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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. The Inspectorate SZW will regularly check the working conditions in your company. If you employ subcontractors, you must also provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. This means you must:
- provide a proper workplace and safe equipment;
- prevent physical and psychological strain (stress);
- take steps to avoid accidents with hazardous or harmful substances, radiation or contagious diseases.
You can find more details about how to provide a safe and healthy workplace in the Working Conditions Act.
You have to list the potential risks in your workplace in a risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E). Use the SZW Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW) online tool (in Dutch) to find out how safe and healthy your workplace is for your employees. Check whether you are aware of the risks in your company and make sure you have taken the right measures to avoid these risks. If you work with hazardous substances, do the Safety Data Sheet check (SDS check) to make sure your supplier has complied with safety regulations.
You have to draw up a plan for employees who get ill. This plan should 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.
Occupational health examination
You must regularly offer your employees a periodical occupational health medical examination (PAGO). A certified health and safety specialist will examine them and see if they have any health conditions as a result of their work. Employees are not obliged to undergo the examination.
Emergency response officers
You have to have an emergency response policy in place. This means you need to appoint 1 or more emergency response officers 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 companies and the risks that are present when setting this up.
Health and safety officer
There needs to be 1 or more health and safety officer in your company. They will keep an eye on the daily runnings in the company and any health and safety risks involved.
Working from home and flexible working hours
Even if your employees do not have a fixed workplace or fixed working hours, you are still responsible for their working conditions. This means you have to make arrangements to make sure the employee can work safely and there is no physical or mental strain on them. This includes that:
- Your employee should have an ergonomic workplace
- Your employee has to comply with the rules concerning computer screen work (Working Conditions decree article 5.8 to 5.12)
- You have to inform your employee about safe working conditions
- 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 making sure their workplace is safe and they follow these rules. You can read more about your duties around remote working (in Dutch). It is important to agree clearly with your employee on their working hours and tasks. You should draw up a plan, identifying risks (such as working too many hours) and setting out ways to confront those. You also need to discuss the set-up of the employee’s home office, to make sure it is ergonomic.
Working conditions catalogue
The requirements for making a workplace safe and healthy are laid down up in four documents: the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet), the Working Conditions Decree (Arbobesluit), the Working Conditions Regulation (Arboregeling), and the Working Conditions Policy Rules (Arbobeleidsregels). Employers and employees use a working conditions catalogue (Arbocatalogus) to agree on how they are going to create the required conditions. Physical overexertion can lead to health conditions and should be avoided. This includes:
- Lifting, carrying or pushing heavy objects
- Being seated for extended periods without any exercise
A working conditions catalogue may apply to only one company or to an entire sector. On the (Dutch-language) website DeArbocatalogus.nl (in Dutch) you will find practical suggestions and instruments for making a working conditions catalogue.
Working with hazardous substances
If you produce hazardous substances in your company or your employees work with products containing these (such as paint, glue, ink or detergents), you have to protect them. This is also the case if there are dangerous emissions in the workplace (such as diesel engine emissions, smoke or quartz dust). There are online tools available to determine and minimise risk when working with these substances.
Sector pamphlets on occupational hazards
The SZW Inspectorate has published several pamphlets in English on the main workplace risks in specific sectors. You can read what you as an employer in your sector have to do, and what precisely the SZW Inspectorate looks for during an inspection.
Mandatory working conditions certificates
You must have a working conditions certificate if you work with certain products or systems, or in specific sectors. This applies to: