(last check June 1st 2017, for relevant changes)
Please find below an overview of the Dutch working conditions legislation, including extra information (recent highlights and changes):
- The Working Conditions Act
General provisions for employers and employees how to deal with occupational safety and health, for example to have a written OSH-policy or a risk inventory. The Act gives certain powers to the Inspectorate-SZW, for example to force the employer to stop the work.
Full text version 1-06-2017 of the Working Conditions Act
- The Working Conditions Decree
This Decree covers a wide range of specific occupational health and safety topics, such as provisions on work places, dangerous substances, noise, vibrations etc.
Full text version 1-09-2016 of the Working Conditions Decree
- The Working Conditions Regulation
Very specific provisions which are changing relatively fast. For example the occupational exposure limit for dangerous substances.
Full text version 1-09-2016 of the Working Conditions Regulation
- Major Accidents Legislation
Full text version 1-09-2016 of the Major Accidents Decree & Full text version 1-09-2016 of the Major Accidents Regulation
Some typical elements in the Dutch occupational safety and health legislation:
The employer is obliged to contract an occupational safety and health service or an occupational physician. The OSH-service or the occupational physician has to perform four tasks for the employer:
- Assisting employees who are not able to work because of illness;
- Reviewing the risk assessment and evaluation;
- Conduction the periodic occupational health examination;
- Conduction the pre-employment medical examination.
Especially task number 1 is important. Because in the Netherlands the social security system obliges the employer to pay at least 70% of the salary of the employee who has fallen ill. So, it’s very costly for an employer not to pay attention to the assistance of sick employees by an OSH-service or an occupational physician.
The OSH-service or the occupational physician in the Netherlands are external organisations/specialists mostly. The Dutch employers have to designate an internal employee with some knowledge of OSH as well. This person is called a designated worker or the prevention worker. This prevention worker has to assist the employer with the risk assessment and evaluation, and also assist the work council with OSH related matters.
It is sometimes difficult, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, to find proper solutions and ideas for OSH-problems. In the Netherlands many branches have made so-called OSH-catalogues; in these OSH-catalogues one can find branche-made solutions. These solutions are approved by the Labour Inspectorate.