Points of attention WORKING CONDITIONS – HEALTH & SAFETY
- SZW inspectors wear two hats. They can monitor corporate compliance with the Working Conditions Act. But in suspected violations of said Act, they can also carry out criminal investigations: instead of ‘supervisor’ they then become investigating officer. Depending on the hat they are wearing, the employer under investigation has either more or in fact less rights. Beware! Always ask the SZW inspector coming by ‘for a talk’ what the purpose of his visit is: monitoring or investigating.
- Consult a lawyer before making a statement to the Inspectorate SZW. In the long run, it is not always wise to start answering questions immediately, without first having carried out your own, thorough, internal investigation. It is best to issue a standing instruction to your staff to immediately refer SZW inspectors asking questions to Management, the Compliance Officer or the Legal Department, without first answering questions about any incident. It is not a bad idea to inform the Inspectorate SZW of this policy.
- Should the Inspectorate SZW investigate an employer, he/she should ensure that at least two people from the company follow the investigation. This kind of investigation is often extensive and hectic and difficult to oversee for just one person. And if there are any complaints about the H&S inspectors’ actions, two are stronger than one.
- On 1st January, 2012, the Labour Inspectorate–together with a number of other inspectorates– merged with the Inspectorate SZW (of the Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment), but is still often referred to as the ‘Arbeidsinspectie’ (Labour Inspectorate).