Occupational safety is carried out by the occupational safety officer and the occupational safety delegates in the workplace. The occupational safety officer is appointed by the employer. The occupational safety delegate acts as the employee representative in the occupational safety and health cooperation.
The employer can personally act as the occupational safety and health manager in the workplace, but also another person can be appointed to the position. The occupational safety and health delegate and two deputy delegates must be elected in every workplace with at least 10 permanent employees. An occupational safety and health delegate can also be elected in workplaces with less employees, but it is not mandatory. In workplaces with over 20 employees an occupational health and safety committee must be established with the above mentioned issues.
The duties of the occupational safety and health manager and delegate
The task of an occupational safety and health manager and delegate is to make sure that the work-related risk factors, work environment and working conditions are systematically and regularly identified and assessed. They also make sure that new employees are properly introduced to their duties. Every new employee must get enough information on e.g. work and workplace, the rules and common instructions there, the use of machines, equipment and means of protection, work safety and work-related hazards and exposures.
Decrees regarding occupational health and safety are found e.g. in the Act on Labour Protection, the Working Hours Act, the Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and the Occupational Health Care Act. Also various collective agreements or separate agreements between unions have decrees related to occupational safety and health.
Occupational safety and health delegate
The occupational safety and health delegates are employee representatives who monitor issues relating to occupational safety and wellbeing at work together with the employer, and negotiate on them when necessary. They are the ones to contact if you have any questions, proposals or concerns regarding occupational health or safety.
Although the occupational safety and health manager and delegate are the main actors in the industrial safety cooperation, each employee has an important role in reaching the industrial safety objectives. You must always notify your superior of any shortcomings in the working conditions.