Updated 22 March 2021. (Published 7 April 2020).

This instruction is not being updated at the moment, but this instruction provides guidance for making the instructions at workplaces.  The most important ways to prevent infections are getting the vaccine, washing hands, using face masks and ensuring good ventilation. 

Background and the clinical signs of COVID-19

Cases of pneumonia were detected in China caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019. The disease is often referred to as COVID-19 infection. The virus has caused a world wide epidemic, pandemic. More information about the virus and the disease:  THL’s Information page on the new coronavirus.

General guidelines for ports

It is recommended that each port establish a team that take responsibility for the  necessary acts in preventing the spreading of the epidemic. It is best to have all the operators working in the port represented in the team. See FIOH’s guidelines for employers.

The protection measures’ main emphasis is on supervisory measures and improving hygiene practices.

Supervisory measures

  • Please emphasize to the personnel that they cannot come to work when sick.
  • Divide the staff into groups or shifts that do not mix with each other and/or that do not meet each other.
  • Breaks should be scheduled in such a way that as few people as possible occupy the relaxation areas at the same time.
  • Minimize visits to ships and keep in touch remotely.
  • If the harbour personnel meet sea personnel in ports and it is not possible to keep distances (over 2 m), the use of face mask is recommended. Also during all other contacts in ports a face mask needs to be used according to the risk assessment of the employer. If protection is needed, the employer must acquire the necessary protective equipment and supervise its use. Employees, in turn, have the obligation to use the protective equipment provided by the employer.
  • The Recommendation on the use of face masks for citizens – Infectious diseases and vaccinations – THL need to be followed in public transportation (both for work and leisure time.)

Improving hygiene practices

It is important to emphasize the importance of hygiene guidelines regarding hand washing and coughing and sneezing.

  • Provide guidance on regular and effective hand washing and remind people of proper coughing and sneezing hygiene.
  • Post coughing and sneezing and hand washing guidelines in relaxation areas, on doors, and on bulletin boards. The material can be printed out from THL’s website.
  • Check out the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s video ‘Yski oikein ja laita stoppi tartunnoille’ (Youtube) (Cough right and stop infections) and share it whenever possible.


Pilots may encounter  ship’s crew members on board coming from abroad in situations where exposure is possible e.g. staying on the bridge. It is important to maintain a distance more than 2 meters and avoid shaking hands, as well as to observe good hand hygiene. Everybody who is on the bridge needs to wear a face mask or a respiratory protective equipment.

THL’s website has printable guidelines for maintaining distance

Language versions (Finnish, English and Swedish) for all printable guidelines to be distributed in port can be found at THL aineistopankki.

See Finnpilots web site and the updated instructions for pilots in Finland 

Returning from travel

Prepare a travel policy to prevent employees from unnecessary exposure to infection. The government recommends to avoid all the unnecessary travelling. Make sure that the advice for travellers given at the workplace is followed.

See the website of the Finnish Border Guard has guidelines for border crossing.
Guidelines for border traffic during pandemic – The Finnish Border Guard (raja.fi)

For evaluating the risk of COVID-19 and the need of  and independent quarantine see Travel and the coronavirus pandemic – Infectious diseases and vaccinations – THL


Normal cleaning practices are adequate in ports.
See FIOH’s cleaning guidelines.

International guidelines

See also the international IMO guidelines  


For more 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