Rights and duties of occupational safety representatives
Occupational safety representatives represent all employees in matters related to health and safety at work as well as working conditions.
All employees at a specific workplace are entitled to participate in electing an occupational safety representative for their own workplace and become elected for the position.
It would be advisable for occupational safety representatives at workplaces operating in PAM sectors to be PAM members, who are entitled to participate in PAM’s own occupational health and safety training courses providing accurate sector-specific instruction for their position.
Non-member occupational safety representatives mostly receive training from the Centre for Occupational Safety.
A supervisor holding a significant position is not suitable as an employee representative in occupational health and safety matters, because this may result in conflicts of interest. Being a shop manager or holding a supervisor’s title is not an obstacle if the position does not involve accountability or an independent right to hire and fire subordinates.
The rights and duties of occupational safety representatives are based on the Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002). Occupational safety representatives cooperate with their own employer and the occupational health care provider. At the workplace, their duties include participation in, among other things:
- planning, implementation and monitoring of hazard identification;
- risk assessment, elimination and minimization;
- induction of new employees into safe working methods;
- monitoring of compliance with safety guidelines;
- resolution and analysis of incidents occurring in business/service operations;
- creation of and monitoring of compliance with a code of practice relating to the functioning of the working community;
- measures aiming to safeguard working capacity and extend careers;
- consideration (anticipation) and application of obligations brought about by new legislation in cooperation with the employer.