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 Netherlands Labour Authority (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie, NLA) 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 (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet or Arbowet).
Identifying safety and health 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.
You have to draw up a plan for employees who get ill (in Dutch). 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 (periodiek arbeidsgezondheidskundig onderzoek, 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 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.
Health and safety officer
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 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 sure the employee can work in safe and a healthy way. This includes that:
- 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 inform your employees about safe working conditions and help them to work safely.
- 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 (in Dutch). It is important to agree clearly with your employee on their working hours and tasks.
Working conditions catalogue
In some sectors physical strain is common. These sectors have made arrangements to avoid health problems. Physical strain can be:
- Lifting, carrying or pushing heavy objects
- Being seated for extended periods or too little exercise
The arrangements to avoid health problems are written in a working conditions catalogue (Arbocatalogus). A working conditions catalogue may apply to only one company or to an entire sector. Arboportaal lists the working conditions catalogues (in Dutch) that are approved in the Netherlands.
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.
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: