The aim of occupational healthcare is to promote the following through cooperation between employers, employees and occupational healthcare professionals:
- the health, ability to work and functional capacity of employees at different stages of their careers
- the prevention of work-related diseases and accidents
- health and safety at work and in the working environment and
- the functioning of the workplace.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health guides, directs and develops legislation on occupational healthcare. Occupational healthcare is regulated by the following Acts and Decrees:
- Occupational Health Care Act 1383/ 2001 (Finlex)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act 738/2002 (Finlex)
- Health Care Act 1326/2010 (Finlex)
- Health Insurance Act, 1224/2004 (Finlex) (in Finnish)
- Act on Organising Healthcare and Social Welfare Services 612/2021, sections 8 and 10 (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 708/2013 (Finlex)
- Government Decree on medical examinations in work that presents the special risk of illness, 1485/2001
Organisation of occupational healthcare
Employers are obliged to organise preventive occupational healthcare for their employees. The organisation of medical care is voluntary for employers.
Wellbeing services counties must organise occupational healthcare services for companies, entrepreneurs and other self-employed people operating in the counties. Employers may organise occupational healthcare services independently or together with other employers (usually in the form of an association) or acquire the services from another unit entitled to provide occupational healthcare services (usually a private clinic).
A special characteristic of official supervision is close tripartite (government authorities, employers and employee representatives) cooperation within the Ministry’s Advisory Board on Occupational Healthcare, in which the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and organisations representing occupational healthcare professionals also participate.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) provides reimbursement for the necessary and reasonable costs arising from preventive occupational healthcare, medical care at the general practitioner level and other healthcare services.
Tasks of occupational healthcare services in Finland
The foundation for occupational healthcare services in Finland is the Occupational Healthcare Act and the Government Decrees issued based on this Act. One of the Decrees defines the principles of good occupational healthcare practice, the content of occupational healthcare and the qualifications of professionals and experts, and the other defines health checks for people working in jobs that present a special risk of illness.
In cooperation with the employer and employees, occupational healthcare services aim to prevent problems resulting from work on the one hand, and to promote employees’ health and ability to work on the other. According to the good occupational healthcare practice, occupational healthcare is a continuous process that includes workplace needs assessment, operational planning, actual operations, monitoring and assessment as well as continuous quality improvement. It also includes good professional practices, multidisciplinary and multiprofessional operating procedures, necessary information about workplace conditions and cooperation as defined in the Occupational Healthcare Act.
The statutory tasks of occupational healthcare services include
- assessing the health and safety aspects of work
- assessing and monitoring employees’ health and ability to work
- proposing initiatives to improve and monitor their implementation
- providing advice and guidance
- monitoring employees with disabilities and referring them to rehabilitation
- cooperating with representatives of other healthcare services and social insurance
- participating in the organisation of first aid at the workplace
- participating in activities that maintain employees’ ability to work
- monitoring the quality and impact of occupational healthcare activities.
Duties and responsibilities of agencies
- Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
- Regional State Administrative Agencies
- National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira)
- Government Resolution: Occupational Health Care 2025 - Development Strategy for Occupational Health Care (in Finnish)
- Tyosuojelu.fi - Website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Finland
Kimmo Tarvainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Work and Gender Equality / TTO, Policy Unit / TY Telephone:0295163070