Like all workers, temporary workers must be protected from exposure to hazards and risks in the workplace. In order to ensure their safety and health at work, the user undertaking must carry out a risk assessment for all workstations and functions
This risk assessment is the first step in developing a workstation sheet.
What is a risk assessment?
Each employer must identify hazards and assess the risks present at each workstation/function of his company. Based on this analysis, the employer takes the necessary precautionary measures so that workers can work safely (Belgian Code, art. I.2-5 to I.2-7).
The employer is assisted in this process by the prevention advisors (Belgian Code Art. II.1-4). Only Level 1 and Level 2 Prevention Advisors can effectively perform this role (Belgian Code art. II.1-8 and II.1-9). Companies without an internal Level 1 or 2 prevention advisor must always call an external PPW service for risk assessment (Belgian Code, art. II.1-10-2).
An employer must carry out a risk assessment at all levels of the company: at the level of the organization, at the level of workstations and functions and at the level of the individual (Belgian Code art. I.2-6).
Risk assessment and the resulting precautionary measures are very important elements of the "Dynamic Risk Management System" that forms the core of each employer's prevention policy (Belgian Code Art. I.2-2 to I.2-5).
Each employer should regularly check whether the risk assessment and precautionary measures taken are sufficient and adjust if necessary. This could be the case, for example, when a workstation changes or when an accident has occurred.
The employer must regularly repeat this exercise for all workstations and therefore not just for workstations where a temporary worker is employed! If the user undertaking wants to occupy a temporary worker at a workstation, the risk assessment is the first step in the development of the worksheet.
Risk assessment: key step in establishing the workstation sheet
The workstation sheet is the result of a risk assessment performed by the user undertaking for the workstation/function concerned.
Indeed, the user is responsible for the safety and well-being of the temporary worker (for more information, click here - link in French).
Step 1: Description of the workstation
To begin with, the user undertaking defines the workstation or the function and tasks for which he/she needs a temporary worker. The workstation receives an internal identification number. The temporary worker is usually employed in an already existing workstation in the company.
Step 2: Inventory and risk assessment
An inventory of all hazards and workplace-specific risks is then carried out. These may include safety risks (cuts, burns, falls, etc.), possible sources of work-related accidents, health risks (safety function, noise, manual load handling, shift work, etc.), possible sources of occupational diseases or functions that present a risk to third parties (colleagues, people in the workplace) or hygiene risks, etc.
The risk assessment must allow them to be categorized according to their priority level. User undertaking prevention advisors (internal/external) have an important advisory role to play in this regard.
Step 3: Determine precautionary/prevention measures
By taking precautionary measures, the risks are avoided or limited. In establishing precautionary measures, the principle of the hierarchy of prevention must be considered. That is, in order of priority, opting to:
- Preventing risks at the source
- Replacing what is dangerous with what is not or less dangerous
- the provision of collective protective equipment (bodyguards, handrails, collective ventilation system, etc.)
- the provision of personal protective equipment (safety shoes, helmets, fall protection, etc.
The residual risks that remain after the implementation of precautionary measures can also be prevented through clear instructions provided at induction, training and follow-up, the provision of instruction manuals and a health surveillance.
Step 4: Health protection
The health of temporary workers must be protected in the same way as that of other workers. Before deciding whether health surveillance is necessary, the user undertaking verifies that all risks have been considered and that all other possible precautionary measures have been implemented. In collaboration with the occupational physician (among others), the user then identifies the residual health risks. The PPW committee is invited to give its opinion.
Step 5: Writing the workstation sheet
This is the final step. For employers who comply with the general obligations of welfare at work legislation (Belgian Code on Well-being), this will generally be the only step they need to take when they wish to occupy a temporary worker in a specific workstation.
The workstation sheet is mandatory as long as there are still health risks at the workstation concerned and a prior health examination is required. The internal/external PPW service, the occupational physician and the PPW Committee advise the user when preparing the workstation sheet.
Risk assessment methods and tools
There are different methods and techniques for conducting a risk assessment (Kinney, Deparis-Sobane, etc.). Workplace welfare legislation (also known as the Belgian Code on Well-being) lets employers choose.
Various methods are briefly described in this brochure (in French).
The Belgian Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour and Social dialogue (FPS) provides comprehensive information on the SOBANE strategy
- is an internet platform offering simple and standardized sectoral risk assessment tools in various European countries. The first OiRA tool in Belgium was developed in 2013 for the hairdressing sector. “OiRA Wood industry” was launched in 2014 and “OiRA construction sector” in 2015. In the meantime, other OIRA tools have emerged for the horeca sector, the cleaning sector, bakeries, landscaping and the performing arts.
The user's external service for prevention and protection at work (ESPPW) plays an important role in carrying out a risk assessment. This is most certainly the case when the user undertaking does not have a Level 1 or level 2 internal prevention advisor.
More information can be found here (in French).
A concise summary on a handy fact sheet was made by Prevention and Interim explaining “how to move from a risk assessment to a temporary workstation sheet”.
PI also provides Pi-F’s, a document about several workstations in various industries. These Pi-F’s can help the user to prepare a workstation sheet. They are also a source of information for temporary consultants to assess the quality of a workstation sheet. Find the PI-F in the "Library" section of this site.
Useful links (in French):
- BESWIC (Méthodes d'analyse des risques)
- SPF Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale : Brochure analyse des risques
- La stratégie SOBANE
- Services externes pour la prévention et la protection