The U.S. authority has collected complaints about employers ’actions related to the coronavirus. Some of the complaints have also been directed at Finnish listed companies.
Coronavirus The risk of infection has put employers, especially in the service and industrial sectors, in a situation where working conditions have had to be developed to suit pandemic conditions.
Employers’ coronal policies have included, for example, mask packs, safety clearances and adequate use of hand gloves to ensure a safe working space.
Sometimes, however, corona safety guidelines or compliance with them are incomplete, and employees feel the need to report security breaches to the authorities.
Stateside Occupational safety violations can be reported through the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) website. OSHA has also collected statistical information complaints about the employer made by employees during the Korona period.
In some cases, for example, the subject of the complaint is poor air conditioning, in others, failure to follow the instructions is believed to have even resulted in the death of the employee.
Among the Finnish companies on the OSHA list are packaging manufacturer Huhtamäki and cranes and manufacturers Konecranes, both of which have offices in the United States.
Complaints about Huhtamaki criticized, for example, the poor air conditioning in the workspaces and the inadequate cleaning after an employee was diagnosed with a coronavirus infection.
According to the complaint against Konecranes, the employer has not required workers exposed to the coronavirus to remain in quarantine or even informed workers of possible occupational exposures. In addition, the complaint alleges inadequate hygiene instructions.
However, anyone can say anything in a complaint, so their veracity should be treated with little caution.
The largest number of complaints in the United States have been from social and health employers. The second highest number of complaints is from the trade sector and the third highest from industry. Of the individual companies, most complaints have been made from the U.S. Postal Service.
Complaints vary in severity; for example, some complain about poor air conditioning, while some believe that non-compliance with corona safety instructions has even resulted in the death of an employee.
In Finland the employer must assess the risks in the workplace from the perspective of the coronavirus situation and keep a list of workers who have been exposed to the corona at work.
This is the case according to the occupational safety and health authorities of the regional government agency. The obligation applies to all sectors.
If an employee wishes to be inspected at his or her own workplace, he or she may be in contact with occupational safety by telephone or e-mail. However, according to occupational safety and health, it would be a good idea to discuss the problems with your supervisor first.
In the Korona year, telephone counseling contacts increased by about one-fifth. The increased number of visitors to the occupational health and safety online service also reflected the increased need for information caused by the corona.
According to occupational safety and health communications, less than 200 registered contacts have been made related to the corona. However, these contacts include, in addition to the safety of the work environment, employment-related situations.
About a third of the registered contacts concern the social and health sector, and about 20 contacts have led to further action.
In addition to customer-initiated inspections, authority-initiated inspections have also been carried out in matters concerning corona security.
At the start of the pandemic, workers might even be afraid to go to work.
Concerned employees have also been in contact with their own unions.
Pami’s work environment expert at the service industry union Merja Vihersalon according to the beginning of the pandemic, the alliance came into contact with the coronary safety of jobs.
“That’s when we lived through hectic times and had to create new ways of working,” Vihersalo says.
According to Vihersalo, at the beginning of the pandemic, employees might even be afraid of going to work and the physical customer contacts necessary for work. Many at-risk groups also expressed concern.
According to Vihersalo, however, employers generally set out very responsibly to think of solutions to the problems created by the pandemic.
“No massive downturn has come in our direction, at least. For my part, I would like to thank the employers for handling things in a good spirit. ”
Industry Association Work Environment Manager Vesa Kotaviidan according to, employers in industrial sectors have mainly performed well in corona security issues.
“The situation was new and challenging for everyone, but to the best of my knowledge, the slightest damage has been cleared. Everyone has understood that if things are not handled properly, work in the workplace will stop. ”
Challenges arise from the fact that the occupational safety and health authority cannot control, for example, how transport to workplaces takes place.
Pandemian in the beginning, the Confederation of Finnish Industry became contacted mainly about whether employers can force employees to wear masks. According to Kotaviida, the starting point in such situations was risk assessment.
“Employers need to map out the situations and encounters where the virus could potentially become infected. In industry, external risk factors must also be taken into account, even if internal functions and risk factors have been brought under control. ”
Kotaviita points out that in order to ensure corona safety, it is not enough to avoid infections only in work areas. Challenges arise from the fact that the occupational safety and health authority cannot control, for example, how transport to workplaces takes place.
No direct occupational safety violations have been reported in Kotaviida’s ears. According to Kotaviida, the infringement would require, for example, that the employee be forced to work despite quarantine or in circumstances where the risk of illness is high.
However, there have been contacts with the union about situations where an employee has had a suspicion of a coronavirus infection or even a confirmed infection, but other employees have still been required to come to work. In addition, some disputes have arisen in which the employer has made use of the quarantine recommendations to refuse payroll grounds.
Finland According to a survey by the Confederation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), 93 per cent of the members of its sub-unions feel that their employer has taken sufficient care of workplace safety during the corona year.
Read more: There is no escaping contact in close-up work – SAK: Korona hit women in the service sector in particular
According to SAK, 88 percent of the respondents say that the effects of the corona have been openly discussed between the employer and the staff. 89 per cent also feel that the employer has communicated the corona situation adequately.
89 per cent of the employer’s instructions have been clear, and 82 per cent of the respondents feel that the employer was genuinely interested in the well-being of the staff.
According to SAK, shop stewards are slightly more critical of employers’ corona actions. Just over a third of shop stewards feel that co-operation in the workplace has not worked as it should and that staff representatives have not been genuinely consulted during the interest rate crisis.
About half, on the other hand, feel that both personnel impacts and security issues have been genuinely addressed in cooperation.
Despite the shortcomings in cooperation, 82% of shop stewards believe that security has been adequately addressed.
“In the spring and winter, customers were already starting to experience coronary fatigue.”
Pamin According to Merja Vihersalo, it is still important that the risk assessment is updated.
According to him, the continuous use of masks in physically strenuous work can cause disadvantages for employees, which should be taken into account in the assessment. These include breathing difficulties and the increased need for breaks.
According to Vihersalo, if you notice risks related to occupational safety in your own workplace, the matter should be investigated as close as possible to the source of the problem.
“The first thing to do is to contact your own supervisor and the occupational health and safety officer. If it feels like there isn’t enough going forward and the problem isn’t fixed through discussion, the union can be contacted. If necessary, the association may also cooperate with the regional government agency. ”
According to Vihersalo, although corona security has been well taken care of on behalf of employers, risks can also arise from customer behavior.
“In the spring and winter, customers were already experiencing coronary fatigue and the instructions might no longer be able to be followed.”