Safety and health in the workplace
Occupational safety management
Occupational safety management - Ingressi
Occupational safety management is one part of safety management. Its central idea is that a workplace improves its security proactively, continuously and comprehensively. Other aspects of safety management include environmental, rescue and information security.
Safety management - Yleistä
The aim of occupational safety management is to reduce accidents and sick leaves and to increase the well-being of employees. It aims at business continuity and compliance with regulations in all situations.
Aiming at health, safety and productivity
The safety and health aspect is taken into account when planning, performing and monitoring the work. The basis of the operations are the employer and employee obligations, defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The employer must
- identify and assess harms and hazards, i.e. carry out a risk assessment and eliminate or reduce risks
- update the risk review if necessary
- design and scale work, the working environment, tools and methods in such a way that they do not strain and harm the employees
- provide training and guidance to employees
- draw up an occupational safety and health action programme and keep it updated
- introducing a safety culture and safe procedures in the workplace
- assigning responsibilities and powers
- ensuring the adequacy of competence and resources
- continuously monitor the state of the work environment and work community.
The safety culture created and led by the employer consists of the management's commitment to safety, as well as operating methods and human behaviour. In practice, this refers to coherent and concrete everyday measures to which the entire staff is committed.
Occupational safety is one of the most important factors in productivity: it affects the number of sick leaves and accidents, the smoothness of work and the commitment of employees.
Risk assessment as a tool
A thorough review of the current situation provides the basis for safety work. A key tool is risk assessment. It enables the employer to assess the development needs of work and working conditions and the impact of working environment factors.
Straining factors must be fully investigated, including psychosocial strain and inadequate ergonomics. Preemptive action is always the most cost-effective way to influence these factors. Effective occupational safety management also requires a feedback system that allows the employer to systematically ensure the continuous development of practices.
Templates can be useful
The Occupational Safety and Health Act does not demand a safety management system but regulates the systematic management of safety in general. However, safety management can be implemented in many different ways. The organisation may choose to use ready-made models (e.g. OHSAS 18001, an occupational health and safety management system standard).
The employer can choose the ways and means that best suit the workplace to manage safety.
Employers operating in high-risk sectors of the economy are also required to have a separate system for ensuring safety. Sector-specific regulations include, for example
- Government Decree on the supervision of the handling and storage of dangerous chemicals (685/2015)
- Government Decree on the safety and interoperability of the railway system (750/2006)
- Government Decree on ship-owners’ safety management systems and arrangements for ensuring the safe use of vessels (66/1996).