Methods of supervision

Supervision conducted by Tukes is risk based. Risk based means that Tukes mainly focuses supervision on targets that pose the greatest risks or on areas in which Tukes’ supervision will have the greatest effect.
In addition to supervision, Tukes offers advice, guidance and communication, and organises numerous training sessions and events.
Tukes promotes safety and compliance together with other authorities, organisations and businesses.

Market surveillance

Tukes supervises the safety and compliance of products and chemicals. The authorities do not normally conduct advance inspections or approvals of products and chemicals. Instead, Tukes monitors products and chemicals on the market and on sale to consumers in brick-and-mortar stores and in online stores in Finland. This is called market surveillance. However, biocides and plant protection products are subject to an advance approval procedure.

Market surveillance is targeted at the following:

  • products
  • product documentation
  • markings and labels on products
  • procedures for demonstrating compliance.

Tukes carries out risk-based and spot-check supervision. This means that Tukes focuses supervision on products with the greatest safety risks or deficiencies in compliance.

Tukes conducts supervision

  • in a project-oriented manner, by selecting a product group as the target of supervision.
  • by inspecting products sold in shops and by purchasing products and chemicals, such as cosmetics, for further inspection and testing.
  • based on notifications and reports of accidents and dangerous situations.

Tukes does not inspect every product on the market. Tukes conducts spot-checks on a small proportion of products and chemicals.

The most common methods of market surveillance by Tukes

  • bans and orders
  • removing products from the market
  • product recalls
  • advice and guidance.

Bans and orders

If a product has safety defects, or a product or service does not comply with the appropriate requirements, Tukes may issue a non-inclusion decision of a product or service. Tukes may order a company to stop supplying products to retailers and retailing or otherwise conveying products. Tukes may also order a company to alter a product or activity so that it complies with legislation or take certain measures, such as producing documentation required by legislation.

Removing products from the market

If a product has significant safety deficiencies or does not properly comply with the appropriate requirements, Tukes may order the product to be removed from the market.
Removing a product from the market means that the company is required to:

  • stop selling or conveying the product
  • Take swift action in order to collect any products from the retailers.

Product recalls

If a product has serious safety deficiencies that are hazardous to health, property of the environment, Tukes may issue an order for a product recall.

A product recall means that the company must remove the product from the market, but also:

  • take action to recall the products that do not comply with the appropriate requirements from consumers or other end users
  • inform consumers and other end users about the hazard caused by the product and ask consumers and end users to return the product. This communication must be as extensive as possible and targeted in a manner that will reach as many of the consumers that possess the product as possible.

Chemical products surveillance

The laws governing chemicals are mostly based on EU regulations the enforcement of which in Finland is the responsibility of the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). Businesses are expected to be proactive in

  • complying with the registration and licensing requirements concerning chemicals as well as any prohibitions and limitations of the use of chemicals (REACH Regulation),
  • complying with the limitations applicable to certain persistent organic pollutants as well as mercury (POP Regulation and Mercury Regulation),
  • classifying, labelling and packaging chemicals correctly (CLP Regulation),
  • complying with rules concerning detergents and cosmetics, such as labelling regulations,
  • seeking Tukes’s authorisation for marketing biocides and plant protection products in Finland,
  • satisfying the requirements applicable to chemicals in electrical equipment, packaging materials and paints and varnishes and complying with rules on the labelling of explosive precursors and the retail of chemicals, and
  • drafting chemical notifications about hazardous chemicals to Tukes and supplying product safety data sheets to professionals.

Tukes’s chemical products surveillance promotes compliance with the aforementioned laws by means of advice, guidance and the enforcement measures laid down in law. Tukes enforces compliance on a risk basis and therefore targets its resources where intervention by the authorities has the biggest impact on public health and the environment. Tukes is also a member of the European Chemicals Agency’s Enforcement Forum, which strives to promote harmonised enforcement across the EU/EEA. Particular help in this respect comes from EU-wide enforcement campaigns that involve cooperation with Finnish Customs and authorities from different countries in accordance with agreed methods.

There is also a lot of Nordic cooperation in the sphere of chemicals surveillance. In Finland, the responsibilities of the different authorities are laid down by law. See here for more information.

If you notice activities or products relating to chemicals that you think may contravene the law, you can report dangerous or non-compliant products to us.

Tukes publishes information about non-compliant products in the market surveillance register. The European Commission publishes information reported by enforcement authorities across the EU about unsafe consumer products on a weekly basis (RAPEX).

Some chemicals cause adverse effects even when they do not contravene chemical laws that enforcement authorities can intervene in.

For more information, see the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency’s chemical products surveillance programme for the year 2019 (in Finnish).

Monitoring of consumer services

Tukes monitors the safety of consumer services through inspection visits and surveillance of documents. There are two bases for this surveillance:

  • Based on notifications made to Tukes:
    Service providers have a statutory obligation to report serious accidents and close calls that occur in the service. In addition, anyone can submit a notification to Tukes about a dangerous service. Tukes processes all notifications. Surveillance methods vary from case to case.
  • Based on an annual surveillance plan:
    Every year, Tukes conducts surveillance projects, for which the topics and targets are selected based on Tukes’ expertise and the accidents or changes that occurred in services.

Service providers are not required to notify Tukes about starting a new service, nor does Tukes conduct advance approval of services. Tukes does not inspect all consumer services.

Tukes has the following methods of supervision and powers regarding the safety of services intended for customers:

  • right to access information about the service that is essential for supervision
  • right to carry out spot checks
  • negotiations with service providers to eliminate identified risks
  • ordering service providers to rectify non-compliance detected in a service
  • interrupting a service
  • ordering service providers to implement actions at their own cost
  • issuing temporary bans and imposing fines to observe the bans
  • preventing dangerous practices in consumer services
  • ordering service providers to publish information
  • right to request assistance from the police, if necessary.

To support its supervision activities, Tukes publishes instructions and forms for service providers. In addition, Tukes organises training and provides advice on issues related to the safety of services. Tukes participates in international cooperation with authorities in other countries.

Supervision of institutions

Tukes supervises industrial operations in advance through issuing licences, conducting inspection visits according to inspection plans and, if necessary, in connection with accident investigations. Mining operations, the use of dangerous chemicals in industry and the transmission of natural gas require a licence. The use of pressure equipment is supervised through targeted control visits and the supervision of technical inspections that are conducted. Such inspections must be conducted by an inspection body approved by Tukes.

Control visits to industrial sites are risk based and conducted based on the risk and estimated safety level of the site.

Supervision methods

  • advance supervision through the licence procedure: mining operations, the use of dangerous chemicals, the transmission of natural gas
  • processing of safety reports
  • commissioning and periodic inspections
  • other control visits
  • supervision by inspection bodies
  • commissioning technical inspections, follow-up surveillance using registers
  • in exceptional cases, imposing a fine, a non-inclusion decision

Supervision of equipment and competence

The installation of electrical equipment, oil and gas equipment and refrigeration equipment requires specific qualifications. This is to ensure the compliance of the equipment. Tukes registers and assesses companies engaged in such installation work.

Only companies approved by Tukes are permitted to carry out inspections of pressure equipment, electrical equipment, and certain oil containers

Advance approval of chemicals

Plant protection products and certain biocidal products require a licence from Tukes before they can be sold and used in Finland. All biocidal products will be subject to an authorisation procedure once the active substances for biocides have been assessed by the end of the transitional period of the Biocidal Products Regulation.

In the authorisation procedure of plant protection products and biocidal products, Tukes assesses the risks caused by the product and decides on the conditions for approval. The use of products must be safe to health and the environment.