Applies to all work equipment
On this page
Section 2 of book IV of the Code on Well-being at Work contains general provisions on the use of work equipment. There are also specific provisions on:
- mobile work equipment (section 3 of book IV of the Code);
- work equipment for lifting loads (section 4 of book IV of the Code);
- work equipment for temporary work at height (section 5 of book IV of the Code).
This page only deals with section 2 on the use of work equipment in book IV of the Code.
Scope of application
Employers, workers and similar persons as stated in the Well-being Act.
What is work equipment?
All the machines, devices, tools and installations used in the workplace; in brief, anything that allows work to be carried out.
The use of work equipment means each activity involving work equipment, including commissioning or decommissioning, use, transport, repair, transformation, maintenance and servicing (also cleaning).
Choice of work equipment
The employer ensures that the work equipment provided to workers is appropriate for the work to be carried out or is properly adapted for this work, so that the risks for a given workstation are avoided or reduced to a strict minimum.
The work equipment must comply with all European Directives that are relevant and applicable to work equipment. These include economic directives such as the machinery directive, the low voltage directive, and the EMC directive, etc. Otherwise, the General Labour Protection Rules are still valid.
Ergonomic principles must also be considered.
Composition and use of work equipment
Work equipment is put together and used (including assembly/disassembly) in such a way that the dangers to users and other workers are limited as much as possible (e.g. free spaces, boundaries, supply and transport of energy and produced substances).
The assembly/disassembly of work equipment must take place safely, in compliance with any instructions from the manufacturer.
Any work equipment that may be hit by lightning during use must be protected by the appropriate devices and measures against the effects of lightning.
However, in the event of specific danger that cannot be avoided:
- use is reserved for those workers who are responsible for the equipment and have specific training;
- workers are specifically authorised for repairs, transformation, maintenance or care (training).
The employer must ensure that work equipment (the safety of which depends on the installation method) is subject to an initial check so that it is installed correctly and operates properly.
This will take place after installation and before the first use, as well as after (re)assembly in a different location.
Information and manuals
The employer must provide the necessary information on the work equipment being used.
The workers must be able to understand the information.
This information and these manuals must contain at least:
- the conditions for the use of the work equipment;
- any foreseeable unusual situations;
- the conclusions to be drawn from any experience of the previous use of work equipment.
The possible dangers must be stated; even workers who do not work directly with the work equipment must be informed.
The usage instructions, the inspection and maintenance of the installations, mechanised tools and machines must be stated in writing. The same applies to equipment with a safety feature.
The instructions are approved (and adapted if necessary) by a Prevention Advisor from the internal or external service for prevention and protection at work.
The order forms for mechanised tools, machines and installations must comply with:
- the health and safety laws and regulations currently in force;
- any additional health and safety requirements that are not necessarily imposed by the law, but are essential for the "dynamic risk management system".
The (internal and/or external) Prevention Advisors are involved in drafting the order form. Additional requirements are stated if necessary. Other experts may be consulted, if required.
The order form is approved by the Prevention Advisor of the internal service for prevention and protection.
The supplier sends the buyer written confirmation stipulating compliance with the requirements laid down at the time of order.
The internal Prevention Advisor drafts the report (possibly after consultation).
This report confirms compliance with the current health and safety laws and the other additional conditions set out in the order (see Order)
Instructions at the time of delivery or commissioning
The instructions at the time of delivery or commissioning do not apply if:
- they already have a label of approval, endorsement, verification or compliance (e.g. EC label). Please note that this only applies to specific properties that are particular and intrinsic to the work equipment. Each adaptation during installation, assembly or modification must be examined individually, as it will not be covered by the inspection label.
- the machines, installations and elements are inspected by an approved body (external service for technical inspections (ESTI)).
These instructions apply if additional conditions are required and if the aspects not covered by the inspection are not concerned.
(Inter)locking procedure for installations and equipment
This note, available in French (Note consignation d’installations et d’équipements de travail (PDF, 331.93 KB)) and Dutch (Nota vergrendelprocedure voor installaties en uitrustingen (PDF, 313.65 KB)), describes the measures that must be taken by the employer in terms of (inter)locking to guarantee the safety of workers during interventions on work equipment that must be shut down for the entire duration of the intervention. These measures result from the application of the regulatory provisions imposed by the Code on Well-being at Work . Every employer is therefore obliged to apply them.
More information in French and Dutch: Interlocking procedure for installations and equipment (“Procédure de consignation d’installations et d’équipements de travail”).
Maintenance, supervision and inspection
Work equipment must be kept, by means of the appropriate maintenance, in such a condition that it always meets the requirements of section 2 of book IV of the Code throughout the period of use.
Work equipment exposed to conditions that could lead to deterioration (e.g. wear and tear) must be subject to:
- periodic inspections and/or tests;
- specific inspections when exceptional events occur, such as transformation, accidents, natural phenomena, and long-term decommissioning.
In this event, the aim is to check whether the health and safety instructions are still being respected, and to guarantee that this is the case, if necessary.
Documents and certificates must be made available to the officials responsible for supervision.
These documents and certificates are provided to the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work.
Opinions of the Supreme Council for Prevention and Protection at Work are available on our French and Dutch pages.
- 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.