The objective of health protection is to prevent, reduce and eliminate environmental factors that could pose a risk to human health. Provisions on health protection are included in the Finnish Health Protection Act. In practice, enforcement is the responsibility of local authorities.
Health protection work covers a wide range of living environments and potentially harmful biological, physical and chemical agents. Local authority health protection professionals
- help to ensure the health of people’s homes and other buildings (e.g. indoor air quality, radiation, noise and pests),
- control the chemical properties of tap water and the water in swimming pools and natural water bodies used for bathing as well as the healthiness of water supply plants, public beaches and pools,
- grant authorisations to water companies,
- carry out inspections on certain kinds of public premises, such as hotels and similar establishments, public gyms and other sports facilities, saunas, spas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and beaches, schools, nurseries and other educational institutions, orphanages and nursing homes, residential social care facilities and reception centres for refugees and asylum seekers, and beauty salons and other skin care and treatment facilities, and
- draw up contingency plans for preventing, investigating and eliminating health hazards and for facilitating recovery after an adverse event.
All local authority decisions must factor in the health of the living environment, and health protection plays an important role in this respect.
Regional State Administrative Agencies act as the enforcement authority for regional health protection and help local authorities to carry out the necessary controls. We regularly review local authorities’ health protection control plans and ensure that they are followed through.
We also promote healthier living environments
- by issuing opinions on other authorities’ plans and programmes from the perspective of regional health protection and
- by advising various governmental working groups on issues relating to the regional enforcement of health protection and tobacco control.