At the request of the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, the Labor Inspectorate is reviewing its working method to see where improvements can be made. The initial findings and lessons learned by the Labor Inspectorate have now been incorporated into a report to Karien van Gennip. The Minister welcomes the fact that the Labor Inspectorate is examining its own working method and sees these measures as an important step in the right direction.
He will, however, continue discussions with the Labor Inspectorate about how the working method can be further improved and made more transparent. In doing so, he also takes into account the consequences of the lessons for the assessment framework, as ensuing from the working conditions regulations, also in relation to the position of the individual reporter, including (former) employees.
points of improvement
For healthy and safe working conditions, the discussion between employer and employees and, in the case of Schiphol, as client or 'host' of companies, from cleaning and catering to cargo and transshipment, is very important. Actively encouraging employee participation, via works councils and employee representation, and actively involving trade unions, contributes to safeguarding healthy and safe working conditions.
It is crucial that the threshold for reporting abuses to the Inspectorate must be low. The situation regarding baggage handling shows that it is desirable for the Inspectorate to make the threshold as low as possible for occupational physicians to consult the Inspectorate or to involve them in improvements that employers must implement. The Labor Inspectorate therefore wants to further broaden the existing contacts with the professional association of occupational physicians, in particular about hazardous substances. This is also included in the recently published Multi-year Plan 2023-2026.
The distinction between landside and airside is unavoidable at an airport. At the same time, this separation entails a risk of invisibility and insufficient instruction and supervision by the employer, and supervision by the supervisor. The Inspectorate will give this aspect a heavier weight in its risk assessment, both actively and reactively.
In the report, the Labor Inspectorate also discusses the state of affairs of the enforcement process in the field of physical strain in baggage handling. In that regard, the Minister notes that in the answers to the aforementioned parliamentary questions, he indicated that the Labor Inspectorate has not received any relevant reports in the field of physical strain on, for example, personnel, occupational physicians, works councils or trade unions.
The Labor Inspectorate reported this week that in the years 2015-2022, as far as is currently known, the Labor Inspectorate received seven reports in relation to physical strain. According to the Labor Inspectorate, two of these are directly related to baggage handling. The Labor Inspectorate has regarded these reports as irrelevant because, according to the assessment framework used by the Labor Inspectorate, there was 'a minor violation'. Therefore, these reports have not led to further follow-up.
In the report, the Labor Inspectorate provides insight into its general supervision activities at Schiphol. I note that over the past ten years the Labor Inspectorate has carried out inspections at approximately 400 employers active at Schiphol on the basis of risk-oriented projects; in 160 of these, a total of more than 600 violations were found. In addition, approximately 500 reports about employers active at Schiphol led to approximately 1.150 violations. In addition, 190 accident investigations were carried out. The Inspectorate also processed a total of more than 1000 applications for exemption and received mandatory notifications.