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Occupational safety and health (OSH): Changes in working life reflected in Finland's OSH enforcement

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
19.9.2019 13.33 | Published in English on 23.9.2019 at 14.49
Press release

The occupational safety and health divisions of the regional state administrative agencies are responsible for regional enforcement of occupational safety and health and guidance related to it. There are five regional state administrative agencies, employing more than 400 OSH enforcement experts.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health defines the common objectives for OSH divisions’ activities and development for four years at a time. The broad outlines of 2020-2023 have now been published in the so-called framework plan.

Diversifying the range of enforcement methods

As working life changes, OSH enforcement will also change. For example, blurring the interface between paid employment and entrepreneurship changes the traditional employer-employee relationship. 

Despite changes in working life, however, the prevention of accidents, occupational diseases and other health hazards caused by work remains an important part of occupational safety and health enforcement. 

The effectiveness of OSH enforcement will be enhanced by diversifying the range of methods and by actively and systematically developing the activities. The current range of methods will be used more systematically than before. 

Workplace inspections will continue to be the most important form of operation of the OSH authority. In 2018, approximately 23,000 workplace inspections were carried out in Finland, and about one quarter of the inspections were targeted at the construction sector.

Government Programme and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Strategy guide the planning of supervision

Both the Government Programme of Prime Minister Antti Rinne, guiding the work of the entire government, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s strategy extending to 2030, has influenced the objectives of OSH enforcement. In addition, the objectives are based on the Policy for the work environment and wellbeing at work, which specifies the ministry's strategy. The policy was completed in spring 2019.

Vision and strategic objectives of the OSH in Finland

  • The vision of the OSH enforcement is to promote safe, healthy and fair work by versatile means, responding to changes in the operating environment and boldly developing the operations. 
  • The enforcement has six strategic objectives. Three of these relate to the themes of working life: working conditions, fragmented working life and strain at work, and three to phenomena related to the development of the OSH authority's activities: continuous renewal, information and digitalisation.



Arto Teronen, Director of Field Operations, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 
tel. +358 295 163 493, [email protected]
Riitta Sulameri, Director of OSH Division, 
tel. + 358 295 018 168, [email protected]

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