These are the most important changes in the new Working Conditions Act
The new Working Conditions Act has been in force since 1 July 2018. The new rules have consequences for, among others, the employer, employee, occupational physician and prevention officer (s). Do you already have your basic contract in order? Below we briefly summarize the most important changes.
Basic contract Health and safety services
One of the most important points of the new Working Conditions Act is the mandatory agreement between employer and health and safety service providers. The basic contract contains agreements on the content of health and safety services, such as the rights and obligations of the employer, employee and occupational physician. Among other things, it states the tasks for which the employer must be supported by a health and safety service provider or occupational physician. In addition to the existing legal tasks such as testing and advising on the Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E), expert guidance in the event of illness and (periodic) occupational health research (PAGO), points for attention such as an “open consultation hour” and a “second opinion” for employees to be included in the basic contract.
The other important changes with regard to the new Working Conditions Act are:
- Employees have the right to visit the occupational physician through an open consultation hour. For example, because they have questions about their health in relation to work. This also applies to employees who have not yet been absent or have no health complaints.
- The advisory role of the occupational physician in the supervision of sickness absence has been clarified, both to the employer and the employee.
- The occupational physician must be able to visit every workplace in order to get to know the company better.
- If employees doubt the accuracy of the occupational physician’s advice, they have the right to submit the opinion to another occupational physician (second opinion).
- In addition to the occupational physician, the prevention officer also has a more important role in the new Working Conditions Act. The works council or Personnel Representation has the right to consent in the choice of the prevention officer and his role in the organisation.
- The basic contract must state that occupational physicians must be able to report occupational diseases to the Dutch Center for Occupational Diseases (NCvB). In addition to a complete overview of occupational diseases, it is possible to detect new occupational diseases. However, occupational physicians are not obliged to report occupational diseases. Every occupational physician must have a complaints procedure so that an employee can submit a complaint. This also applies to independent occupational physicians who are not employed by a certified occupational health and safety service.
How should I arrange this?
The Working Conditions Portal has prepared the digital toolkit “New Working Conditions Act” for all legal provisions. This toolkit provides fact sheets, documents and animations about the changes in the Working Conditions Act. View the toolkit at www.arboportaal.nl/digitaletoolkit.
Agricultural and Green sector 2017 inspection results
As part of the Long-Term Plan for 2015-2018, the SZW Inspectorate (labor inspection) pays special attention to the agricultural and green sectors. The 2017 inspection results show that the number of accidents in the agricultural and green sector is alarmingly high. In the past ten years there have even been 190 victims. Collisions and machines with moving parts in particular played a role in this. There is also a lot of physical overload. To reduce that number, the inspectorate has set up a new program together with sector partners: zeroaccidents2020.nl.