An accident at work (also referred to in English as an "industrial accident") is an accident which is suffered by an employee during and by reason of performance of the contract of employment and which causes an injury. The employee's capacity for work is impaired temporarily or permanently, and the result may even be fatal.
The occurrence in question must be a sudden event whichcauses injury to the employee during and because of performance of the contract of employment. An accident is deemed to occur during performance of the contract of employment if at the time of the accident the employee is under the direction and control of the employer. All these considerations are given broad interpretation.
Accidents which occur while the employee is travelling to and from workare also classed as accidents at work. In such cases, the route travelled must be the normal one which employees have to take in order to go from their home to work and back again.
A victim of an accident at work is entitled to the benefits provided for under the Industrial Accidents Act. These include an allowance in the event of death, an allowance in the event of incapacity for work, andmedical care.
In 1989 in Belgium there were 85,370 direct recipients suffering from invalidity and 18,656 rightful beneficiaries (spouses, children, etc.), making a total of 104,026. See industrial injuries insurance .
Accidents at work in Belguim
All salaried persons are covered against accidents at work and accidents on the way to and from work. Self-employed persons are not subject to theseregulations. Civil servants have their own specific scheme.
Every employer should contract an insurance against accidents at work with a competent insurance institution. The Fund for Accidents at Work (FAO - FAT) supervises the insurance institutions. In some cases (ship-owners, seamen, employees for whom no insurance for accidents at work has been contracted), the FAO - FAT itself acts as aninsurance company. The FAO - FAT also pays the supplementary allowances.
The employer must declare every accident at work within 8 days to the insurance institution. The declaration can be done by means of a special form or via e-mail. If the employer dos not declare the accident, the employee or a member of his family can always declare it.
Plans to give the National Strategy on Health andSafety at Work
In November 2008, the Belgian Minister of Employment and Equal Opportunities, Joëlle Milquet, disclosed the main orientations that she plans to give the National Strategy on Health and Safety at Work for the period 2008–2012. Minister Milquet intends to strengthen policies and controls by the labour inspectorate. Furthermore, she aims to raise awareness about work-relateddiseases, as well as achieving a 25% decrease in accidents at work – in line with EU targets.
In February 2007, the European Commission published a Communication entitled Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007–2012 on health and safety at work. The Commission asked in this statement that the Member States should develop their own national strategiesrelated to the European Union objectives and provide quantitative targets.
The European goal is to diminish the incidence rate of accidents at work by 25%.. In 2007, about 185,000 occupational accidents occurred in the private sector. Most of the victims were workers in the health sector or providing business services; temporary workers, migrant workers and trainees were also foremost among thoseexperiencing a work-related accident. Since 2000, the amount of work accidents had been constantly declining in Belgium. However, in recent years, this decreasing trend has stopped.
On 27 November 2008, the Belgian Minister of Employment and Equal Opportunities, Joëlle Milquet, published the main orientations that she plans to give the National Strategy on Health and Safety at Work for the period...