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Although the employer has the main responsibility for occupational safety, each employee has a duty to take care of their own and other employees’ safety as far as possible. Everyone has the obligation to perform their work safely, with care and diligence, and to report any hazard or risk factors detected at the workplace to the employer and the occupational safety and health representative.

Follow the instructions given to you in your work to avoid occupational accidents and dangerous situations:

Cleanliness and order

Negligence in the cleanliness and order of the working environment is a common cause of accidents at work. To ensure safe movement in the workplace, access routes must be kept clear of objects that pose a risk to movement and substances that cause a risk of slipping. Clean, properly lit and ventilated workspaces improve the quality and comfort of work.

Instructions for maintaining order and cleanliness in the workplace:

  • Cleanliness and order is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Unnecessary items and rubbish must be taken out.
  • Enough space must be arranged for necessary items.
  • Tools and accessories must be kept in designated places.
  • Cleaning supplies must be kept easily available.
  • Rubbish bins must be purchased in sufficient quantities and emptied regularly.
  • Exits and escape routes must be kept clear.
  • Cleanliness and order must be checked regularly, and if problems recur, solutions must be considered.

Internal traffic

Internal traffic at workplaces refers to traffic in the premises of the workplace, such as in the yard, parking areas, warehouses and indoor spaces.

Vehicle traffic, bicycle and pedestrian traffic as well as the transport of goods in the premises must be safe and there must be enough space for it. Traffic may not pose a risk to employees, non-authorised persons or people visiting the workplace. The employer is responsible for traffic arrangements and addressing shortcomings.

The more internal traffic, different kinds of vehicles, machinery and equipment as well as goods to be transported there are in a workplace, the more important it is to pay attention to the effectiveness and safety of traffic arrangements.

If necessary, traffic instructions must be drawn up for the organisation of traffic at the workplace. In order to avoid confusion, general traffic regulations must be observed in internal traffic.

Traffic arrangements should, as far as possible, designate separate routes for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and vehicles. If separate routes cannot be built, safety must be improved by road markings, railings or raised pavements.

The transport, handling and storage of goods must be planned and arranged in such a way that the lifting and handling equipment or falling or swaying loads do not cause danger to employees.

Things to consider when planning internal traffic and movement:

Forklifts are associated with a number of risks, such as varying controls on different types of machines, different driving direction, poor visibility, load carried high and stability.

Hazard areas associated with the use of a forklift include intersections, narrow passages, gates and doorways as well as poorly detectable blind spots, which are usually created near doors and the corners of buildings and in corners.

Operating a forklift and other mobile machinery requires that the employee has received sufficient guidance for the task in question and that they have a written authorisation from the employer to operate the work equipment in question. Before granting the authorisation, the employer must ensure that the employee knows how to operate the types of machinery used.

The animation depicts three fatal occupational accidents that occurred in internal workplace traffic in Finland.

The animation also presents the investigation team’s understanding of the sequence of events leading to the accidents and provides recommendations for preventing similar accidents.

Fall protection

Falling is a significant hazard when working at a height, on scaffolds, work platforms or ladders and when moving near shafts, openings and edges.  The prevention of falls is ensured by good advance planning and the procurement of safe work platforms and appropriate protection structures and safety devices.

All places where employees move regularly or frequently must have an access route and stairs so that employees do not have to climb on top of machines or elsewhere along structures. This applies both to the elimination of disturbances and cleaning of equipment, as well as regular maintenance procedures and the like.

Access routes must be equipped with guardrails that consist of a handrail, a midrail and, if necessary, a toe board. The appropriate height of the guardrail is approximately 1 metre. Shafts and openings must be covered with sturdy covers.


When working on a ladder, there is a high risk of accidents, so special attention must be paid to its safe use.

An A-frame ladder may be used instead of scaffolding as a work platform only when the work is of short duration or when, for some other reason, it would be unreasonable to require the use of scaffolding.

When using an A-frame ladder, the risk assessment must take into account the possibility of replacing the ladder with a less risky solution as well as the different sector-specific regulations on stability and height. An A-frame ladder may only be used when the surface is stable and level to prevent the ladder from overturning. An A-frame ladder may not be used for work that requires reaching or using considerable strength, as this substantially increases the risk of overturning.


Before choosing scaffolding or mobile scaffold, the possibility of using a fixed work platform must always be assessed. 

A plan for the erection, use and dismantling of the scaffolding must be prepared, taking into account the structural requirements and the conditions of the work to be done. The scaffolding must always be erected and dismantled according to the plan. The scaffolding may only be erected, dismantled or modified by a person who has received special guidance and instructions for the safe performance of these tasks. Fall protection must be ensured during erection and dismantling.

Before use, ensure that the scaffolding is safe:

Work platforms on scaffolding must be fitted with guardrails when the height of the platform exceeds 2 metres. The guardrail must be at least 1 metre high and have a midrail and a toe board.

More detailed regulations on the safe use, erection and dismantling of scaffolding are laid down in the Government Decree on the Safety of Construction Work.


Lifting operations must always be carefully planned. Special lifting operations, such as heavy lifting, lifting of large objects and joint lifting, require a lifting plan. 

Only approved, inspected and undamaged lifting equipment and accessories may be used for lifting.  Before lifting, the maximum load of the lifting equipment and accessories, which is indicated on the equipment, must be checked.

Cranes may only be operated by specially trained and designated persons.  During lifting, only one person may give signals to the crane operator. 

Things to consider for safe lifting:

As a rule, only lifting equipment and accessories designed, manufactured, approved and inspected for lifting persons may be used for lifting persons.

Personal protective equipment

If the risk of an accident or illness at work cannot be eliminated or sufficiently limited with technical protection measures focused on the working conditions or by the organisation of work, the employer must, on the basis of an assessment of the risks at work, provide employees with personal protective equipment.

Hierarchy of control measures

  1. Eliminate risk factors
  2. Replace them with safer ones
  3. Technical solutions
  4. Functional and organisational solutionst
  5. Personal protective equipment

The assessment also includes the definition of the safety features required of personal protective equipment. In addition, the hazards or harms that may be caused by the equipment itself must be taken into account.

The main groups of personal protective equipment are: safety helmets, hearing protection, eye and face protection, respirators, leg protection, hand protection, fall protection and protective clothing.

Things to consider when selecting protective equipment

  • What is the residual risk against which the protective equipment is provided?
  • What kind of safety features must the protective equipment have in order to prevent risks?
  • What are the hazards or harms of using the protective equipment and the risks of joint use?
  • What are the individual characteristics and needs of employees for personal protective equipment?

To ensure that the protective equipment is comfortable to use and wear, it is important to involve their users in the selection. In addition, the individual characteristics of employees may set certain requirements for the selection of protective equipment.

Guidance on the use of protective equipment ensures that protective equipment is worn correctly, that it is worn at all times when working in a working environment with impurities and that the users take care of the proper maintenance of the equipment.

The user must be aware of the risks against which the protective equipment is intended to protect. In addition to guidance, employees must be orientated, trained, motivated and provided with instructions for use.

In addition to wearing the protective equipment, taking it off correctly is equally important to prevent exposure and avoid contamination.

The employer must acquire and provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment that meets the requirements set out in specific regulations. The employer is responsible for the costs of protective equipment when its use is required on the basis of a risk assessment carried out by the employer or regulations governing the sector.