing. The agreement on the arrangement of occupational safety and health cooperation activities is valid until further notice and it can be terminated with a notice period of two months.

The agreement applies to the employees the representative of the employees who signed the agreement is deemed to represent.

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