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Poor working conditions cost a lot of money - Safety and health issues discussed in Singapore

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 3.9.2017 10.11
News item

The world turns its eyes towards Finland in matters regarding occupational safety and health and wellbeing at work. Finland is one of the world’s leading countries in developing safety and health at work. This reputation becomes even stronger at the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore.

Since 2000 Finland has produced global estimates of accidents at work and of fatal work-related illnesses for the International Labour Organization ILO and the European Union. The method used by Finland is considered to be the most reliable in the world at the moment. The updated estimates have been made by Senior Officer Päivi Hämäläinen at the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

This is the first time the estimates include data on how much money poor working conditions cost. On Sunday, 3 September, Finland organised its own special event at the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health hosting the event, stated in her speech that, for example, for Finland poor working conditions cost approximately EUR 24 billion per year. On a monthly level the losses amount to EUR 2 billion.

These costs are one reason why Finland has included health and wellbeing at work into its strategy Working Life 2020. The goal of the strategy is ambitious: the Finnish working life should become the best in Europe by 2020.

“To reach the goal we need to solve the challenges set by future working life. The challenges include, for example, wellbeing at work, constant changes of working life and reconciliation of work and family life”, said Minister Mattila.

In Finland, occupational safety also covers wellbeing at work, in addition to the prevention of work-related illnesses and accidents at work. Finland is also world famous due to its occupational healthcare, among other reasons, and because matters are agreed on between the central government, employees and employers. Decisions are made based on facts.

Background

Every third year, the International Labour Organization ILO and the International Social Security Association ISSA organise a World Congress on Safety & Health. The congress is taking place in Singapore from 3 till 6 September 2017. The congress is the biggest event in the field of occupational safety and health, and over 3,000 international OSH stakeholders from more than 100 countries will attend the congress. These congresses have been organised since 1955.

Inquiries

Wiking Husberg, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 63475, firstname.lastname@stm.fi
Päivi Hämäläinen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 50 572 4550, firstname.lastname@stm.fi (N.B. no Scandinavian letters å, ä or ö)