Posted workers and the compulsory basic safety training in the construction sector
In a collective agreement dated 12 May 2022, the social partners in the construction sector (Joint Committee 124) worked out a regulation on compulsory basic safety training.
As this obligation is imposed by a collective agreement, it will only apply to workers posted to Belgium once the collective agreement is effectively declared universally applicable. This declaration of universal applicability has been applied for, but has not yet materialised.
For your employees posted to Belgium, you therefore do not yet have to take into account the requirements regarding compulsory basic safety training.
As soon as the collective labour agreement is declared generally binding, it will apply to your employees posted to Belgium. In this newsflash, we briefly explain the content of this collective labour agreement. We also elaborate on the validity of safety training received in other EU countries.
What? Compulsory basic safety training is training designed to make workers aware of the risks they may face on a construction site, regardless of whether these risks arise from their own activity or from other construction activities carried out in their vicinity. In addition, basic knowledge of legal preventive principles, application of appropriate preventive measures and safe behaviour on a construction site also form part of this training. The training must last at least 8 hours in total.
The fund for construction companies Constructiv publishes on its website a list of training courses that meet the requirements, but will also develop its own basic safety training. The basic safety training will also have to be adapted to suit the various specific professions within the sector. Following categories of professions will receive separate training according to the collective labour agreement:
- structural work professions;
- finishing professions;
- roofing professions;
- road construction professions;
- carpentry professions;
The other categories of construction professions are subject to the basic safety training.
Attention: basic safety training is not equivalent to VCA/SCC training. A worker who does not have an VCA/SCC certificate, but who has taken the basic safety training, fulfils the training obligation. A worker who has taken the VCA/SCC training but has not passed the exam will also fulfil the training obligation, provided the SCC training lasted at least 8h.
Who? A distinction is made depending on whether the worker works on a construction site where the presence of a safety coordinator is mandatory or not:
- safety coordinator mandatory? All workers present on the construction site must have completed basic safety training.
- safety coordinator not mandatory? In that case, a so-called “authorised internal person” will be designated to give basic safety training to workers. The collective agreement indicates that the “authorised internal person” should preferably be the internal prevention advisor. To this end, Constructiv will develop a training programme that companies can use. That training will also have to last at least 8 hours.
Basic safety training completed in another EU country? The collective agreement provides that basic safety training completed in another EU country can be equated with compulsory basic safety training. In this case, workers do not have to take additional training.
VCA/SCC certificate? – If the foreign training led to a VCA/SCC certificate, there is an equivalence in any case – and thus an exemption from taking additional training.
No VCA/SCC certificate? – If the foreign training did not lead to a VCA/SCC certificate, it will have to be verified in each case whether the training provided the worker with the necessary basic knowledge and skills regarding prevention and protection on construction sites.
However, if the training does not meet the conditions, the posted worker will still have to undergo basic safety training within the month following the start of employment on a construction site.
If you are unsure whether the training received by your workers meets the conditions, be sure to contact us.
Temporary work? Workers who have taken the basic safety training for temporary work in the construction sector (16 hours) are exempted from taking additional basic safety training.
What about contributing employers, independent (sub)contractors and white-collar workers? The collective agreement covers only those workers who fall under Joint Committee 124. Subject to a legislative amendment, this can be extended to all persons involved in work on a construction site. We do not yet have any specific information on this change, but we are of course following this development closely and will inform you in good time.
As mentioned above, you should only take all the above into account as soon as the collective agreement of 12 May 2022 is declared universally applicable. We are following this up for you and will keep you informed as soon as this is the case.