The Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union have initiated a joint research project that has the aim of examining the reasons for sick-leaves, reducing sick-leave absences and improving the workplace wellbeing of employees in the paper industry. The two-year study will be carried out by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Sick-leave absences and occupational accidents took away 7.5% from the regular working hours of paper industry employees last year; this equals almost 18 working days per employee on the annual level. The overall industrial average absence rate was 6.7% in Finland in 2006.
The goal for both the employer and employee sides is to examine the reasons for sick-leaves and the state of workplace wellbeing in paper industry in order to identify the factors which contribute to it. The study is also looking for the best practises to reduce sick-leave absences and improve workplace wellbeing.
"The rate of sick-leave absence in both the paper industry and other manufacturing sectors is worryingly high and the amount of absences varies greatly between different units. It is necessary to thoroughly examine the best practises with which to cut absences and improve the workplace wellbeing of employees as well. From the employer’s perspective, illnesses cause additional costs on the annual level. From the viewpoint of employees, on the other hand, it should be studied whether all possible means to promote occupational health as well as to improve workplace wellbeing and the quality of life have been exhausted,” the two organisations say about their joint project.
The plan is to start the study before the end of the year. Its findings can probably be applied in many other sectors of manufacturing as well.
Eight production facilities in various parts of Finland have been chosen in the study. Employees and their supervisors as well as personnel development experts together with the occupational health services at the mill locations will participate in the study. Workplace wellbeing will be studied through personal interviews, case studies and mutual workshops for participants. The study will place great emphasis on the expertise of local parties.
For more information, please contact:
Juha Mutru, Manager (Health and Safety), Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 (0)9 132 4457
Hannu Ulenius, Occupational Protection Secretary, Finnish Paper Workers’ Union, tel. +358 (0)9 708 9230