Work accidents brought under control in the Finish Zero-Accident Forum

The Zero-Accident Forum is a network of Finnish workplaces, and its aim is to
reduce occupational accidents and improve work safety. The forum consists of
206 member workplaces, which employ a total of about 250 000 people. The
activities of the Forum are coordinated by the Finnish Institute of
Occupational Safety.

A research conducted from 2004 through 2008 on the effectiveness of the
Zero-Accident Forum shows that the workplaces that have participated in the
Forum have reduced the number of occupational accidents by up to 20%.

At the same time, the number of occupational accidents in the country as a
whole increased.

The Zero-Accident Forum's Effects and Experiences research project investigated
the Forums impacts and good practices in member workplaces. Between 2004 and
2007, the workplaces of a trial group made up of the Forum members had reduced
occupational accidents by 20% on average. No significant change took place in
the control group, however.

On the other hand, whilst the national statistics used for comparison showed an
increase of 4.3% in workplace accidents during the observation period of 2005 -
2008, occupational accidents in the member workplaces decreased by 15% at the
same time. The investigation considered accidents that had caused a loss of at
least one full workday.

The positive development in the member workplaces indicates that it is
perfectly possible to prevent occupational accidents. In 2008, the level of
zero workplace accidents was reached by 16 member workplaces. However, this
does not mean that all member workplaces of the Zero-Accident Forum would have
been of high quality in this respect already when joining: In 2004 the highest
number of accidents in the trial group was 215 accidents per million work
hours, but in 2007 the amount was no more than half of that.

Genuine commitment by the management is necessary

The research identified the following factors that can be used in improving
occupational safety:

  • the top management must genuinely commit themselves to and participate in
    safety issues.

  • accidents as well as dangerous and near miss situations must be registered,
    investigated and the resulting knowledge utilized

  • even the smallest accidents must be reported

  • communication, flow of information and information systems must be in good

  • one should always intervene when coming across dangerous or wrong work
    methods or habits

  • safety training must be arranged for the staff

  • safety inspections must take place in regular intervals

Workplace's own activeness is always in a key position

Development work for occupational safety must always take place in workplaces,
in cooperation between the management and the staff. Support offered by the
Zero-Accident Forum network, knowledge about good practices in other member
workplaces and the tools and materials created to support development are in
active use in the member workplaces. In well-managed workplaces, safety
becomes a collective issue for all the staff, and cooperation with other member
workplaces also takes place.

More info - Source: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health