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The occupational safety representative and the occupational safety manager

  1. The occupational safety representative

Becoming a new occupational safety representative in a company

Whom to notify of the election

  • The employer must be notified of the result of the occupational safety polling (the election committee)
  • The Centre for Occupational Safety must be notified of the occupational safety representative
  • The YTN’s register of occupational safety and health personnel

What are the duties of the occupational safety representative?

The duties of the occupational safety representative are

  • to look into occupational safety rules, regulations and guidelines
  • to look, on their own initiative, into the work environment and into matters that affect the safety and health of the employees in the work community and have also other employees pay attention to them
  • to notify the management, the occupational safety manager and, if necessary, occupational safety authorities of deficiencies and faults detected in matters concerning safety and health
  • to be in contact with the occupational safety committee, the occupational safety manager and other persons acting in occupational safety assignments as well as the occupational safety authorities.
  • to represent the employees of the workplace when occupational safety matters are being discussed in cooperation with the employer.

The occupational safety representative participates in

  • activities maintaining the working ability at the workplace
  • occupational safety inspections and investigations where it is seen necessary
  • the activities of the occupational safety committee and if there is no occupational safety committee, they will discuss matters belonging to the committee under law with the employer.
  • the preparation of the action plan for the occupational safety of the workplace as agreed
  • the investigation of occupational accidents, occupational diseases and risks of occupational diseases where necessary
  • the development of the occupational safety cooperation between employees and employers
  • the decision-making concerning occupational safety and its preparation in general as employees’ representative

The occupational safety representative also

  • promotes the occupational safety culture
  • improves the occupational safety matters at the workplace

The rights of the occupational safety representative include

  • obtaining training in occupational safety regulations and other matters relating to the performance of the duties
  • interrupting work that poses an immediate and serious risk to an employee’s life or health (immediate duty to notify the employer)
  • receiving information necessary for handling the cooperation work. Such information is, for example, documents that the employer must have according to the occupational safety regulations (records on working hours, risk assessment documents, occupational health care agreement)
  • the right to see reports and inspection results concerning work safety and health
  • participating in the discussion between employees and their supervisors on occupational safety matters
  • having the necessary release from regular work assignments to handle the duties of the occupational safety representative.
  • having remuneration for loss of income incurred as a result of performing occupational safety duties

Request the following documents:

  • the risk assessment document
  • the occupational health care agreement and the occupational health care action plan (workplace report)
  • other papers relating to the guidance of occupational safety
  • the structure of the occupational safety organisation and the information on persons belonging to it
  • the occupational safety committee’s minutes of meeting
  • the possible occupational safety representative contract

In practice

Familiarise yourself with materials and instructions. If you do not have, for example, occupational safety guidebooks and/or books concerning occupational safety law, request them from the employer.

Arrange a meeting with the employer and go through the duties and rights of the occupational safety representative. Ask how matters are handled at your workplace and whether matters concerning work premises, time management and remuneration should be discussed. Find out how occupational safety matters are communicated and how you can participate in it. Agree on the participation in the basic and follow-up courses in occupational safety and find out about the course dates and registration (the employer pays for the training).

Make sure that you are invited to meetings immediately from the very beginning. Ask to see the occupational safety committee’s minutes from the previous year so that you will get faster up-to-date in occupational safety matters at your workplace  Check, in cooperation with the other occupational safety personnel, the situation in the instructions at your workplace
(occupational safety action plan, occupational health care agreement and occupational health care action plan). Risk assessment. Instructions required by your workplace should also be drafted/reviewed in case of following situations:

  • policies to supervisors and personnel in cases of harassment/inappropriate treatment. A plan on how to promote and support occupational well-being at your workplace.
  • A plan for directing to treatment in cases of addictions to drugs or other substances. Consider whether there are special situations at your workplace where that should be taken into account in occupational safety and health and whether instructions are needed for the situations.
  • REMEMBER to notify the persons represented by you of occupational safety and health matters as well as of instructions prepared!


If your organisation has several occupational safety representatives, contact them.

If your workplace has a shop steward or elected representative, agree on a meeting to clarify cooperation and allocation of duties.

The website of the Centre for Occupational Safety contains the occupational safety representatives’ election instructions.


  1. The occupational safety manager

The occupational safety manager is the employer’s representative at the workplace. The occupational safety manager ensures that the cooperation in occupational safety and health is initiated and functions at the workplace.

The occupational safety manager represents the employees for the purposes of occupational safety and health cooperation. They must be competent and familiarised with the working conditions at the workplace, and they must be provided with adequate resources for the performance of their duties.

The occupational safety manager

  • looks into the occupational safety and health rules, regulations and guidelines, communicates them to the employer and employees, and arranges training
  • takes care of the arrangement, maintenance and development of cooperation between the employer and employees.
  • organises the necessary flow of information between the workplace and the occupational health care, maintains contact with occupational safety authorities
  • participates in the preparation and implementation of the occupational safety action plan in the workplace
  • makes proposals to remove illnesses caused by the work
  • participates in the planning, implementation and follow-up of activities maintaining the ability to work.

The occupational safety manager: Remember to give your information to YTN’s staff representative register.

In English