Occupational health care - Yleistä


General information on topic

All employees who work are entitled to occupational health care.

Occupational health care supports an employee’s work capacity throughout his/her working career.

The content of and measures taken in occupational health care, appropriate to the needs of the workplace, are jointly planned by the employer, a personnel representative and the occupational health care service provider. They also monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of the occupational health care service.

The aims of occupational health care are

  • providing a healthy and safe working environment
  • preventing work-related illnesses
  • maintaining and promoting employees’ work capacity and functional capacity.

The occupational safety authority controls that employers have organised and provided the statutory occupational health care services.

Occupational health care - Työntekijälle


Instructions for employee

An employer is required by law to provide preventive occupational health care even if there is only one employee. Providing medical care, on the other hand, is voluntary. Statutory occupational health care includes work-related health examinations, workplace surveys, supporting work capacity, and investigating illnesses and symptoms that are connected to work.

Consult your employer to find out about at least the following matters concerning occupational health care:

  • where the occupational health care agreement is located in your workplace
  • which services are included in your occupational health care and in which situations can you turn to the occupational health care services
  • which occupational health care offices can you visit and can you use the services outside your working hours (e.g. during the weekend)
  • who is the occupational health care nurse and physician designated to your workplace.

Occupational health care examinations monitor your health in at-risk work

Your employer is required by law to organise regular health examinations for you in occupational health care if the work you do involves special health risk factors defined in legislation (e.g. noise, flour dust or solvents) or is otherwise hazardous. It is your obligation as an employee to attend statutory health examinations.

If you work includes factors causing a special risk of illness, the occupational health care service will give you a health examination when you start the work. Its purpose is to find out whether you have any deformity, injury, illness or sensitivity that

  • might get worse in your work
  • requires special protection against the hazards and harmful effects of the work
  • prevents you from starting the work in question.

Occupational health care provides periodical health examinations to assess and plan how to maintain and support your work capacity throughout your career.  

If necessary, your health and work capacity will be evaluated through measurements, performance tests or laboratory tests. The occupational health care service will advise you on the health risks of your work and how to promote your own health.

Health examinations to investigate an identified health risk

Your occupational health care service must give you a health examination when it is suspected that your work involves a health risk, for instance because of unbalanced physical loads or psychosocial overload. You yourself may request a health examination from occupational health care if there is a justifiable cause to investigate your workload.

Health examinations also help support the early identification and prevention of substance abuse and referrals to treatment or support services.

As an employee, you are required to attend occupational health care health examinations arranged by your employer for a justifiable cause.

Occupational health negotiations supporting capacity for work 

If you struggle with work capacity, it is possible to organise an occupational health negotiation to discuss your work capacity and your ability to cope at work. Participants in an occupational health negotiation include you, your employer and representatives from occupational health care.

Occupational health care - Työnantajalle


Instructions for employer

An employer is required by law to provide preventive occupational health care for employees

Providing medical care for employees is voluntary for the employer.

The employer may acquire occupational health care services from

  • healthcare units of the wellbeing services counties
  • municipal enterprises and companies providing occupational health care
  • occupational health care centres jointly operated by several employers (occupational health care associations)
  • occupational health care units at private medical centres.

The employer may also provide in-house occupational health care services.

The employer must sign a written service agreement with the occupational health care service provider and draw up a plan detailing how the services are to be implemented. The foundation of occupational health care is the workplace survey, which the occupational health care service provider performs and writes up in a report.

Matters emerging in the workplace survey must be taken into account when drafting and updating the occupational health care plan. In addition, the employer and the occupational health care service jointly prepare a written description of procedures for work capacity management, monitoring and early support. 

The employer must keep the service agreement for occupational health care and the report compiled on the basis of the workplace survey in a place at the workplace where all the employees can read them. 

The employer can get compensation for the costs of statutory preventive occupational health care and non-mandatory health care from the Social Insurance Institution (KELA) when

  • the service is provided by personnel qualified for occupational health care as required in the Occupational Health Care Act
  • the employer has a valid occupational health care service agreement
  • the occupational health care service plan is up to date, and the planned functions are being implemented.

Guidance and advice as workplace support

Providing information, guidance and advice are key statutory functions of occupational health care. Their purpose is to provide employers, employees and other actors at the workplace with information and skills concerning occupational safety and health, and further to promote the adoption of attitudes and practices conducive to occupational health at the workplace. 

Occupational health care - Muualla verkossa

Occupational health care - Sanasto


Work causing special risk of illness Occupational health care professionals and the employer jointly judge whether there are factors in the workplace that cause employees a special risk of illness. Such factors may include noise, chemicals, dust, night work or threat of violence. Factors causing special risk of illness are listed in the appendix of the relevant Government Decree (1485/2001).
Workplace survey A survey conducted by occupational health care personnel at the workplace when operations begin and whenever the working conditions change. The purpose of the workplace survey is to assess how health risks, health hazards and workload factors resulting from the work, the workplace environment and the workplace community affect employees’ health and work capacity. The workplace survey also includes an assessment of resources in the workplace. The occupational health care professionals prepare a written report on the workplace survey that the employer must display in the workplace for the employees to see.
Occupational health care action plan Employers must have a written occupational health care action plan, setting out the general organisational principles for occupational health care as well as the needs arising from the circumstances at the workplace and how these have been addressed. The action plan is based on a workplace survey and the health risks identified in the survey.
Occupational health care consultation / occupational health care network meeting / occupational health care tripartite consultation A consultation involving the employee, his/her supervisor and occupational health care representatives. Its purpose is to promote the employee’s health and work capacity and to help him/her continue working.


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