Occupational Safety and Health Act reform clarifies employers’ occupational safety and health obligations
The reformed Occupational Safety and Health Act entering into force at the beginning of June aims to facilitate the consideration of occupational safety and health at workplaces. The law reform’s key objectives are increasing coping at work, preventing early exit from working life, maintaining working ability and extending careers.
The amendment to the Occupational Safety and Health Act will enter into force on 1 June 2023. The law reform clarifies employers’ occupational safety and health obligations to facilitate the application of the law at workplaces.
The act places particular emphasis on the consideration of individual factors related to employees. The reform aims to promote coping at work regarding people aged 55 or over and to reduce early exits from working life. The reform also aims to prevent disability and extend careers.
Key changes of the reform
The key changes concern the general duty to exercise care, the analysis and assessment of hazards at work and the instruction and guidance to be provided for employees. The pregnancy protection ground rule is also clarified.
- The clarifications made to employers’ general duty to exercise care concern occupational safety and health and monitoring measures. According to the first clarification, employers must take employees’ personal abilities into account, which may require individual occupational safety and health measures to ensure employees’ safety and health. According to the second clarification, employers must continuously monitor the safety and health of employees at work. The working environment, the state of the work community and the safety of the work practices have already been defined as targets of monitoring previously.
- In the analysis and assessment of hazards at work, employers have previously been obliged to take employees’ age, gender, occupational skills and other personal abilities into account. Now, ageing must also be taken into account. The act also clarifies that workload factors refer to both physical and psychosocial factors.
- Under the current Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must give their employees necessary information on the risk factors and hazards of the workplace, and employees’ occupational skills and work experience must be taken into account in their orientation, guidance and instruction. In the future, employees’ other abilities, such as language skills, and age must also be taken into account in their instruction and guidance.
- Under the current law, employers are obliged to consider if the work or the working conditions may cause a particular hazard to a pregnant employee. With the law reform, the obligation will also be extended to employees who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.
More detailed information on the amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act can be found on the websites of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the Finnish Government.
- Työturvallisuuslaki uudistuu – mitä se tarkoittaa työpaikoille? (ttl.fi, in Finnish or Swedish)
- Työnantajan työturvallisuusvelvoitteita tarkennetaan (valtioneuvosto.fi, in Finnish or Swedish)
You can find information on occupational safety and health at Job Market Finland.