Ilmarinen / Work ability / Occupational health collaboration / Self-employed person
Occupational health for entrepreneurs
You are your company’s most important asset. Take as good care of yourself as you do of your company’s equipment and finances. The occupational health services are your partner in supporting your health, work ability and functional capacity, and in rehabilitation.
Occupational health services are also for entrepreneurs
While well-functioning occupational health services are often a given for employees, very few self-employed persons arrange such services for themselves. One reason for this may be that arranging occupational health services is not mandatory for the self-employed, like it is for employees. Another reason may be that entrepreneurs cannot see themselves benefitting from occupational health services. However, it is precisely self-employed persons who would benefit most from occupational health services, because small companies seldom have the competence or the resources to develop and manage work ability and occupational safety.
Kela compensates costs incurred by the entrepreneur for preventive occupational health services, general practitioner level medical care and first aid preparedness. Most service providers have a direct compensation system for this. In order to receive compensation, you must have made a written service agreement with an occupational health service provider, and you must have completed a workplace survey and drawn up an occupational health action plan.
Choosing occupational health services
First you have to choose the service provider with whom you wish to conclude an occupational health service agreement. You yourself can decide between a large national service provider or a small local actor, or a municipal or private service provider.
Activities are based on knowledge of your work
Once you have chosen your occupational health service provider, it is time to conclude a written agreement in which you specify the scope of the services you are acquiring. After that, the occupational health team, usually the occupational health nurse or physician, carries out a workplace survey. In the survey, the occupational health services evaluate, together with you, the exposures and risk factors and the workload factors present in your work and determine their possible impact on your work ability and health. The occupational health services also give advice on improving occupational safety and planning first aid preparedness, ergonomics, use of protective equipment and psychological workload regulation. The scope and the methods of the workplace survey naturally vary depending on the field you work in. The hazards are different in the construction sector than for IT entrepreneurs. Participate actively and disclose as much information about your work as possible to get the best benefit from the workplace survey.
An action plan is a document that describes the content of the occupational health services in more detail than the agreement. The occupational health services have a form for the agreement and the action plan, which you can easily fill in together. However, it is important that you participate in planning the collaboration to get exactly the kind of occupational health services that you want and need.
Multidisciplinary team of occupational health professionals at your service
The occupational health services will assign you a dedicated occupational health team. It is a multidisciplinary team of professionals who are at your service according to your needs.
The occupational health nurse is your contact for occupational health services and the person you deal with in most practical matters, such as planning activities, health examinations or vaccinations.
The occupational health physician treats your illnesses as required, evaluates your work ability and possible need for rehabilitation, writes referrals and medical statements, when you need them. The occupational health physician is also needed if your work involves hazards whose health impacts must be evaluated by an expert in occupational medicine. Such hazards are, for example, hazardous chemicals, noise, dust or hand-arm vibration. The occupational health physician also deals with matters related to occupational diseases.
The occupational health psychologist is your partner in issues related to work management, mental coping, mental health and psychological workload. You can, and are advised to, go see an occupational health psychologist even if you do not have severe psychological symptoms. The occupational health psychologist specialises in supporting entrepreneurs in coping at work and providing advice on how they can maintain their mental work ability.
You may need the services of an occupational health physiotherapist in various issues related to ergonomics, musculoskeletal symptoms and rehabilitation. The occupational health physiotherapist gives you advice and guidance on work postures, assistive devices and how you can maintain your physical work ability. He or she can also draw up a rehabilitation programme for you after an operation, for example.
Rehabilitation also applies to self-employed persons
As a self-employed person, you may fall ill just like other people and need various rehabilitation services. The occupational health physician evaluates your need for rehabilitation and determines, together with the rest of the team, what kind of rehabilitation you need and writes the required referrals and medical statements.
The rehabilitation can be, for example, physiotherapy after a fracture, medical rehabilitation due to an illness, vocational rehabilitation in the form of a work trial or even retraining if your illness or occupational disease prevents you from continuing in your current job.
Medical care as part of occupational health services
If you wish, you can also buy medical care services as part of the occupational health services. You get to decide how extensive the services will be. You can acquire, for example, general practitioner level medical care including various levels of laboratory tests and imaging examinations, and you can choose to also acquire specialist services. In recent years, different insurance-based medical services offered to entrepreneurs have also become more popular. You can get more information on them from accident and non-life insurance companies.
Good medical care provided in connection with occupational health services is focused on your occupational health. That means that also in medical care, the emphasis is on diseases whose early detection and proper treatment contribute to maintaining and promoting work ability and functional capacity.
Also take a look at other themes
Look after your mental health
Mental health is an important part of your work ability. You will succeed if you identify and manage harmful workloads.Read more about how a self-employed person can cope better
Discuss with a professional
If you are worried about your work ability, you can address the issue with an occupational health professional.Read more about early support