This paper reviews the use of the Finnish Information System on Occupational Exposure (Finnish job-exposure matrix, FINJEM) in different applications in Finland and other countries. We describe and discuss studies on FINJEM and studies utilizing FINJEM in regard to the validity of exposure estimates, occupational epidemiology, hazard surveillance and prevention, the assessment of health risks and the burden of disease, the assessment of exposure trends and future hazards, and the construction of job-exposure matrices (JEMs) in countries other than Finland. FINJEM can be used as an exposure assessment tool in occupational epidemiology, particularly in large register-based studies. It also provides information for hazard surveillance at the national level. It is able to identify occupations with high average exposures to chemical agents and can therefore serve the priority setting of prevention. However, it has only limited use at the workplace level due to the variability of exposure between workplaces. The national estimates of exposure and their temporal trends may contribute to the assessment of both the recent and future burden of work-related health outcomes. FINJEM has also proved to be useful in the construction of other national JEMs, for example in the Nordic Occupational Cancer study in the Nordic countries. FINJEM is a quantitative JEM, which can serve many purposes and its comprehensive documentation also makes it potentially useful in countries other than Finland.
Keywords: Finland; burden of disease; epidemiology; hazard surveillance; job-exposure matrix; trend.