Stricter enforcement for hazardous materials

17 March 2022

Stricter enforcement for hazardous materials

As of February 9, 2022, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, has tightened the policy rules for imposing fines under the Working Conditions Act. The biggest change in this is in the area of hazardous materials. The reason for this tightening is that approximately 3,000 people still die each year from occupational diseases resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.

Companies that work with hazardous substances are required to address these substances in the RI&E. The threshold for using hazardous substances is low.  You are already talking about hazardous substances if, for example, you have a bottle of chlorine cleaning agent in the cupboard.

The Working Conditions Decree (Arbobesluit) is the translation of the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) into rules that employees and employers must comply with. In Article 4.2 Further regulations risk inventory and evaluation of the Occupational Health and Safety Decree (Arbobesluit), the additional obligations are included. This states that when hazardous substances are present, the employer is required to conduct an exposure assessment of these substances. These assessments should be recorded in the RI&E.

Inspections in recent years have shown that many companies did not start working on hazardous substances from the RI&E until after an inspector had visited. These companies were given a warning, but this has changed. Companies will now be fined effective immediatelyif they fail to pay attention to hazardous materials. If an RI&E, Plan of Action or Hazardous Substances Administration is missing, companies with 500 employees or more are subject to a fine of no less than €4500. For smaller companies the following percentages of this apply:
<5 employees; 10%
5-9 employees; 20%
10-39 employees; 30%
40-99 employees; 50%
100-249 employees; 60%
250- 499 employees; 80%

Don’t let it get that far! If you don’t already have a RI&E, Plan of Action or a Hazardous Materials Administration, be sure to contact us. We’re happy to help.

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