Occupational health negotiations have been an effective practice in the Nordic countries for a long time. The employer, the employee, and the occupational health specialist participate in these negotiations. Tripartite negotiations help to prevent work-related illnesses and to adapt the working environment and conditions to the employee’s functional capacity.
In the sense of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, occupational health negotiations are essentially a more thorough explanation of a health examination decision. This enables the employer to provide his or her vision on whether and how it is possible to implement proposals for changing the work environment and management that are described in the decision. During the discussion, it is possible to find a solution that is suitable for both parties. This also contributes to improving the employee’s working capacity and preventing work-related diseases.
Employee’s health data is never disclosed to the employer during occupational health negotiations. If the employee wishes to do so, he or she may explain the medical background of his or her health problems. The heart of the negotiations are issues related to employees’ working capacity, as well as proposals set out in the decision of the health check-up. Occupational health care specialist is a neutral party in the negotiations representing the vision of occupational health care. The information discussed during the negotiations will remain confidential. To ensure this, meeting minutes are written down, stating the responsibilities of the parties and specific goals that are set. In principle, occupational health negotiations are subject to the same rules on personal data protection that also apply to the notification of health examination decisions.
Proposals for occupational health negotiations can be made by the employer or the occupational health physician. The employee may request to negotiate through an occupational health care specialist.