Saf Health Work.  2010 Sep;1(1):1-10.

Risk Assessment in Finland: Theory and Practice

  • 1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.


The Finnish risk assessment practice is based on the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act aiming to improve working conditions in order maintain the employees' work ability, and to prevent occupational accidents and diseases. In practice there are hundreds of risk assessment methods in use. A simple method is used in small and medium sized enterprises and more complex risk evaluation methods in larger work places. Does the risk management function in the work places in Finland? According to our experience something more is needed. That is, understanding of common and company related benefits of risk management. The wider conclusion is that commitment for risk assessment in Finland is high enough. However, in those enterprises where OSH management was at an acceptable level or above it, there were also more varied and more successfully accomplished actions to remove or reduce the risks than in enterprises, where OSH management was in lower level. In risk assessment it is important to process active technical prevention and exact communication, increase work place attraction and increase job satisfaction and motivation. Investments in OSH are also good business. Low absenteeism due to illness or accidents increases directly the production results by improved quality and quantity of the product. In general Finnish studies have consistently shown that the return of an invested euro is three to seven-old. In national level, according to our calculations the savings could be even 20% of our gross national product.


Risk assessment; Risk management; Occupational health service
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