Obligations of service providers

Service providers have several statutory obligations intended to ensure the safety of the customers in the services. Some obligations apply to all consumer services, while others apply only to the services with a high risk. For example, all service providers are subject to the general duty of care, but a safety document, for instance, only needs to be drawn up for certain services. You can find more detailed information on the service-specific pages.

Duty of care

According to the duty of care, the service provider is responsible for the safety of the service. The service provider must ensure that the service will not pose a danger to anyone’s health or property.

The service provider must know their services, and they must have sufficient training, experience and competence to provide the service safely. The personnel must be able to act correctly in all service situations, and especially in case of emergency.

The service provider must identify the risks posed by the service and implement measures to prevent dangerous situations. The service provider must ensure that the devices and equipment used in the service are safe. The service provider is also responsible for ensuring that the customers receive all information necessary for safety already before the service starts as well as during the service.

The service provider cannot be released from their duty of care by using a disclaimer in the agreement or by stating that the customers participate in the service on their own responsibility.

In addition to the service providers, the parties selling the services must also ensure that the consumer services they sell are safe and that the parties implementing the services comply with their duty of care.

With the safety document, a service provider can demonstrate that they have fulfilled their duty of care. The service provider must find out whether they need to draw up a safety document on their service.

Identifying risks

The service provider must identify the risks of the service before the service starts. The requirement on identifying risks applies to all consumer service providers.

The purpose of identifying risks is to find out the factors or situations related to the service that could be hazardous to the health or property of the participants or other people. At the same time, the service provider must assess whether the current level of safety is sufficient and what measures need to be taken to improve safety.

Suunnitelmapohja riskien arvioinnin toteuttamiseksi

How to identify the risks of a service

Identify and assess the risks in all parts of the service and phases of its life cycle from the point of view of the implementation, the participants and the conditions of that specific service. Record the risk factors identified in the service, the potential dangerous situations involving customers, the current measures taken to prevent dangerous situations, and a plan to improve safety. It is not necessary to assign a numerical value when assessing the magnitude of the risk.

For example, you can use the following questions to help with identifying risks:

  • Which factors in the service may pose a hazard to the health or property of the participants? Why?
  • Who are at risk of suffering damage or injury? The participants? Outsiders?
  • In which situations or locations harm could occur?
    -Before the service is provided, during the preparation phase?
    -During the service or while observing it?
    -After the service, immediately while leaving, or later?
    -At the place, where the service is provided, in the immediate vicinity of the service, or further away?
    -On pathways, in occupied areas, at the car park?
  • What measures have already been taken concerning the hazard?
    -Has the hazard been removed effectively?
    -Are the measures being implemented as planned?
  • What kind of new measures are needed to improve safety?

Choose the method for identifying and recording risks that suits your particular service. You can choose the working method freely, as long as the selected method suits the service being reviewed and produces sufficiently accurate information. Tukes has published general instructions, checklists and forms to support the identification of risks and planning safety measures. You can either use Tukes’s tools as is, or adapt and adjust them to suit the needs of your service.

You can use the following sources, for example, to assist you in identifying risks:

  • the accident records of the service
  • general accident and incident statistics in your own field and the best practices in the field
  • experience of the personnel on the service in question or similar services
  • customer feedback and complaints
  • documents provided by the manufacturers of devices and equipment, such as operating and safety instructions, technical specifications, etc.
  • previous risk analyses, such as the assessment of occupational safety risks, rescue plan
  • general safety competence and knowledge.

Vaarojen tunnistamisen avainsanaluettelo

Lomake vaaratilanteiden ja toimenpiteiden kirjaamiseksi

Providing information on the service

The service provider must provide the participants of the service with all necessary information for safety.

The information about the safety of the service must be provided so that

  • the consumers can assess in advance whether they can participate in the service
  • the service participants can act correctly and safely during the service.

How to ensure that customers have sufficient information about the safety of the service

The more the customers themselves participate in various activities, and the higher the risk involved in the service in question is, the more detailed information, guidance and advice must be provided to the participants.

Safety information related to the service includes

  • degree of difficulty of the service
  • requirements on the participants’ state of health and other personal characteristics
  • the preparations required
  • the previous competence or skill level required
  • the necessary gear
  • the required documents and permits by the authorities
  • instructions on what to do and rules of conduct
  • guidance in the use of personal protective equipment
  • instructions in case of emergencies and dangerous situations
  • instructions on how to interrupt the service
  • potential permanent effects caused by the service
  • instructions on what to do after the service
  • other factors essential to health
  • the personnel responsible for safety.

