Quality Description: Accidents at Work Statistics

1. Relevance of statistical information

1.1 Contents and purpose of statistical information

Accidents at Work statistics contain statistical information on employment and commuting accidents involving wage and salary earners, farmers and other self-employed persons or entrepreneurs.

The information in the Accidents at Work statistics has been obtained by combining register data compiled in connection with occupational accidents insurance and the data of Statistics Finland. Information on accidents involving wage and salary earners and self-employed persons were obtained from the Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII). The details on accidents involving farmers are based on information collected by the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution (MELA). The information of Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey (TYTI) and Employment Statistics has also been used in compiling the statistics.

In the statistics, accidents at work are accidents for which insurance companies have paid compensation. The statistics mainly cover accidents at work of the latest statistical reference year, but in addition, various time series also shed light on changes in the occupational accidents situation during the 1990s and 2000s.

1.2 Definitions of concepts used in the accidents at work statistics

Accident at Work

An accident at work is defined in Section 4 of the Employment Accidents Act. An accident at work means any accident causing injury or illness sustained by the employee in the course of his/her employment or in circumstances arising from employment. According to the Act, accidents at work can be divided according to the place where the accident occurs as follows:

An accident at work has occurred at work or in work-related circumstances. In this case, traffic accidents that occur during work are also defined as accident at work.

• As for commuting accidents , these are accidents that have occurred outside the actual working time while commuting from the employee’s residence to work or vice versa.

In the statistics, accidents are categorised according to their severity as follows: accidents at work leading to death and accidents at work leading to at least four days of disability or under four days of disability (so-called minor incidents). The statistics almost exclusively cover accidents at work leading to at least four days of disability.

Accident incidence rate and accident frequency

The different types of accident risks in different industries or occupational and other groups can be established by calculating the ratio between the number of accidents that occur and the number of employees in each industry, or the number of working hours. When the ratios between accidents and the number of employees and working hours are established, these ratios can be considered the “risk figures” of certain occupations or industries. In practice, the susceptibility to accidents varies within an industry, for instance, according to work tasks.

The accident incidence rate means the ratio of the number of employees to the accidents that occurred. In accidents that lead to at least four days of disability, the ratio was calculated per 100,000 employees and in fatal accidents per 100,000 employees.

The accident frequency means the ratio of the number of hours worked to the accidents that occurred. The ratio is calculated for 1,000,000 working hours. The frequency is mainly used in comparisons between different industries.

Information on the number of employees and working hours in different industries and occupations is obtained from Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey.

Occupation

Occupation means an activity or work which constituted the injured party’s principal livelihood at the time of the accident. Occupations have been divided into categories on grounds of similar activities, so that education, status in occupation, position or industry does not have an effect on the classification of occupations. Occupations have been categorised by insurance institutions. The insurance institution classification differs slightly from that of Statistics Finland, but for the purposes of this publication, the classification has been harmonised with the one used by Statistics Finland (Statistics Finland: Classification of Occupations 1987).

If the injured party has held several positions, the most dangerous position has been classified as his/her occupation on the grounds of previous information.

The used classification of occupations has a 3-digit structure, but in most tables of the publication, a classification with a 1 or 2-digit structure has been used for the purposes of data protection and reliability. By using a detailed classification, it is possible to identify occupational groups where the risk of an occupational accident is exceptionally high. However, the detailed classification also has its drawbacks: due to the small number of observations in the Labour Force Survey sample, there is some uncertainty related to the calculated accident incidence rates of small occupational groups. The accident incidence rates have only been calculated for occupational categories that have had at least five accidents and 10,000 employees according to the Labour Force Survey sample. It is considered unreliable to calculate an accident incidence rate for a smaller group.

Industry

The classification used in the publication is based on Statistics Finland's Standard Industrial Classification of 2008 (Standard Industrial Classification TOL2008, Handbooks 4, Statistics Finland). The Standard Industrial Classification is a grouping system for companies and equivalent units and establishments with economic activities. The injured party’s industry is classified according to the main object of production or type of activity of his/her establishment.

The injured party’s industry has been classified by insurance institutions. There may be some uncertainty related to the industry classification, mainly due to the difficulty of classifying multifunctional companies with a single insurance. Accidents occurring in such multifunctional companies fall in the same category regardless of the nature of the activities.

