Occupational health and accidents
Preventing occupational accidents
Accident prevention - Ingressi
At worst, occupational accidents can cause permanent injury or even death. Everyone in a workplace must look out for their own occupational safety and that of others and work actively to prevent accidents.
Accident prevention - Yleistä
Promoting safety in a workplace is a systematic process that factors in the work equipment, the work environment, the methods used, the operation of the organisation and procedures.
Occupational accidents can be prevented by identifying and eliminating hazards altogether or, if that is not possible, by minimising them. Risk assessments should also address any special circumstances in the workplace, such as abnormal working
Accident prevention also includes performing checks on any new equipment and regular inspections thereafter as well as making sure that employees satisfy the competence requirements applicable to their work. This ensures that all machinery, tools and other work equipment are functioning as they should and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Monitoring of the work environment is crucial for accident prevention
Accident prevention is a responsibility shared by everyone in the workplace, and every member of staff must be prepared for accidents and learn from any previous incidents.
In order to identify hazards and improve working conditions, both the work environment and employees’ compliance with the instructions given must be monitored continuously. Monitoring also includes accident investigations and hazard analysis.
Employers must be prepared to deal with emergencies. For example, they must ensure that first aid can be administered in the workplace. Special attention must be given to emergency planning in workplaces where there is a risk of major accidents.
Accident prevention - Työntekijälle
Follow the instructions given for preventing occupational accidents and dangerous situations:
- Follow your employer’s instructions and safe procedures.
- Use the protective equipment provided by your employer.
- Look out for any hazards.
- Report any safety-related issues that come to your attention.
Remember to also think about the safety of other employees. All employees have a duty to report any hazards and risks that they observe in the workplace to the employer and the occupational safety and health representative.
Never remove or switch off any safety devices or protective devices that are connected to machinery, work equipment or other devices or buildings without permission. If your work requires you to temporarily disable a safety device or a protective device, remember to re-engage or reactivate it as soon as possible. Also remember that employees can be held personally liable for any injuries resulting from disabling protective devices.
Accident prevention - Työnantajalle
Accident prevention is primarily the employer’s responsibility. Employers must ensure that all work equipment provided for their employees is safe to use and teach their employees to follow safe procedures.
Prevention is crucial for mitigating the consequences of accidents. All hazards in the workplace must be identified and their impact on health assessed. It is the employer’s responsibility to carry out systematic and comprehensive risk assessments that also take into account potential accidents, faults and special circumstances.
There are a range of tools available for managing occupational safety risks. External experts can also be consulted if necessary.
There are always lessons to be learnt from accidents and close calls. It is therefore important to analyse each incident and communicate the findings to employees.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that adequate first aid can be administered in the workplace. Employees must be shown the correct responses in the event of an emergency so that losses can be minimised. The scope of the instruction needed depends on the nature of the work and the working conditions.
Every workplace must have adequate first-aid supplies for dealing with the most typical accidents associated with the work. First-aid supplies must be easily accessible and their location clearly indicated. Workplaces where particularly dangerous work is performed may also need to have a designated area for administering first aid.
Reporting serious occupational accidents to occupational safety and health authorities
There is a special form for reporting occupational accidents to occupational safety and health authorities.
For more information, see
Permits and notifications: Reporting serious occupational accidents (in Finnish)
Occupational health and accidents: Occupational accidents
Accident prevention - Lainsäädäntö
Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces (44/2006)
- Section 6 – Accident investigation
- Section 46 – Notification of an occupational accident and occupational disease
Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002)
- Section 8 – Employer’s general duty to exercise care
- Section 10 – Analysis and assessment of the risks at work
- Section 17 – Cooperation between employers and employees
- Section 41 – Use of machines, work equipment and other devices
- Section 44 – Risk of accident
- Section 45 – Alarm, safety and rescue equipment and instructions
Government Decree on Safety and Health Requirements in Workplaces (577/2003, in Finnish)
Workers’ Compensation Act (459/2015)
Government Decision on the prevention of the risk of major occupational accidents (922/1999, in Finnish)
- Section 14 – Self-preparedness
Act on the Safe Handling of Dangerous Chemicals and Explosives (390/2005, in Finnish)
Accident prevention - Oikeustapaukset
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.
Kouvola Court of Appeal heard a case on 2 September 2009 (in Finnish) in which it had to rule on whether the principal contractor could be held liable for failures in construction site management and occupational safety in respect of outsourced earthworks. The earthworks contract in question was not subject to the provisions of the main contract, and the works did not take place within the area governed by the main contract.
Accident prevention - Sanasto
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