Make sure that the participants of the service have received sufficient information before the start of the service, and that they remember and understand what they were told and know how to act accordingly. You must not offer the service to customers who cannot understand the necessary safety instructions for reasons such as a lack of language skills. Providing information and warnings about the hazards related to the service does not remove the service provider’s responsibility concerning the safety of the service.

Provide the information clearly and in a way that the participants of the service can understand. There are no specific language requirements, which means that the instructions may not necessarily need to be in both Finnish and in Swedish. It is essential that the participants understand the information provided to them. If necessary, you can use an interpreter.

Assess what method would be the best for providing information yourself. You can provide information to the participants with information and warning signs, orally, in writing, in a video, an animation, or by other methods suitable for the service. When selecting the method and location for providing information, accept the needs of the customer groups, the participants’ ability to understand the instructions, as well as how familiar the participants are with the service in question.

Information necessary for safety must not get mixed up with the marketing material. Marketing material must not encourage the customers to act dangerously during the service. Pay special attention to ensuring that the images and video presented in connection with the service do not show operating models that are in conflict with the instructions or dangerous in other ways. For example, the participants shown in marketing images for a white water rafting or riding service must wear a helmet.

The instructions to consumers have been described in more detailed in the Tukes Guide (6/2015) ‘Kulutustavaroista ja kuluttajapalveluksista annettavat tiedot’ on information to be provided on consumer goods and services.

Accident records

Keep a record of the accidents and close calls that occur in the service Accident records are a tool for the service provider to monitor and develop the safety of the service.

The accident records must show the following, for example:

  • What has happened?
  • To whom?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • What kind of measures have been taken as a result?

Accident records allow service providers to monitor and develop the safety of the service. Up-to-date records also help with verifying what happened in the service after the fact.

Accident records allow you to monitor the safety situation annually with the following questions, for example:

  • How often accidents and close calls occur?
  • What are they like? Are there especially many incidents of a specific type?
  • Where do they occur? Are they focused on a specific location, time, or part of the service?
  • To whom do the incidents occur? Is a specific customer group particularly accident-prone?
  • Why do these incidents occur? What kind of different things have led to the occurrence of an accident or close call? What common causes can be identified for both parties?
  • What lessons can be learned from the accidents or close calls?
  • Is the information on the risks of the service up to date?
  • How could the safety of the service be improved based on the accidents and close calls?

You can choose the method of keeping accident records freely. Take the scope and nature of the service into account in your selection. Try to make keeping the records as easy as possible, while still being sufficiently comprehensive and accurate. In small-scale activities, the accidents and close calls can be collected in a squared notebook or a shift log. If you wish, you can use the Excel form by Tukes for keeping the accident records. There are also several different commercial computer and mobile applications available for keeping incident and accident records.

Tukes can ask to see the accident records in connection with inspections, for example.

The information on customers and their state of health that may be entered in the accident records constitute a personal data file. The requirements of legislation such as the Personal Data Act (523/1999) must be taken into account concerning the information. The information must be stored and destroyed appropriately.

Report serious accidents or close calls to Tukes

If a serious incident or accident occurs in a consumer service, start emergency operations immediately and call for help. Call 112!

Do not forget to

•   stop providing the service that poses a hazard until the service can be safely continued
•   report serious accidents and the related measures to Tukes
•   notify the customers about the hazard posed by the service and the consumers’ rights, if necessary.

If a death or a serious accident or close call has occurred in the service, report the incident to Tukes immediately.
Report at least the following cases:

1. Death, other serious accident or close call

Report all deaths and other serious accidents and close calls that have occurred in the service to Tukes. Serious accidents involve permanent harm to the customer’s health, for example, or the accident involves several injured people.
If the accident or close call is not serious, record information about it in the service’s own accident records. Tukes does not need to be notified about ordinary accidents and close calls typical for the activity, if the situation does not involve a serious accident or close call.

2. Safety defect in equipment used in the service or in the implementation of the service

If the accident or close call is due to a fault or defect in the service, report it to Tukes. The faults or defects may be related to the devices or equipment, monitoring or instructions.

3. Accidents or close calls that deviate from the norm

Also report surprising and completely new kinds of accidents and close calls to Tukes. Accidents and close calls that are not acceptable for the service must also be reported.

When you notify Tukes, describe what has happened and what measures you have taken because of the issue. If the accident was caused by a fault or defect in the equipment used in the service, such as a toy or a piece of gym equipment, also notify the equipment supplier about the incident.

Use Tukes’s form to report accidents and close calls, or send a free-form report by email to kirjaamo (at) tukes.fi.

Tukes processes and records all reports. Tukes assesses the monitoring measures on a case-by-case basis.

Legislation
Consumer Safety Act

See also
Safety document
Forms, services for consumers

Legislation

See also