What are the statutory obligations associated with occupational safety?

As an employer, you are responsible for the safety of the work environment and methods. Similarly, employees are under an obligation to comply with the employer's instructions and use the correct work methods.

Legislation sets requirements that every employer must implement. The employer must also continuously observe the work environment and safety of work methods. Remember at least these:

  • Draw up an occupational health and safety programme
  • Appoint an occupational health and safety officer, arrange an election of a health and safety representative (workplaces with over 10 employees) and set up an occupational health and safety committee (workplaces with over 20 employees)
  • Identify hazards and assess risks
  • Create a framework for reporting and collecting safety observations
  • Arrange occupational health care services
  • Make sure that your employees receive proper instructions and guidance

Are safety observations reported at your workplace?


The Occupational Safety and Health Act obliges the employee to report any shortcomings to the employer, and the employer, in turn, to respond to such observations. 

Instead of hazardous situation notices, you should talk about safety observation reports. “Safety observation” describes better that the report can also be a suggestion for improvement, for example. The hazardous situation does not always even have to be close call for you to make a safety observation.

Studies suggest that for each occurrence of a severe accident, several smaller accidents and numerous hazards and small shortcomings and unsafe behaviour occur, too. This is why it is vital that even minor shortcomings and concerns are reported and rectified at your company, even if they have not yet caused a concrete hazardous situation.


How can you report safety observations?

Observations can be reported in many ways. Consider what is the best way in your company. Paper report slips or an electronic system are the commonest methods. Verbal reporting also sometimes works, but in such cases ensure that the reports are documented somehow.

Often, observations are left unreported although it is known that they should be documented. The best way to motivate your employees to report observations is that all observations are processed systematically and that the person reporting an observation will be notified on how the situation progresses. By reporting observations, anyone can influence their own work and its safety.

Assess workplace hazards easily with Pohjola Risk Management Service

The Risk Management Service has made it really easy to report observations. Observations can be reported with a computer, smartphone or tablet by any employee and in any premises of your company. Your employees can enter observations or add photos to them. If your company has taken out Pohjola Occupational accident and occupational disease insurance, Risk Management Service will be available to you for free.

Workers' compensation insurance is mandatory

By law, an employer must insure its employees against occupational accidents and occupational diseases. Our workers' compensation insurance meets the statutory requirements and covers the occupational accidents, commuting accidents and occupational diseases of your company’s personnel.

Remember to also protect your own capacity for work as an entrepreneur with comprehensive self-employed persons’ accident insurance.