Tasks and composition of the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work

After the social elections, the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW) will (re)start with a new team. The CPPW is the pre-eminent consultative body for well-being and prevention in the workplace, with a broad range of tasks and a specific composition.

It is mandatory under the law for organisations with 50 or more employees to set up a CPPW. The CPPW is concerned with well-being at work: health, occupational safety and hygiene, ergonomics, the environment and psychosocial stress.

The composition of the Committee

Well-being is a matter for the employer and the employee. This is reflected in the composition of the Committee, which comprises employers’ as well as employees’ representatives. The latter are elected through social elections, which are conducted every four years. The number of employee representatives in the CPPW varies according to the size of your company.

Important!

It is mandatory under the law to organise social elections as soon as your organisation has 50 employees. The election is conducted through a strict procedure. However, if no person offers his candidature, no CPPW can be constituted. In such cases, employees shall be represented via employee representatives or - in the absence thereof - by the employees themselves.

As the employer, you have the power to appoint the employer representatives yourself. You are required to draw up a list with the managerial positions and link the names to them, for this purpose.

Wide-ranging tasks

The Committee has an advisory, informational as well as supervisory role. Its tasks include the following:

  • Providing prior advice on the choice and purchase of personal protective equipment;
  • notifying the company concerning inspections and checks of personal protective equipment;
  • approving the appointment of internal prevention advisers;
  • providing advice concerning the selection and appointment of external technical inspection services and other institutions and experts;
  • drawing up proposals for the Global Prevention Plan and the Annual Action Plan;
  • specific competences in the area of welcoming new employees;
  • monitoring regional environmental regulations;
  • maintaining relations with the FPS WASO (Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue).

Although the CPPW has extensive and wide-ranging powers, the law remains fairly unclear on how the Committee should function. The social partners determine the rules of the game and formulate the same into a set of internal regulations.

In the absence of a works council in your organisation, the CPPW shall be entitled to the following extra power: to receive the company’s economic and financial information, or EFI for short. The legislation however contains no provisions concerning how the CPPW shall exercise these additional powers in practice.  It is best to provide for the same in the internal regulations.

Who does what?

Each member of the Committee has a specific role.

Who?

Attendance?

Tasks?

Employers’ representatives:

Chairperson (and other members of the board of directors of the company)

The board members in attendance shall not exceed the number of members in the employees’ representatives

The primary tasks are to conduct the meeting proceedings and to draw up the agenda.

Employees’ representatives:

in accordance with the social elections

With at least 2 attendees, unless otherwise specified in the internal regulations

Be available for consultation and compromise in a discreet manner.

Head of Internal Prevention Service

His attendance is always mandatory

Draws up and sends out the meeting notices as well as the minutes of each meeting, in addition to performing an independent and advisory role.

Occupational physician

Has the right to attend each meeting, but usually attends once a year

Explains his/her advice after the annual inspection tour and plays an independent and advisory role.

Other (internal or external) prevention advisers

Internal prevention advisers may always attend, although external advisers require an invitation in order to attend.

Have an independent and advisory role to play. For example, the external advisers explain certain studies or surveys.

Other specialists or experts:

such as a confidential adviser or environmental coordinator

Shall require an invitation from the CPPW

Perform an informative role as a specialist for projects, measures, studies, etc.

FPS WASO TWW* (Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue - Supervision of Well-being at Work)

On its own initiative or by invitation

In case there is a specific problem, complaint, serious labour investigation to be dealt with, or in case of adverse findings following an inspection.

* Supervision of well-being at work by the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue.

How is a CPPW meeting conducted?

The Committee meets on a monthly basis, with a few exceptions. For example, both the employer and the FPS WASO SWW (Supervision of well-being at work) may convene a meeting.

Each meeting must comply with 4 procedural requirements:

  1. Participants may submit agenda items up to 10 days prior to the meeting.
  2. The internal prevention adviser sends the notice of the meeting eight days prior to the meeting, together with the minutes of the previous meeting, as well as any additional documents, depending on the items on the agenda.
  3. The meeting is convened in accordance with the internal regulations applicable to the conduct thereof.
  4. 8 days after the meeting, the prevention adviser shall send the decisions and recommendations made at the meeting to the members of the Committee.

5 tips for the smooth start of the CPPW

The internal prevention adviser has an important role to play within the CPPW. These tips promote an efficient (re)start of the CPPW.

  • From the outset, compliance must be ensured with the scheduled timing for the different procedural requirements and documents.
  • Make a draft of the internal regulations in time for the first meeting, deliver it to the members and include it in the agenda. This will reduce loss of time in the adoption of the regulations.
  • Ensure that you prepare thoroughly, and ask the other members to do the same. For example, draw up a short summary of extensive and complex documents, submit it to the members of the CPPW and/or present it during the meeting. Keep the complete document available for inspection.
  • Avoid points that are not directly related to well-being at work or for which other channels exist. Examples of such matters are technical defects or matters which are covered under the scope of responsibility of the works council.
  • Constantly be aware of your independent role as internal prevention adviser. Never lose sight of the objective in mind: consultation and taking actions that benefit the well-being of employees.