Brussels South police department

Brussels South police department not leaving anything to chance

The Brussels South police department serves a number of challenging districts in our capital city, such as Anderlecht, Forest and Saint-Gilles. Maintaining public order during demonstrations and soccer matches, dealing with burglaries and thefts, drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, and ensuring safety in prisons: these police officers face numerous risks on a daily basis. With a proactive approach to medical monitoring, and through site visits and training courses on workplace prevention and protection, Mensura helps keep the team healthy and resilient.

  • Challenge
    • Stressful tasks that involve numerous risks
    • Temporary absenteeism increases work pressure among the remaining workforce  
    • A regular need for ad hoc interventions and advice from the external department
  • Solution
    • External assistance for the medical monitoring of workers and for risk management
    • Permanent access to an occupational health physician
    • A solid line of communication between the internal and external departments for prevention and protection in the workplace
  • Benefits
    • A high level of responsiveness
    • Maximum risk management

“Each day, officers from the Brussels South police department are faced with social problems and violence in the municipalities of Anderlecht, Saint-Gilles and Forest. It is therefore paramount that we put in place a highly effective prevention policy that allows us to adequately deal with health issues, tension among colleagues, and burnout”, says Pierre Carlier, occupational health physician at Mensura.

The Brussels South police district is most certainly under more stress than any other districts in the capital region.

Pierre Carlier Occupational Health Physician

Through regular presence on the premises and a solid line of communication with the internal department for protection and prevention in the workplace (IPPW), Mensura is able to provide solutions that meet the exact needs of the police corps. The Brussels South police department relies on Mensura for training in the field of first aid, stress management, ergonomics and toxicological measures. Bénédicte Pietquin of the IPPW of the Brussels South police department: “Field interventions are among our key areas of focus, as they frequently involve violence and aggression. We have received extremely positive feedback from those who completed the course.”

Crisis management

Continued availability is another significant contributor to the success of the partnership. “In addition to the fixed annual schedule, there are always some situations that require urgent attention”, Pierre Carlier explains. “As the occupational health physician for this police department, I am always available via phone or email. If I am unable to intervene immediately, a solution will be arranged within a matter of days”, he adds. “During the Ebola crisis, for instance, it was crucial for all concerns and uncertainties to be addressed at once, so we made sure to keep the police workers up to date through info and training sessions.”

When demonstrations are held within the Brussels South police district, the occupational health physician and psychologist team of Mensura jump into action as well. “At the end of 2014, skirmishes caused dozens of police officers to be taken to hospital with injuries. This resulted in an increased workload for the remaining staff. In those types of situations, we are there to help channel the tension that arises among colleagues. We also provided counselling services for those officers who were injured and assisted them in their return to work.”

Since 2011, all risks and hazards have been mapped for the entire workforce, and everything feels more under control.

Bénédicte Pietquin IDPBW

Returning to work: a balancing act

The return-to-work journey begins after an absence of four weeks or more. The occupational health physician plays a crucial role in this process. “If we can’t get the recovering police officer back out there straight away, then we can temporarily restrict his or her work duties. Declaring police officers incapable to work is not easy with current workforce shortages. But if they are not physically or mentally well, then they can’t adequately protect civilians and co-workers. It is all about finding the right balance and working closely with the people in charge as well as the internal prevention advisor.”

Less to worry about

To keep a clear eye on the working conditions, we conduct annual site visits across the ten or so buildings of the Brussels South police department. “This gives us the opportunity to monitor the quality of their equipment, operational objectives, and environmental factors such as air quality and the quality of lighting, and to make adjustments where needed”, occupational health physician Pierre Carlier explains. We also carry out lead testing at the shooting ranges. All risks and hazards within the police corps have been mapped ever since Mensura won the public tender for the Brussels South police department in 2011. “We have outlined all the risks for every job position within the police department, and we feel like everything is more under control. In addition, we now have a clear overview of past and future site visits and health checks”, Bénédicte Pietquin adds. “As the employer, we can suggest areas for improvement and raise concerns just like our employees can. Proposals are then drafted soon after.”