An employer must guarantee the health and safety of all his employees.
The employer is bound by an obligation of result.
He must take into account all the occupational risks encountered by his employees. The nature and significance of these risks depend on:
- the sector of activity (certain sectors such as manufacturing and public building and construction works (BTP) face a significant number of specific risks);
- the nature of tasks assigned to employees;
- the working conditions for employees (environment, equipment, technologies);
- the working procedures and practices;
- the exposure of employees to chemical, physical and biological agents.
Guaranteeing the safety and health of employees involves:
- the employer, who must take the necessary measures;
- the safety officer (travailleur désigné), appointed by the employer as the reference person in all matters regarding health and safety in the business;
- all employees of the company, who must be able to freely give their opinion on their working conditions, including workers on fixed-term employment contracts and interim staff or temporarily seconded workers;
- the safety representative, who can suggest protective and preventive measures and who is consulted by the employer in matters of health and safety at work;
- the safety coordinator, who establishes the health and safety regulations on worksites where at least 2 businesses are active.
The safety and health measures set up to protect employees must have the following objectives:
- avoid risks and eliminate their root cause;
- adapt the workplaces in terms of ergonomics, equipment and working practices;
- plan risk prevention procedures;
- eliminate hazards or, if not possible otherwise, their reduction to a minimum.
When implementing the safety and health measures, the employer must be sure to:
- take into account technical developments;
- give priority to collective protection measures rather than individual protection measures;
- provide the appropriate instructions to employees, assuming they do not have any knowledge of the risks;
- take into account the employees' capacities in terms of health and safety when entrusting them with a task;
- cooperate with other businesses who are active on the same site and also inform their respective employees and representatives.
Employers must register with an occupational health service or have their own occupational health service.
The medical supervision carried out by the occupational health service involves:
Prevention of occupational risks
In the context of prevention of occupational risks, the employer must:
- appoint at least one safety officer responsible for activities related to the protection and prevention of occupational risks in the business or company;
- consult with the safety representative;
- inform and consult with the employees regarding the risks and safety measures;
- train the employees regarding health and safety at work in relation with their activities and responsibilities;
- seek the assistance of external professionals if the business does not have the necessary skills internally;
- evaluate the occupational risks;
- restrict access to areas of serious and specific risk only to the employees who have received appropriate instructions;
- declare any occupational accident to the Accident Insurance Association;
- organise first aid measures, fire drills, evacuation of workers and procedures in the event of exposure to serious and immediate dangers.
When the employer is the contractor on a building site, he must designate a coordinator responsible for health and safety at work. This individual's role is to implement a risk prevention plan corresponding to the minimum health and safety requirements on a building site.
An employer must protect his employees against the effects of passive smoking.