Safe and healthy work is guaranteed with occupational safety. Occupational safety is carried out as collaboration between the employer and employees. It makes sure that it is safe and healthy to work in the workplace. Those under 18 are entitled to intensified protection.
The content of occupational safety has in recent years been extended to cover psycho-social factors, inappropriate treatment and the threat of violence in addition to traditional safety risks.
By occupational safety we mean that physical, psychological and social working conditions are in order in the workplace.
It is the employer’s responsibility to assess risks, monitor work and, if necessary, develop it to be safer, but also employees have obligations regarding occupational safety.
Occupational health and safety manager and industrial safety delegate
The employer can personally act as the occupational health and safety manager in the workplace but also another person can be appointed to the position. The industrial safety delegate and two deputy safety delegates must be elected in every workplace with at least 10 permanent employees. An industrial safety delegate can also be elected in workplaces with less employees, but it is not mandatory. An occupational health and safety committee with the positions above must be established in workplaces with over 20 employees.
Young employees have a higher than average risk of accidents that can be reduced with good training and safety induction.
Safety at work
A safe workplace has facilities and operational methods realized so that working and moving is safe for everybody. For instance, the handling of machines and equipment as well as heavy loads can expose you to accidents. In addition to physical hazards it is important to remember mental risks such as work strain and stress. Work strain can be caused by insufficient introduction, insufficient support from the supervisor or excessive work load.
Factors affecting the safety of facilities include lighting, sounds and indoor air. Attention must also be paid to the safety of passageways and tidiness in the workplace so that e.g. boxes or cords lying on the floor will not pose a risk of tripping over. Commuting and commuting traffic are part of a safe working environment.
Many hazardous risks in the working environment can be avoided by making sure the employees are well instructed. Every employee has the responsibility to make sure they do their work carefully and with caution.
The employer is accountable for the work not posing a risk to employee’s health and safety. In case removing risks is not possible, the employer must ensure various personal protection equipment at employees’ disposal. Protection equipment includes tools, apparel and clothes that protect against accidents or illnesses at work. These include goggles, safety boots, safety gloves, helmets, hearing protectors, respirators harness and overalls.
The employer shall decide whether protection is needed or not. If the regulations require the use of protection or the risk assessment shows that protection is necessary, the employer must acquire it. The employer is also obliged to monitor the use of protection equipment.
Employees must adhere to the given security orders and instructions in their work. They must wear the protection equipment the employer has provided. In addition, employees must comply with the order and tidiness as well as care and caution needed for the maintenance of health and security and required by their work and working conditions. Employees must also report any defects or faults they detect in security to the employer or the occupational safety delegate.
Employees have the right to withdraw from work if it presents a serious risk to life or health. Withdrawal is possible only if the risk cannot be avoided by any other action.
Insurance against injuries
The employer is obliged to take out an accident insurance against occupational accidents and diseases for all employees in an employment relationship regardless of pay, age or the duration of employment. The insurance obligation does not, however, apply to an employer that pays a maximum of 1200 euros to its employees in a calendar year. The insurance primarily compensates for an occupational accident at work or on the way to work as well as for an occupational disease caused by work.
An accident is a sudden, unexpected incident caused by external factors and leading to an employee’s injury at work, in the area belonging to one’s workplace, on the way to or from work or during a work or business trip assigned by the employer. The employee must notify the employer or the nearest supervisor immediately of an occupational accident.
An occupational disease is a disease that is primarily caused by a physical, chemical or biological factor at work. The most common occupational diseases include noise injuries, respiratory allergies, skin diseases, asbestos diseases and strain injuries in upper limbs.
If employees experience symptoms of an illness due to work and at work, they must inform the employer about the symptoms as early as possible, so that it can correct the working conditions. In addition, employees must contact the occupational healthcare.