Preventing workplace psychosocial hazards: paths of action (1)

Auteur: Catherine Mairy
Datum:

In the context of the prevention of psychosocial hazards at work, workers who consider that they have sustained psychological harm, which may also be accompanied by physical harm, arising out of workplace psychosocial hazards including violence, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, can use new procedures since 1 September 2014.

More specifically, these workers have the possibility:

  • to either directly address the employer/a line superior/a member of the committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPT) /a trade union delegate;
  • or, in the context of the internal procedure, request informal or formal psychosocial intervention;
  • or contact the Directorate of the Inspectorate of Well-being at Work;
  • or raise proceedings in the competent court

taking into account that the internal procedure should, in principle, be primarily resorted to.

This Infoflash briefly reviews the first steps of the internal procedure.

The other steps are covered in a following Infoflash.

Reminder! The employment regulations must be adapted by 28 February 2015 and must include the following:

  • the procedures which are directly accessible to the worker who considers that he/she has sustained harm;
  • the contact details of the psychosocial hazards prevention adviser or the service for prevention and protection at work for which this adviser carries out his duties, and the contact details of the designated confidential counsellor if there is one.

=> Order the appendix to the employment regulations containing these new provisions.

Workers who consider that they have sustained psychological harm, which may also be accompanied by physical harm, arising out of workplace psychosocial hazards including violence, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, can choose to initiate the internal procedure. This procedure is conducted as follows (see diagram 1).

  1. Preliminary phase.
  2. The worker chooses between:
    • a request for informal psychosocial intervention to the confidential counsellor or the psychosocial hazards prevention adviser;
    • or a request for formal psychosocial intervention to the psychosocial hazards prevention adviser. 

     

  3. (in case of a request for formal psychosocial intervention) The request for formal psychosocial intervention is accepted or rejected by the psychosocial hazards prevention adviser.
  4. (in case of a request for formal psychosocial intervention) When the request for formal psychosocial intervention has been accepted, and depending on whether the situation which the requesting worker sets out mainly relates to hazards of a collective or individual nature, it concerns:
    • a request of a mainly collective nature (see diagram 2);
    • or a request of a mainly individual nature, that may be based on acts of violence, bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace (see diagram in a following Infoflash).

     

NB!

  • The psychosocial hazards prevention adviser and the confidential counsellor may be involved in the development of the internal procedure. The procedure is drawn up after this is agreed to by the CPPT or, failing that, the trade union delegation or, failing that, the workers. If no agreement is reached and before taking a decision, the employer must seek the advice of the Directorate of the Inspectorate of Well-being at Work provided that the terms laid down by the Royal Decree of 10 April 2014 on the prevention of workplace psychosocial hazards are observed.
  • The worker consults the confidential counsellor or the psychosocial hazards prevention adviser during working hours or, if the usual organization of working time does not allow, the consultation may take place outside working hours as long as this is provided for under a collective bargaining agreement, failing which the work regulations.
  • If a worker of an external company who permanently carries out activities within a company considers that he/she is the object of violence, bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace by an in-house worker, he/she can resort to the internal procedure of the employer for whom work is performed.

To be continued..., watch this space!

Sources: Act of 28 February 2014 supplementing the Act of 4 August 1996 on the well-being of workers in the performance of their work as regards the prevention of psychosocial hazards at work, including violence, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, Moniteur belge of 28 April 2014; Royal Decree of 10 April 2014 on the prevention of workplace psychosocial hazards, Moniteur belge of 28 April 2014; in French on the website of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, heading "Thèmes/Bien-être au travail/Charge psychosociale" (www.emploi.belgique).  

Auteur: Catherine Mairy

17/10/2014