Some municipalities only take out a single insurance on their employees although they employ individuals from several different industries. For this reason, the occupational accidents suffered by the employees of these municipalities fall in the category of the general central government sector.

In the statistics, the Standard Industrial Classification has been used either on the 1 or 2-digit level. The goal was to achieve the most detailed classification in the industries where the number of accidents known to have occurred was greater than average.

ESAW variables (joint European data) Workstation

The variable describes whether the accident victim was working at a workstation managed by his/her own employer or at a workstation owned or controlled by a party other than his/her employer.

Working process

The working process describes the accident victim’s working phase at the time of the accident. However, the working process does not refer to an occupation.

Specific physical activity

The specific physical activity describes the accident victim’s actual activities before the accident. Information on this variable specifies the details of the work task with regard to the events preceding the accident.

Deviation

The deviation refers to the last deviant event that led to the accident before the injury occurred.

Contact - mode of injury

The mode of injury describes the way in which the injured body part came into contact with the object that caused the injury.

Material agent of the contact

The material agent of the contact refers to information on the material object with which the injured body part came into contact at the time of the accident.

Part of body injured

The part of body injured refers to the main body part injured in the accident.

Type of injury

The type of injury describes the nature of the physical injury caused by the occupational accident. The information on the type of injury is based either on medical diagnosis or on the description in the accident report.

2. Methodological description of the statistical survey

2.1 Statistical population

The data of the accidents at work statistics, which are part of the Official Statistics of Finland series, have been obtained from several different sources. The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII) provides Statistics Finland with the information on accidents to wage and salary earners and self-employed persons, whereas the information on farmers is obtained from the Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution (MELA). In addition, the data of Statistics Finland’s Employment statistics and the Labour Force Survey are used to compile the statistics.

The data of the Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions

The information on accidents involving wage and salary earners and self-employed persons (excl. farmers) is based on the data obtained from the Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII) in which the individual accident is used as an observation unit. The data include all accidents that occurred between January 1 and December 31 for which insurance companies have paid compensation. The data contain demographic information on the injured party (age, sex) and diverse information on the circumstances of the accident, and the cause and the consequences of the accident. The data content became increasingly versatile when the collection of data conforming to the joint European variable list began in 2003 in connection with the implementation of Eurostat’s new European Statistics on Accidents at Work (ESAW) methodology.

The data on accidents involving wage and salary earners and self-employed persons (excl. farmers) were originally obtained from accident report forms used by employers to inform insurance companies of accidents to their employees. The same forms are used to inform insurance companies of occupational diseases, but in Finland, statistics on occupational diseases and occupational accidents are compiled separately. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health annually compiles a set of statistics on occupational diseases which is part of the Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) series.

The information is supplemented during the compensation procedures, but final information cannot be expected during the compilation of the statistics. The statistical data (mainly the period of disability) are updated almost 1.5 years after the end of the year following the accident. This means for instance that the information in the data for the 2010 statistics has been supplemented until early 2012. The relatively long period is required to ensure the sufficient reliability of the data.

The data of the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution

The information on accidents involving farmers is based on the comprehensive individual-level total data provided to Statistics Finland by the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution. These data contain information on all occupational accidents for which the MELA has paid compensation.

The basic acts on farmers’ accident insurance are included in the Farmers' Accident Insurance Act. The compulsory insurance covers farmers aged 18 to 64 years who reside in Finland. A farmer is an individual involved in agricultural activities on a farm of at least five hectares on his/her own or joint account, as a member of a family business or as a self-employed person's cohabitant. Fishermen involved in professional fishing activities without an employment relationship or as family members are also considered farmers. Reindeer rearers involved in reindeer husbandry on their own account, or who are employed by a family member or a married couple, and persons involved in reindeer husbandry as a reindeer owner’s family members, are also considered farmers.

The definition of “accident” used in the statistics corresponds to the definition of accidents involving other self-employed persons and wage and salary earners. Farmers involved in regular agricultural activities but who are excluded from compulsory insurance due to their age or their small labour input may take out an optional accident insurance policy. The content of the data is largely equivalent to the data compiled by the FAII. For some variables, the MELA classification is more detailed than that of the FAII data.

