Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1996;22(3):197-203    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.131

Occupational injuries in the Finnish furniture industry

by Aaltonen MVP

Objectives The purpose of the study was to determine the types of occupational injuries that occur in the Finnish furniture industry and to see whether they differ as regards production type and company size.

Methods During a one-year registration period accident events, the actual and potential severity of the injuries, the causes of the accidents, and the measures needed to prevent such accidents were examined in 18 Finnish furniture factories of different types. An analysis of covariance determined the variables affecting the actual and potential severity of the injuries.

Results The 214 accidents registered were lost-time injuries; two of them resulted in slight partial loss of fingertips. The disabling injury rate was 14.4 per 100 workers per year. Wooden furniture production and kitchen cupboard production in large companies had the highest rate. Accidents involving machines comprised half of the material. Saws were the most common machine type. Forty-two percent of the injuries could have been more severe; one injury could have been fatal. The injured persons and their foremen identified the causal factors of the accidents and the needed safety countermeasures well. Sixty-six percent of the causes and 65% of the safety countermeasures were associated with the actions of the workers and the workplace procedures. Nevertheless, only 6% of the identified safety countermeasures were put into force.

Conclusions It was estimated that, in 1987, 2000 on-site accidents leading to at least first-aid at some health care center occurred in the Finnish furniture industry. Special efforts should be taken to improve safety in furniture production in Finland.