29 April 2020

Updated 7.8.2020

These instructions will be modified as required as we obtain further information on COVID-19.

When is protection necessary?

Protection is important. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and properly. Try to keep  a distance of 1 –2 m  from clients and colleagues. When greeting other people do not shake hands. 

Follow the your employer’s guidelines regarding safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other orders and restrictions. 

How is coronavirus transmitted?

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads by droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. When in close proximity to others, coronavirus can also be transmitted via contact if, for example, an infected person coughs in his hands and then touches another person.

What do I do if I suspect I have contracted coronavirus?

  • If you suspect a corona virus infection, contact you occupational health care unit a health centre. 
  • It is important to get tested for coronavirus if you have symptoms that suggest a coronavirus infection. Make a symptom assessment in the Omaolo service or contact your health care provider. In the feedback from this assessment, you will receive instructions on how to request a test and how urgently you should seek treatment.
  • Symptoms among coronavirus patients include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue, runny nose, nausea, diarhhoea. Loss of the sense of smell and/or taste have also been reported as symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

Follow your employer’s instructions regarding sick leaves

  • Contact your superior and tell them that you are sick. If your employer wants a  certificate from a physician  contact your occupational health services  or health centre by phone or via the internet. 
  • Keep some distance from your family members if possible. Use just you own towel. 
  • Use paper handkerchiefs and through them away immediately after having used them. 
  • Visitors are unfortunately not welcome while being sick.
  • Keep some distance from your family members if possible. Use your own towel.
  • Use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away immediately after using them.
  • Do not welcome visitors while you are sick.
  • If you cough, cough into a handkerchief or your sleeve. Do not cough into your hands.

Instructions: Hand washing and coughing

What can I do to avoid infection?

  • Follow the news e.g. YLE and official instructions to keep yourself updated on the latest recommendations. 
  • Follow all the instructions given by your employer. 
  • Do not travel when it is not necessary. Follow the travelling instructions of the Foreign Ministry. 
  • Try not to use buses and other public transport during rush hours. 
  • During the spring you can walk or travel by bike whenever possible. 

Keep distance  

  • When greeting do not shake hands.  
  • Work remote if possible.   
  • Keep a distance of 1-2 m from other people whenever possible (not your own household). 
  • Avoid working closely with  other people.   
  • If you work in a small team, keep working with the same team. and have also the coffee breaks with the same team. 
  • Keep away from people who cough or sneeze.

Hygiene

  • Clean the commonly used equipment  by wiping it with soapwater or a detergent containing a with disinfectant.  If possible, use disposable gloves, when working with shared devices.  You can protect the controls and keyboard of a shared device with disposable plastic which you should place in the waste bin after use. 
  • Try to keep at least a distance  of at least one meter from people who cough or sneeze.
  • Keep your hands clean. Always wash your hands when you arrive at work, before eating and smoking or using snuff, and when you leave work.
  • The best way to wash your hands is to use soap and warm water. See Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Hand Washing Video. (in Finnish).
  • Only use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution or if you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, unless you have been instructed otherwise at work.
  • When using a sanitizer, use enough to be able to rub it all over your hands thoroughly.
  • If using disposable gloves, remove them without touching their outer surface: Correct removal of disposable gloves. (in Finnish).
  • Do not touch your mouth or nose area with protective gloves or dirty hands.
  • Wash your hands after removing protective gloves.

Travelling

  • Follow the travelling instructions of your employer. Agree on the work arrangements with your employer if you are working in health care sector or you return to Finland from a country having restrictions. See the Finnish Border Guard web site for detailed information.
  • Volontary quarantine of two weeks is recommended for all those coming to Finland from countries with restrictions. The Government will reassess the decisions concerning restrictions on border traffic in every two weeks and make new decisions if necessary. See the instructions and restrictions of the Finnish Border Guard and  the Government and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs  
  • See also the instructions of the THL there you can also find information on volontary  quarantine.
  • The restrictions concerning travelling for work are a different from the instructions concerning travelling in free time. You can see the detailed information on tthe Finnish Border Guard website. 
  • If you travel abroad, make a travel announcement (matkustusilmoitus).
  • Try to use public transport outside rush hours.
  • Walk or use e.g. you bike when possible.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

You do not need a surgical mask or a face mask  in every-day life. However, a face mask may protect others by reducing the spread of droplets when you cough and sneeze e.g. in public premises or when using public buses or trains. 

If you have symptoms you must stay at home.  

How to use a face mask correctly 

  •  Wash your hands before putting on a clean mask. 
  • Do not touch the face mask while wearing it.  
  • Do not drink or eat while using a mask. 
  • If you touch the surface of the mask during use, wash or disinfect your hands.  
  • When you take off the mask, only touch the straps. Do not touch the outer surface of the mask itself.  
  • Wash or disinfect your hands after taking off your mask.  
  • Wash a cloth mask in a hot cycle (60 °C  in minimum, but preferably 90°C) or boil it for five minutes in water with a small amount of detergent. Rinse and dry the mask in fresh air. 
  • Put the used masks in mixed waste.
  • Working in heat. Especially working in heat must be taking into consideration when using and selecting the Personnel Protective Equipment during the hot summer days. The employees need breaks once an hour and they need to drink a lot of water. Working in heat (in Finnish) 
  • Follow the guidelines of youemployer regarding safety, personnel protection equipment (PPE) and other orders and restrictions. 

See also Information on surgical masks and respirators

Health care professionals

If you are working in health care and are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, you need to use personal protective equipment. You also need to use personal protective equipment if you are examining a person who is suspected to have contracted coronavirus.

See THL instructions for health care professionals  (in Finnish) 

Novel Coronavirus: Latest updates on Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) website.

Further information please contact viestinta@ttl.fi

The guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) are drawn up together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (SMAH) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We also follow the publications of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus