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Occupational health and safety and labour issues

Health and safety

What health and safety regulations and procedures apply to oil and gas operations (upstream, midstream and downstream)?

The Dutch Working Conditions Decree sets out a wide range of specific occupational health and safety rules which employers must follow. Most of the EU directives relating to occupational safety and health, including EU Directive 2013/30/EC on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations have been implemented in this decree. The decree, for example, stipulates that employers in the offshore oil and gas industry must prevent and mitigate the impact of major accident hazards through the implementation of a systematic and effective approach to risk management.

Labour law

Are there any labour law provisions with specific relevance to the oil and gas industry (eg, with regard to use of native and foreign personnel)?

The Working Hours Decree contains a number of specific regulations that apply to the mining industry and which replace the corresponding regulations in the Working Hours Act.

Dutch law contains no specific rules on the use of native and foreign personnel in the oil and gas industry. The general rules on employment apply. For example, an employer that wants to employ third-country nationals in the Netherlands, including in the Dutch territorial waters, must obtain a work permit for such employees. These are issued pursuant to the Foreign Nationals Employment Act.

What is the state of collective bargaining/organised labour in your jurisdiction’s oil and gas industry?

Although no statutory obligation exists, employers often enter into collective bargaining agreements voluntarily in order to influence labour conditions and costs and prevent labour conflicts. The Ministry of Social Affairs can declare certain provisions within a collective bargaining agreement generally binding on employees or employment agreements in a certain sector. This means that all employers which fall under the scope of the agreement must observe and apply the generally binding provisions, regardless of whether they are a party to the agreement. A collective bargaining agreement can be declared generally binding for a maximum of two years. No mandatory collective bargaining agreement is in place for the oil and gas industry.

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