The largest reform in accident insurance legislation since 1948 entered into force in 1982. With the reform, social security benefits became taxable income and employment accident insurance adopted a fully new principle of compensation: whilst the rates of compensation increased, they were now taxable income. The intention behind the new law was to ensure that the total income of recipients of compensation remain unchanged after taxes.
The reform meant an increase in the accident insurance premiums of employers. However, employers had opportunities to impact the amount of that share of the insurance premium used to cover the costs of accidents. This led to increased interest in improving safety at work.
The new law also emphasised the role of occupational healthcare personnel in evaluating accidents and assessing the causes of occupational diseases at workplaces.
In 1984, Finnish safety at work reached another new milestone as the number of cases of death reported to insurance companies under statutory accident insurance totalled below one hundred for the first time (89).
In 1985, the investigation of occupational accidents of a catastrophic nature launched in the previous decade was reformed to extend FAII’s investigation system to cover all fatal accidents at work.
The world’s worst industrial disaster occurred in Bhopal, India on 3 December 1984. Thousands of tons of poisonous gases leaked from a pesticide plant to the environment. Estimates of the number of fatalities range from 6,000 to 16,000, and half a million people are estimated to have been exposed to the gas.
The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions first acquired legal status in 1988. At that time, FAII’s tasks were defined in the Employment Accidents Insurance Act. The Federation’s official duties now included the compiling of statistics on accidents at work and occupational diseases, among other tasks.
The most significant new legislative reform was in the decree on occupational diseases, however. During the 1980s, it had been noted that medical examination of suspected cases of occupational disease was not covered by the Employment Accidents Insurance Act. The law also ignored the growing number of employees suffering from asbestos poisoning.
In 1988, the law was updated to extend the coverage of occupational diseases and the costs of justified cases of suspected occupational disease. The aim was to bring all suspected cases of occupational disease within the scope of insurance cover. In this way, conditions such as tenosynovitis and epicondylitis when caused by exposure to repeated and monotonous or unfamiliar movement became covered by insurance compensation. Particular attention was also given to ensure that occupational cancers caused by asbestos were covered by insurance.
At the end of the decade, FAII was joined by a new, long-term Managing Director with the appointment of Tapani Miettinen (1988-2009).