Risk analysis for a specific work situation and preventive measures
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It may be necessary to carry out a risk analysis of a specific work situation in which a danger has been detected.
This is the case, for example, when there is a recurrent conflict situation or an increase in the absenteeism or turnover rate in a specific service or department of the company.
This risk analysis primarily covers the collective risks. The collective approach makes it possible to prevent individual intervention requests from workers affected by the same problem.
It therefore covers the risks facing a group of workers who are in the same work situation. For example, workers in the same service, in the same job or with the same types of schedule.
This does not apply to the work situation of a specific worker or several workers experiencing different situations separately. The internal procedure available to individual workers should be applied to these situations.
It also does not apply to situations that may have consequences for all the workers in a company. In this case, there is a modification that may affect the exposure of workers to psychosocial risks at work, which requires a re-examination of the preventive measures taken based on the initial risk analysis.
The danger must be already present in the specific work situation. It is therefore not possible to request a risk analysis for a specific work situation for situations in which the danger is not yet present.
This risk analysis takes account of the same sources of danger as the initial risk analysis, namely:
- the organisation of the work,
- the content of the work,
- the working conditions,
- the living conditions at work,
- the interpersonal relations at work.
This risk analysis must be carried out at the initiative of the employer when he observes a danger.
Similarly, a member of the line management or at least one third of the workers' representatives to the Committee may ask an employee to do this if they themselves observe a danger or are informed of a danger by the employees.
To calculate one third, it is necessary to consider the theoretical number of effective members of the workers' representatives, as specified in the internal regulations of the Committee. Account should not be taken of the number of members present at the Committee meeting during which the request is made, or of the number of alternate members.
If there is no Committee, this legal minimum of one third applies to the trade union delegation, and if there is no trade union delegation, to all the workers.
Workers can enter this request in a register provided to them by the employer for all well-being issues or notify the internal service for prevention and protection at work (or the external service if the employer acts as the Prevention Advisor himself. This service will inform the employer of the request.
In that case, the employer is, in principle, obliged to carry out this risk analysis. However, he does not have to respond to this request if it is totally unfounded. The justified or unjustified nature of the request will be verified by the inspection service for Supervision of Well-being at Work, based on indicators provided by the applicants.
The employer assesses the risks with the participation of the workers, for example via questionnaires (for quantitative results) or via discussion groups (for qualitative results).
However, the analysis does not require all workers to be formally questioned, either via questionnaires or orally. It also does not require an analysis of all the sources of danger present in the components of the work organisation, the working conditions, living conditions at work, or interpersonal relationships at work.
The goal is to remove the collective danger to put an end to harm or avoid harm as quickly as possible by taking the appropriate measures. In certain situations, a roundtable discussion, or hearing the line management and some workers are enough to detect dangers quickly - and thus carry out the risk analysis - and take the necessary measures. A more detailed analysis is required in other situations.
The employer involves the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects in the following cases:
- when the Counsellor is part of the internal service for prevention and protection at work, he is always involved in the risk analysis and gives his advice on the preventive measures before the employer takes them;
- when the Counsellor is part of the external service for prevention and protection at work, he is involved in the risk analysis and gives his advice on the preventive measures only in complex situations;
There are several possible levels of involvement, and the modalities for this involvement must be agreed between the external service and the employer. Involvement does not necessarily mean that the external service will carry out every stage of the risk analysis itself. This involvement will include at least providing information on analysis methods, an advice on the planned method and an advice on the results of the analysis. The involvement can be more comprehensive and consist, for example, of using questionnaires, organising discussion groups and/or analysing the results.
The complexity of the situation depends on two factors:
- the knowledge and skill available in the company in the area of psychosocial risks, including those of the Prevention Advisor in the internal service for prevention and protection at work. It can be assumed that service sector companies have fewer traditional risks to the health and safety of workers, which means that this Prevention Advisor can also deal with psychosocial risks.
- the nature of the situation itself. This situation may be complex given the different factors that influence it. Such a situation may be difficult to resolve independently within the company, as it requires a degree of expertise generally not present in the company.
It is the employer who evaluates the complexity of the situation and decides whether the involvement of the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects from the external service for prevention and protection at work is required for the analysis.
The involvement of the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects from the external service is not covered by the fixed fee; this is invoiced separately for additional services.
The inspection service for Supervision of Well-being at Work may require the involvement of this counsellor if it subsequently observes that there are discrepancies in the internal risk analysis.
When the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects is involved in the analysis, he sends the employer only anonymous data taken from interviews with the workers.
The workers must be able to provide information anonymously if the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects is not involved in the analysis.
This measure is taken to avoid a difficult work situation becoming worse if everyone knows who said what and to obtain as much information as possible.
The employer will take the appropriate collective and individual preventive measures based on the risk analysis of a specific work situation. The employer must only take measures if they have an impact on the danger.
The main objective of these measures is to eliminate the danger. If this is not possible, they are taken to prevent or limit harm.
Even if legislation does not require a precise deadline for completion, the employer would be well advised to carry out the analysis and take measures within a reasonable period to avoid any deterioration of the consequences.
Information on the results of the analysis and the next stages
The employer takes a decision on the measures to be taken. They send this decision and the results of the risk analysis:
- to the applicant (the member of the line management or the Committee),
- to the Prevention Advisors involved in the preventative measures,
- to all other persons they consider necessary (interviewed workers, members of the line management of the service in question, etc.). The aim of the communication is to provide feedback on the analysis to the persons actually facing the danger, so they can understand the situation and play a positive role in implementing the measures. The only data from the analysis results sent to them will be appropriate, relevant and not excessive with regard to this purpose.
The results of the risk analysis contain only anonymous data.
This anonymity covers those employees who were questioned during the risk analysis. The analysis results cannot make it possible to identify the content of the statements of a particular worker and the identity of the persons interviewed cannot be transmitted. The issue of anonymity also applies with regard to the description of the danger. The danger may consist of a problem with a member of the line management. In this event, it is essential to be particularly careful when sending the analysis results, as the information that would be sent regarding the performance of this person constitutes personal data as the person can be identified. This data must be processed fairly and lawfully, be collected for defined, explicit and legitimate purposes and not be used subsequently in a way that is incompatible with these purposes. It must be appropriate, relevant and not excessive with regard to the purposes for which it was obtained and for which it is subsequently used.
Legislation does not state that the Committee must give its advice on the measures to be taken in the specific situation. The aim of the communication is to keep the Committee informed of the presence of dangers in the company and the decision of the employer, allowing it to appeal to the inspection service for Supervision of Well-being at Work if it considers that the employer is not taking the appropriate measures. All the dangers detected and the necessary, appropriate and relevant information allowing it to carry out this check must be sent to it even if it relates to one person in particular. The risk of abuse of the data by the Committee members is also limited by the fact that all the Committee members are bound by a duty of discretion.
If the Committee has not initiated the risk analysis of the specific situation, the employer must inform it that the analysis has been carried out. It must also keep the analysis results at the employer's disposal. This is also anonymous data only.
Information on the possibility of submitting a request for risk analysis
The employer must inform the members of the line management
The employer must also ensure that they receive the necessary training for submitting such a request and ensuring that is followed through.
They must also inform and train the workers on this subject.
- Firstly, with the prevention advisor of the internal and/or external service for prevention and protection at work.
- Secondly, with the competent regional directorate for Supervision of Well-being at Work.
- Questions on the interpretation of the legislation: in writing to the Directorate-General for Humanisation of Labour.