Occupational disease – Definition of an occupational disease

An occupational disease is defined in the Occupational Disease Act. In this context, an occupational disease only means a disease compensated under the Occupational Disease Act.

An occupational disease is a disease likely to have been principally caused by a

  • physical,
  • chemical, or
  • biological

factor at work. Illnesses due to psychological factors cannot be compensated as occupational diseases.

An occupational disease is compensated by the insurance institution with which the employee had a valid accident insurance policy at the time when the occupational disease occurred. If an occupational disease occurs later, the insurance institution responsible for compensation is the one with which the employee had a valid accident insurance policy in the last job where the occupational disease was possibly caused.


List of occupational diseases

The Occupational Disease Decree contains a list of the most common illnesses considered to be occupational diseases and the factors causing them, i.e. exposure agents. The list is neither exhaustive nor limitative, and even illnesses not referred to in the Decree can be compensated as occupational diseases, if causality between the illness and an exposure factor defined in the legislation and present at work can be established with sufficient probability.

The most common occupational diseases include acoustic traumas, respiratory allergies, skin diseases, asbestos illnesses and strain injuries in upper limbs. The Institute of Occupational Health in Finland publishes annual statistics on compensated occupational diseases and illnesses suspected to be occupational diseases. Read more

Modified 04.12.2015