Cooperation in occupational safety and health matters - Yleistä

 

General information on topic

The parties involved in the cooperation are the employer and the individuals they employ. The employer is represented by an occupational safety and health manager, and employees choose a number of occupational safety and health representatives from among themselves.

Employers and employees must work together to maintain and improve occupational safety in the workplace. The system of cooperation is based on the Finnish Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces, which lays down the roles of occupational safety and health personnel, the issues to be addressed by the occupational safety and health organisation, and the way in which cooperation in occupational safety and health matters is to be arranged in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Occupational Health Care Act also contain special provisions on issues to be addressed by the occupational safety and health organisation.

Other arrangements can also be made to provide for cooperation in occupational safety and health matters. The Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces specifies the issues that can be addressed in trade unions’ national agreements and the issues that can be agreed locally.

Employer-led cooperation in occupational safety and health matters

It is the employer’s duty to initiate cooperation in occupational safety and health matters. The employer is also responsible for setting up the occupational safety and health organisation, choosing its procedures and ensuring its access to adequate resources.

The occupational safety and health organisation must cover all issues that can have an impact on employees’ safety, health or work ability. Employees must have a genuine opportunity to influence occupational safety in their workplace. The occupational safety and health organisation is also responsible for following up on the progress of agreed actions and monitoring their impacts.

Promotion of occupational safety and health in shared workplaces

Shared workplaces are workspaces shared by employees of several different employers and independent contractors. Provisions on cooperation in occupational safety and health matters in shared workplaces are laid down in the Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces and in the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Cooperation in occupational safety and health matters - Työntekijälle

 

Instructions for employee

Employees can choose an occupational safety and health representative and up to two deputy representatives as their own representatives in occupational safety cooperation. All workplaces with more than 10 employees must, by law, have an occupational safety and health representative. It is the employer’s duty to initiate the election proceedings. All employees can stand in the election for an occupational safety and health representative.

The applicable collective agreement can contain more detailed provisions on the practical aspects of cooperation in occupational safety and health matters.

Find out who the occupational safety and health representative is in your workplace. You can consult them on any issue relating to health and safety at work, regardless of whether your question relates to your physical or psychosocial working conditions. The occupational safety and health representative can provide advice and guidance and report any weaknesses identified by members of staff to the employer in order to allow the employer to find solutions and ensure safety. Your occupational safety and health representative cannot disclose information pertaining to your finances, health or other personal circumstances to anyone without your permission.

The occupational safety and health organisation in your workplace is run by your employer. It is your duty as an employee to help the occupational safety and health organisation to achieve its objectives. For example, you have a duty to report any weaknesses that come to your attention to your employer and facilitate any investigations relating to you personally.

As an employee, you have the right to make suggestions about the safety of your workplace and your health and get your employer’s comments on your suggestions. You should therefore always tell your manager or occupational safety and health representative if you are worried about your own or your colleagues’ safety.

Your employer may have introduced occupational safety and health procedures that you must follow. Any monitoring and reporting forms provided by your employer should be filled in according to your employer’s instructions.

Cooperation in occupational safety and health matters - Työnantajalle

 

Instructions for employer

It is the employer’s responsibility to appoint an occupational safety and health manager to oversee cooperation in occupational safety and health matters, unless the employer oversees the process personally. Workplaces with at least 10 employees must have an occupational safety and health representative, and it is the employer’s duty to ensure that one is appointed. The employer must inform the employees of their right to elect an occupational safety and health representative if necessary. The occupational safety and health representative represents the employees' interests, and the employees can choose the representative from among themselves.  

Workplaces with at least 20 employees must have an occupational safety and health committee consisting of representatives of the employer, the employees and managerial staff. The committee’s role is to promote occupational safety and health. Occupational safety and health representatives have the right to attend and speak at the committee’s meetings. The committee can make suggestions to the employer concerning improvements to working conditions, occupational health care, occupational safety and health training, as well as management. The committee also helps to organise activities aimed at maintaining employees’ work ability.

Employer’s role in organising cooperation in occupational safety and health matters and ensuring the operating conditions of the occupational safety and health organisation

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that members of the occupational safety and health organisation are able to perform their duties.

The employer must provide the employees with timely information about factors that contribute to safety, health and other working conditions in the workplace as well as any assessments and other studies and plans relating to the same. The employer is also responsible for ensuring that these issues are dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner between the employer and the employees or their representatives.

Reporting information about the occupational safety and health organisation to the Register of Occupational Safety Personnel

Finland has a national Register of Occupational Safety Personnel, which is managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and controlled by the Centre for Occupational Safety. The register contains the personal details of all individuals involved in cooperation in occupational safety and health matters.

Employers need to report the following information to the register:

  • identity of the occupational safety and health manager
  • identities of the occupational safety and health representatives
  • identities of deputy representatives
  • identities of members of an occupational safety and health committee or similar, and
  • identities of occupational safety and health officials.

The identity of the employer’s occupational health care provider must also be disclosed.

Register of Occupational Safety Personnel. The Centre for Occupational Safety.

Cooperation in occupational safety and health matters - Lainsäädäntö

 

Legislation

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

  • Part II – Cooperation on occupational safety and health

Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002)

  • Section 17 – Cooperation between employers and employees

Occupational Health Care Act (1383/2001)

  • Section 8 – Cooperation
  • Section 13 – Duty of employee to attend a medical examination
  • Section 15 – Duty of employer to provide information
  • Section 16 – Duty of employee to provide information
  • Section 17 – Duty of occupational health care service provider to provide advice and information
  • Section 18 – Disclosing confidential information

Act on the Register of Occupational Safety Personnel (1039/2001, in Finnish)

Cooperation in occupational safety and health matters - Sanasto

Glossary

Workplace In the context of cooperation in occupational safety and health matters, refers to one or more offices of a single employer, depending on what is practical from the perspective of cooperation. The individuals involved in cooperation in occupational safety and health matters must be able to attend to their duties in practice.
Occupational safety and health manager The employer’s representative in the context of cooperation in occupational safety and health matters.
Occupational safety and health representative An individual who represents the interests of employees in cooperation in occupational safety and health matters.
Deputy representative An individual who represents the interests of employees when the elected occupational safety and health representative is unavailable.
Occupational safety and health committee A committee consisting of representatives of the employer and employees set up for the purpose of cooperation in occupational safety and health matters.