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Occupational safety and health (OSH) enforcement strengthens sustainable and fairer working life

22 Aug 2023

Changes in working life challenge OSH enforcement. In addition to the prevention of accidents, occupational diseases and other health hazards caused by work, OSH enforcement plays an increasingly important role in ensuring a fair working life.

The occupational safety and health divisions of the regional state administrative agencies are responsible for regional enforcement of OSH and the related guidance. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health defines the common objectives for the activities and development of the OSH divisions in a framework plan every four years. The plan for 2024-2027 has now been completed.

The objectives of occupational safety and health enforcement for the period 2024-2027 have been influenced, in particular, by the Ministry Group's strategy and the policy  for the work environment and wellbeing at work specifying it, the programme of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo's Government and an analysis of the working life environment. 

Enforcement supports employment

Occupational safety and working conditions are an important part of the sustainability and competitiveness of Finland's economy. In order to ensure the availability of labour, attention must be paid to the working conditions of vulnerable groups of workers (such as young people, those at the end of their careers, employees whose functional capacity has changed, foreign workers, employees with impaired capacity to work, temporary agency workers). Based on enforcement observations, foreign workers and workers with foreign and migrant backgrounds are often in an unequal position compared to other employees. 

OSH enforcement aims to ensure that the working conditions of all employee groups are safe and healthy and that fair terms of employment are observed at workplaces. This will also help to improve the position of  workers in a vulnerable position in the labour market and to reduce inequality. 

Risk assessment at workplaces is a key method to ensure healthy and safe working conditions and fair terms of employment. Shortage of skilled labour may also increase occupational safety risks related to the use of temporary agency workers and subcontractors.

Resources are efficiently directed

The effectiveness of enforcement is sought through a more versatile selection of means and by allocating resources in a way that maximises the societal impact of the activities.

The range of tools will be used more systematically and proactively than before. Workplace inspections will continue to be the most important tool of the OSH authority. 

Other means available to occupational safety and health authorities include multi-channel communication independently and in cooperation with other authorities, support for workplaces' own occupational safety and health activities, and sharing workplace information gained from enforcement.


Healthy Work – Framework Plan for Occupational Safety and Health Divisions 2024-2027
Strategy of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Group 
Policy for the work environment and wellbeing at work until 2030
A strong and committed Finland - Programme of Prime Minister Orpo's Government

More information:

Arto Teronen, Director of Field Operations, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 493, [email protected]
Hanna-Kaisa Rajala, Director of the OSH Division (Regional State Administrative Agency for Northern Finland), tel. +358 44 715 59516, [email protected]