The Finnish Institute of Occupational Safety and Health succesful in its work
Just over a half year ago Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health charged an international scientific working group to independently assess the scientific quality and operational effectiveness of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (FIOH).
Today the Ministry issued findings and recommendations from this evaluation of FIOH, by the international group composed of nine senior experts in various occupational safety and health disciplines. The report was prepared at the request of the Ministry, as a part of regular evaluations of institutions under the supervision of the Ministry. The previous evaluation of FIOH took place in 1995 with a follow-up in 1997.
The independent scientific group found that FIOH is highly successful in its mission of research and assistance to protect the health and safety of Finnish working people. “FIOH fully deserves its fine reputation as a world and national leader in occupational health,” the evaluation found. The group encouraged FIOH to consider several strategic measures for further strengthening this effectiveness to meet the health and safety challenges of the 21st Century workplace.
“We are pleased that this independent evaluation reaffirms FIOH's excellence in conducting and communicating research that prevents work-related injury and illness and advances the quality of working life,” said Minister of Health and Social Services Liisa Hyssälä. “We are also pleased to have the recommendations of this prestigious working group, which will help us better determine how to continue this success in today's changing workplace.”
The Ministry asked the international working group to evaluate FIOH as part of the Ministry's planning to meet strategic workplace goals in the coming decade. These objectives are aimed at improving individuals' health and productivity by extending the duration of working life by two to three more years, by improving the general functional capability of the population, by making work more attractive and something that promotes well-being, and by diminishing social exclusion.
The international working group found that FIOH is highly productive. Nationally and internationally, FIOH's partners perceive that the Institute's knowledge is most useful, the group said.
The report of the evaluation groups includes recommendations to build on this ongoing success. These steps should include strategic actions to:
- Develop permanent collaborative programs internally and with external partners in priority research areas, such as mental health, musculoskeletal disorders, and the maintenance of work ability.
- Assess those collaborative efforts with specific measures of success.
- Strengthen FIOH staff expertise in a type of research that evaluates the effectiveness of health and safety interventions (changes) in workplaces.
- Expand the integration of FIOH’s Regional Institutes into the priority areas so that they can help companies to implement successful interventions
- Promote accessibility to FIOH information even more broadly for companies, employees and experts.
- Address internal management issues, such as the need to plan for replacement of key expertise resulting from many staff retirements in coming years, and to assess needs for new expertise.
For further and detailed information, see the report by the international working group, “Toward a Better Working Life: International Evaluation of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (1997-2003)”, which is available at the Internet sites: www.stm.fi >English >Publications