The data of Statistics Finland

Statistics Finland’s Employment statistics have also been used to compile the statistics: information on accident victims’ level of education has been collected from these statistics by using social security numbers. Statistics Finland annually compiles the Employment statistics, whose main purpose is to provide regional information on the population’s economical activities. Information on the number of employees and labour input (hours worked) has been obtained from Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey. The survey illustrates the employment of the entire population aged 15 to 64. The Labour Force Survey’s average annual data are used to compile the statistics.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

3.1 The reliability of the data

In Finland, private insurance companies are in charge of accident insurance. The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII) is the central body of the statutory accident insurance whose main purpose is to coordinate the implementation of statutory accident insurance. In Finland, insurance companies that provide statutory accident insurance must be members of the FAII.

For work done for the employer, the employer must take out an obligatory accident insurance policy in accordance with the Accident Insurance Act (608/48) at an insurance company licensed to issue accident insurance policies. However, the employer’s obligation to take out insurance does not begin until the work done for the employer during a calendar year exceeds 12 days. The obligation to take out insurance does not concern State officials or individuals with a working relationship with the State. However, the State must pay them compensation from State resources for occupational accidents and occupational diseases in accordance with the Accident Insurance Act.

As for accidents involving wage and salary earners, the statistical coverage is good, since all employees are in practice covered by the accident compensation. Accident reporting is not neglected, since reporting accidents is financially profitable to the employer. Coverage is also affected by the employer’s choice of either a compulsory or fully comprehensive insurance. The fully comprehensive insurance does not include the employer’s contribution. The information on accidents involving central government sector wage and salary earners has been obtained from the FAII. As for the information on accidents involving State employees, this was originally obtained from the State Treasury, but Statistics Finland can also acquire it through the FAII.

The insurance is optional for self-employed persons except for farmers, who must take out a compulsory insurance policy at the Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution (MELA) if the size of the farm exceeds five hectares. Fishermen and reindeer rearers must also take out an insurance policy at the MELA. For this reason, all occupational accidents involving self-employed persons mentioned above are comprehensively included in the statistics. The MELA has a national network of agents who transmit accident information to the MELA. As for other self-employed persons, they may take out optional insurance policies. Approximately 41 to 42 per cent of self-employed persons other than farmers have taken out an optional accident insurance policy.

In 2010, accident data was collected according to the ESAW variables for the eighth time. Compared with the previous years, the distributions seem uniform and reasonable. In addition, the variables describing the chain of events leading to an accident are similar. With increasing experience, however, adjustments may be made to the recording instructions. Over the years to come, this may have some effect on the results related to the ESAW variables that were obtained from the data.

Information on occupational accidents is collected by using accident report forms. Accident reporting is usually not neglected, since fulfilling the reporting obligation is financially profitable to the employer. The MELA data are probably more reliable than those of the FAII, since the employees recording the statistics are also in charge of the compensation procedures. The reliability of the data is also improved by the fact that the MELA agents act as intermediaries in filling in and submitting compensation applications.

4. Timeliness and promptness of published data

4.1 The frequency and the assessment period of the statistics

The accidents at work statistics data are completed with the delay of “n+1 years”, where n refers to the statistical year. For instance, the data on the accidents at work of 2010 are completed at the beginning of 2012. However, the data are not final at the completion: due to compensation procedures, they will be complemented with a few cases even after having been submitted to Statistics Finland. Since the breaking point is the same every year, statistical years are comparable, unless other, e.g. legislative changes affecting the compensation practices have occurred.

The relatively long delay is indispensable due to the final information on consequences. Information on consequences means the duration of disability due to an injury or the number of days absent from work. The long delay ensures sufficient reliability of the data.

According to the Accident Insurance Act, daily benefits are paid if the injured individual is fully or partially incapacitated for at least three consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

Since the statistical reference year 2005, the accidents at work statistics are only published online. The online publication and database tables on the statistics are available at: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/ttap/index_en.html.

The Working conditions research and adult education statistics unit of the Social Statistics Department are in charge of the publication of the accidents at work statistics. The persons responsible for the statistics are Arto Miettinen (firstname.lastname@stat.fi) and Tarja Seppänen (firstname.lastname@stat.fi).

