Machinery and tools
Machinery and tools - Ingressi
Only machinery and tools that comply with the relevant requirements and are suitable for the job at hand may be used at work. The manufacturer’s instructions must always be followed when operating machinery or using tools. Machinery and tools must be kept in good order throughout their useful life. The operating of machinery must also be safe for employees.
Machinery and tools - Yleistä
The Government Decree on the Safety of Machinery (or ‘Machinery Decree’) lays down requirements for the manufacture and design of machinery so as to comply with safety and health requirements. The Act on the Conformity of Certain Technical Devices to Relevant Requirements regulates the design and manufacture of some machinery and the requirements they must comply with.
In addition to the relevant requirements, the safety of all machinery and tools used at the workplace must be at least at the level specified in the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment, regardless of how old the machine or tool is. Old machines must be upgraded to improve their safety as technology evolves. Compliance with legislative requirements in fact mandates that many machines currently in use must be restructured to make them safer.
The employer must ensure that employees are given tools that are safe and suitable for the job and work circumstances at hand. The selection of tools must also take into account the demands of the location and ergonomic requirements. The use of machinery and tools at the workplace is provided for in the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment (the 'Safe Use Decree').
Machines must bear the CE marking (machines manufactured prior to 1995 are an exception to this). User instructions and warnings must exist for the machines in Finnish and Swedish. Employees must be introduced to the use of machines.
Machinery must be serviced regularly
The employer must ensure that the machinery and tools in use are serviced and maintained regularly in order to keep them in good and safe working order throughout their useful life. Procedures must be in place at the workplace to fulfil this requirement. Some of the inspection and testing tasks of a machine, equipment or an accessory performed in order to make sure it is in good working order must only be carried out by a person who is well acquainted with its structure and use. An expert or an expert body must perform some of the inspections. More detailed instructions can be found in Government Decree on the Safe Use and Inspection of Work Equipment (403/2008).
The condition of machinery and tools must be continuously monitored through inspections, testing, measurement and other appropriate means. The employer must employ a competent person for managing these duties or outsource this function to an outside expert.
The employer determines the means to be used for hazard investigation and assessment from time to time. For instance, if lifting equipment is used at a workplace, the intervals for regular inspections of that equipment must be based on how much of a strain use puts on each particular device. If someone at a workplace notices that the using of a particular tool creates a hazard or causes harm to any employee, the employer must take immediate action to remove the hazard.
Machinery must be provided with operating instructions
The seller of a machine is responsible for ensuring that operating instructions and any other instructions are supplied with the machine. The seller of a used machine must also supply its operating instructions to the buyer.
Requirements concerning the content of operating instructions for machines may be found for instance in the appendix to the Machinery Decree. Operating instructions must include for instance the following items:
- instructions on how to introduce and use the machine and, if necessary, how to train its operators
- information on any personal protective equipment required
- information on maintenance measures to be performed by the user
- instructions for installing, assembling and disassembling the machine
- values of noise and vibration produced by a machine.
Machinery and tools - Työntekijälle
It is the employer’s responsibility to instruct you in how to use machinery and equipment safely. Always use machinery and equipment and their safety and protective features in accordance with the employer’s instructions.
Ensure that you are aware of the hazards present in your workplace and all the risk factors due to equipment in your work environment, regardless of whether you actually use that equipment yourself.
Follow all instructions given and take all due care and diligence in using equipment.
Immediately inform the employer of any defects or shortcomings in machinery or equipment that could cause harm or a hazard to your safety or health or that of any other employee. Employees have the right to refuse any work tasks that pose a serious risk to their own life or health or to the life or health of others. Negotiations must be held with the employer without delay regarding the matter.
If you do not know what to do or have not been instructed, ask the employer.
Machinery and tools - Työnantajalle
Employer’s obligations in machine safety:
- Safety management
- Own enforcement
- Work and workplace risk assessment
- Acquisition and introduction of equipment
- Workplace-specific additional requirements
- Supplementing the operating instructions
- Instruction and guidance
- Rendering work methods safe
- Selection and use of personal protective equipment
- Active conformity with requirements
- Procurement of work equipment (can also be a CE-marked machine)
- Declaration of conformity
- Operating and maintenance instructions
The employer must ensure adherence to several laws, including
- Occupational Safety and Health Act 738/2002
- Government Decree 403/2008 (‘Safe Use Decree’)
- Government Decree 85/2006 (‘Noise’)
- Government Decision 1405/1993 (‘Display Screen Work’)
- Personal Protective Equipment Regulation (EU) 2016/425
Employer is responsible for acquisition and installation
The employer is responsible for ensuring that equipment given to employees to use at the workplace is safe if appropriately used, in compliance with the relevant requirements and suitable for the work and working conditions at hand.
In practical terms, this means that the employer must ensure of every machine that it is correctly installed and in working order before it is taken into production use.
