2014 legislation for better management of psychosocial risks

Stress and burnout, aggression, alcohol and drugs, harassment and trauma in the workplace: each one of these negative experiences prevent workers from performing to the best of their ability. As an employer, you are required to develop a solid approach that helps prevent these psychosocial risks or that transforms them into positive energy.

New legislation was put into place in September 2014 to promote a better approach among employers toward psychosocial risks. Under the new law, the concept of ‘psychosocial risks’ was redefined to include more syndromes, and more attention is now also being paid to collective prevention measures. This has brought about quite a few changes in the role of employers, confidential advisors and prevention advisors on psychosocial aspects.

In this case study, we will highlight the changes that have been introduced, as well as their impact on your organisation.

  1. What has changed?
  2. Informal or formal intervention? The employee decides
  3. Collective prevention as a key principle
  4. What we can do for you

What has changed?

  1. Like all other health and safety hazards, psychosocial risks are now included in the prevention policy based on risk assessments.
     
  2. The concept of psychosocial risks has been given a much broader definition to include other hazards as well, such as stress and burnout, in addition to violence and aggression, bullying and sexual harassment.
     
  3. The new law also introduces a number of new phrases:
    • ‘psychosocial risks in the workplace’ replaces the former ‘psychosocial stress caused by work’,
    • what used to be referred to as a ‘complaint’ is now called a ‘request for psychosocial intervention’.
       
  4. Confidential advisors are now required to complete a five-day basic training course as well as annual refresher courses.

    Appointing a confidential advisor for your business or organisation is not mandatory, unless requested as such by the employee representatives in the Committee for Prevention and Protection in the Workplace (CPPW). The CPPW will offer advice on the appointment of a confidential advisor and may request that the confidential advisor be removed from his or her position as needed.
     
  5. As from 1 March 2015, the employee policy manual of your company must reflect these changes.

Informal or formal intervention? The employee decides

Employees submitting a request for psychosocial intervention can now choose to take the formal or informal route.

  • For an informal intervention, employees can talk to the confidential advisor or the prevention advisor on psychosocial aspects, who will conduct personal meetings with the employee, plan an intervention together with a third party (such as the employer or the direct supervisor), or reconcile relationship issues between both parties. The advantage of informal interventions is that the employee can remain anonymous and can approach the internal confidential advisor directly.
     
  • In a formal intervention, the prevention advisor on psychosocial aspects is the first point of contact. What’s also new is that the latter can refuse a request for a formal intervention if it does not relate to psychosocial risks in the workplace. The aim of this type of intervention is to encourage the employer to implement the necessary prevention measures.

Collective prevention as a key principle

The focus has shifted to a more collective approach, thus expanding the role of the CPPW even further. With every request for psychosocial intervention, the prevention advisor on psychosocial aspects will determine whether the case is of an individual or a collective nature.

If there is a collective dimension to the intervention request (workplace conflicts, bad atmosphere at work, etc.), then it will first be forwarded to the employer, who will then discuss the case with the CPPW or the union representatives. This way, the psychosocial risk can be addressed for all employees at once before it turns into a major problem or before it reoccurs.

  • Risk assessments for specific workplace situations can be requested by the CPPW or by the supervisor.
    • ‚ÄčThe risk assessment can be performed in three different ways:
    • for each person individually,
    • through a questionnaire,
    • in a group setting.
       
  • When conducting a risk assessment, the CPPW will offer advice on the possible causes of the psychosocial hazards identified.

What we can do for you

Mensura is here to assist you in dealing with psychosocial risks in the workplace. Contact us via email at psychosocial.sepp-edpb@mensura.be or via phone on:

  • Region Flanders: 03 220 08 00
  • Region Limburg: 011 26 40 90
  • Region Brussels: 02 549 71 00
  • Region Wallonia: 061 27 57 57

Discover the range of services we offer in the field of psychosocial risks:

  • Want to know more about these legislative changes? Then sign up now for our ½-day info session.
  • We can perform a risk assessment of the psychosocial hazards at your company to reveal any issues that require attention. The risk assessment can be done individually, in group, or through a questionnaire.
  • At Mensura, we also offer support and assistance with developing a dedicated policy on psychosocial risks.
  • Mensura offers a training course on how to assist or temporarily replace your prevention advisor to guarantee continuity of services.
  • Confidential advisors are now required to complete a five-day training course, as well as annual refresher courses.
  • Mensura can assist you with developing an effective approach to manage psychosocial risks.

The new legislation was published in the Belgian Official Journal of 28 April.

  • The Act of 28 February 2014 supplements the Act of 4 August 1996 on the well-being of employees in the performance of their work.
  • The Act of 28 March 2014 amends the Judicial Code and the section on legal proceedings contained in the Act of 4 August 1996.
  • The Royal Decree of 10 April 2014 covers the prevention of psychosocial risks in the workplace.

Need more information? Contact us now!

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