6. Comparability of statistics

6.1 Additional information on accidents at work and occupational diseases

Other parties also provide information on accidents at work and occupational diseases:

The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII)

The FAII annually publishes its own statistics on accidents at work and diseases for which compensation has been paid. The statistics are available in print and online. In addition, the FAII publishes on its website cross-sectional statistics that compare two time periods. In these statistics, the accidents at work figures are not final. The statistics can be used to examine the tendency in the number of accidents. The statistical data published by the FAII and Statistics Finland are based on the same source data, but the principles for statistics compilation differ. Since 2005, both Statistics Finland and the FAII have defined an accidents at work as disability for at least four days. This is the definition used in the Eurostat accidents at work statistics. The statistics published by the FAII do not include accidents involving self-employed persons. Both the FAII and Statistics Finland have a separate category for the central government sector.

The FAII also publishes survey reports on accidents at work leading to death which are based on the fatal workplace accident investigation system (TOT).

The Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution

The Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution publishes its own statistics on accidents at work involving farmers.

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Since 1964, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has maintained a register of work-related diseases (formerly the occupational diseases register). The register includes information on new occupational diseases reported to insurance companies and on new occupational diseases reported to labour protection authorities by physicians, and on other work-related pathological conditions. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health annually publishes a set of statistics on diagnosed occupational diseases. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health also releases accidents at work statistics in which central government sector accidents at work are included according to occupation.

Eurostat

The Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) annually publishes information on accidents at work in the European Union Member States (European Statistics on Accidents at Work, ESAW).

Miscellaneous

The Labour Protection Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health maintains an accident report register which contains data on accidents at work leading to severe injuries or death from 1982 onwards. The documents report on the course of the accident, the direct and indirect reasons for the accident and the possibility of preventing similar accidents in the future. Since 1985, investigated work and workplace accidents leading to death have been included in the register as a result of an agreement between the Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII) and the central labour market organisations.

Information on accidents at work involving forest holders and wage and salary earners is available in the Forest Statistics Yearbook published by the Finnish Forest Research Institute.

6.2 Time series

The contents of the accidents at work statistics have not remained the same over the years, as the occupational accident statistics time series also includes the occupational diseases discovered between 1976 and 1994. However, commuting accidents were not included in the figures of this time period. This information has been collected since 1992.

Accidents at work involving self-employed persons have only been included in the statistics if the self-employed person has taken out an optional insurance policy. Approx. 41 to 42 per cent of self-employed persons currently have an occupational accident insurance policy (n = 125,000). Therefore, the number of accidents also reflects the popularity of insurance policies among self-employed persons. It can be estimated that individuals involved in high-risk jobs are more likely to take out an insurance policy than those whose line of work involves fewer risks. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of accidents at work involving self-employed persons has varied between 2,000 and 3,500 cases.

Since 1992, the accidents at work statistics have been compiled at Statistics Finland. Since the 2007 statistics reform, it has been possible to update reliably the time series on wage and salary earners' employment accidents until 1996. The accidents at work information on farmers can be obtained from 2000 onwards.

6.3 Statistics Finland’s accidents at work statistics reform

In 2007, Statistics Finland’s accidents at work statistics (reference year 2005) were harmonised with the Eurostat ESAW statistics as a result of statistical cooperation. At the same time, justified changes were made to enable nationally uniform figures as well. The changes or amendments made were as follows:

• The definition of disability for at least four days was adopted (until 2004, the time period was at least 3 days)

• Statutory injury (SAPA60) cases were included in the data.

• Schoolchildren working under work-experience programmes, institutional population, etc. were removed from the ratio examinations (they are not included in Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey figures)

• Based on the type of insurance policy, some self-employed persons had previously been considered wage and salary earners; the FAII corrected the error, and the corrected data for 1996 to 2005 were received in May 2007

• The key figure for the accident incidence rate describing the ratio between accidents and the number of employees was calculated for 100,000 employees. Until 2004, the key figure was calculated for 1,000 employees.

• In the industry examination, the central government sector is given as a separate category

As for wage and salary earners, it was possible to update the time series to reflect the changes until 1996. As for farmers, the time series goes back to 2000.

7. Coherence and consistency/uniformity

The coherence and comparability of the statistics with other sets of statistics has been presented in 6.1.


Source: Occupational accident statistics 2010, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Tarja Seppänen 09 1734 3220, tyotapaturmat@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 30.11.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Occupational accident statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-9544. 2010, Quality Description: Accidents at Work Statistics . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.8.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ttap/2010/ttap_2010_2012-11-30_laa_001_en.html