Finnish Workers' Compensation Center forecast: Total number and frequency of workplace accidents to remain at last year’s level this year

According to the forecast by the Finnish Workers' Compensation Centre, employees will be involved in around 108,000 accidents at work this year. Of these, 89,000 will occur at the workplace and 19,000 during commutes. The number of accidents at work will remain on level with last year, but the number of commuting accidents will increase by more than 5%.

According to the Finnish Workers' Compensation Center's forecast, the total number of employees’ accidents at work will remain at last year’s figures. According to the forecast, 89,000 of all accidents will take place at the workplace during work, and the frequency of workplace accidents will remain close to last year’s figures.

 The frequency of workplace accidents this year will be around 26 accidents per one million hours worked. Last year, the frequency was 25.8 accidents per million hours.

“Economic volume has a direct impact on the amount of hours worked, which in turn is the single most significant factor behind short-term trends in the number of accidents at work. The volume of work also influences accident frequency: accidents are typically more common in proportion to hours worked during economic booms and vice versa. Over the longer term, trends are explained by factors related to production structure and developments in workplace safety,” says Mika Tynkkynen, Director of Research at the Finnish Workers' Compensation Centre.

Number of commuting accidents on the rise

According to the forecast, the number of accidents during commutes will be around 19,000 this year, which is an increase of more than 5% from the previous year but still clearly below pre-pandemic numbers.

The lockdowns and shift to working from home during the pandemic dramatically cut down commuting, which naturally also reduced the number of commuting accidents.

“In 2020, the number of commuting accidents plummeted by as much as 30% from the previous year as the volume of commuting traffic fell due to the rapid shift to working from home and lay-offs. Last year, the number of commuting accidents grew slightly and according to our forecast, this trend appears to continue this year. This is due to both the increase in commuting and, especially in the Helsinki metropolitan region, exceptionally demanding and slippery weather conditions,” Tynkkynen says.

The forecast combines preliminary data from the early part of the year with an estimate for the rest of the year

The Finnish Workers' Compensation Center released its first forecast of accidents at work in autumn 2020. From the start, the purpose of the forecasts has been to respond to the need to provide a reliable estimate of the trend for the current year.

The forecast, which is published annually in the autumn, is based on insurance claims submitted by employers about accidents suffered by wage and salary earners at work.

The calculation also uses time series models to estimate future trends until the end of the year based on data from previous years and variables predicting developments in the economy.

“There has been a clear need for a forecast of this kind. Conclusions and measures must be planned on the basis of up-to-date and future-oriented data as decisions are made with the future in mind. Statistics only deal with the past. Naturally, forecasts always involves uncertainties, and at the moment there is an exceptionally high degree of uncertainty in forecasts about economic trends. However, in our analysis, we assumed that the crises that impact and threaten the economy will not have a significant impact on this year's accident trends,” says Tynkkynen regarding the purpose and nature of the forecast.