Article 5

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Health and safety

Article 5 highlights the employers’ responsibilities to take appropriate measures in order to promote the well-being of workers at their work.

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Article 5. The employer takes appropriate measures in order to promote the well-being of workers at their work. For this purpose, the employer applies the following general prevention principles:

a) Avoiding risks;
b) Determination of the risks that cannot be avoided;
c) Combating risks at the source;
d) Replacing the objects that are risky by other not-risky objects or objects that are less dangerous;
e) Giving priority to collective protection of the workers instead of individual protection […]

Law / 4 August 1996 / Belgium / Law of 4 August 1996 on Well-being at Work

The Law of 4 August 1996 on Well-being at Work aims to preserve and protect the well-being of workers during the performance of their work. The term well-being includes safety at work, protection of the worker’s health condition, psychological and social aspects at the workplace, work property and work environment at the working place. The law also imposes specific obligations on employers relating to certain activities that are considered to be high-risk (see article 6 bis of the law of 4 August 1996 on well-being at work).

If a company fails to comply with these sections it can be held criminally liable under the Criminal Social Code. In case of a breach of the law of 4 August 1996, the Criminal Social Code foresees a 3-level sanction:

  • A criminal fine of 600 EUR to 6,000 EUR;
  • An administrative fine of 300 EUR to 3,000 EUR;

If the breach of the Law causes a damage to the health of the employee (or if he/she suffered inability to work), the employer can be sentenced to a level-4 sanction (6 months to 3 years’ imprisonment and/or a criminal fine of 3,600 EUR to 36,000 EUR or an administrative fine of 1,800 EUR to 18,000 EUR).