Työterveyslaitos (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)

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The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) is a multidisciplinary research and specialist organization in the field of occupational health and safety. FIOH is a national governmental institute covering relevant research aspects of work life and conditions of work, including surveillance of working conditions, well-being at work, physical, chemical, biological and physiological exposures, occupational medicine, psychology and stress, epidemiology, safety and organization of work. The main functions of the Institute are research, specialist advisory services, training and communications. Clients include workplaces, citizens, government officials, occupational health services, and other organizations, which work to improve well-being at work and disseminate related information.

The Institute was founded in 1945 by the State Medical Board and social partners from industry and trade unions, insurance institutions and the Ministry of Social Affairs. In 1978 the Institute was nationalized under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The board of directors of the Institute consists of representatives from Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, labour Organizations and employer organizations.

The Institute receives state subsidies which cover 80% of the costs of the operations that have been approved by Parliament as being eligible for state funding, and is expected to raise funding for the remaining 20% itself. Currently, the Institute aims at funding about 200 work-year equivalents entirely with income from its own operations. This funding model means that its own income will account for about 40% of the total expenditure.

The permanent staff amounts to 540 and the whole person years to 750. The number of research staff with PhD degree is around 130 and the total number of R&D personnel around 500, which is around 60% of the whole personnel. Annually there are about 200 ongoing research projects consuming about 40% of the working hours. The R&D expenditure amounts close to 30 MEUR yearly. The proportion of specialist advisory services amounts to 40% of the working hours, training is 10 % and communications is 10% of the working hours.

Mission and strategic goals

The mission of the Institute is to promote occupational health and safety as part of good living.

Strategic goals of the Institute are Safe and meaningful work, Supportive organizations, Effective occupational health services and Flourishing workers. By fulfilling these goals, the Institute increases participation in work life at all stages of a person’s career.

Operation

Organizationally the Institute is divided to three areas of activity which are: Influence through knowledge, Creating solutions and Client services. Influence through knowledge area is further divided to strategic communication, publishing and library services and surveillance and reviews. The area gathers and assesses research data on the quality of work life, on the connections between working conditions and well-being and on the future of work life. It creates an impact through different channels of communication, building knowledge base concerning work and well-being and providing specialist support for society’s decision-makers and legislators. Creating solutions area is further divided to nine themes, which are:

  • Work participation and sustainable careers
  • Well-being solutions for the workplace
  • Effective occupational health services
  • Work life and the future
  • User-centric indoor environments
  • Brain at work
  • Nanosafety research centre
  • Social capital, health and well-being at work
  • Disability prevention centre

Creating solutions -area carries out high-level research that meets the demands of work life. It converts the results of scientific research into innovative cost-effective solutions. The nine above-mentioned themes have been chosen to address the current challenges facing work life and to predict future changes.

Client Services area is divided to five service centres, which are:

  • Occupational well-being development
  • Occupational medicine centre
  • Work environment development
  • Organizational development

FIOH offers clients chargeable specialist advisory services, training, and information packages with which to improve the well-being of personnel at workplaces, increase the long run productivity of operations and fulfil the statutory obligations concerning health and safety. Through the Regional Offices, the services of FIOH are available throughout Finland.

In addition to general solutions, the FIOH offers tools and special solutions for small businesses and sectors of activity in which well-being at work is a challenge. Qualifications and complementary training in OHS is one of the central tasks of the FIOH. The FIOH trains specialists in occupational medicine, occupational health nurses, and other OHS professionals and specialists. The FIOH offers services in the most demanding level of occupational disease diagnostics as well as in work ability and functional capacity assessments.

International collaboration

FIOH has participated in several EU-projects of various EU-programmes (total around 200 projects of different sizes). In addition, the FIOH specialists contribute to various EU advisory bodies and standardization groups.

FIOH is an active member of the Bilbao Agency Topic Centres. The Institute has coordinated several Topic Centres.

The Institute produces annually about 400–500 international research reports majority of which are peer reviewed. FIOH is a member of the group of European institutes in occupational health and safety (PEROSH) and works in close collaboration with most of the EU research centres active in OH&S.

The Institute acts as a specialist institute of the World Health Organization and the International Labour Office in the field of occupational health.

External Links

FIOH

Contributors

Palmer