Working conditions

The Netherlands Labour Authority helps employers and employees to prevent accidents at work and occupational diseases, to keep sickness absence as low as possible and to minimise the flow of workers into claiming unemployment benefits. With a view to the aging working population, sustainable employability is of crucial importance to the future labour market.

The Netherlands Labour Authority distinguishes the following areas requiring special attention:

  • The health and safety of employees;
  • High-risk businesses;
  • Working hours and rest breaks for employees.

The health and safety of employees

A workplace that is healthy and safe for employees contributes to a good working climate. Employees who are able to work in healthy and safe conditions are less likely to suffer from stress, become ill or unfit for work and they perform consistently better. This leads to savings for employers in the (high) costs of sickness absence and replacement workers, as well as insurance premiums.
Set out in the Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet), the Working Conditions Decree (Arbobesluit) and the Working Conditions Regulations (Arboregeling) are the rights and obligations for employers and employees in the area of health and safety at work.

High-risk businesses (risks involving large quantities of dangerous substances)

There are serious risks involved in the production, processing, storage and handling of large quantities of dangerous substances. Such substances must be treated with the utmost care and safety. In case of major hazards, these can generally provide high risks for people (employees and third parties present within the industrial area as well as people living nearby), the surroundings, the environment, as well as infrastructure.
The fireworks disaster in Enschede in 2000 and the fire at the industrial park in Moerdijk in January 2011 are clear examples.
In the Major Accidents Risks Decree 2015 (Besluit risico’s zware ongevallen 2015 or, abbreviated: Brzo 2015) and the regulation Supplementary Risk Inventory and Evaluation (Aanvullende risico-inventarisatie en -evaluatie or, abbreviated: Arie) there are rules set out that are intended to contribute to the minimisation of the possible risks involved.