Duty of care

It doesn’t bear thinking about...

‘The duty of care on the part of the employer when it comes to the suitability and the continued safety of working equipment at the disposal of employees’. No laughing matter. Insurers too, are setting the bar higher. And the idea that if something untoward did happen and you are held responsible, simply doesn’t bear thinking about…

 

The onus is on you

In the Netherlands, statutory regulations which specify exactly what is expected of businesses when it comes to the inspection of their lifting and hoisting equipment are a thing of the past. The powers that be no longer concern themselves with details. There are still some limited statutory regulations which apply, but otherwise the onus of responsibility now lies with the companies who use the equipment. So in short, the duty of care lies with you! The good news is that you are not on your own!

 

Minimum statutory requirements

The statutory requirements with respect to the inspection and approval of lifting and hoisting equipment are minimal. They are derived from the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) and the Machinery Directive:
  • You must specify how you handle your equipment and machinery in the Health & Safety Catalogue issued by your industry or your mandatory Risk Identification & Evaluation (RI&E)
  • It must be possible to identify and trace your lifting and hoisting equipment.
  • The equipment must be inspected visually at least once a year by an expert.
  • The results must be registered.

But you should take note that the law does not specify exactly what an expert is. What’s more, it does not necessarily mean you are within the law just by observing the minimum requirements. You are required to ensure that, in the event of an accident, there is a ‘justified presumption that you have done everything possible to ensure safety’. And this can only be ascertained retrospectively by the Labour Inspectorate and/or the courts.


  
 

Don’t let yourself in for any hidden surprises

The law is not interested is what exactly you need to do, but is certain that you have:
  • 100% responsibility for the safety of your staff, even if they are involved in an industrial accident due to their own negligence or intention
  • 100% responsibility for the safe and proper use of your lifting and hoisting equipment
  • 100% responsibility for correct maintenance of this equipment
  • 100% liability for damage or accidents if it later turns out that this was the result of improper or irresponsible use of your lifting and hoisting equipment

In many cases, just complying with the regulations may be completely inadequate. Do not let yourself in for any hidden surprises and make sure everything is in order! The administrative penalties which can imposed by the Labour Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW) if you fail to comply with the aforementioned can be substantial!

A certified inspection company affiliated to the industry organisation EKH will be able to help you put your house in order. They have the proper expertise at their disposal to help you ensure you meet the legal requirements. Are you looking for an EKH inspection company? If so, click on the “Contact” tab and then “Search members".

 
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