Principles and concepts in Nordic occupational safety and health policies

Dimensions of strategic thinking and approaches

image of Principles and concepts in Nordic occupational safety and health policies

Second corrected edition. The Nordic countries have a close co-operation in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH). The objective of this study is to compare OSH policies in the Nordic countries in relation to the Nordic co-operation programme and strategies of the EU as well. The study was conducted through a qualitative content analysis of the strategies or corresponding programmes. The policies were analysed from the point of view of different themes and dimensions. The study shows that the strategies or programmes emphasise quite different viewpoints. The state has a different role in these programmes, which results in different cultures regarding the OSH policy practices and their development. The report shows interesting differences in the strategic approaches in the Nordic countries. Some of these differences have not been clearly shown and explained before.




TemaNord 2001 describes the trend in fatal occupational accidents in the Nordic countries from 1970 to 1998. In Sweden there were 272 such accidents in 1970 and in 1998 the gure was 50. In Norway the corresponding gures were 116 and 64, in Denmark 128 and 78, in Finland 212 and 43 and in Iceland 4 and 2. Thus the number of fatal accidents had decreased considerably by the end of the 20th century. (TemaNord 2001:535, 92.) The Scoreboard 2005 study assessed national occupational health and safety practices, giving scores for the various countries. According to this study, the trend in the number of accidents in the previous ten years in the Nordic countries is good: In Denmark, Finland and Norway, the number of accidents has decreased, in Sweden the situation has remained unchanged and in Iceland there has been no signi cant trend observable. In the light of the above, TemaNord (2007, 252) ranks the Nordic countries highly as countries with “healthy economies”.


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