The reform of health surveillance: What was changed?

Due to a shortage of Prevention Advisors-Occupational Physicians at the External Services for Prevention and Protection at Work (ESPPW) [Externe Diensten voor Preventie en Bescherming op het Werk (EDPBW)], a reform of the health surveillance of employees was required. This reform entered into force on 21 June 2019.

We have noticed however that there is still a great deal of confusion and that people are still not (completely) informed about exactly what these changes entail.
We would like to provide you with a brief explanation. 


Change in the nature of the examination


From now on, the periodic health surveillance is divided into 2 parts:


  • Health assessment by the Prevention Advisor-Occupational Physician during which the work to be performed and the health status of the employee are both examined.
  • Additional medical treatments by the Prevention Advisor-Occupational Physician OR by nurses under the responsibility of the physician. These additional medical treatments include bio-monitoring (blood test, urine tests), technical examinations (e.g. audiometry) and specific medical questionnaires, among others.

The additional medical treatments may be carried out prior to the health assessment as well as between two health assessments. 


Change in frequency


The frequency of the periodic health assessment is always determined on the basis of the risks (see list of risk posts). In general, the frequency of most health assessments has declined since the change in the law.  For example, the health assessment frequency for workers with a safety function (e.g. fork-lift driver) has been reduced from an annual examination to a 2-yearly examination. In the meantime, this can be supplemented by an additional medical treatment, if necessary. 

However, it is possible for the Occupational Physician to deviate from these frequencies in a number of exceptional cases:


  • One year after the previous health assessment (= medical examination at time of hiring), there is a compulsory first periodic health assessment performed by the Occupational Physician.
  • If the additional medical treatments between two periodic health assessments show an ‘unusual result’. In this case, the physician must contact the employee and take appropriate actions.

VARIO offers the possibility to easily monitor your medical examinations, despite this change in the law. If you have any questions or need support, you can always contact your Incerta Dossier Manager.