General principles for welfare policy
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Health and safety obligations for all businesses
Every business in Belgium must prepare a prevention policy and employ a prevention advisor in the workplace.
Employers must have a dynamic risk management system to protect their staff. After the risk analysis, the prevention measures are set out in a global prevention plan (GPP), which forms the basis of the annual action plan (in Fench and Dutch).
The GPP provides an overview of the risks involved in the business and describes the action to be taken to avoid them, remove them at source or reduce them. The GPP must take account of the business activities, the work processes and the size of the business.
Internal prevention and protective service
All employers must set up an internal prevention and protective service as soon as they employ their first worker, whether or not he or she is employed full-time. In order to do so, they must have at least one internal prevention advisor (IPA).
Employers of businesses with fewer than 20 workers can take on this role themselves.
The group to which the business belongs (A-B-C-D) determines both the level of training the IPA requires (basic knowledge, level II or level I) and the duties and responsibilities of the internal service.
If the internal service is unable to perform all of the duties assigned to it, the employer can enlist an external service for prevention and protection at work.
Group D covers businesses with fewer than 20 workers in which the employers themselves take on the role of prevention advisor. However, if an employer decides to appoint a member of staff as prevention advisor, the business is automatically classified in Group C.
The group to which your business belongs is determined on the basis of two criteria:
- The number of workers employed (in full-time equivalents) :
|Group A||> 1 000 workers|
|Group B||Between 200 and 1 000 workers (and not classified in Group A or B as a result of higher risks in the business)|
|Group C||Fewer than 200 workers (and not classified in Group A as a result of higher risks in the business)|
|Group D||Fewer than 20 and the employer is the Internal Prevention Advisor|
- The nature of the risks involved in the business (the more significant the risks, the greater the likelihood that your business will be classified in a higher group).
Some industries which carry out high-risk activities are therefore classified in a higher group even if they do not employ the required number of people.
Number of workers
|Nature of the business||A||B||C|
|Production of basic chemical||51 or more||20-40||1-19|
The Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue refers to the NACE-BEL 2008 code table for clarification of the activities concerned.
IDPB identification document: an essential document
As soon as you employ your first worker, you must set up an internal preventive service and draw up an ‘IDPB identification document’. This document must be kept available for inspection by the official responsible for supervision.
It provides the following information:
- the identity of the employer;
- the composition of the internal service (names of the prevention advisors, their qualifications and the hours allocated to them to fulfil the role);
- the skills represented in the internal service;
- the duties performed by the internal service;
- the administrative, technical and financial means available to the internal service;
- the Committee’s opinions.
The annual report of the internal service: an obligation for the IPA
This is a report of the operation and activities of your Internal Prevention and Protective Service during the previous year.
The annual report gathers together all of the data on the safety and health of the workers in your business in the past year; this includes statistical data about accidents at work, actions taken in the previous year, the structure of prevention and protection in the business and information about the External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work. The internal prevention advisor is responsible for drawing up the report.
Where can you obtain a template?
We provides three different document templates for the annual report on our website in French , Dutch and German.
Coordination in the workplace
The Law of 4 August 1996 on the welfare of workers at work introduces a generalised procedure for dealing with the various aspects of employment at a single workplace or adjacent or nearby workplaces.
- Various businesses or institutions operating at a single workplace in which workers are active are obliged to implement joint measures for the welfare of those workers, coordinate their actions and share the information required for this with each other.
- There are specific rules for coordination between the employer of a business and external third parties (employers or self-employed persons) who work in the business.
Businesses with 50 or more workers
Once a business employs at least 50 people, it must organise workplace elections. In these elections, which are held every four years, workers vote for their representatives on the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (Comité voor Preventie en Bescherming op het Werk (CPBW)). This is a joint consultative body, which looks after the welfare of the workers.
- In de eerste plaats bij de preventieadviseur van de interne en/of de externe dienst voor preventie en bescherming op het werk.
- In de tweede plaats bij de bevoegde regionale directie van het Toezicht op het Welzijn op het Werk.
- Over de interpretatie van de regelgeving: schriftelijk bij de Algemene Directie Humanisering van de Arbeid.