Do you employ staff? You must provide good working conditions for all your employees. Your staff must work in a safe and healthy workplace. This also applies to foreign workers and temporary staff. If you employ subcontractors, you must also provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. The Netherlands Labour Authority (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie, NLA) will regularly check the working conditions in your company.
You can find more details about how to provide a safe and healthy workplace in the Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet or Arbowet).
Safe and healthy workplace
You must make sure the workplace is safe and healthy for everyone who works there. You must provide good working conditions for all your employees. This means you must:
- identify safety and health risks with an RI&E
- make a plan for employee illness
- offer an occupational health examination
- appoint emergency response officers
- appoint health and safety officers
- have a plan for working with harmful substances
Employer organisations and employee organisations write their arrangements to avoid health problems in a working conditions catalogue (Arbocatalogus). A working conditions catalogue can apply to only one company or to an entire sector. Arboportaal lists the working conditions catalogues (in Dutch) that are approved in the Netherlands. You can also develop a working conditions catalogue yourself (in Dutch)
Identifying health and safety risks
Use the NLA's online tool (in Dutch) to find out how safe and healthy your workplace is for your employees. You have to list the potential risks in your workplace in a risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E). In the RI&E you also describe which measures you will take to avoid these risks.
Examples of risks are:
- lifting, carrying, or pushing heavy objects
- working with harmful substances
- being seated for extended periods or too little exercise
- workplace bullying (in Dutch)
- aggression and violence at work (in Dutch)
- discrimination and sexual intimidation (in Dutch)
- an excessive workload (in Dutch)
You must take measures to prevent physical and psychological strain
You have to draw up a plan for employees who get ill (in Dutch). This plan must include the procedures you and the employee must follow. The works council or staff representation must approve the plan. You need to involve a certified health and safety specialist (in Dutch) to support an employee who is ill.
Offer an occupational health examination
You must regularly offer your employees a periodical occupational health medical examination (periodiek arbeidsgezondheidskundig onderzoek, PAGO). A certified health and safety specialist will examine your employees and see if they have any health conditions as a result of their work. Employees are not obliged to undergo the examination.
Appoint emergency response officers
You have to make arrangements for emergency response (bedrijfshulpverlening, BHV) in your business. This means you need to appoint 1 or more emergency response officers (BHV’ers) who can help in the event of an accident at work or other emergencies. You need to take into account the number of employees in your company and the risks that are present when setting this up.
Appoint health and safety officers
There needs to be 1 or more health and safety officers in your company. They focus on day-to-day health and safety issues within the company.
Working with hazardous substances
Do you produce hazardous substances in your company? Or do your employees work with products containing these (such as paint, glue, ink, or detergents)? You have to protect them and take measures. This is also the case if there are dangerous emissions in the workplace (such as diesel engine emissions, smoke, or quartz dust). If you work with hazardous substances, do the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) check to make sure your supplier has complied with safety regulations.
Working from home and flexible working hours
You are also responsible for the working conditions if your employees do not have a fixed workplace or fixed working hours or if they work from home. This means you have to make sure the employee can work in safe and a healthy way.
This includes that:
- You have to inform your employees about safe working conditions and help them to work safely
- Your employees should have an ergonomic workplace.
- Your employees have to comply with the rules concerning computer screen work (Working Conditions decree article 5.8 to 5.12).
- You have to try to prevent psychosocial strain.
You have to follow these rules wherever this can be reasonably expected from you. Your employee is also responsible for following these rules. You can read more about your duties around remote working. It is important to agree clearly with your employee on their working hours and tasks.