Well-being at work: recent changes

Auteur: Catherine Mairy
Datum:

The Royal Decree of 24 April 2014 amending various provisions on well-being at work has made numerous changes to the regulations on well-being at work. Some of the changes are applicable since 23 May 2014, other will enter into force on 1 January 2016.

This Infoflash briefly reviews the main changes to the employer's obligations.

Health surveillance

The employer must:

  • on the one hand, inform the safety officer-occupational health officer:
    • when a worker complains of discomfort or shows signs of an illness that can be attributed to his working conditions;
    • when he finds that the physical or mental condition of a worker clearly aggravates the risks associated with the job;
  • and on the other hand, provide an 'application form for health surveillance' to each candidate or worker who is subject to a preventive medical examination that is no periodic health evaluation or a spontaneous consultation. This form is intended for the safety officer-occupational health officer and is further completed by the employer.

Note - Every worker, whether or not subject to the health surveillance (or with his permission, the GP), can now directly ask the safety officer-occupational health officer a spontaneous consultation when he suffers from health complaints that he (or his GP) believes are related to work.

Informing the workers

The employer must:

  • inform the workers about the jobs and tasks of the internal and/or external service for prevention and protection at work, and of the various safety officers;
  • in a place that is easily accessible for the workers, indicate the following:
    • the names and contact details of the safety officers responsible for occupational safety, occupational medicine and psycho-social aspects;
    • (when appropriate) the name and contact details of the confidential advisor and of the external service for prevention and protection at work.

Recruitment and selection procedure

The prior health evaluation and the notification of the decision of the safety officer-occupational health officer may also be done before the contract is concluded, provided that this health evaluation is the last step of the recruitment and selection procedure and that the contract, subject to the decision of the safety officer-occupational health officer, becomes effective. 

Visit prior to work resumption

The employer must inform all workers who are subject (or not) to the mandatory health surveillance about their right to enjoy a visit prior to their work resumption in case of incapacity for work, with a view to possible adaptation of their work station.

Note - In case of incapacity for work the worker, whether or not subject to the mandatory health surveillance, can now directly ask the safety officer-occupational health officer to visit the work station before he resumes work.

Check-up prior to work resumption

Workers employed in safety functions, functions with increased vigilance or activities with specific risks are subject to a check-up prior to work resumption after at least 4 consecutive weeks of absence as a result of a disease, illness, accident or childbirth.

At the request of the worker or when the safety officer-occupational health officer deems it necessary because of the nature of the disease, the illness or the accident, the check-up prior to work resumption may take place after an absence of a short duration.

The check-up is carried out at the earliest on the day on which the work or the service will be resumed and at the latest on the 10th working day thereafter.  

Workers in contact with food

The mandatory health surveillance will be abolished for workers exercising an activity related to food. The obligations applying from 1 January 2016 to employers employing workers who come in contact with food are listed in the Royal Decree of 4 August 1996 with regard to the protection of workers against the risks related to the exposure to biological agents at work.

Working with monitors

Certain obligations for the employer with regard to working with monitors change as from 1 January 2016. The changes are listed in the Royal Decree of 27 August 1993 with regard to working with monitors.

Sources: Royal Decree of 24 April 2014 amending various provisions on well-being at work, Moniteur Belge of 23 May 2014; web site of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, heading 'The Well-being of workers' (www.werk.belgie.be).

Auteur: Catherine Mairy

11/08/2014