Occupational accidents

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    What is an occupational accident?

    An occupational accident is considered to be any accident experienced by a worker during and due to the performance of their employment contract, and which causes injury.
    An occupational accident is also any accident that occurs on the way to or from work (= the normal journey to and from the workplace).

    An occupational accident implies:

    • a sudden event;
    • one or more external causes;
    • the existence of an injury (not necessarily an unfitness for work; there must at least have been medical expenses)
      • exception : an accident that causes damage to prostheses or orthopaedic equipment is also considered an occupational accident without the need for injury;
    • a causal link between the accident and the injury;
    • the accident must have taken place during the performance of the employment contract;
    • the accident must have taken place due to the performance of the contract.

    Employer's obligations

    The employer is obliged to take a range of measures to manage and examine accidents and prevent them recurring.

    One of these obligations has been included in Article 1.6-12 of the Code on Well-being at Work.

    This article contains provisions on keeping the occupational accident file up to date.
    The employer must ensure that the service for prevention and protection at work drafts an occupational accident report for each occupational accident that has led to at least four days of unfitness for work.

    The occupational accident declaration form may replace the occupational accident report provided that the data needed to complete the report are included on the declaration form.

    In accordance with Article II.1-6, §1, 2°, c) of the Code, one of the tasks of the Prevention Advisor is to draft the occupational accident report, the content of which is set out in Appendix II.1-4 of the Code or to fill out the occupational accident declaration form, in accordance with Article I.6-12 of the Code.

    Table A of this Appendix is called "The deviating event", which implies the event of which the injury is the direct consequence. If this applies to successive events, only the last event should be mentioned. If there were several simultaneous deviations, the most important event should be recorded.

    Table B of this appendix is entitled "Objects involved in the deviating event". It is important that the object chosen here is the one that has led to the accident in the deviation.

    On the declaration form used to report an accident to the insurer, the coding as set out in table A and B is generally used.

    When an internal service for prevention and protection at work that has drafted the occupational accident report or filled out the occupational accident declaration form is not responsible for monitoring the health of its workers, the employer sends a copy of the declaration or report to the division responsible for medical supervision in the external service for prevention and protection at work to which it is affiliated.

    In practice, it is advisable to use the occupational accident declaration form with a view to administrative simplification.

    An active standby duty is operational within the Division of Regional Supervision of the Directorate General of Supervision of Well-being at Work. The purpose of this watch service is to allow immediate reporting by telephone to the official in charge of supervision of very serious occupational accidents, which occur outside office hours on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, bridge days and during the period of collective closure between Christmas and New Year.

    Files with lessons learned from accidents

    Based on the detailed reports received and the relevant inspection visits and enquiries, and other documents on non-serious occupational accidents, the well-being at work inspection service drafts reports to provide the most interesting information: conditions, issues, causes, consequences, preventive measures, etc. Care is taken to protect the privacy of companies and people and the confidentiality of the enquiry.

    You can consult these reports in French and Dutch on the website of the Belgian Safe Work Information Centre (BeSWIC):

    For any questions, comments or suggestions on these reports, please contact the Well-being at Work inspection service: "Directorate General of Supervision of Well-being at Work": cbe@emploi.belgique.be .

    Specific explanations