Finland: Safety Deficiencies at Two of Every Three Workplaces

Workplaces in smaller companies often suffer from deficient safety, especially when chemical safety is involved. That’s the result of a Finnish study conducted in mid-October that involved 50 inspectors and 350 workplaces in industry, automobile and motorcycle repair shops, and laundries throughout Finland. Please read the press release (only in Finnish) of the Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Authority.

According to the current report of, no appropriate chemical risk assessment is available for approximately two thirds of workplaces. For one third of workplaces, the hazard assessment is inadequate or completely missing. In addition, protective equipment for dealing with chemicals was incorrect, or completely missing. Half of the companies found it difficult to provide employees with a complete list of chemicals. One third of the companies had incomplete or defective safety data sheets (SDS). In 10% of cases, the SDS were not available in the appropriate language. Furthermore, employees had no or inadequate training on how to deal with hazardous chemicals.

Accordingly, one of the leaders of the inspectors stated that the results were unsettling. Many employees did not know how to use chemicals safely and many did not even know that they were dealing with hazardous chemicals.

The Authority has now taken action and suggested improvements to the employers who were inspected. According to one of the inspectors, the areas singled out for improvement will be examined more closely during the next inspection.

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