Occupational risk factors: Is an agreement mandatory?

Verified 23 March 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Yes, in a company of at least 50 employees or belonging to a group of at least 50 employees, the employer must negotiate an agreement under certain conditions. The aim of the agreement is to reduce or even eliminate employees' exposure to occupational risk factors. If negotiations fail, the employer prepares an action plan. The agreement or plan shall develop preventive measures and monitor their implementation. It is tabled at the Dreets: titleContent. It is concluded for a maximum of 3 years.

A COMPANY of at least 50 employees or belonging to a group of at least 50 employees is obliged to negotiate if it fulfills theone of the following 2 criteria :

  • The disaster index overshoot 0.25
  • 25% of the workforce is exposed to one or more occupational risk factors beyond the thresholds

The Carsat: titleContent calculates and communicates to the employer its claims index.

For companies already covered by a extended branch agreementHowever, the rules are different.

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Company between 50 and 299 employees

A company with 50 to 299 employees and already covered by an extended industry agreement on occupational risks is not obliged to bargain.

Company of 300 or more employees

From 300 employees onwards, the company must conclude an agreement or draw up an action plan, even in the presence of an extended branch agreement.

If the company is not already covered by an agreement, the negotiation of an agreement for the prevention of the effects of exposure to occupational risk factors is mandatory.

The employer must, before negotiating, make a diagnosis of the exposure of employees to occupational risk factors.

Occupational risk factors include

  • Manual Load Handling
  • Uncomfortable postures
  • Mechanical vibration
  • Dangerous chemical agents
  • Activities carried out in the environment hyperbaric
  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Noise
  • Night work
  • Work in alternating shifts
  • Repetitive Work

Prevention measures should address all 10 occupational risk factors. They also concern the conditions for monitoring their implementation.

The employer commences the negotiation of an agreement.

If, at the end of the negotiation, no agreement is reached, a record of disagreement shall be drawn up.

The employer then draws up an action plan (at company or group level), after the Social and Economic Committee (ESC).

Please note

negotiation can be integrated into the annual negotiation on gender equality and quality of life at work.

Topics covered

The agreement or action plan must address at least 2 themes in the health and safety prevention field.

These themes are:

  • Reduction of polyexposures to risk factors above the thresholds
  • Adaptation and fitting-out of the workstation
  • Reduce exposure to occupational risk factors

The agreement or plan must also address at least 2 of the following 4 themes:

  • Improvement of working conditions, including organizational aspects
  • Development of skills and qualifications
  • End-of-career planning
  • Retention of employees exposed to occupational risk factors

For these four themes, the agreement or action plan specifies the measures allowing the employee with a C2P to assign the points earned for one of the following 2 uses:

  • Financing of a training activity to gain access to posts with less or no exposure to occupational risk factors
  • Financing of a supplement to pay for a reduction in working time (part-time)

Prevention measures and follow-up

Each chosen theme is accompanied by quantified objectives and output indicators.

These indicators shall be communicated at least once a year to the Social and Economic Committee (ESC).

In particular, the agreement or plan shall provide for preventive measures (e.g. adaptation and fitting-out of the workstation) and for monitoring the implementation of such measures.

The agreement or action plan accompanied by the record of disagreement shall be deposited with the Dreets: titleContent.

The Dreets shall inform the pension and occupational health insurance fund (Carsat: titleContent).

The agreement or action plan is concluded for a maximum of 3 years.

An employer who does not negotiate an agreement or establish an action plan is liable to a penalty.

The company may be subject to a penalty set by the Dreets: titleContent.

The amount of this penalty may be up to 1% the wage bill paid in the periods in respect of which the company is not covered by the agreement or action plan.

Please note

the Carsat: titleContent informs Dreets if the company is not covered by an agreement or action plan.