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“Business only checked every 21 years”

This time the bone of contention is the number of inspectors who check whether Belgian businesses take sufficient measures to combat burn-outs among their workforce.

The unions point to the 128 inspectors and say that this is not enough, while for the small business people’s association Unizo the checks are harassment. The unions claim that the lack of inspectors – any many are set to retire soon and will not be replaced – means that few checks are carried out.

Trades unionist Herman Fonck, who is responsible for workplace safety: “You’ve a greater chance of winning the Lotto than of your company being inspected for illness and safety prevention measures.”

“Everybody’s talking about burnouts, the record number of long term ill, but there are no checks to see businesses are addressing the issue.”

For companies the present number of inspectors means a check every 21.5 years.

Work minister Peeters points to the 15 new inspectors who have been hired as well as new measures: “Training for prevention is now obligatory by law and combatting burnout is now explicitly mentioned. A major information campaign is planned intended to reduce psychosocial risks.”

Unizo’s Karel Van Eetvelt believes the checks won’t solve the problem: “The checks are just a way of harassing businesspeople and increasing admin work.”

“Burnout is not only a problem at the workplace, but only businesspeople are held responsible.”

“A survey shows that 93% of our members are taking initiatives to prevent burnouts. It’s in the interest of SMEs, because if somebody falls ill in a small business, this is a tragedy.”


Flandersnews.be / Expatica