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Finland to establish a new Arctic network on occupational health and safety

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.5.2017 9.30 | Published in English on 19.5.2017 at 15.24
News item
Kuva: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström

A knowledge network focusing on occupational health and safety and wellbeing at work is a new initiative during Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Working conditions in the Arctic region are difficult both physically and mentally. They are remoulded by work-life changes associated with climate change and by prospects for increased industrial activities in the region.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is coordinating a project where the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health will create an Arctic Network on Occupational Health and Safety (ANOHS), which is a knowledge network of international organisations and research institutes in the Arctic States. The purpose of the network is to increase awareness of Arctic working life, investigate common research needs and harness Artic States’ research databases to solve problems in working life and businesses in the Arctic region.

Finland holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from 2017 to 2019. Equality, health security, mental health work, and occupational health and safety are the priorities of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health during the Chairmanship.

Health security and suicide prevention

Under the Finnish Chairmanship, the Arctic Council will also work towards securing the health of people, animals and the environment in the Arctic region. The project ‘One Arctic – One Health’ studies how animal health and infectious diseases are diagnosed and monitored. It also reviews existing measures to tackle situations where diseases are transmitted from animals to humans in the Arctic regions.

The project will prepare a report on the current state of veterinary diagnostic laboratories and carry out a pilot project. The purpose is to create a multidisciplinary One Health knowledge network around the North Pole that would share information locally, regionally and between Arctic regions.

Finland will continue the collaboration initiated by Canada and the United States to prevent suicides in the Arctic region. A concrete example of this work is a suicide prevention project in Northern Lapland, implemented as part of the Government’s key project on health and wellbeing promotion.


The Council is an important cooperation forum for promoting environmental protection, sustainable development and the inhabitants’ wellbeing in the Arctic areas. The member states of the Arctic Council are Finland, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States of America. One of Finland’s priorities during the Chairmanship is the UN sustainable development goals (Agenda 2030) in the Arctic context.

Hannu Stålhammar, Senior Officer, Department for Occupational Safety and Health, tel. +358 295 163 469
Eeva-Liisa Haapaniemi, Senior Officer, International Affairs Unit, tel. +358 295 163 690

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