Four in five Dutch distribution centers unsafe: Inspectorate
Many distribution centers violate health and safety rules, according to a report by the Labor Inspectorate that NRC wrote about on Wednesday. The Inspectorate identified one or more violations at 163 of the 200 distribution centers inspected. Many had not taken any measures to prevent coronavirus infections, and in 20 cases, the Inspectorate stopped the work because of “serious danger” to employees.
The serious danger involved, for example, a situation where employees had to collect orders on scaffolds. In four cases, these scaffolds weren’t properly shielded “through which employees could fall from a great height. In one case, as much as 9 meters.”
The Inspectorate identified 574 violations at the distribution centers, 28 of which were very serious. At 178 of the distribution centers, the work was classified as physically taxing. 105 never investigated this risk and therefore could not take any measures. The Inspectorate issued them warnings and instructed them to do these investigations and take measures.
The Labor Inspectorate called the lack of attention to substantial risks and the high number of violations “striking.” The Inspectorate found that it is mainly temporary workers and “to a large extent migrant workers” who perform work that is physically taxing or involves a risk of collision with forklifts. “They are hired for short or uncertain periods and often do not speak Dutch. Therefore, distribution centers in the Netherlands should seriously work on creating a safe and healthy work environment.”