The effects of the enforcement legislation in the Finnish occupational safety and health inspectorate

The goals of this quantitative and qualitative study were to explore the four following questions: (1) what kinds of views do OSH inspectors have on the application and function of the Enforcement Act, (2) how do the OSH inspectors define the effectiveness of OSH enforcement, (3) how effective are the enforcement practices, and (4) how can the effectiveness of OSH enforcement be improved. In Finland the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health oversees the activities of the OSH divisions, which operate in the Regional State Administrative Agencies. A total of 229 inspectors responded to the questionnaire; the response rate was 71%. With respect to the evaluations of the present situation of OSH enforcement, three factors were identified. Factor 1 was designated as “Need of Guidance and Instructions Given by the Ministry”, Factor 2 as “Functions of Present Enforcement Practices”, Factor 3 as “Contradictions in Quality and Quantity Criteria of Inspections”. Five factors were found in the evaluation of the improvements of the effectiveness of OSH enforcement. Factor 1 was designated as “How Advice, Quality, Quantity and Skills identified in inspections could be made more effective”, Factor 2 as “Improving Effectiveness by Inspections on Operations of Safety Management Systems based on Performance Agreement”, Factor 3 as “Improving Effectiveness by Harmonizing of Activities of the OSH Inspectors and OSH Inspectorates”, Factor 4 as “Effectiveness at a Distance carried out Inspections and Follow-up” and Factor 5 as “Effectiveness of Follow-up Enforcement”.

Source : Niskanen, T.  The effects of the enforcement legislation in the Finnish occupational safety and health inspectorate, Safety Science, vol. 55, june 2013, p. 135-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2013.01.002

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