The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, it is the employer and employees within a company who have primary responsibility for occupational health and safety policy. They are required to reach agreement on working conditions and are supported by trade unions and the trade association for the sector in drafting appropriate occupational health and safety measures. A new feature in health and safety in the Netherlands is for agreements on the subject between employers and employees to be laid down in a 'declaration of intent' for the sector as whole. The declaration of intent is a collection of measures and solutions which companies in a particular sector can choose from in order to comply with the rules.

The government (the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) is allowing companies greater leeway to customise the way they seek to promote good working conditions. All rules derive from the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet), the Working Conditions Decree (Arbobesluit) or the Working Conditions Regulations (Arboregeling) (fulltext available). The Inspectorate SZW is responsible for enforcing the legislation. Declarations of intent play an important role regarding enforcement.

The Focal Point is the place where a great deal of knowledge, information and experience comes together. Representatives of employers' organisations and trades unions work together there to make information on safety and health at work coming from Europe accessible and comprehensible to all. The Dutch Focal Point is managed by TNO.

You can find more detailed information about the Dutch occupational health and safety system, in English and in Dutch, on the website of the Dutch Focal Point.

Focal points' contact details