Occupational health care
The aim of occupational health care is to further the joint efforts of employers, employees and occupational health care professionals concerning
- the health of employees, plus work and functional capacity at different stages of working life
- preventing work-related diseases and accidents
- the health and safety of work and the working environment
- the functioning of the work community
The MSAH strategy for social and health policy and the Government Programme emphasise
- increasing of the scope, quality and effectiveness of occupational health
- focussing prevention work in occupational health on maintaining working capacity, occupational health risk assessment and identifying factors reducing working capacity
- developing occupational health so as to prevent working incapacity and to improve the preconditions for employment for partially incapacitated individuals
- early treatment and rehabilitation require the seamless collaboration of occupational health care and other areas of health care
The MSAH directs, oversees and develops legislation on occupational health care. Occupational health is regulated by the following Acts and decrees:
- Occupational Health Care Act 1383/ 2001 (Finlex)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act 738/2002 (Finlex)
- Primary Health Care Act 66/1972 (Finlex)
- Health Care Act 1326/2010 (Finlex)
- Sickness Insurance Act, 2004 (Finlex) (in Finnish)
- Government Decree on the principles of good occupational health care practice, the content of occupational health care practice, the content of occupational health care and the qualifications of professionals and experts, 2001
- Government Decree on medical examinations in work that presents the special risk of illness, 2001
The organisation of occupational health care
Employers must arrange preventive occupational health care for employees. Employers may arrange occupational health services themselves or procure them from a health centre, private medical clinic or other service provider.
Municipalities must organise occupational health services locally for employers who request them. Entrepreneurs and other self-employed people may arrange occupational health services themselves. Employers may organise nursing care voluntarily.
The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) reimburses employers for the costs of preventive occupational health care. It also reimburses the costs of treatment at general practitioner level and other health care costs.
Healthcare professionals and experts working in occupational health care
A certified doctor working full-time in occupational health care must be a specialist in occupational health care. A full-time employee is a person who works in occupational health care activities an average 20 hours a week or more.
Certified doctors who work part-time in occupational health care are required to have completed occupational health care training of at least 15 credits within two years of starting work in occupational health care.
A doctor specialising in occupational health care can work full-time under the direction and supervision of an occupational health care specialist doctor.
A certified public health nurse working in occupational health care must be qualified as a public health nurse and must also have the training in occupational health care of at least 15 credits within two years of starting work in occupational health care.
An expert in occupational health care has sufficient knowledge in occupational health care if he or she has:
1) qualification as a certified physiotherapist, in addition to training in occupational health care of at least 15 credits within two years of starting work as an expert;
2) qualification as certified psychologist, in addition to training in occupational health care of at least 15 credits within two years of starting work as an expert;
3) an applicable university-level degree in occupational hygiene, social work, ergonomics, technology, agriculture, occupational eyesight, nutrition, speech therapy, or physical fitness, or a vocational degree in another corresponding field, in addition to occupational health care training of at least two credits.
Funding for training for doctors specialised in occupational health care is set in legislation in the temporary amendment to the Act on the Function and Funding of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (1198/2013).
Other abovementioned training for qualification is organised by universities of applied sciences and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Qualifying training must meet the skill requirements for implementing good occupational health practice.