Providing occupational health care

Providing occupational health care - Alasivu

An employer is required by law to provide preventive occupational health care for employees. This requirement applies to all employers, regardless of the nature or duration of the employment relationships or the size of the workplace. An employer may also provide medical care for employees, but this is not mandatory. Occupational health care is free of charge for employees.

The employer may acquire occupational health care services from a public or private service provider or provide them as an in-house service.

Statutory occupational health care applies to all employees

Statutory occupational health care includes:

  • investigating health hazards at the workplace through a workplace survey,
  • health examinations as motivated by the health risks at the workplace,
  • proposals on how to improve working conditions and promote work capacity,
  • providing guidance, advice and information on improving working conditions and on employee health,
  • contributing to workplace health promotion,
  • providing first aid readiness instruction at the workplace, and
  • if an employee’s work capacity declines, monitoring the employee's health, promoting his/her coping at work, providing rehabilitation counselling and referring to rehabilitation.

Statutory occupational health care does not include medical care. However, an employer may also provide medical care for employees through the occupational health care service provider.

The obligation to arrange occupational health care also concerns persons participating in an employment measure as referred to in section 4 in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Among other things, an employment measure means a work experiment where those arranging the work experiment are responsible for the safety and health of those participating in the work experiment. (Memorandum of the Ministry of Social Affairs 2 June 2017.)

Occupational health care agreement and plan in writing

An employer and their occupational health care service provider must draw up the following documents:

  • a written agreement on display or otherwise available to employees, indicating among other things
    • the general occupational health care arrangements (location of the service, opening hours, sub-contractors, geographical coverage),
    • content of the service provided,
    • extent of the service provided (statutory occupational health care only or also medical care),
    • duration of the agreement,
  • an occupational health care plan that is updated annually and that covers for instance the following:
    • the needs and objectives of the workplace,
    • occupational health care measures (e.g. investigating the situation and circumstances at the workplace, statutory and any other health examinations, extent of non-mandatory medical care provided by the employer, first aid readiness),
    • measures for providing information, guidance and advice on improving workplace health and employee health (including the cooperation between and responsibilities of the employer and the occupational health care service), and
    • effectiveness and quality assessment and how these are targeted.

The employer must keep the work place survey at display for the employees on the workplace.

KELA compensates the employer in part for the necessary and reasonable costs incurred through providing occupational health care if the service is provided by personnel qualified for occupational health care as required in the Occupational Health Care Act. In order to be eligible for compensation, the employer must have a valid occupational health care service agreement and an occupational health care plan.