Employers are improving safety measures and culture instead of engaging in legal proceedings and paying fines from the Dutch Labour Inspectorate.
Since the start of this year, employers in the Netherlands have been conducting their own research into workplace accidents and improvements to be made after a reportable accident at work.
As a result, many more employers will now invest time and money in improving safety measures and culture instead of engaging in legal proceedings and paying fines from the Dutch Labour Inspectorate.
Figures from the Dutch Labour Inspectorate show that more than 2,000 accident investigations take place every year. The new working method stems from previous pilots and from the wish of members of the House of Representatives to focus the working method of the Labour Inspectorate more on drawing lessons from accidents.
Notifiable accidents are those resulting in permanent injury and/or hospitalisation or a fatal outcome. In the latter case, there will be – and remains so – an investigation that is carried out by the Labour Inspectorate.
In addition, the Labour Inspectorate also conducts research if, for example, the history of the company has given cause to do so or if there is an accident with a major social impact. The Inspectorate will also visit the accident site under the new working method; if the employer is allowed to conduct their own investigation, they must then draw up an employer’s report with an improvement plan within 15 working days.
In October 2020, the Labour Inspectorate started a pilot for this new working method. It explicitly looked at the nature of the victim’s injury, the extent to which the employer had compliance with the Working Conditions Act in order, and the type of accident.
The 2021 Occupational Accidents Monitor then reported that more effect can be achieved with the new working method. The Labour Inspectorate has noted that since then employers now regularly invest even more in safety measures than they would ever have paid in a fine.