Equipment hazards must be established
The employer must systematically investigate and assess the safety of machinery and equipment. Machinery safety must also always be assessed whenever production procedures or work practices are changed.
Safety assessment should focus on hazards and harmful impacts in work and working conditions caused by:
- the item of equipment itself or its moving parts,
- external structures,
- physical and chemical properties,
- automatic functions, or
In the risk assessment of machinery and equipment, the employer may find it useful to consult the SFS-EN ISO 120100 standard (Safety of machinery) and the SFS-ISO/TR 14121-2 technical report (Safety of machinery – Risk assessment – Practical guidance and examples of methods).
Instruction for minimisation and elimination of risks
If, in the investigation and assessment of the hazards caused by a machine, it is found that using the machine creates a hazard or causes harm to any employee, the employer must take immediate action to eliminate the hazard or harmful impact.
A three-step procedure and hierarchy should be employed in eliminating or minimising risks:
- Eliminate risks through safety planning and structural means.
- If risks cannot be eliminated or sufficiently minimised through safety planning and structural means, introduce protective technology.
- Other safety measures such as instructions, warnings, training and personal protective equipment should only be introduced if the risks cannot be eliminated.
Employer’s responsibilities in the operating of machinery
The employer must provide employees with training and guidance particularly in the use of machinery and equipment, specifically:
- correct and safe use,
- settings, adjustments, troubleshooting and testing as necessary,
- avoiding foreseeable incorrect use (if the hazard cannot be otherwise eliminated),
- repairs and maintenance, and
- disassembly and removing from service.
The employer must ensure that employees know how to comply with the instructions given. The employer must also ensure that every machine is used for the purpose and under the conditions specified by the manufacturer.
The employer must further ensure that the operating and maintenance instructions for each machine and piece of equipment are available to employees. The employer must constantly monitor the safety and working condition of the workplace and the machinery and equipment used there through inspections, testing, measurements and other appropriate means.
Ensuring that machinery is in working order
The employer must ensure that every machine is in good working order throughout its useful life through regular maintenance and service and by ensuring the faultless operation of guidance systems and safety features.
The employer must have a maintenance system that describes the procedures for keeping the machinery and equipment at the workplace in safe working order.
The employer must also provide for the commissioning inspection, periodic inspections and comprehensive inspections of the machinery and equipment listed in the annex to the Safe Use Decree (e.g., lifting platforms and mobile cranes). Such inspections may only be performed by an authorised expert or expert body.
Machinery and tools - Lainsäädäntö
- Section 8 Employer’s general duty to exercise care
- Section 10 Analysis and assessment of the risks at work
- Section 14 Instruction and guidance to be provided for employees
- Section 21 Use of work equipment and dangerous substances
- Section 41 Use of machines, work equipment and other devices
- Section 43 Initial and periodic inspections of work equipment
- Section 56 Obligations of product manufacturers and suppliers
- Section 57 Obligations of designers
- Section 58 Obligations of the installers of machinery, work equipment or other devices
- Section 59 Obligations of persons carrying out initial and periodic inspections
- Section 2 Choosing work equipment, and its placement
- Section 3 Instructions for use of work equipment
- Section 4 Assessment and elimination of risks
- Section 5 Ensuring the functional condition of work equipment
- Section 6 Properties of guards and safety devices
- Section 7 Warning devices and markings
- Section 8 Control devices and control systems
- Section 9 Starting the work equipment
- Section 10 Stopping the work equipment, and emergency stop
- Section 14 Special competence requirements
- Section 14 a (enters into force on 1 March 2020)
- Annex: Inspections by machinery groups
All of the above laws and decrees apply to machines used in work. The Safe Use Decree 403/2008 and Act on the Conformity of Certain Technical Devices to Relevant Requirements 1016/2004 apply to all machines.
Machinery and tools - Oikeustapaukset
The Supreme Court of Finland ruled on a case (KKO:2014:75, in Finnish) in which a company’s production manager and foreman were accused of having committed an occupational safety offence and having caused bodily injury when an employee had had an accident leading to injury when working on a planer machine with a CE marking and an EC declaration of conformity.
The Supreme Court of Finland ruled on a case in 2013 (KKO:2013:56, in Finnish) in which a factory’s technical director, operations manager and shift supervisor were accused of having committed a crime against occupational safety and health after an employee was injured while operating a press the controls and protective properties of which did not comply with occupational safety regulations. The workers had been operating the press contrary to the employer’s occupational safety instructions, but no measures had been taken to improve the occupational safety of the press even after one of the workers was injured.
The Supreme Court of Finland heard a case involving importers’ responsibility for occupational safety in 2006 (KKO:2006:1, in Finnish) in which it had to rule on whether the importer’s managing director could be held criminally liable for an injury suffered by an employee from using CE-marked machinery that had been supplied with an EC declaration of conformity.