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Digital Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RIE) : a Dutch approach offering valuable support for small business owners

Author: Meeuwsen, J.M.
Type:article
Date:2008
Source:Magazine of the European Agency for Safety and Health, 11, 9-11
Identifier: 159135
Keywords: Internet · Arbowet · Arbeidsomstandighedenwet · Risicoanalyse · Storingsanalyse · Checklists · Midden-en kleinbedrijf · Digitale technieken · Digitale systemen · Overheidsbeleid · Wetshandhaving · Sociale voorlichting · Communicatie

Abstract

The Dutch Working Conditions Act requires employers to perform a Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RIE). Until recently, small business owners (SMEs) in particular were unhappy about this rather time-consuming obligation. However, the introduction of digital RIE instruments disseminated through the web has simplified the process enormously. This approach is strongly supported and subsidised by the Dutch ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. By using these digital instruments, SMEs can comply with the law cheaply and easily, and help to ensure a healthy work environment. This article describes the (legal) background and development of the digital RIE approach, focusing particularly on the SMEs sector. It touches on important features to keep in mind when implementing such an approach on a national level. Each sector has its own tailor-made instrument digital RIE with questions that are truly relevant to their particular field, related to its specific risks and providing detailed solutions. In the digital RIE project approach it was stipulated that if the digital instrument was developed and accepted by social partners, the members of the sector organisation would be subject to less severe enforcement by the Dutch labour inspectorate. The government and the sector organisations now need to publicise these instruments more among SMEs. It is also necessary to keep access to the web simple and to ensure the digital instruments are easy to use and kept up to date.