Technical safety part of every Finn’s everyday life
Technical safety is an extensive system of factors guaranteeing that society can function smoothly and without disruptions. It aims at the safety of products on sale, trouble-free operation of industrial plants and the prevention of accidents caused by explosives.
Technical safety covers e.g. the safety of products and technical systems. It also includes the legislation and supervision by the authorities related to some other requirements, the verification of the required competences of controlling agencies, standardisation, the safety of industrial plants that manufacture dangerous substances and their storage facilities, the verification of measurements, and metrology.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEE) is responsible for cooperation with the EU in legislation and legislative preparation in this field as well as for the performance management of the licensing and supervisory authority Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency.
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes serves as the licensing and supervisory authority for the activities that the MEE is responsible for. Tukes is an independent actor in matters related to licensing and supervision.
The national accreditation body the Finnish Accreditation Service (FINAS) operates in connection with Tukes and assesses the competences of agencies controlling products and systems. The Finnish Standards Association SFS deals with matters to do with standardisation. MIKES Metrology specialises in measurement science i.e. metrology.
Links in many directions
The safety of products and services used by consumers is a central part of consumer protection. Consumer issues other than those related to product safety are dealt with by the national consumer advice services in the local register offices as well as by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
Chemicals are used in many products and industrial processes. Health-related issues in chemicals are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and issues related to the safety of the environment that of the Ministry of the Environment. The MEE is responsible for legislation on the safety of processes and storage of products in industrial plants (e.g. flammable liquids, explosives). The licensing and supervision of chemical safety has been concentrated in Tukes.
The safety of employees, i.e. occupational safety and health are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for the supervision of workplaces.
In addition to the aforementioned enforcement of occupational safety and health, the safety of industrial plants is also linked to and there is collaboration with, for example, the environmental authorities (Regional Administrative Agencies and ELY Centres) as well as the rescue authorities.
Responsibilities in different product sectors have been divided to the fields of several different ministries, e.g. vehicles, watercrafts and radio equipment are dealt with by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi and Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority) and occupational use of machines, protectors, and devices utilising radiation by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Regional Administrative Agencies and Radiation, and Nuclear Safety Authority).
Further information: laura.holkko(at)tem.fi, pauliina.kanerva(at)tem.fi and sari.rapinoja(at)tem.fi