Construction Health & Safety Laws in the Netherlands

Written by rob hildegard
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Construction Health & Safety Laws in the Netherlands
Construction and safety. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH))

Workplace health and safety have always been causes of concern, especially for the blue collar workers. Even among these, construction workers have been among the most ignored group. However, increasing number of accidents and workplace fatalities have led to the enactment of stringent health and safety laws in many countries. The Netherlands has enacted few health and safety laws to provide some measure of protection to workers.

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Suffering of Workers

It is an accepted fact that workers in the construction field in industrialised nations often face significant risk injuries while on work; they also face many illnesses. They are often exposed to extreme situations wherein they suffer injuries and sometimes even death; often, most of these situations are avoidable.

Any safety measures are generally finalised by the employing organisation and a lot depends on the way the organisation works. Most of the risks related to health and safety can easily be connected to lack of safety equipment and poor planning of work by the organisation, something that must be taken care of in the planning phase itself.

Law Protecting Workers

The "Minimum Regulations for Health and Safety on Temporary Mobile Building Sites" of the Netherlands aims to provide better working conditions to workers. It also aims to reduce absenteeism in such workers due to sickness and protect them from disability. The Arbouw Resolution defines these regulations for the construction industry in the Netherlands. The regulations in the Netherlands mainly aim at providing preventive measures before the beginning of the construction project and also while it is under way. This stand of the government is expected to provide long-term benefits to construction workers.

Important Stipulations of Health And Safety Act

According to the Health and Safety Act, risks evaluations must take into consideration preparations, tools, materials, equipments, along with special groups of workers, such as young, elderly and pregnant women, and those with disabilities. Employers should have risk evaluation results documented and certified by experts. Suggestions for keeping risks at a minimal level must also be included in the same document.

Some well known companies in the Netherlands have been following their own method of evaluation known as the ABRIE, which stands for General Business Investigation and Risk Inventory and Evaluation.

Health Evaluation

As per the Health and Safety Act, a health examination should be offered by the employer to employees on a regular basis. Such health examinations are expected to pre-identify any workers at risk of facing any hazardous or potentially fatal situations while at work on account of their health condition.

All employers are also expected to have an Absenteeism Policy is place. Another stipulation under the Health and Safety Act is that employers should have experts in field of their particular project available on site to guide and train disabled workers.

How Much Can Act Protect Workers?

No matter what the safety laws are that have been put into place, by and large, the health and safety of work at any project is dependent on the nature of the project and the skills of the workers assigned to that project. Different projects require different solutions for health and safety, and the level of risk on any project will depend entirely on the size and complexity of the project.

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