Occupational health and safety in everyday work

The employer is responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe and healthy for all employees. To do this, the employer must be aware of the hazard and risk factors in the workplace and know how to manage them. The employer also has to make sure that the employees have the knowledge and skills required to do their work safely. The employer must provide the employees an access to occupational health care. The employees are obliged to follow the orders and instructions given by the employer and to take care of their own safety and the safety of their co-workers.

The supervisors' responsibility in occupational health and safety work

In practice, the employer enacts their responsibilities and obligations by delegating their authority to the supervisors in the line organization. The supervisors' responsibility in occupational health and safety work is determined by the powers related to their tasks and responsibilities.

Clearly defining the occupational safety responsibilities included within the supervisors' job descriptions and powers helps avoid dangerous situations caused by the ambiguity of the work tasks. Occupational safety responsibilities related to work tasks should be recorded in the occupational safety and health policy.

Occupational safety and health responsibility roles

Senior management

  • procedures concerning the implementation and development of occupational health and safety and its monitoring
  • securing and confirming operational preconditions
  • selecting competent supervisors

Middle management

  • preparing instructions
  • purchasing machines, equipment and tools
  • monitoring and supervision of working conditions and the work environment

Work management

  • monitoring the condition of machines, equipment and tools
  • work guidance
  • monitoring that safe working practices and instructions are complied with

Employee responsibilities

Employee rights and responsibilities in occupational safety are realized individually and also through representatives in the occupational health and safety cooperation procedure. Employees must follow the employer's instructions and regulations and report any dangerous situations to their supervisors.

An employee has the right to leave off work that causes a serious risk to their life or health. The right to leave off work is based on the Occupational Safety and Health Act. An employee can only leave off work if the risk cannot be avoided by any other immediate measures.

Individual's occupational health and safety responsibilities

  • complying with guidelines and regulations
  • taking care of your own safety and the safety of others
  • avoiding harassment and inappropriate treatment
  • reporting faults and defects
  • proper use of machines, equipment and tools
  • proper use of personal protective equipment and safety equipment.


The occupational safety personnel's responsibility

Persons working with matters related to occupational health and safety cooperation may be responsible for occupational health and safety only if their tasks in the line organization include powers and responsibilities related to occupational health and safety issues.


Occupational health and safety responsibility in shared workplaces

Employers and self-employed workers working in shared workplaces are obliged to work in cooperation when doing occupational health and safety work. However, each employer is responsible for the occupational safety of their own employees.

Employers exercising the main authority – the purchaser or the project supervisor – have the primary responsibility to coordinate the overall management of occupational health and safety work between different parties.

When using subcontractors or hired labour, care should be taken to make sure that occupational health and safety responsibility issues are in order when drawing up contracts.

Workplace of mutual hazards

A workplace of mutual hazards is a shared space where different employers and workers operate independently, e.g. shopping centres or office hotels. What sets workplaces of mutual hazards apart from shared workplaces is that actors are independent in relation to each other.

Actors that operate in a shared space are obliged to cooperate with each other and to inform each other about any hazards and risk factors that they may detect and about their elimination and the coordination of necessary measures.


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