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Business owners with personnel in the Netherlands must designate 1 or more health and safety officers. A health and safety officer (preventiemedewerker) focuses on day-to-day health and safety issues within a company.
When you have selected a health and safety officer, you need approval from the works council or staff representation before you can appoint them.
Tasks of the health and safety officer (preventiemedewerker)
A health and safety officer has three statutory tasks:
- Drafting and implementing (either independently or with others) the mandatory risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E).
- Advising and consulting the company doctor and the works council or staff representation on working conditions.
- Implementing health and safety measures at work.
The health and safety officer must:
- be easily and safely accessible
- be given enough time to perform his or her duties
- have enough knowledge and experience to carry out these tasks. Is no one in your company able to perform these tasks? If so, you may call on an external health and safety expert for support.
How many health and safety officers do you need?
According to the Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet) every company must have at least 1 health and safety officer. Do you have 25 employees or less? Then you yourself may act as the health and safety officer.
The act does not state the exact number of health and safety officers you need in relation to the size of the company. How many officers you need and how many hours they should work depends among others on the risks at the company. You have to determine and describe these risks in your RI&E. You can ask an external health and safety service or health and safety expert for advice on this.
The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research, TNO, website InPreventie offers the quickscan Profiel voor Preventiemedewerkers that:
- helps determine the tasks of your health and safety officer(s)
- helps determine the knowledge and skills they need
- gives an indication of the amount of time they need to fulfil their duties.
There are several ways you can organise health and safety support at work. The basic contract defines the rights and duties of the employer, the health and safety officer, and the company doctor. This is mandatory for every employer under the Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet).