Accidents at work: what to do?

Annually, one in 800 Industrial Union members suffers an accident while working. Death at work luckily enough, is fairly uncommon in Finland, but these sad events do happen on occasion. According to the Finnish Workers’ Compensation Center TVK, up until the middle of August this year six people had died at work.


Three of these happened on construction sites, one at an assembly plant, one electrician death and one at a sawmill. In 2020, a total of 10 people died at work and seven while commuting between the home and workplace.

What should you do when faced with a serious occupational accident? First, administer first-aid. Second, call the emergency centre at the number 112. Third, report to the employer.

If the accident is not serious, stop working and go to the doctor. The insurance covers the expenses of the first visit regardless of where you go. Inform the employer or colleagues about the accident in order to report it.

Reporting accidents is extremely important. It is the basis for possible compensation, re-habilitation, invalidity pension, official investigations and not least to get rid of the existing dangers.

Though occupational safety is the responsibility of the employer, an employee must follow instructions and use protective equipment. If you see some deficiency, report it to the occupational safety representative or supervisor. Those who do the work are often best placed to notice problems in safety.

Though occupational safety is the responsibility of the employer, an employee must follow instructions and use protective equipment.

The number of occupational accidents in industry is going down. Last year, 13,823 occupational accidents happened to industrial wage and salary earners. This is 11.5 per cent less than the year before – obviously partly due to the pandemic.

In comparison with the year 2005, the number of industrial occupational accidents has dropped 53.1 per cent. The total number of occupational accidents reported in 2020 was the lowest ever in the history of compiling these statistics.

Industry has a reputation for being a dangerous place to work in, but according to the latest statisticsthat´s not actually the case. This is calculated by the accident frequency rate.

In 2020, this rate in industry was 27,5 occupational accidents per one million hours worked. The general rate in all professions was 25. This difference is not so great. In the beginning of the millennium, the rate for industry was as high as 40–45.

The most dangerous professions are newspaper delivery people and couriers, followed by construction workers.

As always, the Union strives to help and answers any of your questions. Please contact them whenever needed: +358 20 690 449 (Working Environment and Social Security Advice phone service)