The recent amendments to Act XCIII of 1993 on Labour Safety have brought significant changes to the regulations to occupational safety regulations, particularly in the areas of medical examinations and occupational safety training.

Occupational Safety Training

The changes related to occupational safety education will come into force on 1 February 2024. Under the amendments, employees in certain activities, jobs and positions will be able to follow a general training programme. This means that employers will in future be able to provide their employees in certain jobs with a pre-defined training material based on a general training theme. The relevant jobs and the related training topics will be laid down in a regulation by the Minister responsible for employment. It should be emphasised that the training may also be provided through internal electronic networks, which will make it easier for employees to access and learn the information.

This change aims to make occupational safety education more efficient and at the same time more flexible, including through digital access.

Medical examination

The changes to the medical examination at work will come into force on 1 September 2024 and are primarily intended to safeguard the health and safety of employees. Under the new provisions, employees will be subject to stricter conditions of employment. Under the amendment, employees may be employed only if they have the appropriate physiological conditions and their employment does not jeopardise the health and physical integrity of minors or impair their healthy development. In addition, the employment of employees should not be a threat to reproductive capacity, the health of the unborn child or the health of others.

A further change is that the amendment will no longer require an occupational fitness examination from September. This means that, except in certain cases, decisions on the suitability of employees will be taken on the basis of a medical examination only in the cases (jobs) specified in the legislation. These jobs and positions, for which a medical fitness examination is mandatory, will be defined in a regulation. Although the change will only come into force on 1 September 2024, many employers may benefit from the cease of the mandatory medical fitness examination. However, in our view, it may be worthwhile to continue to focus on medical fitness for work beyond the mandatory cases, as in the case of employees claiming a potential impairment, it is important that the employer can provide evidence that the occupational physician (doctor at the company) has found the employee to be fit and that there is no evidence of impairment in the workplace. At the employer’s discretion, it is still possible to have an occupational medical examination, which the employer must provide free of charge to the employee before he or she starts work and at regular intervals throughout the employment relationship.

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