SZW Inspectorate keeps finger on RI&E pulse
The Netherlands Working Conditions Act stipulates that it is up to the employer to safeguard the security and health of his or her employees, to which end the employer has to have a policy in place that is aimed at ensuring optimum working conditions. It is up to the employer at regular intervals to assess the working conditions against the experience gained in the relevant respect and where necessary revise the policy-underpinned measures. One of the elements of the working conditions policy is the inventory and evaluation of the risks to which the employees are professionally exposed. It is up to the employer to document these risks in an RI&E (Risk Inventory and Evaluation), which in addition to describing the specific hazards also needs to address such risk-reducing measures as the employer has put in place. RI&Es are dynamic in that they have to undergo amendment whenever this is warranted in view of experience gained and/or working practices/conditions.
The various industrial organisations have each developed their own toolkit in facilitation of an RI&E being drafted, with a special focus on risks that commonly occur in the industrial sector in question. A “generic” RI&E for the SME sector is also available for use. Employers whose employees’ working week does not exceed 40 hours are allowed to settle for the “health risk check list” (this is an abridged version of the standard RI&E). It is mandatory for the employer to have the RI&E vetted by an accredited person or a Safety and Health consultancy, unless the employer’s workforce numbers fewer than 26 and the RI&E in question has been drawn up using an approved RI&E tool.
The SZW (Social Affairs and Employment) Inspectorate checks whether the occupational health and safety legislation is being complied with, and in this context assesses inter alia whether an RI&E with a corresponding action plan is on hand. The absence or inadequacy thereof constitutes an offence which is liable for a penalty, at a level which depends on the size of the transgressor’s business. The standard amount for not having an RI&E in operation has been set at 3,000 euros. The penalty to be imposed is calculated as a percentage of the standard amount, from 10 percent for businesses that employ one to four staff to 100 percent for organisations whose workforce totals 500 or more.
Dutch version: Inspectie SZW controleert op aanwezigheid RI&E