A workplace that is very hot or very cold? - thermal environmental factors

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Date:
11 Jul 2012

<p>On 1 July 2012 the Royal Decree (RD) concerning the thermal environmental factors entered into force. This RD determines the conditions under which an employee may work in a very hot or very cold environment.</p>

On 1 July 2012 the Royal Decree (RD) concerning the thermal environmental factors entered into force. This RD determines the conditions under which an employee may work in a very hot or very cold environment.

The Royal Decree of 4 June 2012 gives a precise meaning to the obligations that must be met by the employer when an employee must work in an environment that is very hot or very cold. The first obligation is to make a risk analysis.

Whether and how long an employee may work depends on the (combination of) air temperature, the relative humidity of the air, the air flow, the thermal radiation, the physical work load, the working methods and work equipment employed, the work clothing and the personal protective equipment.

The RD provides in this respect a series of criteria. You can find more information on http://www.emploi.belgique.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=608#.

Depending on the origin of the extreme cold of heat, technological or climatically, a number of technical or organizational measures must be taken:

  • technical measures (such as placing of shelter, floor, heating, etc.);
  • reducing the physical work load;
  • alternative working methods;
  • limiting the duration and the intensity of the exposure;
  • adapting the work schedules and the organization of the work;
  • providing protective clothing;
  • providing appropriate beverages.

For employees, the RD foresees a particular health surveillance, as well as training and information.

 

> Action point

Employees must make - in consultation with their prevention advisor - a risk analysis of the thermal environmental factors on the work place and, if necessary, take the appropriate prevention measures.New employees and employees who restart their activities will also be entitled to holidays.